I’m going to be honest I didn’t know there was a semi-official official day until the hashtag popped up in my Twitter feed, but sweet! First rule of any pride day hashtag is “do not read the comments”. To my understanding the way pride day/week hashtags work is an LGBTQ+ group will pick a day and a hashtag and try to coordinate and build as much momentum as possible and a bunch of people will get mad like, “whaaaat, why do they get day?”
It seems like Pink News is leading today’s event since they were asking for coming out stories (but I’m not 100% sure since I haven’t gone through all the hashtags yet). The lesbian week event a while back was sponsored by a lesbian and bi women’s magazine. I thought that was a) awesome and b) hilarious that people were complaining about how it was executed because legitimate critique is one thing but complaining about an online event that you put zero effort into organizing because it doesn’t match your ideas another (and that last bit is definately a not so subtle potshot at Scarcella). Anywho! on to the actual post.
I actually have a really, really, really hard time describing and talking about my gender because, as the label suggests, I don’t actually have one. I am firmly on the “404 gender, not found” dot on the agender spectrum. If you thought sexuality and romance were pervasive concepts, try imagining what living life without gender for a day. I don’t mean suddenly picture everyone looking like a the robot from Metropolis (1927). Take a moment to imagine that you woke up tomorrow and everything is the same except gender is not a thing. Imagine if there were no separate men’s and women’s clothing sections in the department store and it was just “clothes”. Actually, other than the clothes thing picturing a world without gender is hard because of how ingrained it is into human culture. If I didn’t live my daily life without gender, I’d have trouble imagining it too.
During my typical day it’s nonstop “hey girl” or “Excuse me, ma’am” and a constant barrage of gender performance cues from everyone, even from nonbinary folks. I know you can’t really tell what somebody’s gender is by looking at them, but there are definitely people who give off “not-cis/binary” vibes. The frustrating thing for me is I don’t really know how to do that. How am I supposed to preform something I don’t have? It’s like when you ask non-asexuals what sexual attraction is like because you get the same really frustrating “oh, you just sort of know” for an answer.
My gender performance is a balancing act of doing what is socially acceptable for paycheck and social currency reasons vs trying not to think too hard about how other people might (incorrectly) perceive my (nonexistent) gender for dysphoria reasons. I mostly dress fem because I don’t exactly have a lot of options given my body type. Also fem clothes are more fun. I love overbust corsets because they have a complicated and misunderstood history and provide amazing back support. …and I can already imagine the Twitter comments accusing me of being a “cis woman who just wants to feel special”.
It took me a ridiculous long time to figure out my gender because I didn’t know gender was a real thing. I was almost 26 before I figured out I was agender. Before that point I assumed all gender was assigned based on culture. I thought the reason different cultures had different genders is they had had more time to diversify. For years I assumed that gender was just an arbitrary weird cultural thing like grammatical gender is just a weird arbitrary language thing (thank you linguistics degree). I had no idea that there was an entire psychological element to gender identity because I don’t have that tiny voice in my head telling me what gender I am.
Cracks in my “all gender is assigned” assumption began to form when I had to take a diversity training for a job and they talked about Two Spirit genders. That was the first time that it started to click that people actually felt like their gender and 23 year old me was sooo freaking confused. I didn’t “feel” like a girl. It wasn’t until two years later that I would have reliable access to internet and access to online ace spaces and chats that I could finally start asking questions. Trans aces in the chat groups were very helpful in directing me to trans and later nonbinary information resources. I basically went all the way down the list and crossed off everything that didn’t sound like me until agender was the only one left.
I’m going to finish this post off with how I found my pronoun. Before recently I didn’t particularly care for pronouns at all because like gender labels none of them really feel like me. I chose a really short name for myself (Lib) and I tried to gently encourage people to use that instead of pronouns, but I didn’t really care (and still don’t honestly) what people call me because my linguistics training says “I knew what you meant, so it’s fine”. I’m still not going to bite anyone’s head off for calling me the the “wrong” pronoun. It’s just a matter of “meh” vs “oh! that’s me!” My pronoun is thon/thon’s and it apparently has been around for a while and I’m very happy to have finally found it…in the dictionary of all places.