Don't count your diricawls til they've hatched
Fri Jun 15, 2018 11:25

“Not letting society dictate how gender should be expressed and experienced is a good ideal, and it’s worth striving for,” Holland said. Until this year Claudia had not given much, if any, thought to gender, but with Holland, and Professor Blair, the fourth year had found herself considering all sorts of concepts surrounding gender, orientation, sexuality, and other associated topics that to start with had caused her intense discomfort to even contemplate, but now she seemed sufficiently at ease to engage in philosophical debate. It was peculiar, and probably not becoming of a young lady of society, yet while some details remained abhorrent to Claudia, and some notions were inarguably backward and counter-intuitive, she found herself agreeing with Holland, at least in part. That was not something she would have ever thought possible. She was still learning, too; Holland’s description of feeling misgendered regardless of which gendered pronoun was used, and their reticence to be identified by anatomy over personality provided a satisfactory answer to why they identified as non-binary. Claudia still didn’t understand, but she was a lot closer now than she had been five minutes ago.

Holland was adamant that everyone who participated in a community did so voluntarily, and Claudia was not prepared to concede the point. “No they don’t,” she argued. “Dardanius and I had no choice about the society into which we were born,” she pointed out, “nor which school we attend.” They came to RMI because their mother had; otherwise they likely would have attended their father’s school. Additionally, “Tribal communities don’t have the option of participation.” That was the extent of her knowledge on the matter, but she was certain it was factual. “Culture is based on shared history and experience,” she said, “and you can’t choose that.” Sometimes you could choose not to associate with your heritage, but you could not choose whether it existed. There were some communities, like religious groups, for example, that one couldn’t join without being a member at birth. The matter was far more complex than Holland was making out. “Leaving a community isn’t always an option, either.” She thought that if she did decide to leave RMI that her parents would allow it, but if not, she would have to keep attending the school, regardless of her own preferences.

It was difficult for Claudia to interpret how her comments about Danny’s future plans had been received. She supposed Holland would consider it none of her business (another matter on which they disagreed) and not deign to discuss it with her. Claudia didn’t mind, as she had spent sufficient time thinking about her brother’s relationship in this conversation already; she had not really anticipated doing that today. Instead, Holland suggested others before Danny had diverted from expectations. “I don’t doubt that they have,” Claudia agreed. “That’s where stories of ruin and disownment come from,” she said pointedly. Had Holland completely missed the reasons for her concern all this time? She doubted she had been vague on the matter.

“If no one else has done it openly before, then we’ll just have to be the first.” On second thoughts, Claudia was pleased to not have a drink, as she would have choked on it. This wasn’t just dating and dealing with the consequences when someone found out, then: this was not hiding it. This was looking society in the eye and saying, ‘No, we’re not conforming to your rules’. Great Merlin. Claudia had been concerned about Dardanius - and herself - before; now she might as well give up hope on a respectable marriage. Having a queer brother who kept quietly out of the way was one thing; being the younger sister of a rebel in their ranks was somehow worse. Danny wasn’t leaving the community, nor was he prepared to uphold their ideals. Holland looked squarely at Claudia as they presented their third option: “Or someone can choose to stay and change the community.”

Claudia closed her mouth so she wasn’t gaping as she stared. What were they thinking? There would be no changing the community: they would be shunned and ridiculed, written off as delirious. Oh no, oh no. This was beyond travesty, it was… there weren’t any words for it. She just sat in stunned silence while she processed exactly what Holland was proposing. They wanted to be acknowledged in a community that despised them, to put themselves at risk so it wouldn’t be so much of a struggle if anyone else should try it after them. They wanted to change the system. Claudia didn’t know if it was insane, hilarious or inspirational. She was certain it was impossible. “That’s….” she paused to try and find the right word, but none were forthcoming. She laughed a little - not a laugh of amusement, but of disbelief - as she selected, “ridiculous.” She thought about her balls, parties, galas, and all the society events she liked to attend despite the crowds and the certain knowledge that people were judging her. She thought about Holland being there alongside Dardanius. It was ludicrous.

“You can’t change a community,” she said, shaking her head, although she didn’t sound at all certain of the words she was speaking. “I mean, not just two people, not in one go. It takes time and reasons for attitudes to adjust and rules to be re-written.” Claudia was content with her society; she didn’t think she wanted it to change. Admittedly it would occasionally be pleasant to be considered equally as important as her brother (which she clearly was not, being both younger and female), but changes like the ones Holland was purporting were too radical to be taken seriously.

  • I don’t think you’ll need one - Holland, Fri Jun 15 01:45
    Claudia probably didn’t know that she had brought up a point of contention in the trans community. Trans people were often expected to perform hyperfemininity or hypermasculinity to “prove” that they ... more
    • Don't count your diricawls til they've hatched - Claudia, Fri Jun 15 11:25
      • Can I guesstimate them? - Holland, Sat Jun 16 01:10
        “You don’t get to choose the society you’re born into, but you still have choices about how you participate in that society,” Holland said patiently. “If you attend a ball with your family, you can... more
        • How are you at divination? - Claudia, Sat Jun 16 15:47
          Holland breezed over agreeing that you could be born into a society, but Claudia didn’t miss it (in fact she considered that it would be easier to discuss things with them if they just allowed her to ... more
          • I dropped it - Holland, Mon Jun 18 15:17
            “ Or it’s a quick way to become unpopular and ostracized. ” Holland had nothing reassuring to tell Claudia about that. Yes, that was a possibility, maybe even the most likely outcome, even in this... more
            • That's why you didn't see this coming - Claudia, Tue Jun 19 15:41
              Claudia didn’t see how her current community could thrive on equality in the proportions Holland was advocating. She was confident there were many social prejudices that did not apply to her... more
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