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Biography Essay Other

Gender Is a Weapon: Coercion, domination and self-determination

By Sally Darity, 2009

“I was on the bus recently, and a guy about my age got on the bus and sat across from me. He and some others were looking out of the bus windows at some men in red dresses. We didn’t know why they were wearing dresses, but the guy across from me said, “That’s scary.” Another guy said, “Whatever, as long as they don’t come on the bus.” I wanted to say “what’s so scary about men in dresses?” But worrying that I might look enough like a dyke to him to get shit for it, and worrying that the effort and fear involved with confronting someone might make me cry, I didn’t say anything. I just wondered. What makes a guy in a dress so scary? And what about homophobia, transphobia, or whatever you want to call it without knowing why that guy was wearing a dress, causes men to bond by shit talking about it? There are many ways in which we are taught what our appropriate gender is, and when someone feels threatened by a gender identity or expression, we can guess that there lies the key to our struggle.”

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