30-day genderqueer challenge

What does Genderqueer mean to you? 30-Week Genderqueer challenge part 30

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

THIS IS THE LAST WEEK FOLKS! I DID IT! I may be taking a bit of a writing break, or at least cutting back for a while going forward, but I will be back, probably with more blogging challenges even.

Today’s prompt: What does Genderqueer mean to you?

…I suppose I should have seen this one coming. Of course this is a great way of culminating a challenge like this. And yet, I suspect I’m going to give a lacklustre answer here.

I’ve spent a good few years, and spilled out thousands of words, about what genderqueerness means to me, about why it’s important to me, and everything else. I’m actually feeling a little burnt out around the topic these days, but here we go.

I think I’ve said before that genderqueer is more of a political identity for me, while my gender itself is better described by other terms – genderfluid, agender, non-binary, and others, depending.

Genderqueer is, to me, explicitly about active resistance to gender norms. It’s an openly political, and sort of deliberately aggressive way of identifying. The deliberate act of queering things is pretty much always about either dismantling existing structures, or revealing their arbitrary nature, and the fact that there are other options. And genderqueer is pretty explicitly about the queering of gender.

So, that’s my short answer to what ‘genderqueer’ is about for me. And it’s all you’re getting today :P

I’d love to hear any thoughts you have though!


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Some positive genderqueer experiences: 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge part 29

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: Some positive genderqueer experiences

Full disclosure: I’m feeling a little burnt out on this writing challenge (or maybe on writing in general just now? Hard to say, but there may a blogging break in my near future). But I’m gonna finish this first by gum, because I’m so close now.

So, positive experiences relating to or resulting from being genderqueer! In over-long point form, as I think of them, because that’s how I roll:

  • There are few things that have been as thrilling to me as a genderqueer person as those first few times when someone looked at me and didn’t immediately slot me into one or another binary box. Even though I don’t specifically try to shape my appearance to defy that sort of categorization as much as I used to, the feeling of freedom that comes from escaping that miscategorization is one of the things that makes this entire journey worth it.
  • Any time anyone who isn’t me corrects someone else on misgendering me is great. It’s nice to know the entire weight of that isn’t always on me, and it makes me feel protected and cared for, always, even when it’s a relative stranger.
  • When coming out as genderqueer, the most positive responses take one of two forms: “Oh sorry, I didn’t know” followed by changing the language used to talk about me is kind of the gold standard in a bunch of ways, but I have also had moments where my coming out catalyzed interesting, thoughtful, and well-informed conversations about gender. The latter, though, is harder to pull off, and attempts more often leave me feeling drained or interrogated than energized or validated.
  • The moment when I realized I’d managed to successfully update my own internal sense of self as a non-binary solidly enough that part of me is genuinely confused when I am read as a binary gender was pretty cool. To me, I’m just so obviously not (though I get why people still slot me into one or the other box as a matter of course, for the record)

Non-binary readers, please tell me some of your positive experiences around being non-binary!


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Who are some people in your life, on or offline, who make your life better? 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge part 28

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: Who are some people in your life, on or offline, who make your life better?

To be honest, most of the people in my life make it better. For one thing, if they didn’t they probably wouldn’t be in my life, but also, um, I like people? I don’t know.

There are definitely people who are more important than others. I feel kind of anxious about naming folks here, though, because what if I forget someone? I would feel so terrible.

I have amazing incredible friends, those I se regularly in person, irregularly in person, and those that I only know online (mostly through my writings here, though some of y’all I’ve also connected with on other social media, and even my personal facebook). I have wonderful partners. I have decent-to-amazing co-workers.

All of these people make my life richer.


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Write a poem about being Genderqueer: 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge Part 27

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: Write a poem about being Genderqueer

Oh dear. I don’t know how I’m going to do with writing a poem on demand. I usually only do poetry at random when things spring into my brain. I will try anyway, but first, here’s some poems I have already written about being genderqueer:

Singularity

I am genderqueer

Singular they.
Singular them.
Singular their.

People are quick to tell me

They are trying
This is hard for them
They’re doing their best

Plural they.
Plural them.
Plural their.

And
I am also trying
This is hard for me, too
I’m doing my best

But I’m always out-numbered
So they always win
And ‘they’ never will


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Discuss how your clothes do or don’t reflect your gender: 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge part 26

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: Discuss how your clothes do or don’t reflect your gender

Honestly, thinking about writing my way through this issue again just seems exhausting right now. Clothes are important, and they are a big aspect of gender presentation for lots of people. But they don’t define a person’s gender. There’s a weird tension with clothes, because they feel so important to so many people, because wearing clothes that “match” your gender can feel so freeing and validating, because it is a major tactic for dealing with dysphoria, etc. But at the same time, many of the same people who find clothes personally important really do just wish that society didn’t insist on gendering clothes so damn much. Anyone should feel comfortable wearing a skirt if they want, and anyone should feel ok wearing a three-piece suit or whatever, too.

The question of whether my clothes match my gender almost doesn’t make any sense to me any more. I know what it means, obviously, but I don’t know what it would mean for my clothes to match my gender, given the amorphous character of my gender.

I gotta get me some amorphous clothes, I guess?

But really, though, I touched on this issue a bit in an earlier genderqueer challenge post. What I’ve been focusing on when I shop for clothes or put together outfits these days is whether or not they seem to reflect me back to myself. I’ve been working on reclaiming the aspects of my aesthetic and style that don’t fit into the norms of white genderqueer androgyny (more on that here and here. Setting gender aside (if that’s even possible) is the only way I can deal with dressing myself without constantly second-guessing whether people will think my presentation ‘matches’ whatever they think my gender is or means.

Ugh. I dunno. I’d love to hear other enbies’ persepectives on this one though!


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

Your first queer crush or relationship: 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge Part 25

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: Your first queer crush or relationship

This is a weird prompt to be a part of a genderqueer challenge, because um, wouldn’t any romantic/sexual crushes or relationships we enbies have be queer? They sure can’t be straight. Add to that the apparent prevalence of ace and aro identities in non-binary people, and it seems even more out of place.

But I digress.

My first romantic relationship was queer, even relative to the gender I identified with at the time. When I was 18, I told my best friend from high school that I was in love with her, and it turned out that the feeling was mutual! We dated long-distance (she was in Toronto for university, and I was living in Nova Scotia at the time, a whole tiem zone away) for a little over a year before she broke up with me.

It was my first love, and it was beautiful and mind-bending and gave me so many feelings I had never had before and it was great. It was also scary and I was had no idea what I was doing, and I wasn’t as good a partner as I could or should have been.

Yeah. Not sure how interesting that is to anyone, but there ya go!


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!

How has your relationship with the cisgender people in your life changed? 30-Week Genderqueer Challenge Part 24

This post is part of my participation in the 30-day genderqueer challenge, which I have modified to a weekly exercise.

Today’s prompt: How has your relationship with the cisgender people in your life changed?

This is a really big question, and I’ll try to stick to generalities in answering it, although obviously the answer is different for each person.

In general, my relationships have not been significantly impacted by my coming out as genderqueer. I am fortunate that most of the cisgender people in my life took my coming out as an opportunity to demonstrate their care and respect for me, in various ways. Coming out about things like this has the sort of back-handed advantage of really making it clear to you who is in your corner, who will fight for you, who will take up some of the emotional labour involved in dealing with people’s various reactions, and many other things.

And I’ve been very lucky in that regard, though I’ve also managed to avoid unnecessary damage to relationship by choosing my method of coming out carefully.

This is clearest with respect to my parents; I came out to them in an email, specifically because I knew their initial response was likely to involve a lot of emotional ugliness, and it seemed like a kindness to myself and to our relationship to allow them to have those responses when I wasn’t there looking at them. It definitely helped.

I don’t really know what else to say to this. Obviously, as I’ve become more aware of trans issues in general, cissexism and trans erasure have become things that I am always aware of, and I often find myself exhausted by cisgender people, in the same way that I feel exhausted by people who are uneducated on and/or unaffected by other forms of oppression that I am keyed into.

I guess in general, coming out has not drastically impacted my relationships with individual cisgender people, but it has made me more wary of cis folks in general, and less enthusiastic about forming new relationships with cis people, unless I know they are already aware of non-binary genders, and pretty good on trans stuff in general. Cis people have to come with trans references basically :P


Catch the rest of my 30-week genderqueer challenge here!