Gender and disability affect every part of my life, all the time, and I’m always passing. I pass as a girl, or I pass as a boy — neither one fits, but those are my only choices. My closest ‘Girl’ friends have all turned out to be boys. What’s wrong with me that I can’t make the change and take it like a man? Is it Gender Identity Disorder?
Nah. The truth is, I’m gender stupid not gender queer (gender queer being that excellent phrase bandied about that I use as a descriptor for my self) but I realize gender stupid may be more accurate, like gender dyslexic or something — gender and disability together always.
Learning disabled is the diagnosis and I pass there too, in the same slippery double-take way of my gender-passing. I pass for normal. No one would know that I went to the stupid classes in the stupid school. (Spellcheck is my Robodick and) No one has to know how long it takes me to write. I can even read Big books. Slowly. But when I say, ‘I have a disability,’ I’m still passing. I can say the words, enter the art shows, but I know I don’t belong, just like when I put on a dress…
I’m good at some things, bad at others — that’s not disabled, any more than being deaf is. But the things I’m bad at mean I’m not normal either. Not a boy, not a girl, not normal, not disabled.
From the comment book for GenderStupid in Borg Again
—Wow. An amazing and eye-opening show. Great exhibits all, but my favorite by far was “Gender Stupid.” The idea of “passing” for normal, while never feeling to fit in is perhaps universally felt (while not by all) and transcends even the theme of disability.
—“Gender Stupid” is fabulous, an incredible and necessary statement.
—I find the collected work here very emotionally/psychologically moving. I overlook the impact of the machine(s) in my life. Thanks for the stimulation and for your courage, artists. SD Holman’s photographs and ideas continue to shake up my thinking.