Wednesday, December 8, 2010

Why Ronen is a Time Lord

by Ronen

(If anyone is super-confused by what I've written below, ask me about or look up Doctor Who. It's awesome.)

(Also, a bit of self-promotion. This is a cross-post from my own gender blog: http://mercurys-moon.dreamwidth.org/ )

I recently got back in touch with my spiritual side, something I'd been neglecting for several months. As part of this I did a tarot reading, just to get an idea of where everything was at. The reading told me several things, but one of the larger lessons I took away was the one presented by the card Temperance: forces needed to be united, barriers dissolved. In order to soar above a coming upheaval, to stay positive and learn as opposed to succumbing to despair, I needed to bring together all the various bits and bobs of my life and make them harmonious.

There's three major labels that I believe describe me accurately: I am a pagan, a queer, and a geek. Since that, I've been playing mixologist with my varied identities. I've sprinkled a dash of spirituality in with my gender musings, thrown gender studies in with pop culture, mixed pop culture with magic...

...and I've muddled my geekiness in with my gender.

"Geek" in American society could almost pass for a gender on its own, or at the very least a gender qualifier. Loads of people describe themselves as "girl geeks" or "boy geeks," but "geek" all by itself is a fair enough descriptor. It comes with just as much stereotyping and baggage as when someone describes themselves as a man or a woman. A geek probably knows a good deal about computers and/or video games and/or the internet and/or science, probably reads a lot, probably watches a lot of sci-fi television, probably owns at least a few prop replicas from their favorite films, probably has played D&D at least once in their lifetime. All of this, by the way, is true of me, which is why I'm so comfortable accepting and embracing the "geek" label.

There's more to it than that, though. During the bar-hangout time following a recent meeting of Genderqueer Chicago, I found myself in a discussion about people who even occasionally identify their gender as something imaginary or non-human. These are the folks who will call themselves unicorns or dinosaurs or faeries. Once you've spent enough time in the gender-variant community, you're bound to run into one of these folks, and if you think you haven't yet, well then... Hello!

The conversation basically boiled down to whether these kinds of genders could or should be taken seriously. Most people agreed that they should, at least to some extent, but the real question is how seriously do the unicorns and dinosaurs themselves take it? Is that sort of identity something with real meaning, or is it something to take with a wink and a smile?

As one of those mythical creatures, I can only answer for myself, but I believe the answer is: Yes. Yes it's meant to be taken with a wink and a smile, and Yes it is something with real meaning.

My name is Ronen Mark, and I am a Time Lord.

Go ahead, have a little smirk at that. I know I do. However, that doesn't make it meaningless. If it were meaningless, I could call myself anything. I could call myself a Vulcan or an Elf or a sand worm, but I don't because those specific identities bear no personal importance to me.

When I call myself a Time Lord, I'm simultaneously identifying myself as a geek, and someone who likes to have a good laugh at the expense of the gender binary (or any other structure of normalcy). I'm identifying as someone intensely interested in the world and the way it works, and people and what makes them tick. I'm identifying as an adventurous spirit, someone whose mind is often slightly off in its own little world, someone who's a bit tough to get at emotionally but is a fiercely loyal friend to those who've managed to do it. I'm an old soul with a young heart, a "madman with a box" - which takes on a delightful double meaning when you apply it to gender!

You might say claiming this identity is pointless since a lot of people, especially those who aren't familiar with Doctor Who, aren't going to get all that just from two words. But you could make a similar point about any identity, even "man" or "woman." When someone claims a label, you have no way of knowing what, exactly, that means to them. You learn by getting to know them as a person.

Time Lord isn't the only label I claim for my gender. My true identity is fluid. But when I say that I am one, I am being in equal parts ridiculous and deadly serious... much like a certain Doctor I know.

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