A heated debate in multiple communities, sexuality and gender identity remain a pair of topics surrounded by questions and uncertainty.  Personally, growing up I was never confronted with some of the issues described in Jack’s essay “Gender Copia: Feminist Rhetorical Perspectives on an Autistic Concept of Sex/Gender.”  While they most likely existed and were just invisible, excluded from the brutal walls of an un-accepting high school community, this piece has really opened my eyes to how others view gender and sexuality.

I really appreciate the way Jack has textualized the ideas surrounding sexual identity in the Autistic community.  He does so in a way that allows neurotypical readers to comprehend the emotions and distress which come with particular preferences and identities.  Quoting Meyerowitz from How Sex Changed, the author describes the cultural impact of society and how “individuals articulate their sense of self with the language and forms available to them” (Jack, 2).  This particular ideology emphasizes how gender is a sort of socially absorbed idea.  One that not everyone recognizes.

Coming to Michigan, you experience a very diverse group of people.  Much more diverse than the small, conservative town I was born and raised in at least.  My ideals about gender and sexuality changed as I interacted and intellectually discussed certain topics with my peers.  I always liked how my housemate described it, as a sort of spectrum ranging from one extreme to the other.  However, Jack argues against a continuum, but for “something more like a copia, the rhetorical term Erasmus used to describe the practice of selecting ‘certain expressions and making as many variations of them as possible’” (Jack, 3).  This opens the reader to a journey through a cascade of rhetorical identifications, mostly with an emphasis on individuals with autism, but not solely isolating them.

I specifically found the performance identification exceptionally interesting.  For performance, the idea of almost “creating” an identity seems at first somewhat baffling.  However, further introspection led me to realize that everyone does this to some extent in their lives.  I know at least for myself, I will act differently depending on who I’m around.

Finally, I feel that disability has a unique interaction with nationality.  We’ve brushed up disability culture in other countries, and a lot of the times it is not pretty.  Where you come from will significantly influence how a person with a disability not only sees the world, but also sees themselves.  If your national looks down upon you for a particular characteristic, whether it be a disability, sexuality, obesity, etc. you will probably look at yourself differently than if your country had total acceptance.

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