17 April 2010

Learning because-I-want-to

I'm going to call informal learning: learning because-I-want-to. There's quite a body of literature on informal learning, much of which juxtaposes it with formal learning-what happens in schools, and non-formal learning-what happens in community centers. I started to pursue it as a frame for my dissertation, but the literature was unable to accomodate the impact of the internet on learning generally. I dropped it.

When I think about all the stuff I've learned because-I-wanted-to, I'm overwhelmed. It really is a lot of stuff and  a lot energy invested. It doesn't feel heavy though, you know like how large quantities of stuff can make you feel. It feels more like a habit, you just do it because it feels good.

I wanted to find out more about transgenders, so I went to a mixer, listened to some speakers and chatted it up with a few people afterwards. I learned alot, like in some states, you're not allowed to change your birth certificate after you transition. For F2Ms (females to males) bathrooms with a urinal and a stall with no door are a problem. Nobody uses the term transexual anymore and transgender can mean that you've had surgery or not. The idea of "gay marriage" and even the idea of "same-sex marriage" are kind of useless, neither include all the configurations of couple-dom that can now exist. I think there should be something other than marriage, so that anybody who doesn't want to "be married" can have an alternative, legally binding commitment. The French do it.

What else...Well sexuality is a whole other thing. One F2M identified as heterosexual; another said he couldn't do that; having been part of the queer community for so long.  He felt odd suddenly leaving that community, even if it were in name only.  For some, the coming out process has meant that they spent time as lesbians because it was the only choice available.  I found that interesting. M2Fs seem to transition later in life. You can't change your sex on your Passport until you've have bottom surgery, at least for the M2Fs. The hostess, Becky, said she just wanted to be treated like a woman, not a transwoman. And others said that we should try to look at the person for who they are as an individual. I get what they mean, but I don't agree with the simplicity of it. It only opens up a place for a conversation.  I told A. that had I not known he was trans, I would have thought he was a cis guy. He liked that.

I think I'm going to start calling myself queer instead of gay, and see how it feels.