-- 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.