[personal profile] teafeather
It's only within the past year or so that I finally understood why I started disliking Halloween celebrations starting around the time of puberty. I think a lot of it has to do with being asexual and transgender (among other things).

Halloween, for those in the United States who are teenagers through adults, is a very sexualized holiday. It's also a holiday during which it's encouraged for people to dress up and to pretend to be something or someone they are not. For an asexual trans* person, pretending to be, or being assumed to be, something or someone you're not is often something that happens every other day of the year as well. For an asexual person, it's pretending to be a sexual person, and for a trans* person, it's pretending to be the gender they were assigned at birth.

When I try to represent myself as the person I really am, I'm often assumed to be pretending to be someone I'm not, or something that doesn't exist. I can't remember the number of times I've had someone call me "sir" and then decide it's a mistake, and then get mad at me as if I was trying to confuse or deceive them in order to cause them embarrassment. Or the bizarre time when I got lectured on needing to be more assertive when I tried to assure someone that I didn't care, never mind that I really was trying to assert my right not to have a preference for miss/ma'am/sir/hey you. Or the more frequent occurrence of being told I need to be more self confident when I try to assert that I am not seeking a romantic partner. I find myself in the seemingly paradoxical situation of sometimes trying to hide how I am different, and being invisible when I try to show it openly.

Most people have sets of cues stored in their minds that let them know how to categorize people. It's how we recognize what someone is dressed as when they are in costume. It's how we recognize when someone plays that role in real life. Sometimes those cues are helpful, and sometimes they're harmful. They're often part of stereotypes. There's a part of me that wishes that I lived in a world where it would be easy to cue people into the fact that I'm asexual and non-binary trans*, but I realize that in the kind of world in which I live, this could put me in serious danger, and I sure as hell don't want asexual and trans* identities to be exploited for entertainment the way that many racial and ethnic groups get distorted into "costumes."

Date: 2011-11-02 02:14 am (UTC)
syntaxofthings: Death Fae from the Fey Tarot (Default)
From: [personal profile] syntaxofthings
I found this through [personal profile] ysabetwordsmith's signal boost, and I agree that it's really well put. For me, though, Halloween was a time of trying on a costume of something I really wanted to be (I can't count the number of times I had a witch's costume, because that's what I've wanted to be all my life). I've never felt the need to dress up as something I only want to be for a night, so I find it interesting how different our experiences of Halloween are, as well.



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