Thursday, February 23, 2017

on Ms.

Ms was a hard-won title. I remember the drama of my childhood, and the weight of having to constantly explain being unmarried on my Mom. The disrespect engendered by being addressed as Miss, and the distain when people explained that my Mother's maiden name could not be the same as her married name - the one I used - people treating me as if I didn't understand, and then behaving pityingly, and worse, disgusted when I finally got them to understand. So much bullshit. I am sure it still exists in this world that is centered around the cisgendered heteropatriarchal construction of the family, but I also want to somehow reconcile with the fact that no matter how hard won, or how well intentioned, I still hate being called Ms. I don't identify like that. Never have.  I didn't always mind being a Mrs when I was married, because it was about being part of a unit, and it was a construct - I was being "Spouse 2" and the femme half in a butch/femme partnership. It wasn't exactly right, but it was sometimes right, and I didn't mind being Miss when I was a kid, because it had a kind of princess power to it. I did always like stories of being pretty and rich  - who doesn't love a fairy tale?

But Ms to me is about standing in power as cisgendered and female, and I don't, and have never wanted to do that, not since I was part of christianity.  Once I came out as queer I started wanting to disrupt ideas of how gender works, and I guess that's when the gender queerness started. I had all kinds of radical ideas about how everyone should just adopt Mr, but mostly that's because it's my preference.  I just didn't know it at the time, and it didn't seem possible. I don't really want anyone to call me anything other than my name, but if they have to use a prefix, I prefer Mr, and gender neutral pronouns. 

Off to school in a hailstorm.