Last week I met with my supervisors about the chapter I’ve now (more or less) completed. They were really supportive and seem to understand what I’m trying to do, and they articulate it far better than I do. We’ve agreed that I should now move on to the next chapter which I’m relieved about. I don’t think I’ve got much more to give the old chapter at this point; I need some space from it.
The next chapter is probably going to be the most difficult one in the thesis. It’s going to tackle ideas of essentialism and if/how/where/why they fit into trans theory. Questions of surgery are undoubtedly going to be a part of that, but I really want to minimise that where I can. Issues of the ins and outs of transition are always the main thing that cis culture talks about with regard to trans people/communities and that kind of (oftentimes) dehumanising/objectifying nonsense is something that I’m keen to avoid. On the other hand, for scholars like Prosser, it’s a key part of the way he addresses issues of essentialism, so it still needs to be in there. It’ll be a tricky balance. The whole notion of essentialism/anti-essentialism is really complex anyway, so it’s just another layer of worry about this chapter. I’m looking forward to working on some different books though, and I know that by the end of writing this chapter I will have pushed my thinking and understanding that much further. Just need to actually do it.
I’ve got a meeting arranged with a prominent linguistics academic in my uni who has been looking at gendered language. It was suggested in the meeting with my supervisors that I talk to her about the ways I’m using pronouns – my inclusion of non-binary forms – and where they developed from, how they’re used and how I can talk more clearly about my usage of them outside of ‘well, they’re used within trans communities for these purposes, therefore I’m reflecting that’. I think it’ll be really interesting to get an academic take on it, but I’m also pretty nervous. I know nothing about linguistics, nothing, and I really admire this scholar. Fingers crossed I don’t come across like a moron.
I spent 24 hours in Birmingham at the weekend to attend a surprise birthday party for a friend who now lives in France and popped back to visit. It was lovely to catch up with them and the other mates who had come. I’m now socially exhausted and having some quality cave time.
Today, I’m going to finish the lesson planning I started at the weekend and then probably go to bed at 9. Tuesday and Wednesday are set aside to start thinking about this next chapter. Thursday I’m teaching and then heading back to Birmingham to collect Andrew. Then on Friday we’re going down to Exeter for the weekend to celebrate his birthday at Sonnie and Ted’s house. Sunday night I’ll head back up, either to Brum or fully home depending on my level of driving-boredom. Feel like there isn’t enough time in the world right now.