Being Trans is not “Dressing Up”

There are a lot of interesting academic conferences around at the moment. More than I have the time and money to go to. One that I have been looking at with interest is the Fantastika Conference. It is, after all, named after a term coined by John Clute. Last year it clashed with Finncon, so I couldn’t go. This year, of course, there is no Finncon because of the Worldcon in Helsinki. Fantastika is at the start of July again. I’ve just taken a look at the Call for Papers and… oh dear, oh my.

The theme of the conference is “Performing Fantastika”, which is a good thing to do. Some of the things that they want papers on are perfectly sensible. For example:

  • theatrical or staged performances
  • performance in films and televisuals
  • audience performance of the text through cosplay or fan fiction
  • costuming, weapons, and other accoutrements to performance

Even “gender performativity” is an OK thing to talk about. After all, drag exists. But then we have these:

  • the gendered body or the transgendered body
  • disabled bodies

Look, I’m sorry. I’m sure it is all very fascinating for academics. But being trans is not a “performance”. Neither is being disabled. Suggesting that they are is a very good way to have the Internet fall on your head.

Try to do better, people, please?