I recently changed this blog’s name from “gender punk” to “gender punk 360”. Why? For ethical and branding reasons:
Primarily, I owned “genderpunk.net” but not “genderpunk.com”. However, I do own “genderpunk360.com” and think a “.com” makes a better impression on potential readers.
More abstractly, “gender punk” is a general term used widely in our community , which I felt I had no right to co-opt directly. While I’m casting a wide net in describing my experiences with gender, the problem lies in the word “my”.
But “gender punk 360” sounds like a magazine title or website, i.e., a brand. In this way I feel I can “own” it.
I take inspiration from George Orwell’s description of the difference between the words “Communist International” and “Comintern”:
Communist International, for instance, call up a composite picture of universal human brotherhood, red flags, barricades, Karl Marx, and the Paris Commune. The word Comintern, on the other hand, suggests merely a tightly knit organization and a well-defined body of doctrine. It refers to something almost as easily recognized, and as limited in purpose, as a chair or table. Comintern is a word that can be uttered almost without taking thought, whereas Communist International is a phrase over which one is obliged to linger at least momentarily.
Here, like “gender punk”, the community owns “Communist International”. However, Lenin and his comrades owned “Comintern”. It served as a Soviet brand. Likewise, my brand is now “gender punk 360”, referring to something “easily recognized and limited in purpose” as per the Orwell quote. “Gender punk” is an abstract, ill-defined concept. “Gender punk 360” is a specific realization of my experiences.
I don’t even identify as “gender punk”. I’m simply a punk who lives transgender. These two identities, “punk” and “transgender”, inform every facet of my life.
The number “360”, as in 360 degrees, implies a holistic, circular, and comprehensive view. I’ve always been a systems-thinker and this writing proceeds accordingly.
- George Orwell. The Orwell Reader: Fiction, Essays, and Reportage. 1945.