What are the mechanisms and the conditions that could make one’s life livable or unlivable?
Judith Butler’s question could sound generic for someone who can claim a place of their own. One could say that this question aims at a form of extremism and victimization that would not survive a pragmatic examination. The fact is that for a lot of people, life can be unlivable according to a set of oppressive events and norms.
Surely, there is an extension of what I can talk about with some property -which is about trans* identities and queer identities, since I identify as a queer trans* woman and live the expectations and shamings that come with these identities and this perception. I could also add that as a person who identifies as bisexual and pansexual I am subjected to types of coercions that intersect gender and sexuality.
But what really can make one’s life unlivable? I would say that a bunch of daily microaggressions can make someone’s life very unbearable, and when we are talking about queer and trans* lives this is something very present. All the mocking, misgendering, mispronouncing, verbal and physical violence – general disrespects – could lead to an unbearable existence, and unlivable life, especially when these events are legitimized by the State as a form of cruel institutionalized violence. As for Institutionalization of violence against trans* and queer people, the new DSM’s revision is there proving to us, once more, that no matter how pseudoscientific these thesis could be proven, no matter how many documents and arguments we use, our lives ought to be pathologized and categorized under some horrible dehumanizing document that lists mental diseases.
The place I can exist as a human being is also the place I cannot exist as a human being. Or I should say, as a legit human being. My being is only possible under the pathology stigmatization. I want to make this blog about living under this stigma. About living in social stealth in order to survive. This is about a place to inhabit in the humane spectrum and the denying of this place. This is about recognition. This is about having a place of belonging in the world.
Once a person is perceived as anything but a “natural” man or woman, one’s humanity is striped and one’s life then becomes unlivable. Thus gender seems to be an essential category through which one can access humanity. We have seen trans* people, especially travestis striped off of their identities, being buried as their designated (“original”) gender as if they have never lived out of it, as if they have not “strayed” their presumed path. The mourning then becomes something that can only be possible if someone’s gender commits to the expectations of a cisgender, ciscentric society. This society will thus promote the necessary asepsis to protect a failed binary system that harms us all.
No one can live up to their gender expectation’s being a cisgender or transgender person. It is time for us to address this problem, not suppressing it but embracing it as one of the multiple forms of how one can live and can perform their subjectivity.