Incomplete notes on surviving as a nonbinary disabled person

#CN_sexualized_abuse #CN_cis_sexism #TW_assault_bc_some_details_of_assault_are_mentioned

International Women’s Day is approaching and so is anxiety as well. Each year I wish for inclusion of WoC/queer and trans PoC/of trans women, trans men, inter persons, nonbinary ppl  and all gender nonconforming ppl at all/ of disabled feminists and of poor feminists. But this hope dies always in advance.

Why in all the world do I want to be part of international Women’s Day, when I don’t “identify” as a woman? Maybe bc there is no day for me, maybe bc queerfeminism made me hope it is not only about white dya cis middleclass nondisabled women, but about a lot of marginalized ppl who are oppressed by patriarchic structures. LGBTQIA+ exists for a reason.

No, the reason is not lipservice, intersectionality should be more than just a word, show me your speakers list and I tell you what I mean.

So, I never go very near that event, bc too much ableism, too much cis sexism etc. I have to keep my distance. A long time I thought I wouldn’t experience dysphoria. Maybe bc I don’t feel like my body is wrong, I just I feel strong discomfort to be physically present when an event is supposed to be feminist and then only women are mentioned and after some dozen times the “word” female is dropped, I just want to disappear. Literally. I am only included as long as I don’t clarify the error. Why can’t this finally be an International Feminists’ Day that really accommodates all the named above?

This is not how I wanted to start this text actually. I wanted a calm moment  where I could think about what role me being nonbinary played in the sexualized abuse I experienced. I did not turn nonbinary bc of violence, or „reject womanhood” therefore, I had always  been nonbinary, before this happened to me and this is one intersection that shaped how I experienced it (here I wrote which impact the threat of classism had, too).

The message an abuser gives you, is that your agency/your own will does not count. For me, it was like he wanted me to show where my place is, especially bc I didn’t behave as I was supposed to, I was cheeky and somehow self-confident and gendernonconforming without knowing the word. Being just me was mistaken for “thinking I was above/ something special” whatever. So, this putting me “in my place” has not only a sexist connotation, but also a cis sexist, it was supposed to be also “corrective violence”. Somehow this sometimes feels like “this happened to me”, bc of misgendering. But I know this happens to a lot of kids of all genders, even more often when they are disabled or chronically ill which is an aspect that makes more vulnerable to abuse.

Still: This is a thorn in my side, that I don’t get rid of, no matter how much I process the abuse in itself…bc I Iam confronted permanently that solidarity I get happens very often at the price of misgendering. Finally there are surveys about disabled survivors and when you have a close look at it, most of them speak only about women and girls, how much more likely they are abused, which might be true and nevertheless, then something crumbles in me. I don’t know how all the others feel who are erased, but I guess not much better.

There have been funds for projects about the topic “abuse” or for psychotherapy, but just for women and girls, and I am very afraid most of them mean cis gender, bc I can’t find hints for inclusion. I couldn’t apply at the price of misgendering. So I don’t know if this qualifies as dysphoria, this wanting to disappear when being misgendered or erased for the one hundredth time.

There is an organization that helps victims of violence and crime recommended by the police, A police officer gave these adresses after an assault that I experienced as a university student in my twenties. But I had had to listen to too much cissexist crap already, like „I never should be anywhere alone, AS A WOMAN, never ever“ and of course buy things for my defense and take part in a self defense course. As much as this smells like victim blaming women and is horrible in itself, think for a moment what it might be like to have to listen to this when you are not a woman, but as an agender NB. A fellow student was at my side at the police station when I was summoned to maybe identify a suspect. I couldn’t really say if one of them was the guy who tried to kill me. And I didn’t want to blame the wrong person. But the fellow student had the nerve to play investigation and asked one of the ppl who witnessed a suspect get drunk before the assault if the suspect „seemed to be a misogynist“. I didn’t want to hear any of it, even if it was likely that the assault had as an intention misogynist motives, bc among all the ppl who were that day on that plateau he didn’t choose a kid or a man. And I will never know what he actually wanted to do with me or the corpse when I would have lost conscience or stopped breathing, when he would have succeeded, if he  had not been interrupted by the sudden presence of another human being at that place.

Not long ago I was at a panel about producing gender equality in film business. Not one time it was mentioned how the business deals with trans women in case they apply for a fund/programm for women, do they acknowledge them before legal name change, is it SAFE to apply? How do they deal with Enbies? I spaced away to avoid to listen to more „dropping“ of the word „female“ (I’d prefer: women directors) and sentences like:“…comes/is NATURALLY for women…“.

I remember a “feminist event”, It was with Laurie Penny, Mona Eltahawy and another feminist, they spoke of women, maybe 2-3 times explicit of trans women, but very short, Laurie Penny talked a little longer about cis men and their (!) fears. Not one time I heard the word nonbinary. I crawled into myself with every “female” they dropped and was a small ball at the end of the evening.

Is this dysphoria? Whatever it is, cis sexism and erasure are oppressive and make it harder to survive while being excluded already on so many levels.