Sometimes I feel like my whole gender identity thing is just really silly. Does it really matter what pronouns people use for me? In practice, it almost kind of doesn’t, since basically all strangers everywhere still use words that match my biological sex to address/talk about me, since I am almost always read as belonging to the ‘corresponding’ gender. The “best” I could aim for in my general interactions with the world at large would be to create a personal presentation that resulted in a healthy mix of masculine and feminine pronouns from different people – but that kind of straddling the line is dangerous and scary.
The thing is, I’m not super emotionally affected by whether people remember to use the “right” terms or not. And of course all of the people I’m out to about it are people who would never have judged me based on my gender anyway, or expected me to fit in some sort of gender box in the first place. Because you all are awesome like that. And the whole point that my desire for gender neutral pronouns is kind of intended to make is that the gender boxes our society naturalizes are silly, and constricting, and dumb, and you all pretty much know that.
Gender fuckery can sometimes give me a really great sense of fulfillment. It makes me feel more centred and myself when I know that I’m with someone who is actively supporting my ongoing effort to reframe the way I conceptualize myself. Because ultimately, I think that’s what it’s about for me. When I think of myself as a woman, I have a sense that I am somehow failing at that – and while there’s all kinds of methods of dealing with this kind of problematized self-image, and lots of people defy gender boxes without changing the words they use to describe themselves (there’s plenty of comfortably female-identified but super butch women out there), this is really just what feels right for me, and what makes me feel most able to just be me. And that’s worth a lot.
I also think that a big part of the silliness I sometimes feel comes from a more generalized problem I have with being vulnerable to other people – I almost always feel similarly silly about asking for things I want sexually, for instance. Because I’m asking for something from someone else, and they could turn me down or laugh at me (not that this has ever really happened, evil ex’s pathologization of my needs aside), and regardless of how legitimate or central to my sexuality the request may be, it always feels trivial in that moment for some reason.
So I guess, yeah, I totally acknowledge that every single one of us possesses our own combination of traits that society defines as feminine, and others that are defined as masculine, and I’m not trying to suggest I’m anything special in that regard; I’m really not. But I like the idea of making explicit the fact people don’t actually fit these categories – not least since so many people actually really think there’s something wrong with not fitting in certain ways.
My most favouritest comment I got in response to the various comings out I did a few months back was this:
“…retraining neural pathways on gender & requiring frequent thinking about it seems inherently desirable, really”