Following on from Courtney’s excellent AI about self-identification and queer identity policing, I wanted to ask if it was ever possible for a situation to warrant someone’s identity to be called into question.
This (quite rightly) unseemly idea popped into my head during some student elections that recently took place on my campus. It happened when nominations for certain equity positions were being called for, including ones representing women-identifying, queer and disabled students respectively, with the idea that only students identifying accordingly could vote for their representatives. As I looked at the people filing into the space for the women’s representative elections, I noticed that those present pretty much all straightforwardly read as female. I wondered what would happen if, say, a pre-op trans woman were to have come along to have her say. Would they be met with suspicious glances, their right to take part in the electoral process questioned? I would obviously hope not. I then started thinking about our other equity positions, a space full of queer and/or disabled students voting for their representatives would look a lot more diverse and be impossible/wrong to subject to an identity shakedown. However, no student political body is devoid of controversy and power-hungry students and ours wasn’t any different, so it was important that the people running and voting for these positions have the best of intentions and can best represent their electorates. So I wondered –
Is there ever an instance wherein it would be acceptable to question someone about their identity? Does it become more important if/when they will be acting on behalf of you, or as a representative? As always, please be respectful and classy, guys.
The Afternoon Inqueery (or AI) is a question posed to you, the Queereka community. Look for it to appear on Tuesdays, Thursdays and Sundays, at 3pm ET.