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05 April 2012

gender panel

Later today, I'm going to participate in a panel discussion on gender non-conformity. The host emailed me a few questions I should be prepared to answer, and I've decided to post my thoughts here.


1. How do you identify with regards to gender?
2. How did you come to that gender identity?
Have you always had the same gender identity or was it different when you were growing up? If so, when and why did it change?
4. What do you want people to know about how you would like to be treated?
5. What do you want people to know about gender identity?


I commonly name myself as genderqueer, sometimes gender fluid. For me, this means if someone were to look at me through the lens of our social norms, they would see someone who sometimes acts in ways which fulfill feminine gender roles, and sometimes acts in ways which fulfill masculine gender roles. Internally, though, I stay the same, which is basically of neutral gender. So, looking at me through the lens of social norms, I am gender fluid. I consider myself genderqueer because that label doesn't limit me to being any single gender, or even being agendered.

My sex is (obviously, if you could see me) female. I have made peace with my body, via some surgical alterations which are not obvious from the outside. In general, but not always (Really, who wouldn't want to be able to pee standing up?!), I have been happy with my body's external shape (Boobs are fun too!). "Making peace" with my body represents a compromise between my female physiology and my mind, which rebelled against much of that physiology mostly because the mechanics of being female are all so damned inconvenient.

I'll address clothing here, too, because it's true that I pass quite naturally and easily as a typical heteronormative straight woman. It doesn't hurt that my primary partner is cis-male, with very masculine features. But, that's beside the point. Clothing: I prefer clothing that fits my body. I don't care who else wears the same stuff. This means I wear mostly feminine clothing because that's what fits. These hips are not going to fit into my boyfriend's jeans. Just ain't happenin. Which is a little sad, because I love the look of men's jeans.


I came to this identity in an unusually easy way. I didn't always consider myself genderqueer because I didn't always know there was such a thing. I thought I was just a strange girl who hated being a girl. That state of being didn't really bother me that much, though. Being a girl bothered me, but being bothered by being a girl did not. Does that make sense? I elaborated on this in a previous post, here. I had no dysphoria over my gender identity, I just did whatever I could to minimize the effects of my female physiology and went on with the rest of my life. So coming to this identity was merely a matter of discovering a word for that which I had always been.


Treat me as a human, because that's what I am. Be wary of assumptions. Don't tell me I can't out-rationalize you because I'm a girl - I probably will put you to shame. Don't tell me I should want to have more children because I'm a thirty-year-old woman with "only" one child - trust me, my child is deeply loved, but was not planned. I have zero maternal instinct. Raising my child properly is the greatest challenge of my life.


Gender identity is intensely personal, and completely nonpolarized. Very few people actually fit fully into either the "girl" or the "boy" box; most people do things that are "supposed" to be done by people who fulfill the "other" gender role. The human species does very little in a binary way; we represent an entire spectrum, with the majority of us falling somewhere in the middle, whether we realize it or not. Don't worry about what people call you - just be who you want to be. The path to happiness is in authenticity, not living out someone else's expectations.

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