[In the Gender Perspectives series, I hope to curate writing by people with a wide variety of gender identities and experiences, talking about their gender, what it means to them personally, and what it means for the ways in which they move through and interact with the world. Basically, this is where I point out that I’m not the only person in the world who has complex thoughts about gender, and that there as many ways to be Trans* and/or genderqueer as there are to be cisgender (and yes, there are many different ways to be cisgender). Check out the rest of the series.]
- Janitorqueer just finished a three-part series on his own ways of navigating the world as a genderqueer person, including:
I prefer to be referred to with male pronouns: He/Him/His. The reason for this is: because it is my preference. It really is as simple as that – no explanation needed. It feels the most right (although no pronouns actually feel “right” for me). That’s all it comes down to – a feeling.
If there is a single stall / gender neutral one available, I would prefer to use that bathroom. But usually there is not, and it is not something that I am personally concerned about. I feel comfortable enough in the women’s restroom. I don’t have any anxiety about it. I don’t second guess it.
In general, I attempt to mix and match gendered options to optimize my comfort level, and that has usually worked for me. But when it comes to declaring, “I am male” or “I am female,” I simply cannot do it… Legal stuff feels like a more black and white, either/or arena than bathrooms, pronouns, and anything else in the real world which is comparatively flexible and fluid. What I mean by this is, for example, I like when people say,”sir,” “man,” and use male pronouns because they’re seeing me, we’re interacting, and that interaction has the potential of being nuanced, fluid, changing. I could walk in the women’s bathroom today, and tomorrow decide to go in the men’s, without too much consequence (hopefully) if I wanted or needed to.
The legality of being one gender or another seems so much more finite, set-in-stone, weighty.
- Guest blogger Hex at Disrupting Dinner Parties talks about the struggle as a genderqueer person to be seen as “really” trans.
As a non-binary person who is just starting to physically transition, I’ve been thinking a lot about the way that process is valued by queer and allied communities. I’ve been out as trans for almost a year now. I’ve been using the same pronouns and presenting myself roughly in the same way for most of that time. About two months ago I started taking testosterone… [A]s people found out about my taking hormones – long before there were any actual effects – my preferred pronouns were used more consistently. I started getting requests to sit on panels or to lead trainings. In short, people became noticeably more respectful of my identity.
- Megan over at Undefine Me discusses her sometimes complicated relationship with her body, as a cis female.
I’m a cisgender female. I was born with XX chromosomes that result in the primary and secondary sex characteristics that we associate with females. But I think we have this societal idea that when gender is mapped onto a physical body, that cis bodies = comfortable and constant and trans* bodies can be uncomfortable (via dysphoria) and are inconstant. To be honest, I’m still learning how to live in my ever changing body.
- And, finally, I bring you that most impossible-to-find piece of all: a cis dude’s perspective*. Sky at A Bright Cape talks about his experiences of gender, or ultimately, the reasons why he feels like he can’t even begin to explain how he knows he is a cis man. [Yes, full disclosure: I am “Val”. I couldn’t find any cis men talking about this stuff, so I (gently) pressured him into writing this, ok?]
How exactly would I distill down the essence of what it is like to feel that I am a man? It is a tricky thing because it isn’t as if I have ever had to defend that feeling to others nor examine it particularly – the very essence of privilege right there.
When I was young I always felt that I was a man but that the standards for being manly were stupid and awful.
*Totally not sarcastic, I swear. When it comes to having people talk about the ways they think about themselves and their gender identities, cis dudes are pretty silent.