Dear McCrory: You have a gender identity too

Perhaps one of the more common manifestations of cissexism is the belief that cisgender people don’t have a gender identity–as in, gender identity is a strictly trans concept. If the person pushing this opinion is a man, I can often get the point across when I suggest they next enter their work place or class room wearing a frilly pink dress, gel nails, and twelve-inch stilettos, at which point the response is often some variety of repulsion. (This tactic doesn’t work so well with women, since our patriarchal cultural system can and does, albeit inconsistently, reward women for adopting masculine norms).

Clearly our identities as they relate to gender matter to many of us. Clearly they matter enough to Governor McCrory that he felt compelled to Legislate on the issue despite admitting he had no prior knowledge of the concept. The thing about your identity is that you don’t have to question it or conscientiously test it to understand, at least intuitively, what hierarchies exist within that identity. That’s why you might not be repulsed by the idea of being “mistaken” for a woman if you don’t identify particularly strongly with masculinity or manhood to begin with, or conversely that you are repulsed by the idea because those things do matter to you.

Cue my utter shock when McCrory says gender identity is a “radical concept.

In a gubernatorial debate Tuesday night, North Carolina Gov. Pat McCrory (R) defended his signing of House Bill 2 earlier this year, which included a ban on transgender individuals using the bathroom of the gender with which they identify.

McCrory blamed liberals for the law, saying that he was forced to sign it after the city of Charlotte had updated its non-discrimination ordinance in February to add sexual orientation, gender identity and gender expression to its list of protected characteristics.

“The left brought this issue up, not the right,” he said.

McCrory said the state bill was meant to deal with the “concept of gender identity, which was a radical concept.” He blamed his Democratic opponent for governor, state Attorney General Roy Cooper, and Charlotte Mayor Jennifer Roberts specifically.

I feel like refraining from entering into a string of expletives every time McCrory opens his mouth ought to qualify me for a Nobel Prize.

The only way one can conceive of gender identity itself as being a radical concept is if they are positioned comfortably within its confines. As in, “we do not feel the bars of our cage unless we press against them.” That’s how I try to explain the feeling to the theoretical men I ask to perform this thought exercise where they feminize for a day and see how it feels. You cannot reconcile strong feelings at this idea of radically altering your gender expression without conceding that there is a thing–an identity–for you to express to begin with!

I guess what McCrory is trying to say is that it’s the State’s business to dictate you remain in your cage, but I suppose at this point we’ve seen enough evidence to suggest that he’s not going to admit this is about anything other than control.