Gender: Its Function and Origins
Before we can discuss what is to be done, we need to know what is. And, as always, the place to start when understanding a social system is it’s material base. The material relations that produce the social system provide us with the best grounding for understanding the social system itself.
Material relations are relations of production. That is, they are the way we relate to the various ways we labor and produce things. All of society is based upon these relations of production and they produce all of our social systems. Gender is no different.
So where does gender’s material base lie? Gender is produced primarily by the division of reproductive labor. Reproductive labor is any labor that helps to produce the next generation, including sex, birth, childcare, and homemaking, and gender is defined by how this labor is divided up, with the different genders being distinct classes which are expected to perform specific sorts of tasks regarding reproductive labor.
The way gender differs between cultures is determined by how these tasks are divvied up between the genders. The particular characteristics that this produces are what is known as the superstructure. So, while gender is produced by this material base, it also involves an amalgamation of various stereotypes, ways of dress, formal speech, etc in its superstructure which differ how we experience our gender.
And this applies to all cultures. The Bugi people of Indonesia, rather than the two genders of our society, have five genders in total. Calabai and calalai people have biological characteristics that have been gendered as male and female respectively, but they adopt the reproductive labor tasks typically assigned to makkunrai (roughly equivalent to women) and oroané (roughly equivalent to men) which provides them with a different social class. More interestingly, however, are the bissu, the fifth gender, which fills a role distinct from the other four. They fill special ceremonial religious practices and are said to be a mixture of the four other genders. Whereas makkunrai and calabai take on typically feminine reproductive labor tasks, such as homemaking, and oroané and calalai take on typically masculine ones, such as providing support for their spouse, the bissu transcend this and engage in their own tasks.
The Bugi gender system shows how malleable gender can be, but it also provides us with an excellent example of the material base to gender. The five genders of the Bugi are distinguished by how reproductive labor is divided among the Bugi people. Everything else is produced by this division.
Our culture is different from theirs but both are based upon the same sorts of divisions of reproductive labor. What produces gender is how these tasks are divvied up and all else follows from this.
This talk of material relations so often come down to naming capitalistic relations as the base of things, but this does not hold with gender. While gender and capitalism work together and are a part of the same social order, they do not share the same material base. This isn’t to say that the material base of gender has no relation to capitalism; reproductive labor is required for producing new laborers for capitalistic production and capitalistic production tends to define the exact nature of male reproductive labor.
Sex and Gender
Since gender is an expression of these relations of production and not of biology, where does that leave sex? Some psuedomarxists claim sex forms the material base of gender, but this is a laughable understanding of historical materialism which centers biology before relations of production. Biology influences our reality, but our social systems find their basis in our material conditions.
But sex is a thing and, if it isn’t the basis of gender, what is it? Well, this formulation isn’t wrong, per se, it’s merely backwards. Gender forms the basis of sex. We are not born with sex already within us. We have penises, vaginas, breasts, beards, chromosomes, etc, but these things are not sex on their own. They are features of our biology, but we group them into sexes. When we call penises boy parts we are creating and imposing gender upon the body.
What this means is that sex is the gendering of our biological features. We assign gender to our biology and claim them to be innate. This is used to present the gender class system as a natural thing that just exists rather than a social system that gets imposed upon us. By gendering our bodies, we act as if gender just is rather than it being something that we’ve created. As such, sex serves to reinforce and defend gender.
Because sex isn’t some inherent thing, but an element of gender’s superstructure, it has changed over time. The earliest people could only have gendered the features that are plainly visible, such as genitals. It’s only as our understanding of anatomy progressed that we were able to gender things like ovaries. Most recently, chromosomes have been gendered because of their relationship to features we’ve already gendered.
But chromosomes haven’t always been gendered. Half a century ago, no one would look at someone with breasts and a vagina and gendered their bodies male, even if their chromosomes read XY. However, in 1986, the Spanish hurdler Maria José Martínez-Patiño failed a chromosome test in the 1986 Olympics which led people to reject her as male sexed. Three years prior, she had passed a sex verification saying she was a female sexed based on older methods, but, because she is XY, she failed a chromosome test. In previous epochs, no one would have questioned her body’s womanhood, but, thanks to the gendering of chromosomes, her body was deemed male and she was shunned and shamed.
Enforcement and Sexual Violence
Gender is the earliest class systems and, as a result, it precedes the state, even in its earliest most basic form. This means that, unlike capitalism, race, neuronormativity, and the various other class systems, the state is not the primary means by which gender is imposed upon people. This isn’t to say that the state doesn’t impose gender, but it is supplementary, not primary. By the time states were cropping up, gender had already solidified itself and become quite adept at imposing itself upon others.
So, if not the state, how is it imposed? Through sexual violence. When we look to statistics on the issues, what we find is that rates of sexual violence are higher among women than among men and among queer people than among straight men. Some forms of sexual violence are higher among straight women than queer women and some forms of sexual violence are higher among queer women than straight women. Trans people face higher rates of sexual violence than cis people of the same gender as them. This is saddening on its own and the real cost of it upon the lives of those affected should not be ignored. This is a horrifying state of affairs and this should not be diminished in any way.
These higher rates of sexual violence are primarily against lower classes within the gender system. Straight, cis men are placed above women and queer people and straight cis men are less likely to experience sexual violence than women or queer people, while women tend to have rates more similar to queer people. This shows that sexual violence is used primarily against those relegated to the lower class and those who are divergent from enforced gender norms.
Sexual violence fills the role among women and queer people that police violence fills among many others. Indeed, while police violence does exist, it is quite frequently sexually charged when applied to women and queer people. Among queer people specifically, sexual violence is often done with explicitly correctional purposes. That is, sexual violence, particularly rape, is often used against queer people specifically to make them straight and cis. This is when the role of sexual violence is most explicit, but it is always for this purpose. Even when sexual violence isn’t done for this explicit purpose, it always serves the purpose of enforcing the dominant gender system upon the victim.
When it comes to sex workers, this can be especially pronounced. As sex workers are performing work that’s illegal almost everywhere in the world, they are unable to properly report sexual violence against them to the police and, when they do, they are often jailed for engaging in sex work. This means that sexual violence done against them can be done unhampered by interference from the state in ways it is not possible among other groups. In addition, we find sex workers are more likely to be women or queer than straight cishet men. This is not by mistake, but a specific venue for sexual violence against women and queer people where it can be done with impunity.
The Modern Gender Binary
There aren’t any current genderless societies. Though there are many variations, all have created a division of reproductive labor which has produced a gender system. Indeed, they’ve been around since at least the first civilizations developed the first writing systems. Gender is the first system of power developed by society.
But these are systems, not a system, and the modern gender binary has been enforced on almost the whole world. Some different gender class systems still exist, but, by and large, the advent of the liberal social order as a global social order rather than a regional one has produced a single gender system which all other systems are seen as perversions of. Other gender systems today serve as hold outs within a larger global system.
The modern system is a European one, but it’s one that developed during and through colonialism. As Europeans expanded their power around the globe, they came into contact with various other gender systems and, rather than seeing difference, they saw a problem. They responded to it by enforcing their own gender system upon the various peoples their invaded and colonized. But enforcing a gender system upon other groups like that necessarily transforms it.
When a system like this is imposed upon another culture, it will lose some characteristics and gain others, purely from the process of enforcement. Because the imperialists can’t allow for the old system to persevere, they need to make their own system less flexible so that it can’t account for the old system, forcing people to find a place in the new. Religion also added new significance to it. While gender always had religious significance, the enforcement of the single gender system was done in service of and by religious institutions to a greater extent than it had before. Christian missionaries would force the European colonial gender system wherever they went and they tied it closely to Christian religious morality. This contributed to the lack of flexibility because it infused gender with religious zeal that had previously not played as large of a part.
And this enforcement came at the expense of the people it was enforced upon. Whereas previously, many first nations peoples had third genders which were accepted within their societies and often held honored positions, people who today still identify with those third genders are oppressed and marginalized. This enforcement also served to destroy culture. Cultural practices tied to older gender systems were no longer able to be practiced and European cultural practices got enforced upon them. European, Christian marriages were spread across the globe alongside the gender system and would transform local marriage practices along the way.
It was also transformed by the rise of capitalism. The pre-colonial gender system was tied strongly to the economic systems dominant in Europe prior to the rise of capitalism. Marriage served as a means of securing alliances among the upper classes and as a means of stability among the lower classes. Gender was defined by the intrigues of court or the necessities of toil in the fields or in the cities. But, with capitalism, we find it more and more tied to wage labor and marriage transformed with it. The male part of reproductive labor was increasingly to labor for a capitalistic boss and the female part to support his wage labor from home. This effect on the material base of gender caused it to transform, both in how the classes worked and in the characteristics of the superstructure.
This new system has a few characteristics which define it. Not all of them developed at once, but they’ve been imposed upon the whole world. They are as follows:
1. Exactly two genders recognized by the dominant power structure: Man and woman. Other genders are seen as perversion and are shunned and marginalized.
2. These two genders are seen as identical to your biology and fixed from birth. While every gender system ties gender to biology, the modern system equates the two. Being a man in this system isn’t tied to having a penis, it is having a penis. And this gender is immutable. You can’t change it. If you’re born as a man, you’re seen as a man no matter what. There are no options or alternatives.
3. Marriage is an economic contract between a man and a woman. Men and women are supposed to sign an agreement to be faithful and to stay together and violation of that is seen as a breach of contract and therefore bad.
4. Marriage is a personal choice done for love rather than a social choice done for necessity. Gone are marriages for alliances or arranged marriages, for the most part. Marriage is only a choice for the two who are getting married.
5. In marriage, the man is expected to make money to support the woman and the woman is expected to clean up the home, take care of the children, cook, and shop.
Not all of these characteristics are unique to the modern system and some of them are improvements on old systems, but they are imposed upon everyone which destroys individual culture and choice.
As has been referenced previously, gender is a system of class, and is one defined by the domination of manhood over society. This is why another name for the gender class system is patriarchy. Gender as a social system is patriarchy and patriarchy is the social class system of gender. Within this class system, we find three distinct classes, two accepted and one subversive.
First, we have men. When dividing reproductive labor, men are the ones who are tasked with controlling reproductive labor and the fruits of that labor and with engaging in economic labor to support those who perform primarily reproductive labor. The exception to this is sexual relations where they engage with them directly, but they’re expected to be dominant and in control. This serves as the material base for maleness. The superstructure is more expansive. We find men are assigned with taking action, with increasing strength, and with constant competitiveness. Given their control of reproductive labor and domination over women, this is the ruling class within patriarchy.
Women, on the other hand, are the ruled. They are tasked with performing most reproductive action, with housekeeping, food preparation for the family, child rearing, and other such tasks. They’re also expected to engage in sexual relations, but have the relations controlled by the man. They have their labor controlled and confined by men and have the fruits of that labor commanded by men. This is reflected in the superstructure around them. They’re expected to be subservient and passive, to accept that which comes for them, etc.
This class dynamic of man over woman is the principal dynamic of patriarchy, but they do not comprise the only two classes. Instead, we find that some people relate to reproductive labor differently than how it’s imposed upon the population. This is especially the case with regards to sex, when someone engages in sexual relations that do not fit with the dynamics imposed by patriarchy. This includes people who are sexually attracted to people of the same gender (gay/lesbian people), of multiple genders (bisexual/pansexual people), or no gender (asexual people). In addition, people whose gender is different from the one patriarchy assigns to them can’t be classed as neatly as people who accept the assignment by gender. While they might be personally men or women, they aren’t treated by society in quite the same way so they comprise a distinct social class. Characteristic to this is the detachment of sex and romance from reproducing the next generation. While it’s still possible for all of these groups to reproduce the next generation, it is no longer a necessary part of sex and romance.
Since this third class is defined by it’s difference from those of the first two classes, it is named queer. Queer people are all those who relate differently to the division of reproductive labor assigned to them by patriarchy. Because of the different relations, queer people are inherently subversive to the class system as a whole and constitute the revolutionary class under patriarchy.
This queerness is a particular characteristic of the modern gender system. Other gender systems do not have the same class system and, thus, have different categories for people. Indeed, in places where older gender systems have been maintained, it isn’t accurate to default to talking about queerness. Many people who identify with genders from older gender systems are queer by virtue of the modern gender system being imposed upon them, but many of them aren’t because of the complexities of being in communities with those genders.
Saying “Yes” to Gender
Class, class, class. We are dominated and controlled. Sorted and divided. But where do we factor into all this? People see class like this as merely imposed, but that fails to account for the ways we actually interact with it. It isn’t simply imposed upon us. We are active participants within it, we perform it.
Here we can listen to the analysis of Judith Butler: Performative acts, that is all the little actions you take which construct an identity, are key to understanding how gender functions on an individual level. We find these in the most basic things we do and say, “I am a woman”, “No, I can’t play with that. It’s a boy toy”, “Boys will be boys”. These acts produce an identity, both within ourselves and within others. You identify as a woman or a man and identify others as men or women by engaging in these acts.
This is hardly done freely. The violence of the system is inherent and systemic. We perform these acts surrounded by the violence of gender. But we still perform them. Gender isn’t content with forcing itself upon us. Instead, it forces us to say “yes” to it.
This serves as a method of control and reproduction. Gender isn’t inherent, but it spreads by assigning us to a class and forcing us to say yes to that class. “Yes, I am a man. It is who I am and who I always have been. I cannot escape it or deny it. I am a man.” This is nothing but a lie we are forced to repeat. But by repeating it enough, we come to believe it. Gender becomes natural, inescapable, eternal. It ceases to be an imposed identity and becomes an eternal part of who we are. By objecting to my gender, you are objecting to that which is inherently me.
Here lies one of gender’s greatest defense mechanisms: Ourselves. We insist upon it and reject those who turn away from it. It becomes an unholy act for those who turn from the path. Indeed, it seems to us as if there’s no other option. We say yes because that’s all we can say. It is made inconceivable that it could be any other way.
The Communist Movement
But now we must speak of communism to understand how gender relates to the rest of society. For that, we must know what communism is.
“We call communism the real movement which abolishes the present state of things. The conditions of this movement result from the premises now in existence.”
Karl Marx, The German Ideology
Communism conceived in this way is a movement against the present social order, one seeking the liberation of those oppressed. This should not be seen as an ideal we strive for, but a real, active movement that exists in the present day. We don’t find communism in plans for the future, but, rather, in a worker sabotaging his workplace, a wife who escapes from her abusive husband with her children, Naxalites engaging in guerrilla warfare against the Indian government, rioters rejecting the police to loot and burn their cities, etc.
Within the communist movement we find all the important work being done in the present day. The communist movement isn’t about some far off ideal, but the immediate communism it produces. It’s an active revolt against the present state of things which is communizing society immediately, not some theorists in a university considering the world from his armchair. It simply states the present state of things must go, and then takes action to make it so.
But this state of things should not and cannot be conceived of as only one system of class or one element of the society we live in. The present state of things is not capitalism or gender or race or the state. Rather, it is the totality of liberal society, and every system contained therein. As such, the communist movement finds itself in stark contrast with liberalism and gives us a counterpoint to the failed analysis and politics of liberalism.
Liberal analyses reduce oppression to a number of separate, but intersecting, systems of oppression. This renders the fights against them as separate, but allied. There’s an anti-racist movement, a feminist movement, an economic justice movement, etc, but these are only allies, not the same movement. This forms the liberal conception of intersectionality. This liberal version of intersectionality presents systems that can be domineering (among the oppressed) or passive (among the privileged), thus a white gay man only ever truly experiences anti-queer oppression and all other systems are silent to him.
In truth, oppressive systems are more than that. There is no one untouched by the domination of class systems within liberal society. Everyone, from the most powerful capitalist to the lowliest worker, from the domineering patriarch to the uncertain young trans woman, from the controlling asylum administrator to the schizophrenic force-fed medication, from the white gentrifier to a black family pushed out of their family apartment all experience the control of these systems. No one is left untouched. Rather than being systems of passive control, they are an active totalitarian whole, a totality.
This totality encompasses every part of society, dominates every member of society, and alienates everyone and everything contained within. It is inescapable and domineering. Totality is where communist analysis, rather than liberal analysis, must lead us.
We find similar problems in liberal conceptions of identity politics which see oppression as done to specific identities over classes. This renders the identity as the base rather than the superstructure. What this means is that the liberal conception of liberation is respecting your identity and treating your identity fairly. But, even if we do this, our identities would still oppress us because it fails to address the underlying conditions that cause them. To them, stripping away the domination of the specific system of oppression we experience renders us free from it, becoming equal with those with privileges. But this leaves the totality untouched.
Liberal politics is ultimately one of reformism, not revolution or abolition. Communist politics provides us with a path forward through abolitionism, not reformism. Gender can’t be reformed to free us, it must be abolished.
When discussing material bases and superstructures, it’s important to acknowledge existing analyses of these systems. The more traditional analysis of these systems view the base purely in terms of capitalistic relations of production. The base, in this view, is purely the capitalist ownership of the means of production. This basal relation then goes on to enforce other systems of oppression within the broader liberal social order. Gender is not basal, but an aspect of the superstructure produced by capitalistic relations of production. But this view ignores the basal aspects of other systems of oppression. Gender is not merely an identity. It is fundamentally a relationship of production producing a system of class. Nor are gender and capitalism alone in being basal. We find basal aspects to neuronormativity, white supremacy, the state, etc.
However, it would be a mistake to interpret these other systems being basal to imply they’re separate. If we do so, we run into the same problems liberal analyses of intersectionality create. When capitalistic production goes on, it relies upon the reproductive labor imposed upon women at home. The value produced in the workplace would be impossible without new generations of workers being reproduced and without support for the workers through reproductive labor of their partners and that they do themselves. In this way, reproductive labor is unpaid labor done for the capitalist class as much as it is an independent system of class to capitalism.
We also find similarities in the enforcement of cisheteronormative systems and the enforcement of disability. Both disabled people, both in the form of physical disability and neurodivergence, are socially defined in terms of the ability to engage in normal laboring. When someone is unable to labor for a boss in ways other workers are able to, that is made into a disability. And queerness is a reflection of this within relations of production. Queerness is a lack of engagement with the enforced labor of gender, afterall. It is no mistake that queerness so frequently gets conceived of in terms of mental illness. They are materially reflections of each other in different parts of the base.
And this discussion cannot ignore the relations of production inherent to the state. Ultimately, the state is labor. It is as much engaging in labor to break up a strike as it is to turn cloth into a coat. But this labor is not the same. Cops are not workers. Unlike a worker, a cop breaking up a strike is not producing value for the capitalist class. Instead, cops are enforcing the structures of labor production themself. This is, in itself, a vastly different relationship of production than that of workers. They are not unrelated, but the labor of the state is the labor which serves to enforce the relations of production which produce class systems. Unlike what many theories of the state would say, this is not superstructural. This is basal.
Of course, other systems of oppression have basal elements as well which connect in similar ways. A full overview of all the ways all the systems of oppression interact is outside of the scope of this writing, but cannot be forgotten.
These relations of production are not separate. They might be functioning in different ways, but they form a singular basal system. Oppression is not a variety of interacting systems, but a singular totalizing base, a totality. This totalizing base creates the space for a communist conception of intersectionality which abandons the mistakes of the liberal analysis without abandoning the inherent connection between different forms of oppression.
The totalizing nature of the base means you can’t change aspects of the base without addressing the base as a whole. Indeed, we find that as we moved from previous social orders to the present liberal social order, gender transformed to match the new sort of society that was produced. This was because reproductive labor is intertwined with all other material relations. Changing the relations of production for economic activity necessarily changes the division of reproductive labor. The base functions organically as a singular system. There is one base, one system. This is what it means for a society to be a totality.
At its most basic, gender accelerationism is using gender’s own process of decay to destroy the gender class system. It’s class abolitionism applied to gender, the revolutionary overhaul of society to do away with gender itself. This cannot be done separate of the abolition of the whole of present society. Totality demands we view it as the same system as other systems of oppression.
As such, we cannot engage in gender abolition without abolishing all forms of class. To do away with gender, so to must go capitalism, race, neuronormativity, and the state. These things are one system. They form a single liberal social order which cannot be allowed to continue. Our object is not just an end to one part, but an end to class society itself.
This is the process of the communist movement. As such, gender accelerationism is gender communism, and since gender acceleration is the path to abolishing gender, gender communism is gender accelerationism.
Gender Identity Under Communism
Many people fear that, through the abolition of gender, our own gender identities will be taken from us. That, in abolishing gender, we will force you to stop identifying with your gender, however much you might enjoy that identity.
In many cases like this, it’s elucidative to make an analogy. For this, let’s talk about bakers. When someone engages with the capitalist system by baking, they tend to form an identity around this baking. That is, having a career in which you bake creates the identity of baker. Similarly, when you engage with reproductive labor in particular ways, you create particular gender identities, both in the ways you conform with the gender that has been given to you and in the ways in which you reject the gender that has be given to you. In both cases, an element of the base is creating within you an identity. Which is to say, your identity stemming from your social position is superstructural.
So will we force people to stop identifying with being a baker or being a woman? The short answer is, “No, we’re concerned with changing the base and allowing the superstructure to land where it may,” but a more extensive examination is in order.
What happens to my identity as a baker once the capitalist system of careers which produced that identity is abolished? This is much more interesting of a question, anyway. Without the enforcement of labor characterized by capitalism, no longer is someone who bakes bread forced into staying within that career. This abandonment of the basal causes of the identity leaves the identity unfixed. The identity may persist, for example if you really love to bake bread, you may continue to identify with being a baker, but there’s no underlying logic to the identity nor does it come out of or reinforce structures of power like identifying as a baker today. But, unlike today, you can engage with baking without it becoming something fixed to you, without becoming a baker.
Over time, the identity of being a baker will likely fade, tho there are many social factors which could allow it to persist, but it would lose its social and political significance. There is no need to enforce the abandonment of the identity of baker to do away with the career system which has produced it.
In this way, there is no need or desire to force people to stop identifying with their gender. The end of gender as a system of power is our goal, and the end to gender identities is an eventual result, if it will happen at all, not something of importance or which we should strive toward.
Tied up with all parts of the present state of things is the necessity for continual growth. States and white supremacy push forever outward, and often inward, through imperialistic and colonial expansion. Capitalism seeks the infinite expansion of capital. And gender? The ultimate purpose it serves is the continuous expansion of people. The reproductive labor its based around all serves unending population growth.
This unsustainable growth is characteristic of the present state of things and connects all the systems of oppression within it. Communism of all sorts must ultimately challenge this need to grow and expand. Socialism destroys the need for economic growth, anarchy the need for state growth, queerness ultimately decouples love and reproduction. No longer are we all constrained to roles which force us to reproduce continuously and, instead, we can live free to choose whether we want to or not.
By destroying the need for growth and ending endless reproduction, queerness and communism in general abolishes the future as we know it. Here we find the most radical end to queerness. Through queerness we free ourselves from the need to grow and, in turn, say “no” to the future. And, with that radical “no”, we can imagine it could be another way.
Twilight of Gender
Saying “No” to Gender
“No.” Not everyone says yes to gender. “I reject it.” These people have chosen a different path, a different life. “I am not.” This forms a different identity.
When you get assigned the male class, but you loudly assert the opposite, you have said “no” to gender. Gender gave you what you are, but you turned away in disgust. You are not a man, you are something else. Some find comfort in womanhood, others in something entirely outside, but whichever path you take, you have said no to gender.
Similarly, when you get assigned the female class, but, again, you loudly assert the opposite, you have said “no” to gender. Your embrace of manhood or something beyond constitutes a rejection, a turning away, from gender.
When you sit apart from your assignment, you are transgender.
Cracks in the System
The modern gender system is weak. It has spelled its own doom by how it has formed itself. When the modern gender system spread itself, it gave up flexibility to destroy competing systems and imposed itself upon all cultures. But this leaves it unable to account for many people. Many have great difficulty with the gender assigned to them and, because they are given no alternatives and their gender is seen as immutable, they end up subversive to the system itself.
People whose gender doesn’t match with the gendering of their biological features aren’t exactly new. Many previous systems had explicit classes for people like this, such as the Bugi gender system. These are multigendered systems and they have a space for those who aren’t willing to accept the gender assigned to their biology.
But trans people don’t relate to the gender system in this way. Whereas the people with different genders and sexes in multigendered systems are accepting the gender within their class system, trans gender are rejecting it. The modern gender system has no place for trans people, so we’re subversive to it. As such, trans people are not transhistorical, but a historically contingent feature of the post-colonial gender system which has been imposed upon the world. Nor are trans people necessarily a feature everywhere in the world. Within gender systems which allow for gender variations, it’s often inaccurate to call people acting within the context of their gender system trans because of how the system they live under functions. These gender systems were less repressive because of their flexibility, but they’re more robust. Because of their robustness, combating them would require different strategies particular to that particular system.
Unable to, or unwilling to, accept our place within the gender class system, trans people are dissent against it, and gender as it exists today cannot account for us. Other gender systems have been more flexible, more able to account for everyone within them. Multigender systems give options for people unable to work with the gender associated with their biology. This means that people can fit within the system easier and gives the system strength. Our system does not do this, and this is a crack within the system. It provides us with reason to say “no”.
As discussed earlier, performativity requires you to actively accept the class you’re assigned to by gender. This is a strength of gender because it forces you to be complicit in your own oppression, but it’s also a weakness. Since your class is based, in part, on your active acceptance of it, this creates the path to active rejection. Indeed, if enough people reject the gender assigned to them, gender cannot function.
And trans people are those rejecting their gender, saying “no” to gender. This is a modern phenomenon which is subversive toward gender and presents us with a path forward. Here we find the core to the revolutionary potential of queer people. If everyone says “no” to gender, everyone ceases to accept it, then gender is lost. We find similar strategies among resistance to other class systems. People fight capitalism through a refusal to work, a general strike against it. Similarly, a collective “no” to gender rejects the class system and allows us to take it to its knees.
This would be nothing but a revolution. It’s an overhaul of society which allows for queer people to take its reigns and remake it in our image. This act of class abolition by queer people, including a self-abolition of our own class, is a daring attack upon gender. It takes over society to transform it and eliminate class from it. This means that such a revolution would be the dictatorship of the queer.
Dictatorship of the Queer
Far too often people do not seek the liberation of queer people, only our assimilation. Gay assimilation is the mainstream LGBT rights movement, but it does not go far enough. If all we do is assimilate, we are still subject to the power and domination of the gender class system. We aren’t free, just folded into the existing system of oppression and domination.
And it’s dangerous, too. Assimilation provides gender with the chance to escape its final end. If gender can assimilate gayness, lesbianism, bisexuality, transgender people, and all other modes of queerness, it will become flexible and accommodate for the forces driving it towards its end. If we assimilate, gender might never end.
But liberation cannot be found within the context of existing systems of power. If we simply turn to the state, to capitalist businesses, to patriarchal marriage, and call for us to be included, we will never be free. Doing so only perpetuates state power, capitalist power, and male power. But we must create queer power.
Nor can that liberation come through imposing identities upon people. There is no benefit to our liberation and the abolition of the gender system to prevent someone who’s identity is rooted in a different gender system or who finds joy in their queer identity from identifying in that way. As has been discussed previously, it is the base we are concerned with, not the identities in the superstructure.
Queer power is separate from the existing institutions. We declare our difference, unashamed and proud. We don’t join their projects. We don’t participate in their systems. We don’t increase their power. In its place, we must make our own!
This means creating queer organizations and institutions. Counterpowers to the dominant patriarchal class system. These allow for us to provide people with what they need for transition, including providing HRT drugs, supporting victims of sexual assault, empowering women outside of the system, and ultimately providing spaces to be different, to escape the domination of gender.
It’s important that these institutions don’t recreate the sexual violence that enforces gender. This is difficult, but necessary. We cannot allow sexual abusers or sexual assault to creep its way into our spaces. Queer power means safety from sexual assault and abuse. These things empower and enforce patriarchy, so we have no place for them.
Patriarchal behavior is an act of violence. Violence is what it practices. We cannot oppose that through passivity and non-violence. Queer power needs violence to destroy gender. A sustained terror against those who seek to enforce gender and prevent gender’s death, a pink terror, is a necessity in the revolution against gender.
We find no allies in the state or the capitalist class. The cops and corporations are our enemies, not our allies. Indeed, Pride finds its roots in riots against the police. We have only ourselves to rely upon for our own liberation, not the institutions of violence that already exist. We must destroy gender on our own terms, not on theirs.
This means that the queer organizations and institutions we build for queer power must be militant, armed organizations. It’s not enough to provide a space outside of patriarchy, we must arm ourselves to defend those spaces and to render an assault upon the overarching structures of power that seek to enforce gender upon us. This means that our queer organizations must be, or include, queer militias to fight against the structures of power.
These queer militias provide us with a framework to fight against sexual assault, too. Queer militias can provide protection and justice where the state will not to women and queer people. This is especially true of those most vulnerable. Sex workers often cannot turn to the police to report sexual assault against them. Their work is illegal, so they risk punishment for the sex they were having, even if it was rape. Indeed, often the sexual assault they experience comes from the police themselves. Queer militias provide them with a way to deal with sexual assault.
This can also provide queer people with a framework for fighting against misgendering and deadnaming. When people continuously and knowingly use the wrong pronouns and names for others, it is a form of violence against them. Doing so frequently leads to self-harm and sometimes suicide by queer people. As such, we need to defend and back other queer people up. Such violence against queer people cannot go unanswered and cannot be acceptable. But we should keep proportional responses in mind. Misgendering doesn’t warrant murder.
Gender won’t go down without a fight; a counter-revolution will appear to tear us down. Against the gender accelerationist movement, movements will develop to defend, or even regress, gender. Historically, revolutionary movements often find themselves followed by fascist movements rejecting the call for the new world and seeking a rejuvenation of the present one through rebirth. These fascist movements embrace hypermasculinity and seek to exacerbate the domination of masculinity over society.
Here we find our clearest enemy, and the new fascist movements of the present will react to our accelerationism with reaction and counter-revolution. Here the queer militias will be needed to defend the revolution against advancing reaction. Conflict will inevitably get bloody and we’ll fight in the streets as needed to shut down the counter-revolution and ensure our victory.
These new movements won’t be our only opponents. The forces of liberalism defending the present state of things will see us as a threat as much as the advancing fascists will, and their opposition will be just as brutal. Cops will oppose us in force, and we’ll need force to defend our gains, protect the revolution, and advance our victory.
Victory At All Costs
We cannot stop part way or allow for our defeat. Gender means the domination of all and sustained violence against women and queer people. We cannot allow for our defeat and our eyes must be upon victory. This isn’t merely a choice, it’s a necessity.