Gender non-conformity is enough
Next week Spring House officially opens its brand new gender neutral toilets during 'Gender without Borders'. Luckily, Spring House is not the first organisation taking a step towards gender-neutrality.
The Dutch Railways replaced the words “Ladies and gentlemen…” at the beginning of its train station announcements with “Dear travelers…”, and the municipality of Amsterdam similarly starts letters and speeches with terms like "Dear people", "Dear attendees" or "Dear Amsterdammers".
Our most famous retail store Hema quit indicating gender on children’s clothing labels. To underline why such changes are important, in this tip of the week I’m sharing a writing I really like by gender non-conforming performance artist, writer, educator, and entertainer Alok Vaid-Menon.
GENDER NON-CONFORMITY IS ENOUGH
In a world that requires everyone to 'pass' within two discrete categories of 'man' OR 'woman' what would it mean for gender non-conformity to be regarded as beautiful, desirable, legitimate, and worthy?
What would it mean for gender non-conformity not to be dismissed as an interim, as an in-between, a phase, as an other, third, or pre-, but rather to be treated as already sufficient unto itself?
What would it mean for gender non-conformity not to have to be oriented toward transition (always having to go somewhere else, become something else, move on) but already as a legitimate (non-)destination?
What would it mean to experience gender non-conformity not as a failure, not as a success, but simply to experience it without a moral and competitive framework?
What would it mean for gender non-conformity to not be a spectacle, a transgression, a subversion, a dilemma, a crisis...and instead for it to just be?
We are so, so far from that reality but I refuse to lose my dream of what could be! I have been and will continue to be degraded, demonized, humiliated for navigating the world as I do (I know that). But what I also know is that constant harassment makes me feel like my body isn't mine, so sometimes all I feel that I have left are my dreams.
Come celebrate gender diversity on November 3rd from 7 - 10PM in the staircase of Spring House. Shay Raviv will share some insights into STBY’s research on gender inequality: What can design do to address violence against femininity?