Can I tell you all that the first time I felt a sense of relief from reading an article on Gender Trender, I went immediately into extreme distress and feared that it meant I was evil? Because of the PRONOUNS! Because of the PRONOUNS being used to mean sex, not gender. Because when I read the news item through the lens of sex, not so-called gender, I saw the real power dynamics so clearly and could no longer deny what I saw. I could feel my brain beginning to deprogram and I was afraid of what this would mean for my life. My hands actually went clammy with fear. I was afraid I was betraying everyone I knew, and that I would be punished. That I would be exiled. And when you are lesbian, already so outside of human belonging, perhaps already cast out from your original family—the prospect of exile is no light matter. I wanted to bargain: Listen, Gallus Mag, I need to keep reading this stuff but can you just do what you are ~supposed~ to do with the pronouns, because this is scary as shit and also “offensive” and I know I am supposed to shut this sort of thing down wherever I see it. But the meaning of the words was the point, and I knew it, and I was afraid of what I knew because I knew it meant I would have to change. And I felt the change bringing me back into my body and bringing my body into this new terrain, an unknown landscape defined by an overwhelming kind of clarity.
The fear. I can’t even tell you how palpable that fear was. I wasn’t raised in a religion that did this to me—it’s not like I was programmed this way, and then triggered. Yet my fear was the fear of a heretic raised in fundamentalism. This is how I know Daly’s right: patriarchy is the underlying world religion and all of these belief-ways are its many sects.
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