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Can't Talk | September 20, 2020

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Can’t Talk Podcast Episode 53: The Safe Word is Spatula

Can’t Talk Podcast Episode 53: The Safe Word is Spatula
Can't Talk Staff

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We have a special guest this week! We discuss the tricky intersections of gender, sex, and sexuality with our friend Cody (@frayjoker).

Out of all the episodes we’ve recorded, this is Amelia’s favorite.

Bell recommends seeing Earth to Echo when it comes out on Netflix.
Cody recommends [easyazon_link asin=”190898340X” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]13th Age[/easyazon_link] and [easyazon_link asin=”B004L9YS22″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Anarchy Reigns[/easyazon_link] Amelia recommends [easyazon_link asin=”B003DLTBXU” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Timer[/easyazon_link]

Also mentioned:

13 True Ways
13th Age Bestiary
[easyazon_link asin=”B00JK531ES” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Rio 2[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link asin=”B004EPYZPS” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Super 8[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link asin=”B0001I562I” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Flight of the Navigator[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link asin=”B0050PYNP8″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Paul (Unrated & Theatrical Versions)[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link asin=”6305428514″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]The Rocketeer[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link asin=”B00009M9BK” locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]The Iron Giant (Special Edition)[/easyazon_link] [easyazon_link asin=”0982167121″ locale=”US” new_window=”default” nofollow=”default” tag=”cattame-20″]Machine of Death: A Collection of Stories About People Who Know How They Will Die[/easyazon_link] The Genderbread Person
Cody’s Reddit AMA
Cody’s 13th Age Game: The Arch Files

Photo courtesy Jeffrey Beall 
(CC-BY-SA 2.0)


CC BY-SA 2.0

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  1. Cody

    Fray Joker here. While I feel like we covered a lot of information, if anyone has any questions, I’m happy to answer them here. 🙂

    • Sarah

      It’s really nice to see someone with healthy, practical views on the subject. When I saw this linked on Twitter today, I wasn’t sure quite what to expect. I am now very glad I stuck around to hear this out. I guess if I have a couple of questions:

      1) Most people are first exposed to genderqueer on places like Tumblr these days, where it has a reputation of being trendy amongst the fairly toxic “PC-brigade” crowd. Has this ever reflected back on you? How do you feel about that particular aspect of the community?

      2) I understand you take personal issue to genderless pronouns at the moment. But what pronouns would you like to see used in the future?

      • Cody

        Hi Sarah, thanks for listening and thanks for the questions. Both of them quite challenging, so I might tackle the second one first.

        I’m not too worried about what pronouns end up getting used, but how they are used. Somewhere down the line I’d love neutral pronouns to be the default way of referring to a person until they choose to identify themselves as male or female. To me that’s what makes the most sense in terms of etiquette, much like how you would refer to someone as Sir or Ma’am if you aren’t aware of their name.

        Specifically if I had to choose neutral pronouns, I like “ey/em/eir” as derived from they, them and their. To me they represent an intuitive shift in the language that already exists. Not something that’s in common enough use that I would feel comfortable with them, but I think it makes more sense than a lot of other pronouns.

      • Cody

        Now the problem with trying to answer your first question is that I don’t want to come off as trying to segregate any GQ into “us” or “them”. The thing about Genderqueer is that it’s an umbrella term for anyone who doesn’t conform to binary ideas of gender. I fundamentally believe that it’s not my place to police who gets to be GQ and who doesn’t. I bring this up because the idea that there are people who identify GQ because it’s “trendy” invites accusations that there’s a class of GQ who aren’t sincere. When you start doing that, it can alienate people who have genuine need to identify with the ideology.

        Now, having said all that. It does upset me a lot to see people scoffing at the concepts of GQ because they’ve only had experience with this toxic element of the community. Of course it does. I spend a lot of time trying to build a positive image for the community, and seeing that eroded by any kind of negativity makes it feel like wasted effort. The entire reason why I wouldn’t do an AMA on Reddit anymore is that I would fully expect to be laughed at and abused, I don’t think there’s any room left on the site for frank and candid discussion like we do here.

        So yeah, it has reflected back on me and often in very hurtful ways.

        But in some ways I feel that the anger and negativity is not only legitimate, but occasionally justified. It is a lazy kind of activism that tries to be a thorn in the side of others, and expect the world to change for them. But the lure of that mindset is that it’s better than being helpless. I get that. Some days I cop an earful and my first reaction is to get angry rather than try to inform.

        But I also believe that just staying angry at the world all the time does more harm then good. Not only because it won’t actually cause people to change. But it makes you a worse person as well. So, I try to remain a positive voice, and occassionally an opportunity like this one allows me to be louder than the anger.

        I also feel that Tumblr is an environment that specifically breeds resentment. It isolates people’s ideas in such a way they can only hear how right and justified they are. So when someone uses the guise of anonymity to attack, it’s from that very inflated self importance that people attack back. So my hope is people can see how this is reflected in other topics, and realise it’s not representative of the whole GQ community.

        Perhaps more than I wanted to say on the topic, but it is a very difficult subject!

  2. Maybe GQ

    You talked about how you found the genderqueer community, but how did you start expressing yourself as genderqueer? Was it something you had to come “out” about to friends and family? How did they react?

    • Cody

      Great questions, thanks for asking. Thing about presenting as other genders is that the practice is very gender specific. I can only answer this as someone who is female bodied, but some of this is of course broadly applicable. Always, always make sure you’re comfortable with the idea of being confronted about trying something. And don’t take unnecessary risks that will put you into potentially violent situations.

      1) Research is the most important step before doing anything. Look for resources written for transsexuals about passing, and read into any potential help or hazards regarding what is suggested. When you have questions, ask people in the community, there’s a lot of helpful people that want you to do things safely.

      2) This goes doubly for anything that alters your physical appearance. If you’re looking into chest binding, ALWAYS purchase an actual binder garment. You can do yourself severe damage exploring cheaper alternatives. Take care of your boobs! Or your other bits!

      3) Being able to buy clothes online is a fantastic comfort, but it’s often difficult to understand how one set of sizes translates to to the other. Taking measurements also isn’t always a guarantee that things will fit properly. One thing you can do that doesn’t usually raise too many eyebrows is to put one or two clothing items of the opposite gender with some other things you want to try on. Go for designs and colours that are neutral, and try things on for size, cut and shape.

      4) Gait, pose and manner are the hardest things to fake with the highest payoff. Often making more of a difference than clothing or voice. Look at the things people do that suggest to you masculinity or femininity. Practice those things until they come naturally to you.

      5) There’s any other number of things that can help you pass either way, a decent haircut, keeping clean-shaven, using makeup. There’s no actual way for me to say “do this, this and this, and you’ll look GQ” because you have to learn what kind of style suits you the most. Never be afraid to try something, but always research beforehand and try things in a safe environment first.

      6) There’s no good tips for public restrooms. Try to be conscious of how you’re presenting, and if you’re unsure, go for the gender you can comfortably prove.

      I did end up coming out to friends and family. Mostly because part of my own GQ identity involved changing my name to Cody, from a name that was much more feminine. I also had the regrettable experience of a bully who saw fit to spread rumours behind my back about being transsexual, so I ended up coming out in a broader sense as well. By that point I was starting to settle into a role of advocacy, so I felt comfortable in coming out as GQ. While my family took longer to understand what I was trying to do, friends were more forgiving and accepting.

      But, as I said on the podcast, this is a challenging and confronting issue for a lot of people who don’t understand it. So please don’t feel like you have to come out if it would put you in any kind of significant danger. And when you are out, be ready to have to explain yourself a lot. On the days it does get you into some trouble, let yourself be upset as you need to be, but always remember that you must be doing something right. 😉

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