Judith Butler says that gender performativity is a “reiterative and citational” practice and I am barely patient, and sticky, in the margins. Citation is behaviour — my “repetition and ritual” (Butler, again). The only expectations I should want for myself are that I let the evidence of the universe return to me, to be adorned or gathered safely or discussed at length, and to wake up each morning alive. Yet, I am more ambitious than that.
Anyone who knows me knows I keep saying the word archive, a spell for and against immortality or decay, but listen(!) to the rush of my blood [in The Stacks][through my family tree][flush against your body], beloved.
But is it really so simple to stitch desire into language? To do so presupposes that you have an archive of desire ready on your tongue. My desires are often molecular, little creatures not yet prepared to leave my body. — Julietta Singh
I never wanted to build a “body of work,” but to preserve these , our bodies, breathing and unaccounted for, inside the work. — Ocean Vuong
Priyanka Meenakshi writes “My gender is not neutral, my gender is brown, and hairy and lesbian. My gender transcends white concepts of the binary, therefore it transcends the non-binary,” and that sits right with me but how possible is it to fully exist beyond the logic of whiteness and white supremacy (dispossession, expropriation, incarceration, appropriation) as a settler on stolen land?
The first time I thought about transitioning I was fifteen. This was years before I learnt that in some variations of the Hindu epic Mahabharata, Srikandi, a warrior and archer, becomes a man and marries a Princess.
I want a creation myth for my gender but I need the soil first.
Gender is all-encompassing, it out-scales us. As such, it becomes difficult to see the edges of gender when submerged within its logic, thereby bolstering the fantasy of its permanence through its apparent omnipresence. In short, gender is so big, it becomes invisible. — Legacy Russell
For me the gender-neutral “they/them” will always be different from the gender-neutral “ia,” “dia,” “mereka” because “they/them” will always stand beside “he” and “she.” In English, you choose to be gender-neutral. In Indonesian, it’s a gift from the language. — Norman Erikson Pasaribu
A non-exhaustive list of ways to describe my gender
Think of ephemera as trace, the remains, the things that are left, hanging in the air like a rumor
— Jose Estaban Muñoz
Lesbian / rumour / reincarnation / Ming-Na Wen and Lea Salonga as the voices of Mulan / fingers around a strap-on / the planet Jupiter / seahorse / mangosteen / elsewhere / seasonal / a river, slowing down / not not pedagogical / collective working bee / passionfruit flower / after Sin Wai Kin / the word “blister” / the word “shuck” / the word “resplendent” / for some reason: Ned Flanders / the gumption of magpies / when Ross Gay writes “My color’s green. I’m spring” / the dragon from How to Train Your Dragon / every outfit Tessa Thompson wears / speculative fiction / time is not of the essence / wannabe-jock / archipelago / biomythic / S-Club 7 / a keris through the heart / index / that fucking son of a glitch / pang / tongue in the shape of a forward slash against the world
Franny Choi writes, “When a cyborg puts on a dress, it’s called drag” and I settle coolly into my newest avatar, taking stock of antidepressants and Spring. I imagine it wasn’t always like this: the pandemic, the slickness in the river Goolay’yari, my devotion to these two thumbs and this phone.
Sometimes I wonder what it would be like to sext the matrix itself. Sometimes I think “QR code” sounds like queer code. They couldn’t data journalism my gender if they tried.
Bone-sit / spit-dribbler/ understudy for the underdog / uphill rumor / fine-toothed cunt / sorry / my mouth’s not pottytrained / surly spice / self-sabotage spice — Franny Choi
I am part machine / part starfish / part citrus / part girl / part poltergeist — Franny Choi