[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.]
- “I Do Not Know What My Gender Is”: James Warwood talks about transition, uncertainty, not fitting into the classic trans narrative, and acknowledging that everything from his early years as a girly-girl to becoming who he is today is a part of himself. And all of it is authentic.
How does a child who was perfectly content as a girl grow up to be a man? Even those who are familiar with transgender people know that there is some amount of internal struggle that leads to transition. Some sort of sign that this had been there all along.
On this one point, I agree with my stepmom. I had been a girly girl, and happily so. I can only assume that I could have continued on and maintained some level of contentment with my life. There isn’t an easy way to explain why I transitioned or to describe my gut feeling that it had to be done. I’ve only begun to come close to understanding my gender identity by expanding my understanding of gender: that is, by accepting that gender is not a binary.
- “Do I Pass?”: Alex discusses the complexities of what it means to have passing privilege (particularly masculine passing privilege) as a genderqueer person who doesn’t want to pass as anything.
I’m going to try to make this as clear as possible, right here, right now: I DO NOT WANT TO PASS AS ANYTHING.
I am genderqueer. I am not a man, I am not a woman. I present one way or another at times because that’s what I feel like doing that day but I shouldn’t have to pass as anything.
In a perfect world, I would never want to pass. I enjoy masculine-looking things at times but ideally I would be able to look androgynous at all times. It is seriously painful to me sometimes to look in the mirror and see a man. Assuming the fact that I can easily pass and access certain privileges because of it makes me any “less trans” or however you feel like spinning your position is nothing more than a cheap attempt to police my gender. At the end of the day, though, I often come off as cismale and I would be lying if I said I had never taken advantage of that before.
So the real question to me becomes “do I pass as queer?”
- “Moving into my gender”: CaptainGlitterToes delivers a really beautiful essay on the experience of self-exploration and discovery on the journey toward a gender identity and expression that fits.
Hearing my right pronouns, or hearing someone call me by the right gendered words, is ice cream melting in my mouth. It is the feeling of hot chocolate pumping warmth through my veins. It is as if my whole gut was a rock warming in the sun, filling my body with solidity and lightness all at once. It is a fitting of that last puzzle piece. With the right words, I suddenly become more solid than I knew possible, and yet more ready to skip and twirl at the same time. My wholeness takes its rightful place, from my gut to my elbows. I am simultaneously as excited as a hummingbird and as unperturbed as a smooth lake.
- “Me, My Gender, and Internalized Misogyny”: CloudNoodle writes about how overcoming internalized misogyny was an important come of coming into their own as a person comfortable with a genderqueer identity that made space for their feminine aspects.
I was not like other girls and that was very important to me.
That was all I had words for. I had no concepts of ‘transgender’, ‘gender identity’ or ‘genderqueer’. My native language uses the same word for sex and gender. I didn’t know of any people who weren’t straight and cisgender. I didn’t know that I could be something other than female since that was what everybody saw me as, that’s what they said when I was born. But thing is, I did feel somewhat female and perhaps it was the worst part. Because, quite unconsciously, while separating myself from everything to do with ‘other girls’, I also developed a sense that being a girl meant being worse or lesser – less serious, less able, less lovable, just less.
- “Decoder Ring”: The writer of It Doesn’t Have To Be This Way describes the path of denial and resistance he went through before coming to recognize, accept, and embrace his male identity.
After spending approximately 30 seconds considering the possibility that I was transgender, I roundly dismissed the idea. After all, wouldn’t I have already known that by now? (Hahahaha! Good one!) Besides, I had no desire to be a man. I resented most men in general for obliviously oppressing me as a woman. I was busy trying to open doors and expand the female gender box. I couldn’t be a man.
I set about trying to squeeze myself into any other box. I tried on ‘butch’ as a label in my head. I thought maybe I could be genderqueer. I searched the internet for women who liked to bind their chests, but who were still women, to gather more evidence that it was possible. Anything but needing to change my name and pronouns, I pleaded with myself. Anything but that.
I thought I could decide. I was trying to decide that I wasn’t male, that I wasn’t transgender. That didn’t work out so well.