☆☆☆ "Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!" ☆☆☆

Sunday, June 11, 2017

"Sans Sexual / Sans Gendered" Continued --

Let's assume, since you're reading this, that you appreciate the theoretical distinction between "sex" and "gender."

Inevitably it seems theory directed discussions of gender turn to considerations of sexual practice, partners, behaviors, identities, etc. Seemingly gender presentation is intrinsically linked to sexual orientation.

Jack (Judith) Halberstam in Female Masculinity notes rather extensively that presentation of female masculinity is a codified paradigm of lesbian sexual orientation/behavior. Reductively stated female masculinity presents a codified sexual vernacular relating to sexual behavior/preference. Reductively stated, female masculinity is a codified presentation about which sexual partner in a lesbian relationship assumes a "dominant" role.

Think about this for a second -- Essentially "female masculinity" is asserting that there is a "masculine" sexuality and that cis-F "gender inverts" (trans whatever) present as "butch" as a semiotic code for a certain sex-role stereotype:  This  "masculine" presentation/orientation is dominant and  the "lipstick lesbian" is submissive. This seems as sexist as it appears.

Similarly -- and this is an admittedly over-simplified generalization -- M to F cis-M often "transition" in order to present as "female" and accordingly adopt the "passive" participant role in gay male sex acts. This too seems as sexist as it appears.

Is there something teleological about testosterone and behavior? Sexual behavior appears "hard wired" in other species: horses, roosters, cattle, canines, all sorts of felines, spawning salmon . . .

This concept of "hard wired" sexual behavior is part of the "essentialist" paradigm, that there are traits and behaviors intrinsic to sex: "Girls play with dolls. Boys prefer trucks."  And of course the radical feminist Weltanschauung rejects these essentialist presumptions. My sister drives trucks, long-haul, semi triple-trailers interstate transport; she owns and rides motorcycles. Allison here is cis-M. I like flowers, jewelry making, baking, floral prints with lace trim . . . For the record, my sister likes flowers, jewelry, lace trim. I own three Harley-Davidson, and more firearms than I can count.

Sexual essentialism may function rigidly for other animal species, but humans as social and linguistic beings manage to deconstruct and problematize the essentialism of the hetero-normative dyad. Post Modern writers like Rita Felski "Fin de Siecle, Fin du Sexe" (1996 in Transgender Studies Reader) argue the post-modern ahistorical view of sex/gender, noting that media images (semiotics/iconography) is both iterative and pervasive, that our epistemological Weltanschauung is always already a recapitulation of previous experience. Felski compares Baudrillard and Donna Haraway as regards the deconstruction and problematizing of gender semes, gender signifiers (referents). Like the [apocryphal] Chinese symbol for "crisis" that is comprised of two signs, "danger" and "opportunity," Felski reads Baudrillard's post modern point of view as danger, chaos, deterioration of meaning. Haraway views these deconstructions as opportunities for new narratives.

For the sake of presumption, sex  and sexual orientation are "hard wired" in an individual.  Gender presentation may be dynamic, fluid, ambiguous, "unintelligible" but sexual behavior and orientation seem fundamentally stable, biologically determined, fixed. Nonetheless, just because sexuality is seemingly "fixed" does not at all infer that it is structured around the "hetero-normative dyad." The hetero-normative dyad may well be the predominate sexual paradigm, but predomination does not confer privileged status. Linguistically, the hetero-normative dyad is the "received prestige dialect" of the Western culture the masculinist hetero-normative dyad. Other sexual orientations are linguistically akin to idiolects, pidgin, socio-cultural variation. "Gay cultures" have their own socio-cultural idiolects. Gay cultures often refer to these idiolects as "gay-dar" -- like radar that signifies culturally coded meaning in presentations that those not "speaking" the idiolect do not readily "read."

Let's suggest here, for the sake of discourse, that "gay" sexuality is a socio-cultural idiolect that conveys (signifies, communicates) sexual orientation and status. I know "stone butch" when I see them. Liberace is an easier "read" than some. Gay men share their own distinct ideolect.

Judith Butler speculates about "recasting the referent as the signified." The lexicon of referents we have for signifying sex/gender orientation, sex/gender ontological identity needs to become (transmogrify) that signified objective discourse which we recast as a dialectical narrative. Hence the lexicon of referents become a sort of Kantian "ding an sich."  This recasting of referents is the linguistic task of the interpretive community.

The current prestige dialect in our gendered interpretive community is masculinist hetero-fascist, and dyadically dogmatic. Foucault and a litany of other gender theorists note that "sexual inverts" are a recent referential development. "Homosexual" was coined from statistical studies of Kinsey and others. Because "sex/gender inversion" is a statistical anomaly, it has been signified by-and-large as "deviant" and "pathological."

By-and-large the hetero-normative dyad is not so much defined according to what it is, but rather according to what it is not. This narrative dyad is linguistically mediational: We have strict gender dyad presentation referents, enforced by the interpretive community as socially prescribed and rigidly determinative of a linguistic "ideolect" of sexuality which is comprehensible.  The hetero-normative dyad is seemingly the received dialect. Deviant sexuality, deviant gender presentation is semiotically anomalous. Arguably anomalous sexuality is referenced with the [deviant] pathos of the "not" function, typically socio/culturally proscribed, often unlawful, and quite possibly "unintelligible."

--- in process -----

Sunday, June 4, 2017

Sans Sexual, Sans Gender --

 Cross Dreamer post --
I get lost in this down the rabbit hole gender world  . . .

Is Kate Bornstein, a natal born cis-M MTF writing "Gender Outlaw" . . . is this a radical feminist view? Is Jack Halberstam, formerly Judith and writing about "Female Masculinity" and butch lesbian sexual endeavors  . . .  is this a radical feminist view?

I claim to be a radical feminist, trans whatever, "queer" borne (sic) with a dick.

I remember a cartoon in Playboy magazine, the archetypal New York cocktail party and a Caucasian guy is asking an Afro, black, negro, 'colored person' . . .  whatever, "Just exactly what is it you're calling yourselves these days?"

I have a link on the blog about "Identity Politics" -- The Stanford Plato Encyclopedia of Philosophy.

I read Jack (Judith) Halberstam Female Masculinity and realize that Jack is talking about me, a "radical butch lesbian."

Sex is a linguistics function in my world -- communication about how and with whom we do sexual engagement. Linguistics is semiotic. The Semiotics that we use to convey sexual status is all about gender. Judith Butler (Gender Theory, UC Berkeley) asserts that the idea of gender is a semiotic paradigm, culturally determined, part of the discursive processes of the interpretive community.

The sexual discourse I engage is pretty much that "I'm not a player. I'm an observant bystander. We like it that way." We're critical -- politically and theoretically -- of the "hetero-normative dyad. We have been know to view it as "the masculinist, hetero-fascist dyad." We don't buy into the binary dyad paradigm. "If not A then B." If not male then female. We were once updating personal settings on FaceBook and came to "sex -- male / female." I was stuck with the reaction: "Jeez! That's not much of a choice!"

We feel the same about restrooms. Gratefully lots of businesses are realizing that "single serve" rest-rooms don't need to specify a gender. FaceBook is opting for more diverse gender specification, even allowing creative, original input from users.

Sandy Stone has a curriculum set out from the U of Texas, "Borders: Dangerous Violations" -- and it's linked from my blog. (Of course it's linked! LMAO)

Of late I'm intrigued with the idea of "queering the boundaries" . . . no hormones, no surgery, we don't worry about "passing" and sometimes present as "gender unintelligible." Some days more unintelligible than others. People who appreciate gender boundaries and gender ID ask me "What are you calling yourself these days? How do you wish to be addressed?" -- This came up for me recently in the VA Medical Center (hospital) where VA assigned me to a 4 bed ward for men. They wanted to check me for bedsores, 12 point lead EKG . . .  and staff begins to appreciate that I am "gender atypical." They find me a private room, private bath so I don't need to share with cis-M. It's a privacy consideration for the cis-M on the ward as much as it is for me. "Is there a particular way you prefer to be addressed?"

"First name. Please don't call me 'sir' or 'Mr.' I answer to 'professor' a lot."

My blog lays it out -- The blog banner sums it up:

☆☆☆ "Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!" ☆☆☆

Read the blog! --

There's an image there, on the blog. Two overlapping bell curves.


We're a smidge to the left of the intersecting deviations, but only ontologically and chromosomally. We're not happy where we sit, but then we're not happy about pushing seven decades and having grey hair. What's a girl gonna do?

Post-Structuralist Jacques Derrida asserts: "All readings are mis-readings." And so I assert that the gender reading I get tagged with is a mis-reading, and that I am pushing assiduously to "Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!" I appropriate and subvert incessantly, some days more than others.

And so, I'm not much concerned with how I feel when out "femme" -- I'm curious about how I'm read when doing the "stone butch Harley biker" presentation, but I concede that it's "street theatre" and a bit of an ontological "masque."

We "queer the binary" -- "sans gender" a stone butch Harley biker some days, with a dick. Radical feminist gender theorist.

Can we discuss gender theory, rather than "What shoes go with my new wig?"


Allison Wunderland's Transcend Dance
Last Edited By: AllisonWunderland . Edited 1 time

"Can we not just be normal people doing normal jobs . . . without all this academic philosophical garbage?"

 My reply to Xora on CrossDreamers


I've been thinking of late about "sans sexual" and "sans gender" -- that sexuality seems ineluctable, and ineluctably problematic. Sex shares the linguistic issues of communication, although on a more "touchy/feely" plane LMAO.

Gender is semiotic, part of the communications paradigm for sex, the touchy/feely stuff.

Derrida reminds us: "All readings are mis-readings." And so I hope to engender "mis-readings" about gender inference. Problematize the hetero-normative dyad, queer the binaries . . .

"Can we not just be normal people doing normal jobs that just want do what works to feel a bit more comfortable in ourselves, without all this academic philosophical garbage?" -- Xora

Engineers think with a different sort of metaphysical perspective. As regards "academic/philosophical," it's my field, a retired academic still teaching and publishing.

Others assign gender to me. That's the way gender works. Currently, since I buy into "gender fluid," I'm looking at Judith Butler, Semiotics, Performative Speech Act Theoryl (J.L. Austin) and Gender Presentation, "Recasting the referent as the signified" and making the signified "intelligible." Current reads are Jack Halberstam Female Masculinity, Susan Stryker / Stephen Whittle Transgender Studies Reader (2 volumes), trans-radical feminists generally, Judith Butler et al.

Post-modern, post-structurals discourse is my theoretical field. These days we're an LLC in discourse, retired academic. We teach gender theory in an Encore seminar (retired academics). We need electrical engineers, You need academics and philosophers, more than you appreciate. Sandy Stone has a syllabus for this seminar, it's posted in my blog and linked below. "TRANS: Dangerous Border Violations"

At pushing seven decades, I'm "sans sexual" and "sans gendered" -- stone butch, gender queer, gender outlaw, post-structuralist radical trans-feminist. This is my identity, and being "queer" "non-binary," "fluid," and a litany of other referents and putative pathologies  . . . I'm simply not comfortable trying to "pass" as cis-gendered and "an invisible gender anomoly." per Jamison Green . . .

The masculinist, hetero-fascist medical hegemony has me on a dumpster fire load of meds -- in and out of the ER, in-patient hospitalization for a variety of issues related to being an old fart with cardio arrythmia, PTSD, and gender dysphoria. I tried Finasteride and it caused cardio issues (linked in this forum).

I shouldn't need to submit to invasive medical protocols when I'm not pathological and don't need to be "fixed,"

The blog goes on, and on, and on . . .

Let me see if I can post an image?


Allison Wunderland's Transcend Dance
Last Edited By: AllisonWunderland . Edited 2 times.

Saturday, June 3, 2017

Judith Butler -- Semiotics, Performatives, & Gender Theory

Bibliography to die for!

Butler's work is a foundational source for me. Radical lesbian post-structuralist semiotics drawing from Foucault, Lacan . . .

Judith Butler, Hannah Arendt Chair and Professor of Philosophy at The European Graduate School / EGS.



Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assembly (Mary Flexner Lectures of Bryn Mawr College)

Butler, Judith. Notes Toward a Performative Theory of Assemby (Mary Flexner Lectures of Bryn Mawr College). Harvard University Press, 2015. ISBN: 0674967755
Dispossession: The Performative in the Political

Butler, Judith, and Athena Athanasiou. Dispossession: The Performative in the Political. Polity, 2013. ISBN: 0745653812
Senses of the Subject

Butler, Judith. Senses of the Subject. Fordham University Press, 2015. ISBN: 082326467X
Qu'est-ce qu'une vie bonne?

Butler, Judith. Qu'est-ce qu'une vie bonne? Kindle Edition. Translated by Martin Rueff. Editions Payot, 2014. ASIN: B00JDHR8JC
Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism

Butler, Judith. Parting Ways: Jewishness and the Critique of Zionism. Columbia University Press, 2013. ISBN: 0231146116
Vers la cohabitation: Judéité et critique du sionisme

Butler, Judith. Vers la cohabitation: Judéité et critique du sionisme. Translated by Gildas Le Dem. Fayard, 2013. ISBN: 2213672245
Am Scheideweg: Judentum und die Kritik am Zionismus

Butler, Judith. Am Scheideweg: Judentum und die Kritik am Zionismus. Translated by Reiner Ansén. Campus Verlag, 2013. ISBN: 3593399466
Queere Bündnisse und Antikrigspolitik

Butler, Judith. Queere Bündnisse und Antikrigspolitik. Edited by Tatiana Eggeling. Maennershwarm, 2011. ISBN: 3939542830
The Question of Gender

Butler, Judith and Elizabeth Weed. The Question of Gender: Joan W. Scott‘s Critical Feminism. Indiana University Press, 2011. ISBN: 0253356369.
The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere

Butler, Judith. The Power of Religion in the Public Sphere. Columbia University Press. 2011. ISBN: 0231156456
Ce qui fait une vie : Essai sur la violence, la guerre et le deuil

Butler, Judith. Ce qui fait une vie : Essai sur la violence, la guerre et le deuil. Translated by Joëlle Marelli. Zones, 2010. ISBN: 235522028X
Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable?

Butler, Judith. Frames of War: When Is Life Grievable? Verso. 2009. ISBN: 1844673332
Raster des Krieges: Warum wir nicht jedes Leid beklagen

Butler, Judith. Raster des Krieges: Warum wir nicht jedes Leid beklagen. Translated by Reiner Ansén. Campus Verlag, 2010. ISBN: 3593391554
Is Critique Secular: Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech

Butler, Judith, Talal Asad, Saba Mahmood, and Wendy Brown. Is Critique Secular: Blasphemy, Injury, and Free Speech. University of California Press, 2009. ISBN: 0982329415
Die Macht der Geschlechternormen und die Grenzen des Menschlichen

Butler, Judith. Die Macht der Geschlechternormen und die Grenzen des Menschlichen. Translated by Karin Wördemann. Suhrkamp. 2008. ISBN: 3518585053
Kritik der ethischen Gewalt: Adorno-Vorlesungen 2002

Butler, Judith. Kritik der ethischen Gewalt: Adorno-Vorlesungen 2002. Translated by Michael Adrian and Reiner Ansén. Suhrkamp, 2007. ISBN: 3518293923
Who Sings the Nation-State: Language, Politics, Belonging

Butler, Judith, and Gayatri Chakravorty Spivak. Who Sings the Nation-State: Language, Politics, Belonging. Seagull Books, 2007. ISBN: 1905422571
Judith Butler in Conversation: Analyzing the Texts and Talk of Everyday Life

Butler, Judith, and Bronwyn Davies. Judith Butler in Conversation: Analyzing the Texts and Talk of Everyday Life. Routledge. 2007. ISBN: 0415956536
Giving an Account of Oneself

Butler, Judith. Giving an Account of Oneself. Fordham University Press, 2005. ISBN: 0823225046
Dar cuenta de si mismo: Violencia ética y responsabilidad

Butler, Judith. Dar cuenta de si mismo. Translated by AMORRORTU. AMORRORTU, 2009. ISBN: 9505187238
Le Récit de Soi

Butler, Judith. Le Récit de Soi. Translated by Bruno Ambroise and Valérie Aucouturie. Presses Universitaires de France, 2007. ISBN: 2130555519
The Judith Butler Reader

Butler, Judith. The Judith Butler Reader. Edited by Sara Salih. Wiley-Blackwell, 2004. ISBN: 0631225935
Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence

Butler, Judith. Precarious Life: The Powers of Mourning and Violence. Verso, 2004. ISBN: 1844670058
Osäkra Liv: Sörjandets och Våldets Makt

Butler, Judith. Osäkra Liv: Sörjandets och Våldets Makt. Translated by Sarah Clyne Sundberg. Tankekraft, 2011. ISBN: 9186273205
Kırılgan Hayat: Yasın ve Şiddetin Gücü

Butler, Judith. Kırılgan Hayat: Yasın ve Şiddetin Gücü. Translated by Başak Ertür. Metis Yayınlar, 2005. ISBN: 9753425325
Gefährdetes Leben: Politische Essays

Butler, Judith. Gefährdetes Leben: Politische Essays. Translated by Karin Wördemann. Suhrkamp. 2005. ISBN: 3518123939
Undoing Gender

Butler, Judith. Undoing Gender. Routledge, 2004. ISBN: 0415969239
消解性別 / Xiao jie xing bie

Butler, Judith. 消解性別 / Xiao jie xing bie. Translated by Guo Jie. Shanghai san lian shu dian, 2009. ISBN: 7542629638
Défaire le Genre

Butler, Judith. Défaire le Genre. Translated by Maxime Cervulle. Editions Amsterdam, 2006. ISBN: 291554719X
Genus Ogjort: Kropp, Begär Och Möjlig Existens

Butler, Judith. Genus Ogjort: Kropp, Begär Och Möjlig Existens. Translated by Karin Lindeqvist. Norstedts akademiska förla, 2006. ISBN: 9172274573.
Raščinjavanje Roda

Butler, Judith. Raščinjavanje Roda. Translated by Jasmina Husanovic. Šahinpašić, 2005. ISBN: 9958411229
The Scandal of the Speaking Body: Don Juan with J. L. Austin, or Seduction in Two Languages

Butler, Judith, Shoshana Felman, and Stanley Cavell. The Scandal of the Speaking Body: Don Juan with J. L. Austin, or Seduction in Two Languages. Stanford University Press, 2002. ISBN: 080474453X
Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law

Butler, Judith, Thomas C. Grey, Reva B. Siegel, and Robert C. Post. Prejudicial Appearances: The Logic of American Antidiscrimination Law. Duke University Press, 2002. ISBN: 0822327139
Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death

Butler, Judith. Antigone's Claim: Kinship Between Life and Death. Columbia University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0231118945

Butler, Judith. アンティゴネーの主張―問い直される親族関係. Translated by 竹村 和子. 青土社, 2012 (2002). ISBN: 4791760131
אנטיגונה : יחסי שארות בין חיים למוות / Ṭaʻanat Anṭigonah: Yaḥase Sheʼerut Ben Hayim Le-Maṿet

Butler, Judith. טענת אנטיגונה : יחסי שארות בין חיים למוות / Ṭaʻanat Anṭigonah: Yaḥase Sheʼerut Ben Hayim Le-Maṿet. Resling, 2010.
Żądanie Antygony: Rodzina Między Zyciem a Smiercią

Butler, Judith. Żądanie Antygony: Rodzina Między Zyciem a Smiercią. Translated by Mateusz Borowski and Małgorzata Sugiera. Księgarnia Akademic, 2010. ISBN: 8376380303
Antigone: La Parenté Entre Vie et Mort

Butler, Judith. Antigone: La Parenté Entre Vie et Mort. Epel. 2003. ISBN: 2908855747
Antigones Verlangen: Verwandtschaft Zwischen Leben und Tod

Butler, Judith. Antigones Verlangen: Verwandtschaft Zwischen Leben und Tod. Translated by Reiner Ansen. Suhrkamp, 2001. ISBN: 3518121871
Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left

Butler, Judith, Ernesto Laclau, and Slavoj Zizek. Contingency, Hegemony, Universality: Contemporary Dialogues on the Left. Verso, 2000. ISBN: 1859847579
Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative

Butler, Judith. Excitable Speech: A Politics of the Performative. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 0415915872
Le Pouvoir des Mots: Discours de Haine et Politique du Performatif

Butler, Judith. Le Pouvoir des Mots: Discours de Haine et Politique du Performatif. Translated by Charlotte Nordmann. Éditions Amsterda, 2008. ISBN: 235480024X
Hass Spricht: Zur Politik des Performativen

Butler, Judith. Hass Spricht: Zur Politik des Performativen. Translated by Kathrina Menke, Markus Krist. Berlin-Verlag, 1998. ISBN: 3827001668
The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection

Butler, Judith. The Psychic Life of Power: Theories of Subjection. Stanford University Press. Stanford, 1997. ISBN: 0804728119
İktidarın Psişik Yaşamı

Butler, Judith. İktidarın Psişik Yaşamı. Translated by Fatma Tütüncü. Ayrıntı Yayınları, 2005. ISBN: 9755394427
La Vie Psychique du Pouvoir: L'Assujettissement en Theories

Butler, Judith. La Vie Psychique du Pouvoir: L'Assujettissement en Theories. Translated by Brice Matthieussent. Leo Scheer, 2003. ISBN: 2914172583
Mecanismos Psíquicos del Poder: Teorías Sobre la Sujeción

Butler, Judith. Mecanismos Psíquicos del Poder: Teorías Sobre la Sujeción. Translated by Jacqueline Cruz. Ediciones Cátedr, 2001. ISBN: 8437619394
Psyche der Macht

Butler, Judith. Psyche der Macht. Translated by Reiner Ansen. Suhrkamp, 2001. ISBN: 3518117440
Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of 'Sex'

Butler, Judith. Bodies that Matter: On the Discursive Limits of 'Sex'. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 0415903661
Körper von Gewicht : Die Diskursiven Grenzen des Geschlechts

Butler, Judith. Körper von Gewicht : Die Diskursiven Grenzen des Geschlechts. Translated by Karin Wördemann. Suhrkamp, 2009. ISBN: 3518117378
Ces Corps Qui Comptent: De la Materialite et des Limites Discursiv

Butler, Judith. Ces Corps Qui Comptent: De la Materialite et des Limites Discursiv. Editions Amsterdam, 2009. ISBN: 235480041X
权力的精神生活: 服从的理论 / Quan li de jing shen sheng huo : fu cong de li lun

Butler, Judith. 权力的精神生活 : 服从的理论 / Quan li de jing shen sheng huo : fu cong de li lun. Jiangsu ren min chu ban she. Translated by Sheng Zhang. 2009. ISBN: 7214053667
Cuerpos que Importan: Sobre los Límites Materiales y Discursivos del "Sexo"

Butler, Judith. Cuerpos que Importan: Sobre los Límites Materiales y Discursivos del "Sexo". Paidós. 2002. ISBN: 9501238113
Tela Koja Nešto Znače: O Diskurzivnim Granicama "Spola"

Butler, Judith. Tela Koja Nešto Znače: O Diskurzivnim Granicama "Spola". Translated by Slavic Miletić. Samizdat B92, 2001. ISBN: 8679631248
Corpi Che Contano: Il Limiti Discorsivi Del'sesso

Butler, Judith. Corpi Che Contano: Il Limiti Discorsivi Del'sesso. Campi del sapere. Translated by Simona Capelli. Feltrinelli, 1996. ISBN: 8807101998
Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity

Butler, Judith. Gender Trouble: Feminism and the Subversion of Identity. Routledge, 1989. ISBN: 0415900433
Problemas de Gênero: Feminismo e Subversão da Identidade

Butler, Judith. Problemas de Gênero: Feminismo e Subversão da Identidade. Translated by Renato Aguiar. Civilização Brasileira, 2008. ISBN: 8520006116
El Género en Disputa: El Feminismo y la Subversión de la Identidad

Butler, Judith. El Género en Disputa: El Feminismo y la Subversión de la Identidad. Translated by Antonia Muño. Paidos, 2008. ISBN: 8449320305
性/別惑亂: 女性主義與身分顛覆 / bie huo luan: nü xing zhu yi yu shen fen dian fu

Butler, Judith. 性/別惑亂: 女性主義與身分顛覆/ bie huo luan: nü xing zhu yi yu shen fen dian fu. Translated by Yuting Lin. Gui guan tu shu gu fen you xian gong si, 2008. ISBN: 9577305857
Uwikłani w Płeć: Feminizm i Polityka Tożsamości

Butler, Judith. Uwikłani w Płeć: Feminizm i Polityka Tożsamości. Translated by Karolina Krasuska. Wydawnictwo Krytyki Politycznej, 2008. ISBN: 9788361006336
Trouble dans le Genre: Le Féminisme et la Subversion de L'Identité

Butler, Judith. Trouble dans le Genre: Le Féminisme et la Subversion de L'Identité. Translated by Cynthia Kraus. Preface by Éric Fass. La Découvert, 2006. ISBN: 2707150185
Težave s Spolom: Feminizem in Subverzija Identitete

Butler, Judith. Težave s Spolom: Feminizem in Subverzija Identitete. Translated by Suzana Tratnik. ŠKUC, 2001. ISBN: 961608528X
Jenda Toraburu: Feminizumu to Aidentiti no Kakuran

Butler, Judith. Jenda Toraburu: Feminizumu to Aidentiti no Kakuran. Translated by Kazuko Takemura. Seidosha, 1999.
Das Unbehagen der Geschlechter

Butler, Judith. Das Unbehagen der Geschlechter. Translated by Kathrina Menke. Suhrkamp, 1991. ISBN: 351811722X
Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France

Butler, Judith. Subjects of Desire: Hegelian Reflections in Twentieth-Century France. Columbia University Press, 1987. ISBN: 0231064500
Sujets du désir: Réfexions Hégéliennes en France au XXº Siecle

Butler, Judith. Sujets du désir: Réfexions Hégéliennes en France au XXº Siecle. Translated by Philippe Salbot. Presses Universitaires de France, 2011. ISBN: 2130581587



Butler, Judith. Foreword to State of Insecurity: Government of the Precarious, by Isabell Lorey. Verso, 2015. ISBN: 1781685967
Dialogue: Antigone, Speech, Performance, Power

Butler, Judith, and Paul Rabinow. "Dialogue: Antigone, Speech, Performance, Power." In Talk, Talk, Talk: The Cultural Life of Everyday Conversation, edited by S. I. Salamensky. Routledge, 2001. ISBN: 0415921716
The End of Sexual Difference?

Butler, Judith. "The End of Sexual Difference?" In Feminist Consequences: Theory for the New Century, edited by Elisabeth Bronfen and Misha Kavka. Columbia University Press, 2001. ISBN: 0231117043
How Can I Deny That These Hands and This Body Are Mine?

Butler, Judith. "How Can I Deny That These Hands and This Body Are Mine?" In Material Events: Paul de Man and the Afterlife of Theory, edited by Tom Cohen, Barbara Cohen, J. Hillis Miller, and Andrzej Warminski. University of Minnesota Press, 2000. ISBN: 0816636141
Circuits of Bad Conscience: Nietzsche and Freud

Butler, Judith. "Circuits of Bad Conscience: Nietzsche and Freud." In Why Nietzsche Still? Reflections on Drama, Culture, Politics, edited by Alan D. Schrift. University of California Press, 2000. ISBN: 0520218523
Critically Queer

Butler, Judith. "Critically Queer." In Gender. Readers in Cultural Criticism, edited by Anna Tripp. Palgrave, 2000. ISBN: 0333770374
Ethical Ambivalence

Butler, Judith. "Ethical Ambivalence." In The Turn to Ethics. Culture Works, edited by Marjorie Garber, Beatrice Hanssen, and Rebecca L. Walkowitz. Routledge, 2000. ISBN: 0415922267
The Force of Fantasy: Feminism, Mapplethorpe, and Discursive Excess

Butler, Judith. "The Force of Fantasy: Feminism, Mapplethorpe, and Discursive Excess." In Feminism and Pornography, edited by Drucilla Cornell. Oxford University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0198782500

Butler, Judith. "Performance." In Readings: Acts of Close Reading in Literary Theory, edited by Julian Wolfreys. Edinburgh University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0748613528
Quandaries of the Incest Taboo," in Whose Freud?

Butler, Judith. "Quandaries of the Incest Taboo." In Whose Freud? The Place of Psychoanalysis in Contemporary Culture, edited by Peter Brooks and Alex Woloch. Yale University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0300087454
Subjection, Resistance, Resignification: Between Freud and Foucault

Butler, Judith. "Subjection, Resistance, Resignification: Between Freud and Foucault." In American Continental Philosophy. Studies in Continental Thought, edited by Walter Brogan and James Risser. Indiana University Press, 2000. ISBN: 0253213762
Contagious Word: Paranoia and 'Homosexuality' in the Military

Butler, Judith. "Contagious Word: Paranoia and 'Homosexuality' in the Military." In The Good Citizen, edited by David Batstone and Eduardo Mendieta. Routledge, 2001. ISBN: 0415929083
Headnote to Stanley Fish's 'There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It's a Good Thing, Too

Butler, Judith. "Headnote to Stanley Fish's 'There's No Such Thing as Free Speech, and It's a Good Thing, Too,'" in The Stanley Fish Reader, ed. H. Aram Veeser . Blackwell, 1999. ISBN: 0631204393
Performativity's Social Magic

Butler, Judith. "Performativity's Social Magic." In Bourdieu: A Critical Reader, edited by Richard Shusterman. Blackwell, 1998. ISBN: 0631188185

Butler, Judith. Afterword to Butch/Femme: Inside Lesbian Gender, by Sally R. Munt. Cassell, 1999. ISBN: 030433958X

Butler, Judith. Foreword to The Erotic Bird: Phenomenology in Literature, by Maurice Natanso. Princeton University Press, 1998. ISBN: 0691012199
Moral Sadism and Doubting One's Own Love

Butler, Judith. "Moral Sadism and Doubting One's Own Love." In Reading Melanie Klein, edited by john Phillips and Lyndsey Stonebridge. Routledge, 1998. ISBN: 0415162378
Ruled Out: Vocabularies of the Censor

Butler, Judith. "Ruled Out: Vocabularies of the Censor." In Censorship and Silencing: Practices of Cultural Regulation, edited by Robert C. Post. Getty, 1998. ISBN: 0486267881
Selection from Bodies that Matter

Butler, Judith. "Selection from Bodies that Matter." In Body and Flesh: A Philosophical Reader, edited by Donn Welton. Blackwell, 1998. ISBN: 1577181263
Passing Queering: Nella Larsen's Psychoanalytic Challenge

Butler, Judith. "Passing Queering: Nella Larsen's Psychoanalytic Challenge." In Female Subjects in Black and White: Race, Psychoanalysis, Feminism, edited by Elizabeth Abel, Barbara Christian and Helene Moglen. University of California Press, 1997. ISBN: 0520206304
Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire

Butler, Judith. "Subjects of Sex/Gender/Desire." In Feminisms, edited by Sandra Kemp, Judith Squires. Oxford Readers, 1997. ISBN: 0192892703
Excerpt from 'Introduction' to Bodies that Matter

Butler, Judith. "Excerpt from 'Introduction' to Bodies that Matter." In The Gender/Sexuality Reader: Culture, History, Political Economy, edited by Roger N. Lancaster and Michaela di Leonardo. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 0415910056
Gender Is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion

Butler, Judith. "Gender Is Burning: Questions of Appropriation and Subversion." In Dangerous Liaisons: Gender, Nation, and Postcolonial Perspectives. Cultural Politics, 11, edited by Anne McClintock, Aamir Mufti, and Ella Shohat. University of Minnesota Press, 1997. ISBN: 0816626499
Imitation and Gender Subordination

Butler, Judith. "Imitation and Gender Subordination." In The Second Wave: A Reader in Feminist Theory, edited by Linda Nicholson. Routledge, 1997. ISBN: 0415917611

Butler, Judith. "Desire." In Critical Terms for Literary Study, edited by Frank Lentricchia and Thomas McLaughlin. University of Chicago Press, 1995. ISBN: 0226472035
For a Careful Reading

Butler, Judith. "For a Careful Reading." In Feminist Contentions: A Philosophical Exchange, 127-143. Routledge, 1995. ISBN: 0415910862
Stubborn Attachment, Bodily Subjection: Rereading Hegel on the Unhappy Consciousness

Butler, Judith. "Stubborn Attachment, Bodily Subjection: Rereading Hegel on the Unhappy Consciousness." In Intersections: Nineteenth-Century Philosophy and Contemporary Theory, edited by Tilottama Rajan and David L. Clark. State University of New York Press, 1995. ISBN: 0791422577
Attachement obstiné et assujettissement corporel--Relire Hegel à propos de la conscience malheureuse

Butler, Judith. "Attachement obstiné et assujettissement corporel--Relire Hegel à propos de la conscience malheureuse." Translated by Michel Vakaloulis. In Hegel passé, Hegel à venir, edited by Claude Amey and Henri Maler. Editions l'Harmattan, 1995.
Subjection, Resistance, Resignification: Between Freud and Foucault

Butler, Judith. "Subjection, Resistance, Resignification: Between Freud and Foucault." In The Identity in Question, edited by John Rajchman. Routledge, 1995. ISBN: 0415906180
Thresholds of Melancholy

Butler, Judith. "Thresholds of Melancholy." In The Prism of the Self: Philosophical Essays in Honor of Maurice Natanson, edited by Steven Galt Crowell. Kluwer, 1995. ISBN: 0792335465
Burning Acts-Injurious Speech

Butler, Judith. "Burning Acts-Injurious Speech." In Performativity and Performance, edited by Andrew Parker and Eve Kosofsky Sedgwick, 197-227. Routledge, 1995.
Burning Acts: Injurious Speech

Butler, Judith. "Burning Acts: Injurious Speech." In Deconstruction is/in America: A New Sense of the Political, edited by Anselm Haverkamp, 149-180. New York University Press, 1995.
Collected and Fractured: Response to Identities

Butler, Judith. "Collected and Fractured: Response to Identities." In Identities, edited by Kwame Anthony Appiah and Henry Louis Gates, Jr., 439-447. University of Chicago Press, 1995.
The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva

Butler, Judith. "The Body Politics of Julia Kristeva." In Ethics, Politics, and Difference in Julia Kristeva's Writings: A Collection of Essays, edited by Kelly Oliver. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 0415907047
Critical Exchanges: The Symbolic and Questions of Gender

Butler, Judith. "Critical Exchanges: The Symbolic and Questions of Gender." In Questioning Foundations: Truth/Subjectivity/Culture, edited by Hugh J. Silverman. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 0415906245
Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia

Butler, Judith. "Endangered/Endangering: Schematic Racism and White Paranoia." In Reading Rodney King/Reading Urban Uprising, edited by Robert Gooding-Williams. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 0415907357
A Skeptical Feminist Postscript to the Postmodern

Butler, Judith. "A Skeptical Feminist Postscript to the Postmodern." In Postmodernism Across the Ages: Essays for a Postmodernity That Wasn't Born Yesterday, edited by Bill Readings and Bennet Schaber. Syracuse University Press, 1993. ISBN: 0815625774

Butler, Judith. "Gender." In Feminism and Psychoanalysis: A Critical Dictionary, edited by Elizabeth Wright, et al. Blackwell, 1992. ISBN: 0631183477
Kierkegaard's Speculative Despair

Butler, Judith. "Kierkegaard's Speculative Despair." In The Age of German Idealism, edited by Robert C. Solomon and Kathleen Marie Higgins. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 0415056047
Repenser la politique et l'ontologie ou 'répétition et oubli

Butler, Judith. "Repenser la politique et l'ontologie ou 'répétition et oubli'." Translated by Arno Mayer. In Penser après Heidegger. La Philosophie en commun, edited by Jacques Poulain and Wolfgang Schirmacher, 125-134. L'Harmattan, 1992. ISBN: 2738410642
Sexual Inversions: Rereading the End of Foucault's History of Sexuality, Vol. I

Butler, Judith. "Sexual Inversions: Rereading the End of Foucault's History of Sexuality, Vol. I." In Discourses of Sexuality: From Aristotle to AIDS, edited by Domna C. Stanton. University of Michigan Press, 1992. ISBN: 0472065130
Imitation and Gender Insubordination

Butler, Judith. "Imitation and Gender Insubordination." In Inside/Out: Lesbian Theories, Gay Theories, edited by Diana Fuss. Routledge, 1999. ISBN: 0415902371
Imitation and Gender Insubordination

Butler, Judith. "Imitation and Gender Insubordination." In The Lesbian and Gay Studies Reader, edited by Henry Abelove, Michèle Aina Barale, and David M. Halperin. Routledge, 1993. ISBN: 0415905192
The Nothing that Is: Wallace Stevens' Hegelian Affinities

Butler, Judith. "The Nothing that Is: Wallace Stevens' Hegelian Affinities." In Theorizing American Literature: Hegel, the Sign, and History, ed. Bainard Cowan, and Joseph G. Kronick. Louisiana State University Press, 1991. ISBN: 0807116289
Gender Trouble, Feminist Theory, and Psychoanalytic Discourse

Butler, Judith. "Gender Trouble, Feminist Theory, and Psychoanalytic Discourse." In Feminism/Postmodernism, edited by Linda J. Nicholson. Routledge, 1990. ISBN: 041590059X
Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)

Butler, Judith. "Jean-Paul Sartre (1905-1980)." In European Writers: The Twentieth Century, ed. George Stade. MacMillan Publishing Company, 1990. ISBN: 0684179164
The Pleasures of Repetition

Butler, Judith. "The Pleasures of Repetition." In Pleasure Beyond the Pleasure Principle. The Role of Affect in Motivation, Development, and Adaptation, Vol. 1, edited by Robert A. Glick and Stanley Bone. Yale University Press, 1990. ISBN: 0300047932
Commentary on Joseph Flay's 'Hegel, Derrida and Bataille's Laughter'

Butler, Judith. "Commentary on Joseph Flay's 'Hegel, Derrida and Bataille's Laughter'." In Hegel and His Critics: Philosophy in the Aftermath of Hegel, edited by William Desmond. State University of New York Press, 1989. ISBN: 0887066682
Sexual Ideology and Phenomenological Description: A Feminist Critique of Merleau-Ponty'sPhenomenology of Perception

Butler, Judith. "Sexual Ideology and Phenomenological Description: A Feminist Critique of Merleau-Ponty's Phenomenology of Perception." In The Thinking Muse: Feminism and Modern French Philosophy, edited by Jeffner Allen and Marion Young. Indiana University Press, 1989. ISBN: 0253359805
Gendering the Body: Beauvoir's Political Contribution

Butler, Judith. "Gendering the Body: Beauvoir's Political Contribution." In Women, Knowledge, and Reality: Explorartions in Feminist Philosophy, edited by Ann Garry and Marilyn Pearsall. Unwin Hyman, 1989. ISBN: 9780044452225

Sunday, May 28, 2017

Susan Stryker -- My Words To Victor Frankenstein Above The Village of Chamonix

Susan Stryker -- "My Words To Victor Frankenstein Above The Village of Chamonix" in GLQ: A Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies, Vol. 1, No. 3, pp 227-254, (Philadelphia: Gordon & Breach Science Publishers, 1994).


2) The currrent meaning of the term "transgender" is a matter of some debate. The word was originally coined as a noun in the 1970's by people who resisted categorization as either transvestites or transsexuals, and who used the term to describe their own identity. Unlike transsexuals, but like transvestites, transgenders do not seek surgical alteration of their bodies but do habitually wear clothing the represents a gender other than the one to which they were assigned at birth. Unlike transvestites but like transsexuals, however, transgenders do not alter the vestimentary coding of their gender only episodically or primarily for sexual gratification; rather they consistently and publicly express an ongoing commitment to their claimed gender identities through the same visual representational strategies used by others to signify that gender. The logic underlying this terminology reflects the widespread tendency to construe "gender" as the socio-cultural manifestation of material "sex." Thus, while transsexuals express their identities through a physical change of embodiment, transgenders do so through a non-corporeal change in public gender expression [presentation] that is nevertheless more complex than a simple change of clothes.

This essay uses "transgender" in a more recent sense, however, than its original one. That is, I use it here as an umbrella term that refers to all identities or practices that cross over, cut across, move between, or otherwise, queer socially constructed sex/gender boundaries. The term includes, but is not limited to, transsexuality, heterosexual transvestism, gay, drag, butch lesbianism, and such non-European identities as the Native American berdache or the Indian Hijra. Like "queer," "transgender" may also be used as a verb or as an adjective. In this essay, transsexuality is considered to be a culturally and historically specific transgender practice/identity through which a transgendered subject enters into a relationship with medical, psychotherapeutic, and juridical institutions in order to gain access to certain hormonal and surgical technologies for enacting and embodying itself.

Wednesday, May 24, 2017

Recasting the Referent

"Recasting the referent as the signified" -- Judith Butler, Bodies That Matter: On the Discursive Limits of "Sex"

We've been reading from an historical perspective as regards whatever it is we're discussing in this sex/gender orientation issue. We use the phrase "whatever it is" because the referent keeps recasting. 

What is the signified to which we refer? 

Foucault notes that "homosexual" as a concept emerged somewhere late 19th or early 20th Century as an outcome of statistical distribution compiled by Kinsey and others. On the bell curve distribution of sexuality "homosexual" falls a couple standard deviations from the norm -- a couple standard deviations from the "hetero-normative dyad." Accordingly, because of homosexual orientation falling outside the normative standard, it was labeled (referent) as "deviant."

Let's note for the sake of illustration here that Albert Einstein falls a couple standard deviations from the norm and is by definition "deviant." Einstein is deviant, but arguably not pathological. 

Accordingly, it is a simple move to recast "deviant" as "pathological," and it was not until 1974 that the DSM moved "homosexual" off the list of "pathological sexuality."  Homosexuality may be statistically deviant, but homosexuality is not pathological. (Although some teleological schema appertaining to sexual conduct would disagree.) There are admittedly homosexual persons whose sexual behaviors are pathological, but it's not on account of their sex choices for partners. 

This sexual orientation that constitutes "trans" is statistically "deviant" -- outside the hetero-normative dyad. DSM 5 just recast the referent for this group. No longer "Sex/Gender ID Disorder" this ontological status has been recast as "Gender Dysphoria."  Moreover, it's only "dysphoria" when this sex/gender identity "causes significant distress in daily functioning." 

Revision of the DSM 5 argues a rationale that those seeking medical treatment for sex/gender issues need to have a diagnostic code that affords providers a referent that qualifies for medical care. In essence "dysphoria" retains the status of a pathology. 

And so, the [hetero-fascist masculinist] medical establishment has come up with a litany of referents connoting pathological "disorders" for those of us who are not ontologically situate in the hetero-normative dyad: 

Transvestite, transvestic fetishism, cross-dresser, gender ID disorder, gender dysphoria, transsexual, transgender, trans, butch, dyke, non-binary, queer, invert, sexual deviant (pathos), drag queen, drag king, etc . . .  

What is this signified that these pathologically denotative referents signify? Our field (arguably lacking a non-pathological, significantly neutral, non pejorative referent) comprises those of us who identify outside the hetero-normative dyad.
Our field asserts that sex is a biological function and that gender comprises a socio-cultural construct. Culturally, gender adheres to a dyadic schema of "male" and "female" -- derived from a biological basis for reproductive function.The current "trans" status is that individuals with "dysphoria" may require "transition" from presentation as one gender to presentation as the other gender. 

And of course the [hetero-fascist masculinist] medical hegemony provides "treatment" for these pathologies -- with a fiscally incentivized boost from Big Pharma. "We have drugs and surgery for these pathologies."

We are provided with two choices: male or female. These two options are determined by the hetero-normative dyad that recognizes two sexes, male/female. But gender presentation is a socio-culturally determined paradigm of semes which convey socio-linguistically (socio-culturally) one's sexual status. The literature in "trans" (transmogrified referent forthcoming . . . ) cites a litany of gender presentation which fundamentally serves as a social code for conveying one's sexual/gender status. This gender coding is arguably a linguistic dialect that is "read" by the linguistic "in group" and too often "mis-read" by socio-cultural out-group individuals. 

Because the signified/signifier relationship is arbitrary (F. DeSaussure, Course In General Linguistics, 1916 ) The signifiers of gender are often mis-read. E.g. Is a trans cis-M who presents "gender fluid," "gender ambiguous," "non-binary," "trans-female" or any other number of signifying terms for gender identity, is this person a "trans male" or a "trans-female" ??? Let us add to this interpretive quandary that this person may be sexually attracted to those of the same sex, the opposite sex, or both. How is this "gender code" read? How is it mis-read? Is it "intelligible" ???

Currently we have a medical hegemony which somewhat reluctantly and without a great deal of informed socio-cultural insight will "transition" individuals -- surgery and hormones -- into "the other sex." This transitional procedure has been called SRS (sex reassignment surgery), and is now referred to as "gender confirmation," "gender resolution" etc.

The histories of these medical interventions read like a chapter from Frankenstein. 

In surgical transition male to "female" the testes are removed (orchiectomy), the penis is literally skinned, turned inside out and inserted through the pelvis into the abdomen. (Penile inversion technique) There this structure is secured (sutured) into place and the "vagina" it creates must be systematically dilated with a "form" (dildo) to keep the tissues from adhering, closing up, and otherwise compromising sexual penetration. Vaginoplasties -- surgical construction of a vagina, labia, etc. often results in loss of nerve sensation. Adhesions are common, as are infection and loss of sensation in the surrounding tissues. Removal of the testes necessitates a lifetime of HRT (hormone replacement therapy).  Lack of androgens (testosterone) puts the individual at risk for osteo and cardio issues. 

Female to male surgeries are every bit as complex and raise an array of medical issues.The "Pedicle Flap" procedure entails grafting skin from the radial forearm or interior thigh, forming a "double tube" and securing this structure to the pubis/and thigh in order to provide blood supply. Invariably this structure/procedure is described as "resembling a suitcase handle." Like M to F surgeries, this procedure is fraught with post-operative complication. Moreover, the "penile structure" does not function anything like a penis, cannot pass urine, cannot become erect. 

But we digress -- Google provides an exhaustive reference to both these procedures. 

Let us assert here that medical science cannot turn a female into a male, nor a male into a female. At best these procedures are superficial and cosmetic. And then we have the whole existential/ontological issue of the person not being socio-culturally reared in the target gender.

Let us further assert that it is not one's biological sex which engenders dysphoria. Rather it is the socio-cultural paradigm of the hetero-normative gender dyad which instills dysphoria. Gender dysphoria might be considered (should be considered) a cultural/linguistic issue rather than an ontological pathology. 

Gender as a socio-cultural issue has significant influence upon one's epistemology. The socio-culturally constructed gender dyad is fixed, rigid and dogmatic. This dogma is the foundation for TERF (Trans Exclusive Radical Feminist) rejection/exclusion of "trans-women" from "women only" functions. The TERF argument is that men who become "trans-women" are not women, but rather they are men in masquerade and interlopers with an epistemology of "male privilege."

The ontological question then is how do we signify those [of us] who do not comfortably conform to the dogma of the socio-cultural gender dyad? What is the signified that all these referents signify?

------------- in revision ---------------------------

Sunday, May 14, 2017

Looking at Not Looking

Jamison Green -- Look! No, Don't!

If the generally agreed upon objective of "transition" is to "pass" as
unremarkably gendered . . .  then let me suggest that perhaps
"transition" wipes out whatever personal history one might have acquired
as pre-transitional. Let us suggest that transition "means" coming out
of one closet and moving into a second sort of gender closet. 

I am 69 yrs old, and out of the closet maybe a couple years. "Out of the
closet" is a sort of transitional thing. Some days I am more out of the
closet than others: Typically "I'm trans!" is the second statement I
make about myself -- after "I'm Geo, but we incorporated as Allison
Wunderland, LLC." 

And so we can deconstruct the cliche statements: "I'm a male trapped in
a sort of female presentation." I can pull things together and "pass" as
female (in the dark, on the deserted beach -- not in 7-11 getting a soda
and burrito.) And so lately I'm identifying as "queer" -- not
stereotypically "male" and not "female" either.  Physically I am
hetero-sexual. Ontologically  I am "stealth lesbian" and radical

Metaphysically it's complicated. Nearly seven decades of being me and
I'm not ready to set those metaphysics aside in order to "pass" as a
geriatric Caucasian woman.  "I am a different sort of Butch." Three
Harley's, leathers, a penis, long hair in a bun, earrings, lingerie . .
. I like to deconstruct the semes of gender: "not male" and "not

Transition into "one or the other" requires that I let go of nearly 7
decades of "both" and that ironically I would be entering a second
"closet" where I forfeit half of my identity.  Judith Butler asserts,
"Identification is always [already] an ambivalent process." I think too
that identification is a fluid, dynamic process. Maybe a dialectic in
search of synthesis? The synthesis I keep arriving at is "trans" or
"queer" -- Not one, not the other, but rather an ontological niche in
the midst of recast referents. 

Ultimately, I think -- I suppose -- that my concern is one of identity
and personal history.  In my case "69 yrs as male. 69 yrs. as
trans/queer." I'm not ready to put that narrative into another closet. 


Friday, May 12, 2017

"Of Catamites & Kings" -- Dr. Gayle S. Rubin, Ph.D. 1992


 "Of Catamites & Kings" -- Dr. Gayle S. Rubin, Ph.D. 1992

Fan mail. I suppose if you read the monograph, and my blog here, 
this email makes it more or less come together. LMAO 
From: allison.wunderland.llc@fast-mail.org
To: grubin@umich.edu
Subject: FAN MAIL ! ! ! -- Of Catamites & Kings 
Date: Fri, 12 May 2017 16:51:28 -0700

Allison Wunderland, LLC -- allisontranscend.blogspot.com 

Prof. Rubin, 

We just finished "Of Catamites & Kings" in Stryker / Whittle,
Transgender Studies Reader. 

We've been deconstructing the gender codes from a linguistic POV, (J.
Butler) -- my chromosomes denote XY but my head says "none of the above"
. . .  Quote du jour, to Jenny a nurse I first took as male, "I'm a
different kind of butch too!" This also to a butch at the Harley Shop.

Reading "Of Catamites & Kings" struck me with the epiphany that we are
both "recasting the referent" -- What is this ontological understanding
of identity that we express socio-culturally? I think that when we
recast the referent we are in essence forming a new interpretive
community with its own dialect.  The meta-objective in this community
might be to discourse and mediate just exactly the parameters of this
dialect. Rather than calling it names, we should perhaps "recast the
referent as the signified." 

I'm a different kind of butch too . . .  a gender ontology unto myself,
but hoping to discourse amongst the interpretive community we share with
all of us. 

Semper Pax, 

Friday, May 5, 2017

Identity Ambivalence

"Identification is always [already] an ambivalent process." -- Judith Butler, "Bodies That Matter, p.126.

Let us first note that in "ambi-valent"  ambi connotes "both or around" and valence refers to "a property or a power." Accordingly, ambivalent process infers a cathexis of identity which is at least bifurcated (dyad) and arguably fractured into dissonant properties. 

 Let us additionally concede that there is an ineluctable sexual (dyad) essentialism in the physical characteristics of cis-F and cis-M. If there is anything metaphysically teleological about the sexual dyad it is the essentialism of reproduction. Ambivalent identity suggests that we are constantly in a flux between (amongst) what it is ontologically that we are, and what it is that we are not.

Whereas other species perform the courting ritual of the "mating dance" in various behavioral forms and contexts, humans as a linguistic species perform the labrynthine narrative of sexual relations in a semiotic heuristics of cultural intelligibility.

Butler, and others, would suggest that the "intelligibility" of the sexual narrative -- the semiotics of  gender -- is fundamentally an arbitrary cultural construct (F. deSaussure, Course In General Linguistics), and that trans-identified narratives seek to appropriate and subvert the denotative fixity of the hetero-normative (masculinist hegemonic) dyad.


Inevitably, all along the queer narrative, there emerges the issue of homo-sexuality. In terms of sexuality, queer orientation raises innumerable issues:

Fundamentally, queer orientation by definition refers to non hetero-normative sexuality and connotes any variation in sexual relations other than cis-F and cis-M in a putative dyad. Butler and others note that the "intelligibility" of the referents lie in their specification of what they are NOT. E.g. The hetero-normative dyad is NOT "homosexual," and resulting non-normative performances are less defined, less specific, more ambivalent.

 "Recasting the referent as the signified" -- This quote from Butler needs exegesis: The referent is the signifier. This is the name/word we use to denote a signified. The signified is the object/subject/essence described or denoted by the referent.

Butler's "recasting the referent as the signified" is something akin to linguistical theoretical jargon for the reification of those abstract terms we use (referents) into tenable substance (signified). Recasting the referent gives substance to the signifying terms we use to denote "queer," "trans," "drag," etc. Let us recast these abstract terms into an intelligible lexicon of signified heuristics.

Butler argues that we need to redefine our terms. We need to recast what it is our terminology refers to.

These days we're recasting the referent "queer" -- How do we refer to the significance (signified) of the term "queer" -- or other terms such as "transvestite, drag, queen, transvestic fetishism, transsexual, trans-gender, trans" etc. ??? 

Possibly one most pressing issue is that of gender identity and intelligibility.-- how are these relations constructed and to what extent are these constructions "intelligible?"

Foucault asserts an infinite diversity in sexual identity together with an infinite variability in "performance" -- the problematics of the heuristics being one of intelligibility. If as Butler asserts, "Identity is always an ambivalent process." then gender performance becomes a process of the "recasting the referent as the signified."

The structure that renders narrative intelligible is founded upon the dyad of normative sexual identity classification. When the one in the dyad does not contrast its identity with reference to the signification of the "other" then the heuristics of the narrative inch toward the unintelligible. The semiotics of the normative dyad deconstruct. The reference to "queer" identity becomes a signified that is in itself unstable, ambiguous, ambivalent. What queer "is" becomes a socio-cultural referent used to denote what the hetero-normative dyad is NOT. And so we need to recast the referent so that it might describe what it is that we are.

-- searching for lost revisions of this entry, how ironic --------

Thursday, April 27, 2017

Identity Politics


Identity Politics

First published Tue Jul 16, 2002; substantive revision Wed Mar 23, 2016
The laden phrase “identity politics” has come to signify a wide range of political activity and theorizing founded in the shared experiences of injustice of members of certain social groups. Rather than organizing solely around belief systems, programmatic manifestos, or party affiliation, identity political formations typically aim to secure the political freedom of a specific constituency marginalized within its larger context. Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination.

Cutting to the chase:

"Members of that constituency assert or reclaim ways of understanding their distinctiveness that challenge dominant oppressive characterizations, with the goal of greater self-determination"

Ways of understanding -- "Intelligibility." This is "To recast the referent as the signified . . . " per Butler and every theorist to whom she alludes. Or, "appropriate and subvert the hetero-sexist hegemony" to paraphrase. In the vernacular of those therein politically identified, "Queer the narrative."

We are engaged in the deconstruction of the signifieds, providing them with recast referents.  Gawd forfend we should be referent nominated with diagnostic specifications: "drag," "transvestite," "autogynephilia," "paraphilia" or any other litany of pathologized deviant orientations.

In 1976 DSM II removed "homosexual" from it's categorization of "Sex & Gender Identity Disorders." The current DSM 5 (no more Roman numerals), changed "Gender ID Disorder" to "Gender Dysphoria." This change in referent is freighted with pathologization and political identity baggage:

Whereas "disorder" connotes some sort of ontological pathos -- a disordered identity -- the trans-ition in the diagnosis to "dysphoria" moves the diagnostic point of referent. Instead of referring to a client as "disordered" these clients are now viewed as "dysphoric" -- which is more a mood disorder than a personality disorder. This signals an existential shift from an ontological essence to an outcome of affective behavior.  Some of us queer are not dysphoric!

Let us argue that queer is not at all a pathology, but rather a liberation from the oppression of the hetero-sexist dyad.

And now the blog becomes a pastiche -- recast the referent as the signified: 


5. From Gay and Lesbian to Queer

Nowhere have conceptual struggles over identity been more pronounced than in the lesbian and gay liberation movement. The notion that sexual object choice can define who a person is has been profoundly challenged by the advent of queer politics. Visible early lesbian and gay activists emphasized the immutable and essential natures of their sexual identities. For some, they were a distinctively different natural kind of person, with the same rights as heterosexuals (another natural kind) to find fulfillment in marriage, property ownership, and so on. This strand of gay organizing (perhaps associated more closely with white, middle-class gay men, at least until the radicalizing effects of the AIDS pandemic) with its complex simultaneous appeals to difference and to sameness has a genealogy going back to pre-Stonewall homophilic activism (see discussion in Terry, esp. 353–7). While early lesbian feminists had a very different politics, oriented around liberation from patriarchy and the creation of separate spaces for woman-identified women, many still appealed to a more authentic, distinctively feminist self. Heterosexual feminine identities were products of oppression, yet the literature imagines a utopian alternative where woman-identification will liberate the lesbian within every woman (e.g., Radicalesbians 1988 [1970]).

The paradigm shift that the term “queer” signals, then, is a shift to a model in which identities are more self-consciously historicized, seen as contingent products of particular genealogies rather than enduring or essential natural kinds (Phelan 1989 and 1994; Blasius 2001). Michel Foucault's work, especially his History of Sexuality, is the most widely cited progenitor of this view: Foucault famously argues that
homosexuality appeared as one of the forms of sexuality when it was transposed from the practice of sodomy onto a kind of interior androgyny, a hermaphrodism of the soul. The sodomite had been a temporary aberration; the homosexual was now a species. (Foucault 1980: 43)
Although Foucault is the most often cited as the originator of such genealogical arguments about homosexuality, other often neglected writers contributed to the emergence of this new paradigm (e.g., M. McIntosh 1968). In western popular culture such theories co-exist uneasily with biologically essentialist accounts of sexual identity, which look for a particular gene, brain structure, or other biological feature that is noninteractive with environment and that will explain same-sex sexual desire. At stake are not only epistemological and metaphysical questions about how we can know what kind of thing “sexual orientation” might be, but also a host of moral and political questions. If sexual identity is biologically caused, then it is as hard to hold an individual morally responsible for being homosexual as it is to blame someone for being Black (which may not be as hard as some would like to think). Some gay activists thus see biological explanations of sexuality as offering a defense against homophobic commentators who believe that gays can voluntarily change their “immoral” desires. Indeed, much of the intuitive hostility to genealogical or social constructionist accounts of sexuality within gay and lesbian communities seems to come from the dual sense of many individuals that they could not have been other than gay, and that anything less than a radically essentialist view of sexuality will open the door to further attempts to “cure” them of their homosexuality (through “ex-gay ministries”, for example).

Whatever the truth of these fears, Eve Sedgwick is right, in my view, to say that no specific form of explanation for the origins of sexual preference will be proof against the infinitely varied strategies of homophobia (Sedgwick 1990: esp. 22–63). That sexual orientation takes on a metaphysical life of its own, for example, elides the fact that it is generally sexual behavior—not an abstract “identity”—that is the object of moral disapprobation. Queer politics, then, works to trouble the categories “gay” and “lesbian”, as well as “heterosexual” (or indeed other categories of social thought in general), and eschews a genetic quest for the origins of homosexuality. In addition to historicizing and contextualizing sexuality, including the very idea of sexual identity, the shift to queer is also characterized by deconstructive methods. Rather than understanding sexual identities as a set of discrete and independent social types, queer theorists adduce evidence and read to emphasize their mutual implication: for example, such thinkers love to point out that the word “homosexuality” first appears in English in 1897, but the term “heterosexuality” is back-formed, first used some years later (Garber 1995: 39–42). Heterosexuality comes into existence as a way of understanding the nature of individuals after the homosexual has been diagnosed; homosexuality requires heterosexuality as its opposite, despite its self-professed stand-alone essence. Queer theorists point out that the homo/hetero dichotomy, like many others in western intellectual history that it arguably draws on and reinforces, is not only mutually implicated, but also hierarchical (heterosexuality is superior, normal, and originary, while homosexuality is inferior, deviant, and derivative) and masquerades as natural or descriptive. The task of a more radical “identity politics”, on this vision, is to constantly denaturalize and deconstruct the identities in question, with a political goal of their subversion rather than their accommodation.

An exemplary conflict within the identity politics of sexuality focuses on the expansion of gay and lesbian organizing to those with other queer affiliations, especially bisexual and transgendered activists. Skepticism about inclusion of these groups in organizational mandates, community centers, parades, and festivals has origins in more traditional understandings of identity politics that see reclaiming lesbian and/or gay identity from its corruption in a homophobic society as a task compromised by those whose identities are read as diluted, treacherous, ambiguous, or peripheral. Some lesbian feminist critiques of transgender, for example, see male-to-female transsexuals in particular as male infiltrators of women's space, individuals so intent on denying their male privilege that they will modify their bodies and attempt to pass as women to do it; bisexual women dabble in lesbian life, but flee to straight privilege when occasion demands (see Heyes 2003 for references and discussion). These arguments have been challenged in turn by writers who see them as attempts to justify purity of identity that merely replace the old exclusions with new dictatorships (Stone 1991; Lugones 1994) and inhibit coalitional organizing against conservative foes.



Wednesday, April 26, 2017

Intelligible -- cont.

"To recast the referent as the signified . . . "
                                 -- Judith Butler, "Contingent Foundations"

"Appropriate & subvert the patriarchal semiotic hegemony of the hetero-normative dyad!" 

 -- This is my banner, jingoistical perhaps, curiouser and curiouser for certain. Butler calls for a recasting of the referent. This alludes to the [socio-]arbitrary nexus between the signifier [referent] and the signified. -- Ferdinand de Saussure, Course in General Linguistics (Cours de linguistique générale), 1916.
In more prosaic terms we suggest that we need to invent new nouns/names/words for what it is we are referring to -- what is signified.  
"Semiotic hegemony" -- this hegemony is the obligatory heuristic performance of the sex/gender dyad as a default outcome determined by the prohibitions against what sex/gender should NOT be. The hegemony ("masculinist, hetero-sexist") proscribes deviation (putatively the behavior of deviates) from the masculinist, hetero-sexist hetero-normative dyad. "If not male, then female. If not female then male." One principal objective in "gender transition" is to eventually "pass" as being the other socio-cultural construction of the "normative" [sex/gender] dyad. 

For the most part the literature opts for "names" [referent] for the deviations from hegemony which denote diagnoses of presumed pathologies. E.g. gender ID disorder, gender dysphoria, homosexual, paraphilia, intersexed, hermaphrodite, transvestic fetish . . . 

Increasingly in the literature, the trans narrative, we are seeing a sort of epiphany that sex/gender presentation can be fluid and ambiguous -- as fluid and ambiguous as it is semiotically arbitrary. Our nominative referents have trans - mogrified (pun intended) from transvestite to transsexual, transgender, trans, queer. Queer has been historically a pejorative epithet signifying male homosexual. The queer culture has appropriated and subverted this term to signify those who ontologically locate outside the hegemonic hetero-sexist dyad. Like the political movements of Black Pride, gay pride, radical feminism, LGBT, we appropriate and subvert "queer" -- implicitly proud -- to re-signify who we assert ourselves to be. 

I have been asked, "You wear women's clothes?" 

To which my retort is invariably, "No! They all belong to me!" 

From my mom I inherited a Columbia brand polar fleece jacket, black, heavy weight, very nice "beach casual" attire. It's marked "M XXL" Men's double extra large. 

I found the same exact jacket in a local thrift shop. Same size, same pattern, only the tag says, "Women, 3XL." 

Now, my mom's jacket, which I own now -- men's or women's? A woman in the coffee shop wears a Levi denim jacket, men's by the way it buttons -- but it's her jacket, so it's "women's" ??? I've stopped sorting my clothes by "gender" and instead I sort by how it functions -- semiotic pragmatics. 

Beyond sartorial pragmatics, I've stopped the cathexis about "feminizing." I'm curious about breasts and a vagina, but I don't think I need them to be gender intelligible. My trans objective -- my queer arc -- is to systematically deconstruct (appropriate & subvert) the narrative heuristics of the masculinist, hetero-sexist, hetero-normative dyad. Metaphysically trans-itory . . . "curiouser & curiouser" . . . queer. 

Ongoing --

Thursday, April 20, 2017

"Intelligible" -- Judith Butler

Butler, Judith. "Doing Justice to Someone: Sex Reassignment & Allegories of Transsexuality" in GLQ: a Journal of Lesbian & Gay Studies, Vol 7, No 4  pp 621-636. Copyright 2001 Duke U. Press

These are Butler's insights on the John W. Money "John/Joan" case --


And so our metaphysical inquiry du jour is: What is the signifying essence of "trans," and how is it intelligible?

In the Diagnostic & Statistical Manual (DSM) there is provided a diagnostic option "NOS" -- "not otherwise specified." This is the interpretive"catch-all bucket" for those symptoms which seem to fulfill the diagnostic criteria, but which evade specification.

Current narrative in "trans" (whatever) suggests that there is a realm between and/or outside the masculinist hegemonic dyad, outside hetero-sexist dimorphism, beyond genital bifurcation, beyond whatever, etc, etc. OK, let's note that we interject "whatever" to signify a fluid state, a sort of dynamically varying variable. The literature is more and more often suggesting that this "whatever" variable is defined in part by what it is not: Not female. Not male. This "whatever" ("trans") resists specification as to what it is, rather insisting as to what it is not.

This trans group's "is not" is engaged in a search for intelligibility. Where does language afford a signifier whose meaning connotes fluid, dynamic, significantly amorphous, undefined, deconstructed, post-modernist, Marxist feminist, New Historical theorist . . . ?

Stephen Whittle notes that in women's (not men's) lacrosse the "pitch" (playing field) is not marked out. Decisions as to the ball being in or out of play are determined through consensus between the playing teams. In linguistics this sort of social behavior demonstrates the "cooperative principle." Meaning is determined through a cooperative discourse between the playing parties. Between speakers. Cooperation, consensus determines what is conveyed and how it is interpreted.

And so what constitutes "meaning" as regards gender attribution? What sort of socio-culturally constructed discourse informs the gender narrative, and how is it made intelligible?

Let's tie our Human Condition, our unique ability to to generate language (poetics), to the linguistic poetics of sexual liaison. Foucault asserts an infinite diversity of sexual liaison, a poetics of sexuality which affords innovation, invention, deconstruction, ambiguity. Let us draw an analogy between rigid prescriptive grammars and the hetero-sexist hegemonic dyad.

By way of contrast, descriptive grammars afford a poetics of invention. In a poetics of new linguistical forms interpretive communities apply cooperative principles to new poetics. The crucial distinction between descriptive and prescriptive grammars is that the latter is hegemonic, dogmatic. The former -- descriptive -- reflects how the language is actually used. We can do this with the human social communications which is our sexuality. We can rigidly insist upon a socio-culturally prescribed hetero-sexist dyad.

Or we can aspire to make intelligible the socio-cultural intercourse (language/communication) which describes how humans actually relate sexually. How we as a species function outside the hetero-normative dyad.

The Human Condition is intrinsically innovative, ontologically poetical. Let us propose that the more prescriptive grammars (hetero-hegemonic) are ceding to a post-modern poetics of descriptive grammar as pertains to sex and gender.

Because they are human, because humans are linguistical, sex and gender is a discursive linguistic (socio-cultural) invention. Arguably then, all linguistic theory, the metaphysics of our epistemological ontologies, is tied up in our socio-cultural discursive function, and sex/gender is ineluctably intrinsic.

Perhaps as a species we have been socio-enculturated into a semantics of sex/gender which is largely founded upon physical semes, indices of sex/gender. The most obvious physical index being genitalia. Hetero-sexist dimorphism affords an ontological purpose in the survival of the species.

Arguably, as a species, there's more going on in sexual relations than reproduction, and species perpetuation. As linguistic beings our sexual relations are arguably as semiotically heuristic as any other human endeavor.

Let's just toss out here that as "trans" we're engaged at the edges of sexual poetics -- toss it out and see where it goes.

-- Down this rabbit hole, and let's see where it leads . . .