I first noticed my spell-check was biased when Microsoft tried to tell me “heteronormative” wasn’t a word back in undergrad. (It’s underlined on this draft in WordPress now, “no replacements found.”) My phone doesn’t know “genderqueer,” “intersectionality,” or “biphobia.” Neither does the media, who continue to put gender identities and queer narratives in scare quotes, even when they’re supposedly “on our side” (see what I did there?).
Originally posted on Mik Everett's Blog:
“I read a headline today:
“Preferred” Pronouns Gain Traction at US Colleges.
and I couldn’t help but think
even when we get a victory
we’re still prisoners of punctuation.
Trapped in quotations, like the air-quotes
that mocked me in seventh grade
when I wore boy’s clothes to school
and no one said I wore “boy” clothes to school.
No one mocked the gendered shoes.
No air-quotes around my flannel button-down shirt
marketed for males only. The quotes go around
things like “normal” instead. Punctuation trapped
words I chose for myself. Like normal.
Like my name.
Quotes around words like “intersectionality”
and “genderqueer” and “pansexual” in the newspaper
because even when they concede to using our words
they have to make sure we know
they don’t really believe it.
The little red line on my computer screen reminds me
they’re just humoring “us”
and our made-up “words”
highlighted with quotations
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