As a transgender stutterer, the issue of self-disclosure is mired. Education has made me less afraid of those parts of myself that I repress; my indeterminate gender experience; my peculiar gate as well as speech-rhythm, my limited energy and tendency to be overwhelmed.
Recording or mere “mimesis” for the stutterer is not instructive. If stutterers’ voices are copied not translated, we do not interrogate the meaning of our speech to ourselves. The non-political character of speech-therapy has robbed stutterers and other dysfluent people of the vital opportunity to actualize dysfluency as part of a political education and enlightenment on how to know the body in its relation to history better.
I dwell with this concept of listening as copying and of therapy as trying to make the copying practice more efficient. The process of electronic sound recording is no doubt an effort of copying. Similarly, to hear a sound, the ear must vibrate in a way which “captures” the sounds outside of it. Listening itself is a practice of copying. Understanding the physics of sound, we know that sound is a unique one-of-a-kind phenomenon; dysfluent voices are subversive because they disrupt the copying practice. No two stutters are alike fully. The stuttered sound, in a world of uniform oral meaning, is a last gasp of originality, that can only be made useful by making it uniform.
The insight that separates the stutter from the world of uniform speech is what politicizes the stutter. Political knowledge helps to describe these innate feelings which capture my body. The political sufferer or the political oppressed may be able to send a reflection from their subjectivity back to the meta-consciousness.
Stuttering political education is a necessity to help stutterers give voice to those truths which they must sigh upon daily. We must speak the chasm of knowledge that happens between smooth speakers and dysfluent. We must speak all the minor difficulties of getting a job when smoothness is monetized.
The stutterer must constantly be politicized because it is an ableist and individualist ideology that wants to tell us dysfluency is a personal problem and not a societal one.
Stuttering is a problem that all of society pushes to the wayside while in reality it exposes the cracks in daily life and its rhythms. Once dysfluency achieves a politicized valence, the flows of democracy and speech might be opened up.