“Now, the boys and girls up in marketing all know that advertisements and commercials don’t sell products. Advertisements and commercials sell what? Sex and gender! That’s right! And sex and gender sell what? The products? Very good! Sex, because it’s sex. And once you’ve had great sex, well, you’re going to want some more. And if you’ve never had great sex, you’ll buy anything hoping to get some. But gender—that’s another can of worms. That’s a different kettle of fish. That’s another pea in a different pod. Simply put, once you buy gender, you’ll buy anything in order to keep it. You’ll buy anything. So—the boys and girls up in marketing have come up with the ultimate marketing strategy. We’re not going to sell you any products tonight, no we’re going to sell you gender. And you want to buy it.
You want to buy gender because you want to relieve the nagging feeling that you’re not quite a man, not quite a woman.”
Doc Grinder speaking in the play Hidden: a Gender by Kate Bornstein, from Gender Outlaw, page 173.
“What frightened me most about the possibility of skin grafts was not my potential appearance, but rather the symbolism—my obviously stitched-together face being interpreted by others as a metaphor for the fakeness of my entire body, my gender. Whenever I shared this thought with cissexual friends, they always responded the same way, telling me that it was nonsense, that cancer-related skin grafts have nothing to do with transsexuality. And while that may be true in a logical sort of way, it seemed to me to be particularly convenient for them to say. Unlike them, I didn’t have the privilege of having my body viewed as inherently natural and congruent. My body is always betraying me, whether it was the male body that used to feel completely alien to me, or my current female state, which others view as inherently unnatural and illegitimate.”
“Humiliation is a whip of the defenders of gender. Humiliation is sanctioned at virtually every level of the culture: people can laugh at a transgendered person; but when there’s no fear of being humiliated for one’s portrayal of gender, there’s less opportunity of the culture to exert control.”
While many of the intersections of autistic and female in my life have been social, there are undeniable physical intersections too.
The arrival of adolescence brought with it hints of what it would mean to be an autistic adult. My first real meltdowns. My first experience with depression. My first confusing encounters with physical intimacy.
With nothing to compare those experiences to, I assumed they were a normal part of being a teenager. Everyone said that being a teenager was hard. I couldn’t dispute that. It didn’t seem necessary to look beyond the explanation of “this is hard for everyone.”
That would become a theme. Pregnancy. Breastfeeding. Postpartum depression. My body’s reaction to birth control pills. Countless books and magazine articles assured me that these things were no walk in the park. Not knowing that I was autistic…