Bruce's Rant: Gender and Trans Identity
*This post contains coarse (East Coast beer drinking) language
Women's Day has come and gone and while I'm thankful and frankly surprised that no one tried to wish me a 'happy women's day' (which in itself is a fucking weird thing), I am so frustrated that I kept seeing social media posts from the beer industry and others that associated women and nonbinary people. Or posts that were celebrating women and nonbinary people, as if being nonbinary is simply existing as 'woman lite'. I mean sure, there do seem to be more AFAB folks who identify as nonbinary and were I still in grad school I would probably be writing papers about it. (Except I can assume that it's most likely because of society's continued awful treatment of transfeminine people).
By all means please celebrate and respect nonbinary people on Nonbinary Day, Trans Day of Visibility and every day and hey maybe we'll eventually be in the industry in large enough numbers to do community-wide collab beer. But for fucksakes don't lump us all in with women. I know a lot of these posts were done with the intention of inclusivity but I eventually had to just avoid social media for the day because the constant association of my identity with women set off my dysphoria to a degree I haven't felt since before I had gender-affirmation surgery.
I have seen spaces that say they're for nonbinary people but they really only mean AFAB nonbinary people. I heard conversations about how the 'right' way to be nonbinary is to be androgynous and slim and (usually) white (guess what: that's 100% wrong). I've heard of events happening for women and nonbinary people where AMAB nonbinary people were made to feel unwelcome and unwanted. There is a toxic mentality that nonbinary is an identity for slightly masculine, slim, androgynous, youthful AFAB people. I fit into...part of those boxes, I guess? Definitely not the slim and youthful ones though.
It's oftentimes an odd space to exist in. I check a lot of the things on a list of 'how to be medically trans' - I had and still do struggle with dysphoria, I have had gender affirming surgery and were it safer to, I would update my identification cards to gender marker X. But I'm not on hormones and I don't want to start. To some cis people and even some people in my own community, that makes me not trans enough. To some cis people, that makes me still a woman despite my physical appearance not resembling one at all. To some people, my identity is something they'll pay lip service to to my face but misgender me when I'm not around (you know who you are). Some people bemoan the loss of a lesbian (a term I actually rarely, if ever used to identify myself) and suggest that I could still "look masc but just be a butch lesbian". Well, no. I'm not butch and I'm queer, not a lesbian. Also maybe don't police my identity, thanks.
This is, of course, just my experience and what I've heard and encountered over the years. Some nonbinary people are ok with using gendered pronouns. I am not. Some nonbinary people are ok with being included with women as a group. I am most definitely not. For Trans Day of Visibility, consider taking steps to normalize asking the pronouns of your staff and even maybe some of your regulars, letting people know you're open to learning theirs and being respectful about them, not assuming that all trans people are the same and standing up for trans identities amongst a sea of cis privilege. I do want there to be more than, like, 4 of us in the BC scene here and I really would love to be able to do a TDoV collab brew for charity some day.
Follow @bruceandbeer on Instagram for the perspective of a trans-nonbinary individual in the craft beer industry.