Hi, i’m Peter, and I am a “queer, male identified, cis-gendered 25 year old”
The best lesson I ever learned in journalism school was to own my bias. The premise is that no one is ever 100% neutral in a story, and a great journalist is one who takes sides, and allows his passions to influence how he crafts a story. It sounds a little unethical, but I suppose that’s why i’m writing this introduction to me as an author, so you can know where i’m coming from, and what my shortcomings are.
First, in the interest of being honest and ethical, the first paragraph is mostly a lie. I never went to journalism school, and I presume the lesson i’m mentioning either isn’t taught, or i’m butchering it somehow. It was a good introduction to me introducing myself, because I feel I need to tell stories to get that information across. To continue that trend, here is a short story starring me:
You need to sell yourself to get a house in the city these days, so it’s helpful to guess what kind of people posted the ad, and tailor your response to appeal to them. The ad for the house I live in now was on craigslist, and read ‘non-racism, gay friendly, multi-generational, anti-opression etc.’, I figured it was a bunch of 25-35 year old recovering vegans, so I respond with an email, identifying myself as a ‘queer, male identified, cis-gendered 25 year old who works in education’ (as journalism isn’t the sort of field that gets you housing). I got a positive response, and met with my future landlady, who happens to also be an occupant of the house. I’ll write about the awkward power dynamics involved in living with your landlady another day, but today i’ll share an anecdote about her reaction to my self description.
As it turns out, I was dead wrong about the people placing the ad. The ad was placed by an older woman who happens to be a fairly well known and respected feminist author. She was confused by my use of the phrase ‘male identified’. I explained that I was using it in the same way that hetero couples sometimes identify their spouses as partners, and it was meant to be a signal to perspective house-mates that I was trans friendly (and hip). What I learnt is that a couple decades ago, male identified had a different meaning. It was a pejorative used to describe a feminist writer who was working to resolve feminist issues within the framework of male power. A feminist who was to focused on catering to men, and maintaining the status quo.
So you learn something new every day, and I’m probably misremembering a bit of what she described male-identified to mean. The salient point is this: I am a male-identified writer. I love the tools created and used by feminist thinkers, and I intend to use them in my writing here, but it would be dishonest to claim I was a traditional feminist writer, and foolhardy for me to try to write like one. In the end, i’m interested in talking about the role gender plays in my life, my interests, and my sexuality, all of which exist in a space which is very male dominated, and all of which I experience through a skin of male privilege. So there it is, i’m a 25 year old, queer, male identified writer, and I hope you enjoy this magazine.