1. Alastair is Alastair

    Tuesday, November 15, 2011

    I read a lot of political/activist blogs, and many of them start like this:

    "Alexi is a mid-30s caucasian queer feminist transgendered atheist working-class anarcho-communist vegan..."

    ...and that shit gives me a major case of scrunchyface. 85% of the people in this world are probably unclear about what some of those words mean, and 95% would never use them (or so many) to describe them self. It's totally alienating (and I went there to read!).

    Everyone comes to personal understanding in a different way, but how we individually understand our own lives, and how we publicly choose to represent them are different things. I wouldn't criticize someone's private self-image because that's their thing, but when a person's intro to the world is to lead with the term "cisgendered" I will absolutely criticize that - and I don't think that's unfair. Prince publicly identified as a made-up symbol in the 90s and everyone told him to knock it off.

    Differences should be celebrated, but I don't think reveling in them is especially productive. Just as hyper-ambiguous terms like "queer" can be a barrier to understanding someone, hyper-specific terms can seem like a social pre-emptive strike. Whatever you were about to talk about, you already know how I feel.

    I don't believe that. Do you eat KD in a socialist way? Do you watch Glee as a Libertarian first? Our long-held beliefs certainly inform how we interact with the world - but they should be a lens and not a filter. Wearing all your beliefs, identities and values on your sleeve tells me that you like these ideas more than you like talking to people. I'll let you eat your socialist macaroni in peace.

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