Gender VariantPorpora Marcasciano (MIT - Movement for Trans Identity)
Leaving aside the kaleidescopic meaning of identity, in the present manifesto we will try to concentrate on the identity of gender, searching for its significance and meaning including all its reflections on culture and on the individual. The transexual or transgender experience as a paradigm can help us understand its significance.
We normally tend to assign a person’s gender at birth and more precisely according to the genitals, so if one is born with a penis, one is automatically male, if one is born with a vagina one is automatically female. In the case of people who are trans the gender identity does not correspond to the sex at birth. Actually, the sex refers to the physical characteristics which describe us with an M or an F while the gender refers to, or is caused by, the perception people have of themselves.
According to the psychiatrist and famous scholar of the phenomenon Robert Stoller, Gender identity is the sense a person has of belonging to a gender which he/she identifies with (that is if one perceives oneself male, female or somewhat different from these two polarities).
Gender identity does not necessarily correspond to the biological identity of a person and does not concern one’s sexual orientation.
Gender identity may be related to the sex assigned at birth or it may differ from it.
All societies have a series of gender categories which can serve as a foundation for the development of the social identity of a person in relation to other members of the society.
The biological factors that may influence gender identity include hormone levels both in the prenatal phase and after, and their adjustment from the genetic point of view.
The social factors that may influence gender identity include information related to gender, which come from the family, mass media and other institutions.
The exact age at which gender identity is definitely established cannot be defined and the age at which possible difficulties tied to gender identity is also variable.
Throughout history the trans experience has been denied and dismissed, boxed into perversion or mental pathology, repressed and placed in mental hospitals or prisons. The consequences of these denials have been numerous and tragic, but the most dangerous is the lack of a correct and exact knowledge of the question.
Transexuality has not developed with structured self-awareness.
It has been ridden with stereotypes and clichés.
Between folklore and scandals, placed in the limbo of spectacle, confined to prostitution. Relegated to the studios of psychiatrists, criminologists and surgeons.
Beseiged by ancient prejudices, in any case outside and far from real life.
When it first became visible the words to describe it didn’t even exist. Words such as Transexual and Transgender have appeared only in the last ten years, a historical period in which, besides the entrance of the experience into a historical perspective, it has been possible to build a terminology that represents a tool box to use to rebuild paths, meanings and sense…
The beginning of the concept of identity of a “trans” gender, with all its aspects, can be found in the “transit” which begins with the denial to arrive at visibility covering a long struggle for freedom.
The expression “trans identity” could be easily replaced by a more exact “variation of gender” which better, and certainly more creatively, describes the infinite number of colours of this meaningful human experience.
The official estimate of the trans community in Italy is about five hundred thousand people who cannot and probably don’t want to see their lives classified in the limited binary of “male/female” because on the tight rope between female and male they find it difficult to keep their balance. Above all it is not that single change from man to woman and viceversa that represents the answer to another identity, fluid, non-binary which is searching for the freedom to be and to express oneself. It is called the right to happiness.
The strong identity, categorical and peremptory which selects, divides and excludes can be substituted with Gender variant as a fabulous paradigm of differences.
Our Earth is not divided in clear cut boundaries of hot or cold, forest or desert, ocean or land, cities or countryside, Europe or Africa, black or white, man or woman.
Let’s leave such divisions to politics of gender sovereignists, who only look at the centre.
We prefer to see the Earth from the wider bounds which allow us to notice the subtleties, a wide, open, curious and grateful vision.
Porpora Marcasciano is a historical figure of the Italian trans-feminist movement and an authentic free voice of the LGBTI+ community. At present she is the honorary President of the TIM (Trans Identity Movement) after having been its leader from 2010 to 2017.
Her commitment as an activist has always proceeded at the same rhythm as her cultural interests.
One could say each complemented the other.
Porpora Marcasciano has published Tra le rose e le viole – La storia e le storie di transessuali e travestiti (Manifestolibri, 2002) (Among roses and violets – The history and stories of transexuals and transvestites); Favolose narranti. Storie di transessuali (Manifestolibri, 2008), Antologaia – Vivere sognando e non sognare di vivere: i miei anni Settanta (Alegre, 2015) (Antologaia- Live dreaming and not dreaming to live: my life in the seventies) and L’aurora delle Trans cattive –Storie, sguardi e vissuti della mia generazione (Alegre, 2018) (The dawning of the wicked Trans -Stories, glimpses and life of my generation).
She has collaborated in various other publications among which: Porneia. Voci e sguardi sulle prostituzioni (Il Poligrafo, 2003) (Porneia. Voices and glimpses on prostitution); Altri femminismi. Corpi culture lavoro (Manifestolibri, 2006) (Alternative feminisms. Bodies cultures work); Oltre le monocolture del genere (Mimesis, 2006) (Beyond the monoculture of gender); Gay. La guida italiana in 150 voci (Mondadori, 2006) (Gay, the Italian guide in 150 voices); Transessualità e scienze sociali (Liguori, 2008) (Transexuality and social sciences). L’amore ai tempi dello tsunami (Ombre corte 2014) (Love at the time of the tsunami); Esquimesi in Amazzonia (Mimesis, 2014) (Eskimoes in Amazonia); Infiniti amori (Ediesse, 2014) (Infinite loves). Together with others she has written Elementi di critica trans (Elements of trans critique).