being an “impossible” thing

One might wonder what use “opening up possibilities” finally is, but no one who has understood what it is to live in a social world as what is “impossible,” illegible, unrealizable, unreal, and illegitimate is likely to pose that question.

Judith Butler, Gender Trouble, 1999 preface

i only very rarely mark things in books, but this small note struck me as supremely significant. when i came across this quote i was only just beginning to examine gender issues in an academic setting, and still presenting as male most of the time. it obviously chimed with my experiences growing up trans in the eighties and nineties, and has formalised my approach to what i find permissible (anything which doesn’t close possibilities for others, and actually a lot which does, as long as some form of balance is maintained) and what narratives of the self i consider legitimate (pretty much any which doesn’t depend on abusing others).

when donna haraway talks about “monsters” i have taken her to mean the same kind of beings: those of us who are impossible, who cannot be. it is important to create spaces where we can be, where we can construct more or less coherent identities, where we are possible. that is the way by which we can change from being monsters to being people. it is equally important that we create spaces where other socially impossible things can become visible and real: as long as we don’t believe abuse to be possible we cannot see it, and cannot see the real monsters living amidst us.

the term “monster” has become even more central to my life now. my daily life is populated by vampires and ghouls, therians and otherkin. i myself identify as a dragon, and as the weeks and months go by i feel my link to the human species, to which this body i inhabit belongs, growing ever more tenuous. most of the world considers us monsters, for them we cannot exist, and they consider us delusional or sick. but slowly, bit by bit, we are carving spaces where we can be ourselves, where we can become real. we are very slowly becoming people instead of being monsters.

i started of realising that my gender wasn’t defined by my anatomy. i am now at the point where i understand that my identity is not defined by my body.

addendum: i wrote this first for another blog, after thinking about the opening quote for a bit. and while writing i realised that this chimes well with what Laycock says about the development of the vampire milieu: it has created a space where “impossible” people (i.e. people who have a need to drink blood or drain psi) can construct a legitimate identity and narrative in which their lives make sense. before the vampire milieu had developed to a form where a non-monstrous vampire was feasible only very few would have been able to use this identity.

i think one function we donors perform, whether consciously or not, is to make the vampire less monstrous to him or herself. it is not that long ago that sangs needed to look in the bdsm scene to find donors, who were at least partly still victims. many psi-vamps still feed in a predatory manner and don’t have donors. but each time that a donor freely and gladly gives of themselves to their vampire they are transforming the vampire into something a little less monstrous.

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  1. I agree that gender is not directly related to anatomy. Gender is a social construction that identifies specific traits according to society and the prescribed necessary anatomy.

    But I think as the years go on, people are more acceptable to gender bending and not the strict categories that were found in the past.

    Hopefully in the future people will not require gender specific traits and allow people to live outside of the boxes and the categories that are exist in so many people’s minds.

    And maybe even one day, people will open their mind to the infinite possibilities that exist in this world and the Otherworlds. Maybe they will see that not everyone fits into neat little boxes. And maybe one day this world will accept self identification as validation regardless of society.

    I photograph Otherworld Entities in my home, which includes Dragons, Fae, Djinn, and others. I have close to 1,000 photos, and I am amazed at the number of different types of creatures represented in these photos.

    I continue to gather these photos in the hopes that it will expand the minds of the general public. Sometimes people don’t believe until they see proof. Maybe one day they can gain understanding that this world doesn’t fit in their neat little boxes, and it is more complicated and vast than they ever imagined.

    Blessings – StarWynd

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