Since I’ve just finished up doing the 30 Genderqueer challenge, I want to keep the momentum going with some Aromantic Prompts. I found a 15 Day Aromantic challenge on tumblr and that will be the focus for the next two weeks. Yay!
Here are the challenge questions:
- What types of relationships do you most enjoy?
- Describe your best friendship(s).
- How would you describe your ideal relationship?
- Have you ever been/are you in a romantic relationship?
- Would you consider being in a romantic relationship or, if you have, in another?
- Are you more of a planner or fly by the seat of your pants kind of person?
- Do you like physical affection? If so what kind? (hugging/cuddling/holding hands/kissing/etc.)
- How do you feel about children? Do you want/have children?
- What are some of your hobbies?
- If you’re involved in fandoms, do you/how do you ship? (gen fic, romantic ships, friendships, queerplatonic ships, etc.)
- What’s your favorite fictional friendship
- Who is your favorite aromantic character?
- What is your ideal job/career?
- What is your favorite aromantic song?
- What do you like about being aromantic? What do you dislike?
As of yesterday I’ve completed the 30 Day Gender Queer Challenge and I think I did okay. The prompts were harder than I expected and I noticed a few things held me back on writing the full and complete answers that I had hoped for. The first thing I noticed is it’s hard to fit agender into some of the prompts. I also have a feeling that if I had a different sexual orientation or even a different romantic orientation I probably could have fleshed out my answers more. I don’t feel that my life is empty for not having a gender or any romantic/sexual partners, but it did prevent me from having a long winded anecdote on hand for a few of the prompts. I felt like too many of my answers could have been summarized as “N/A”.
However, I did meet my goal of finishing the challenge and getting back into the habit of writing. My class load is at a much easier pace now and I’ll probably be taking summers off from now on. The summer crunch was just unbearable this year. I feel like I can better balance life and writing this semester AND take care of myself.
Another thing I considered is since I’ve only identified as agender for less than a year I need to take some time to go and be a part of the community. I missed the pride things happening this year because of work and school, but I plan to take next summer off so I can participate in the city’s events. I count that under “taking care of myself”. Maybe I’ll do the challenge again at a later date and have better answers. Now that I’m mostly comfortable and settle in my identity I can take a more active role in participating in the genderqueer community.
Phew~! This is the last day of the Gender Queer Challenge, yay! I’ll post my thoughts of how I felt I did tomorrow, but for now:
What does Genderqueer mean to you?
While I’m not a huge fan of using genderqueer as a term for myself I see it’s importance to the community. Queer used to be a slur, and in many ways is still a slur, but it’s awesome that people have been able to turn the tables and show pride in who they are. A more historical example that comes to mind is the song “Yankee Doodle”. My history is a little rusty, but I believe the British used the song to mock American Colonists and the colonists basically responded with “You say it like it’s an insult” and adopted “Yankee Doodle” as a song of pride during the American Revolution. I respond in much of the same way when people call me a “nerd”. I mean, really? How is that an insult? I’m glad many people see the term genderqueer the same way, but I’m much, much more comfortable with “agender” as my label.
Genderqueer to me is a source of pride, a source of fear because of how it’s accepted or not accepted, but it’s part of who I am and I’ve accepted it. I’m already settled and comfortable with who I am that I wouldn’t change it for the world. However, I think the world is ready for a change so that it can be a safer place for people like me.
Some positive Genderqueer experiences:
I think I’m still very new to the identity that I haven’t really got to experience genderqueerness in any great capacity. I’m still treating it as a very personal and private thing. I think the best experience, even though it was mostly annoying, was telling people about my identity. When I told my coworker they did their best to understand and asked questions, but didn’t flip out or anything. My gender identity and asexuality are still pretty private at work and I have a lot of fun dancing around the questions. A lot of my coworkers are still of the mind set of either or; either boy or girl, either gay or straight, that they never really consider that there might be an in-between or an outside.
I suppose I could use the opportunity in it’s fullest to be an advocate for my identities, I’d be advocating myself mostly, but I still have to live my life. I still have to show up at work everyday and I don’t want it to be awkward. My job is stressful enough just dealing with people and clock watching. I would rather use stories and literature to spread the word. As I mentioned in a previous post, before even learning the terminology I explored the ideas of asexuality and agender though story telling first. When I put the thoughts on paper it made them seem more real and more human. I want to put the lesser known identities on paper and on screen. I can’t do it, but maybe someday someone in middle school or high school will be able to point to a book cover and say, “This character is just like me!” and use it as a way to explain to others that we’re here, we’re queer, and we’re human too.
I’d like to think that my most positive genderqueer experiences are yet to come.
Who are some people in your life, on or offline, who make your life better? Your relationship doesn’t have to be related to queerness.
Zora who runs The Asexuality Blog is really awesome and has made a bunch of resources available for the ace community like the PenPal exchange and several chat rooms. The folks in the ace chats are fantastic and it just helps give me the sense of community that I would otherwise be missing in my life. It was while talking to the trans aces in the group that helped me figure out my gender identity. Without these online resources I probably would still be in the dark about my own identity.
I’m trying to get in touch with an old high school friend of mine who is also aro/ace. I don’t know anyone in real life who is genderqueer (small town excuse again), but my friend moved to the city and might have more connections with the community there. I really want to get back in touch with them because they’re good people; I don’t ever recall ever being in their company and not smiling. I want to surround myself with more people like that and I hope to someday be that person who just makes people’s days better by being myself. I think that’s a major key to true happiness, bring happiness to other people.
Write a poem about being Genderqueer. (if you struggle, try a haiku, acrostic poem with your name, or just a stream of consciousness paragraph)
A poem from me?
My forte’s not poetry,
And gender is none.
[Yeah, poems are not my thing. I went though a poetry phase in middle school until I had to write some for English class and realized I didn’t have an ear for it. I hope you enjoyed my silly attempt at haiku.]
Discuss how your clothes do or don’t reflect your gender.
In my version of an ideal world we’d all be wearing hanfu, a traditional style of Chinese clothing that looks AM~AZ~ING! and has very little variation between what men and women wear. Of course “hanfu” describes several styles of various historical periods and you can be as fancy as you want, but the basics of what I have in mind are like this:
It looks so loose and comfy and if I wanted to be feminine I would just throw on a skirt under it or pants if I wanted to be more masculine. If I could sew I would wear this ALL THE TIME. But because I lack the craftiness needed to make this (and I have tried) I’m stuck wearing jeans and a t-shirt. It’s not as awesome or flowy as I would like, but it gets the job done.
Jeans and a t-shirt aren’t bad. They’re basically my “casual uniform”. I’m used to wearing uniforms for work and the uniform sizes are unisex. My uniform is no different from my male or female coworkers. No matter what gender we are we all wear the same clothes for work. With that in mind I’ve sort of adopted several “off duty” uniforms. My off-duty clothes are a t-shir, jeans, and flip-flops. It’s different enough from my work uniform that I can relax, but it’s basically just another uniform. There’s no gender involved.