After yesterday’s stark, awful entry (only to those UK residents with CFS/ME, maybe), I’ve been trying to get less anxious by diverting my tiny brain. I tried looking at pictures of kittens on the internet, but it didn’t really work, so while talking about nonsense with a friend of mine on MSN, I decided to just get really silly playing with the terminology thing and see where it would go. Let’s pretend we’re in the Garden of Eden, and we want to say who we are, and what we like. If I can express states of biological sex vs internal gender identity with terms like jeebo and beejo, why not have an optional attachment to be able to succinctly state your sexual preference? Again, I stress that the point of this isn’t just silly wordplay: I’m trying to find ways to scratch the current categories of words, which can be misleading, and express important facets of human nature in the simple most elemental terms, like Lego. It’s playing with bricks, yes, but might illuminate why I feel uncomfortable with the current set of labels, or if I’m just being picky.
So let’s play with some bricks: what if you’re a girl-in-a-boy-body (g-i-b-o – “jeebo“) and you like boys? Then you’re a jeebobo.
What if you’re a non-transgendered man, who’s straight? Then you’re a beebojo. What if you’re a bisexual transman? beejobojo. You could even use the order of the suffix to order your bisexual preference, if you wanted: -bojo if you tended towards men, and -jobo if the reverse. Or I guess beejobi if you really didn’t want to express a preference, loathe as I am to use any previous terminology, as we’re imagining here we’re children in the Garden of Eden, starting with language again. So I’m going to use -bojo and -jobo interchangeably.
Pushing a little further, imagine a world where we think freely enough about gender/body variance that people differentiate between whether they are attracted to particularly-sexed bodies, which might be at variance to their preference for the mind contained therein. Some people are attracted to transgendered people. This is easy to incorporate too. If you’re a biological and gender-identified woman who is attracted to FtM transpeople, you’d be a jeejobeejo.
What about if you’re a transperson who’s had surgery? Then I guess you can define yourself in relation to your body as you see it. If you’ve always identified as a woman but were born in a male body, you were a jeebo at birth; if you subsequently changed your body sufficiently that you feel it identifies as female, you can call yourself a jeejo now. It depends on what your stance is on whether hormones, chromosomes or sexual organs define a body’s physical sex. It really doesn’t matter, and gets rid of the monolith of gender=sex. And you actually could go onto Jerry Springer and say “Hi Jerry, I used to be a jeebo but now I’m a jeejo”. If you were a masochist. That’d flummox him.
I presume most of my readers are beebojos and jeejobos so I can imagine your patience may be wearing thin. I’ll add one more qualification to really walk a tightrope, for fun. In genderqueer circles in the US, being butch or femme seems to be becoming more of a conscious identity badge too, so to really push this to extremes, you could add a third suffix to express this: -fee and -boo. An example: if you were a FtM transperson who is attracted to biological girls, and sees herself as femme, you’d be a beejojofee. If you were a butch gay man you’d be a beeboboboo. I think the last word is possibly my favourite.
I’d love to make a website where you could tick boxes as to your physical sex, gender identity, sexual orientation and femme/butchness which would then punch out an icon for your website, but I’m too stupid to make one. If anyone wants to help please say!
The other point you’ll have noticed is that precedence is important here, so you don’t confuse your jee’s bo’s and fee’s. It’s dead simple. Just as it is on the map in the human heart, the most central important concepts come first. The order is:
And of course in most cases you’ll only need to use the first two, (or even one?), so you’ll say to your Edenite friend when she calls you “he”, “oh, actually I’m a jeebo”, at which point, she’ll laugh, apologise and share an apple with you.
I feel I should leave a set of exercises with multiple choice questions for the reader like instructional books do at the end of each chapter. “What would you call a bisexual transwoman who identifies as butch and is attracted to mainly women?”. First one to answer this one in a comment gets a gold star! It’s remarkably easy to construct these terms when you get used to it, and a whole lot easier than leaving a messy syntactically complicated sentence to express your identity should you need to at a cocktail party.
I think this jeebobojofee‘s said enough.
Afterword: it comes as no small surprise having written this that this book exists: I’m happy to give it some publicity in return for images. Apparently it’s a bit controversial. The author is quoted as saying “And while it may strike some people as odd that God called on an atheist to illustrate the Bible in Lego, remember that Moses was a murderer before he was called, and Paul a persecutor of Christians. So by comparison, I’m practically a saint.” His website, The Brick Testament is fun, and hardly more profane than the supposedly sacred and downright terrifying With You Always site.