White Supremacy & Gender
Updated: Apr 3
This was originally posted on my Instagram @queerlich and has been expanded on.
Christianity as a religion has been used to suppress queer folks over the ages. It is also a foundation that many people use to excuse their white supremacist beliefs and by extension, anti-queer beliefs. From sex shaming to bioessentialism, we've all heard some form of these beliefs. A common example is how our bodies "are created in God's image" and how dare we change that or deviate from what their god intended for us. Whether it comes from a family member, a friend, or a stranger on the internet, it's a shitty statement that implies the changing of our bodies to reflect who we are is immoral/sinful.
Many queer folks have had to re-navigate their relationship with spirituality (whether Christian or other). For some, that means rejecting it, reframing it, or discovering something new. It can be hard to find the spiritual communities that do affirm us, we know they are out there, but where? For many, we end up practicing alone, having given up on finding the community we desire for our own safety.
For me, it looked like creating and believing in a spirituality of my own making. Where ancestral healing, queerness, and divinity co-exist. Where I (and every human) am as much a deity worthy of being honoured as any god.
I believe all bodies are divine by virtue of existence. It is the one body we get. Changing it to ease dysphoria / experience euphoria over being in it, is worship and prayer to our own divinity. However, under white supremacy, there are ideals for women & men's bodies (that include being cis/white many times). Many trans people don't fit those ideals, let alone the baseline expectations of what cis folks would expect of them. Non-binary & GNC people challenge these ideals because we don't adhere to the gender binary, and signal it through aspects like pronouns or presentation. While an ideal for non-binary bodies hasn't yet been created, we are starting to see something like that happen with many cis folks insisting we have to be "perfectly androgynous" in order for us to get respect.
Add being a racialized person to the mix and there is another layer of bias, expectations, and stereotypes that whiteness places upon us. Whiteness wants us to abandon the parts of our ethnicity and culture that challenges white supremacy. It seeks to erase culture, and create a unified nothing. But we don't have to subscribe to that ideal, in fact, I encourage you to challenge it. How can you celebrate your gender, your queerness, integrated into your culture? What could that look like?
(If you are white and reading this, then yes, this affects you too! How much do you know your ancestry? How much do you practice from that ancestry? Just a thought.)
If someone is pre-surgery/HRT or opts for no surgery/HRT, we are asked "what is the point of you being trans?" or "are you even trying?". Many people conflate our worth with how well we conform to the ideals of woman or man that are set out by white supremacy.
But your worth isn't tied to how well you pass or perform gender. Your worth is something you decide for your Self.
What does it mean to be worthy by virtue of being trans? What does it mean to be you & to express your gender in the ways you want? I invite you to reflect on what transition goals you have created because of genuine desire vs. what has come about because of the presentations that society wants for us.
P.S. It's okay if you have a transition goal that is based around passing due to the inherent safety that can come from it. My invitation is for you to layout where your goals fall so that you know how you are influenced & to move forward with awareness. If you want to change a goal, it's up to you to decide.
Maverick Lumen (they/them) is a Peer Support Worker & Tarot Reader who is passionate about seeing queer, trans, and non-binary clients receive the welcoming and understanding support they deserve. Their practice is founded on lived experience and anti-oppression, all while examining how the body and mind can be connected to uncover the stories that we have heard about and have told ourselves.