Gender Perspectives, Vol. 16

download[In the Gender Perspectives series, I aim to highlight diverse kinds of personal narratives and reflections on gender, gender presentation, and identity, to broaden the gender conversation and boost a variety of voices. Check out the rest of the series.]

A Love Letter to My Pre-T Body | Tragic Gender Story
Tristan shares a letter they wrote to themself two years ago, before starting to take testosterone:

Some cisgender people have assumed that my transition is about self-hate, but it’s really about self-recognition. I don’t hate you for your round face; I just don’t recognize it as my own. I don’t hate you for the pitch of your voice; I just want to hear myself when I speak and sing, not someone who sounds like a girl or a little boy to me.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Prompt 2 | A3
I’ve been happy to see a bunch of other folks doing the Genderqueer Challenge! Here’s one of A3‘s posts:

How did you grow up with your gender or lack of gender?

When I was 23 I had to attend a diversity training for a job and the speaker touched upon the different genders and I remember being very, very confused, but unable to exactly pinpoint what I was confused about. It wasn’t until I started talking to other non-binary individuals that it finally dawned on me, “Wait a minute, you feel like your gender?”

What I’m doing here | The Bearded Genderqueer
The Bearded Genderqueer’s first post explores the loneliness of being transfeminine and non-binary:

When I search things like genderqueer fashion or androgyny I usually don’t see myself or anyone like me in the results…That’s part of why it took me until I was 26 to realize that I could be genderqueer and that my beard and my body didn’t exclude me from being nonbinary.

What I’ve Learned from Women Who Detransitioned | a boy and her dog
The author of a boy and her dog has some thoughts about women who have detransitioned after exploring trans male identities:

I read transition and detransition stories the way I read warning labels on medicines. I want to know the expected effects and the potential side effects. The range of experiences, good and bad. What I’ve learned, unintentionally, is to trust my judgement and go at my own pace. To listen to, but not necessarily accept, advice. To accept that I’m probably not ever (never say never) going to follow the classic binary transition route and that I’m just as trans no matter which route I take.

The Privilege of Not Existing Yet | Holding Patterns and High Tea
Selissa brings us a poem about not fitting in, and invisible/unrecognized identities:

How can I convince you I exist
When there aren’t even words for this
For me
For my life and breath

Genderqueer Perspectives, Vol. 2

I am changing the title of this series, because I want to be able to include the perspectives of people who don’t necessarily identify as genderqueer. Lots of people struggle with and think deeply about gender, and I’m interested in highlighting the variety of experiences that people have with that in general, regardless of identity. Check out the rest of the series.

Today, I bring you:

A Boy and Her Dog writes about struggling to find a label that feels right, and that also communicates effectively to other people. (You might also just want to browse the archives of this one, for a lot more musings on gender).

I don’t want to be corralled into the polygon sliver within the overlapping circles of lesbian, butch, transgender, queer, neutrois, genderqueer, androgynous, agender, tomboy, and transmasculine. Nor do I want to define myself by the empty space left over after eliminating what I am not: cisgender, straight, polyamorous, bisexual, transsexual, trans man, or ftm. I would like to be able to explain myself in one sentence that anyone can understand and relate to.

When I tell someone I’m transgender, they may think that I just started to transition, or that I’m not very convincing. I don’t look “trans enough” to them.

When I tell someone I’m butch, they see a masculine woman who fits their stereotype of what a lesbian looks like. They see me as “butch enough.”

An amazing comic explaining agender identities – much of this is applicable to the broader non-binary umbrella. An excerpt summarizing the author’s personal gender journey:

Age 7 No idea what genders were
Age 10 Had a clue, Ghostbusters more important
Age 13 Tried the macho tihng, with a healthy dose of angst
Age 20 Tried to be more “girly,” Felt more uncomfortable than ever
Present Accepted that neither gender fit me

On the angst that come along with round-table pronoun announcements, a practice intended to make Trans* and gender-nonconforming folks more comfortable.

what seems to happen is that the [Preferred Gender Pronoun] Check will happen, and myself and the likely one or two other trans folks in the room will state what pronouns we prefer, and a few of the other people will state what pronouns they prefer. And then, without fail, about half of the cis people in the room say, “Oh, well, I prefer male/female pronouns, but really you can call me whatever you want.”

And so, time after time after time, what started as an attempt to make the space more trans friendly becomes another display of the cis privilege I will never have.

On being a woman with short hair.

I’ve experimented with growing the crop out twice, encouraged both times by men I was dating. It seemed like the thing to do to make myself more pleasing to potential boyfriends, potential bosses, and other people with potential power over my personal happiness. Both times, it looked awful. It took a lot of effort and a surprising amount of money to maintain, and it still looked awful, and I didn’t feel like myself.

And yet, the amount of male attention I got – from friendly flirting to unwanted hassle – increased enormously. Not because I looked better, but because I looked like I was trying to look more like a girl. Because I was performing femme. Every time I cut it off, I noticed immediately that the amount of street harassment I received, from cat-calls to whispered sexual slurs to gropes and grabs on public transport, dropped to a fraction of what it had been – apart from total strangers coming up to tell me how much prettier I’d be if I only grew it out.