Gender is Weird

Hi everyone! Thanks for stopping by even though I’ve been quiet lately. I’ve been on an unofficial writing hiatus trying to recover from burning myself out, but I have some thinky thoughts on gender identity right now and I want to put them into words.

Since joining Twitter and diving into the queer writer/writing community, I have learned Many Things–about queer things in general, and about myself specifically. My first big personal revelation was that I am asexual. That was cool. It was nice to realize that I’m not sick and I don’t need to keep working my way through lists of “how to improve libido.”

The second thing I have realized is that I am non-binary. Now, I had some inkling about this for a while, but I didn’t have the words or knowledge to understand it. Society conditions us to associate gender with reproductive organs. If you have a dick, you’re male, if you have a vagina, you’re female. End of story, and there are no other options. I’ve been spending months un-learning all that bullshit. It was surprisingly easy when it comes to other people. They say “I’m a man” and I say “Okay” and he is a man and I don’t give it another thought, regardless of their physical bits.

But it took me forever to realize and accept that I’m non-binary. I’ve always known I’m not “girly,” but I’m not “manly” either, and thanks to society, I figured those are the only two options and therefore I’m female because I have a female body. I assumed the “not liking girly stuff” is a matter of style and taste (let’s not even get into society’s definition of “girly stuff”). I don’t like certain female “titles” such as bridesmaid, maid of honor, Mrs., woman, or anything that has -ess on it to associate it with a female gender (hostess, mistress, etc). I don’t like those words assigned to me, but I assumed it had more to do with the social power implications (“bridesmaid” for example–“maid” implies sexual purity and/or servitude. Fuck all that).  I am fine with my anatomy. Boobs are annoying and I don’t want them, but mainly ’cause they’re big and floppy and bras are expensive, not because of any sort of dysphoria. I was raised very gender neutral, so for my whole life I’ve just thought my “not girly” behavior is just “me.” My dad wanted sons, and when he got daughters, he took them fishing and hiking and let them play in the mud anyway. My mother never tried to stuff me into dresses or force me to wear makeup.

So I assumed I’m female because anatomy and no dysphoria, and my quirks about feminine stuff are just a product of upbringing.

Then one day, suddenly, I realized there’s a third option. I was easily able to accept it with other people because they had it all figured out already and they’d tell me “Hey, I’m enby.” and I say, “Cool, what pronouns should I use?” Actually realizing that maybe I’m not girly because I’m not a girl was a mind-blowing moment. It’s not a style thing or a personal preference thing, it’s a gender identity thing. I’m not girly because I’m not a girl. HUH. WHAT?! NO WAY.

There are a zillion and a half gender identities out there, and I haven’t gone in depth with my research to determine which exact one I most fit. I’m content, for now, with leaving it at non-binary. I’m also content with using she/her pronouns, since those are the ones I’ve been using my whole life. I respect the fact that some people want to change pronouns, but for me, it’s not worth the effort of the conversation, explanation, request, and then reminders and feelings of disappointment when people forget (or worse, intentionally choose not to respect your request). So you can call me she, because that’s what I’ve known for nearly 30 years and that’s how I usually present. But if you call me he, I wont protest. You can call me “hey you.” I don’t care.

It’s an interesting thing, this “self discovery.”

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