Transgender, Trans-genre; or, Stop Writing Like Normal People and Queer Shit Up

    The influence of the last few hundred centuries or so has created a rigidity that is just aching to be smashed. Sexism, racism, classism, ableism et al – all are products of a society that we seek to obliterate. In literature we combat this totality through polemic, non-fiction, the heart-wrenching memoir, the essay, the thinly-veiled allegory, the ‘zine – any genre manipulated correctly can stand as sharp as a sword against oppression. But what about genre? What of the parameters of the written word itself?
    I’ll use as an example the overbearing standard of heterosexuality. In an unquestionably patriarchal, monogamous and sexist society there are queers resisting heterosexual hegemony at every turn. We create our own parameters for relationships; experimenting with gender, sexuality, kink; finding new ways to come together and new ways to fuck with every new day. There are those homosexuals who assimilate in to the norm to seek safe passage through the depths of hatred and violence. There are those transsexuals who reject the queering of gender and stick to the harsh rigidity of patriarchy. We queers are no better than those who choose to assimilate – we simply have more fun in liberation, fucking who and how we wish, unencumbered by the totality that surrounds us.
    This spirit of experimentation, of confrontation, of liberation envelops our lives. So why doesn’t it proliferate in to the ways we write about ourselves?
    Here is what I have to say: the injunction of genre on our narratives prevents true expression of what it is to be othered in contemporary society.
    We have missed the golden age of experimental queer literature. The early Soviets were hosting orgies and creating plays that expanded the definition of performance while questioning place, time, and objectivity. Gertrude Stein was reinventing language with a brilliant tenacity. William S. Burroughs raised vile faggotry to a fine art. Jean Genet was crafting prosaic smut with one hand on his pen and the other wrapped around his cock. It was a time that the subversion of queerness permeated the text. The walls of genre, and even language itself, were being broken down and recreated to suit the needs of the writer. In time the fashion passed – a generation of queers paving the way for another wave that isn’t there.
    What happened to the fantastical? The violent? The vile smut? The reformation of language to suit the needs of the writer? In a capitalist market where all that matters is getting the books off of the shelves and experimentation is frowned upon in favor of something familiar and easily accessible, it’s difficult enough for a queer to get published – let alone a queer with a radically different perspective on what literature should look like. The queer writer is (with few exceptions) relegated to a minimal number of acceptable genres. The heart-felt transition memoir. The sanitized love story. The witty, watered down essay. The semi-autobiographical slice-of-life novel. The barriers of style and genre press down on us, forcing out one bowdlerized voice perverting the vox populi of those perverts yearning for an outlet.
    This filtering of queer and trans voices leaves many writers unable to experiment or find true expression. The question that comes with every novel written is, “but will it sell?” With our voices already so silenced, our lives already so overburdened with the weight of the totality, the only stories that get squeezed out are the pablum we’re so exhausted of.
    This is a call to queer and trans writers everywhere: don’t leave your radical notions, unceasingly experimental drives, and your habit of questioning everything set before you get left behind in the bedroom. We need you. Transcend gender? Transcend genre. Experiment. Masturbate all over the page and see what comes out. Share your intimate writing processes with a loved one. I want orgiastic novels with more authors than there are chapters. I want filthy smut with wild queers fucking in the face of the insurrection. I want brilliant texts that redefine language and break down genre. I want to break that impermeable wall between poetry and prose. Create the market. Get published. Find new ways of production and distribution. I want Queer Literature to have its own section in the library. I want to see the kind of innovation, active imagination and redefinition in queer households across the world to harness that power and wrangle it in to the written word.
    Create new ways to express yourself. Trust your instincts. Refuse to be pigeonholed. Write.

1 Comment

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One response to “Transgender, Trans-genre; or, Stop Writing Like Normal People and Queer Shit Up

  1. moof06

    What I needed to read just now.
    THANK YOU! <3

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