Performativity Schnormativity


Alas, I know I should care more about these label wars. After all, on the U.S. left, we trade in radicalness. No one wants to be average or ordinary or, gasp, normal.

The whole thing borders on ridiculous, though. Radicalness derived from labels?

Hardly. Radicalness derives from actions. Continually.

What wows me about the whole transgender/transsexual divide: ten years ago, when the modern trans movements began emerging, we used the argument that everyone is transgender.

You know, because transsexuals were way too out there for most gays and lesbians and transgender described people who were neither cross-dressers nor transsexual. (In fact the term itself, I believe, was coined by Dr. Virginia Prince, who worked for Harry Benjamin.)

Radical is as radical does.

[Note: I can’t even get excited anymore when certain gay men use certain gay publications to state that transsexuals and transgenders should be more subtle. And I really can’t get excited by the reactions to said editorials when transsexual folks claim we all have the same issues……am I the only one who thinks the name change and birth certificate changes allowed by some states can be overchanged/not recognized by certain wack-jobs?]


  1. radical… a friend told me that it comes from the latin word meaning root, having roots, if you imagine them radiating out from a root/ source… which, implies some kind of action. like you said radicalness derives from action, continually.

    perhaps one day i’ll make up a character called Mabel Schmabel the Label. she’ll be a collector of antique name tags and community-identifying labels. you could say that she might have tickets on herself.

  2. “radical” does come from “radix;” it means that to be radical is to attack the “roots” of something. Radical feminists want to destroy the patriarchy at the source, rather than make gradual changes.

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