…Whatever, I’m bored. Let’s talk about my gender

I haven’t been able to make regular updates and that goal is officially scratched off my new years resolutions list because I’m currently working two jobs as I ride out the global pandemic. My second job is substitute teaching which is why I’m stuck in a classroom basically babysitting two middle school kids because the rest of the class is virtual and I have an entire hour of literally nothing to do. I don’t talk about my gender nearly enough so I’m just casually talk about my gender for an hour. [Content Warning: gender dysphoria mentioned]

My first day I had another substitute ask if I was pregnant and that was super uncomfortable and awkward for me. I have to present as my assigned gender because Texas has some funky laws regarding LGBTQIA+ students and transphobia is literally written into the leading party’s platform.

I’m more comfortable and confident about my asexuality just because I’ve interacted with more aces and had access to compiled research and history. I haven’t had as much luck finding a “community” based around my experience with gender identity. The closest thing I’ve have was one of my coworkers at my old job was pansexual and agender, but I’m no longer at that job. I’ve tried discord chats in the past to try and meet other agender or even just nonbinary folks and it didn’t really work out because the chats were geared towards younger people discovering their gender and not people in their 20s-30s. So because I haven’t interacted much with a community I don’t know what the shared language lexicon or jargon is.

What I do know is I’m agender. Period. When I ping my brain for gender it shoots back a 404 error message. I got nothing. There’s no little voice in my head guiding me like Jiminy Cricket towards gender euphoria. But I definitely experience some social gender dysphoria. My dysphoria isn’t triggered by what my body looks like, but by how other people see and interpret my gender cues. Fem is okay, female is a hard “no”.

I’ve had some negative interactions with counselors completely unrelated to my gender and sexuality so I’m super hesitant to seek professional help and prefer self-help. So, far that’s what works best for me. Ideally I would prefer to consult a professional for my dysphoria symptoms if only so I could have someone break down the technical language of my symptoms for me because that’s not really something I trust the internet with. However, consulting an actual paid professional just not a feasible option right now. That also means that I don’t have the option to even explore the possibility of medically transitioning at this time either which is also a sensitive topic for me.

After a time check, I still have 30 minutes to ramble but I’m not sure what I’m supposed to ramble about. I prefer jobs with unisex uniforms because of my gender. I’ve been studying historical garment construction (it’s hard and there’s weird math involved) because I want to make my own clothes because of ethical reasons and because it would give me more control over my presentation. That’s still a long ways, though, because I’m working two jobs and my “free time” is never conveniently anywhere near my sewing supplies.

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Non-binary and Periods

As much as I hate acknowledging that I’m biologically female, and thus considered by many the “weaker sex”,  I feel like writing (much to my discomfort) about the subject of mensuration. Since the subject is rather squicky, I won’t be offended if anyone wants to skip over this post. I’ll be posting a CoA post in the next two weeks or so.

Continue reading “Non-binary and Periods”

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 20

Have you faced any problems or gone through any changes regarding religion?

One summer my parents gathered all my siblings and I together and gave us an overview of all the religions from A to Z, Amish to Zoroastrianism, and basically said “Pick one”. I eventually started leaning more towards Buddhism with splashes of Hinduism sneaking its way in, but I never committed fully to one religious practice. Since discovering my gender queerness I am even less motivated to join an organized religion because religions are so male dominated, even Buddhism, that I wouldn’t feel welcome or identify completely with the teachings. I feel like I’m basically starting from scratch like one day I’m going to climb a mountain and yell at the top of my lungs “Is anybody out there?!”

I would say that I’m spiritual, not religious. There’s no religion community that I’ve found that meets my needs as a person. There’s too much “man and woman” talk in most religions. I dabbled in Eastern thought because some of the gods have both a male and female (and sometimes neither) form. That’s comforting for me to think about, but it’s not enough to make me fully commit to the religions.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 13

How has your family taken it or how might they take it?

My family probably wouldn’t take it well. My younger brothers are white, atheist, middle class males and are very opinionated clones of each other. My parents are more open-minded than most when it comes to race and socioeconomic issues, but when it comes to me they are less accepting of my identity.  I came out as asexual and that didn’t go well and we’ve haven’t talked about it since. It’s hard to know that people I’m close to aren’t reacting or wouldn’t react how I hoped, but I knew this was a possibility when I discovered my identity. The problem is I can’t just go back and unlearn what I know now. This is who I am and having a label doesn’t change that. You can change the label on a water bottle or peel the label off, but what’s inside is STILL water. When I think back to how I was growing or think of a memory I can’t help but think “Oh, that’s why I did that” or “Oh, that’s why I was that way”. I’m agender, and calling me something else isn’t going to change that. Someday it would be nice to find some pronouns I’m comfortable with, though. So far I haven’t found anything that’s really clicked.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 12

Discuss your relationship with the term transgender

I prefer to use the term nonbinary/non-binary over the term transgender. I have trouble seeing it as an umbrella term for all people who identify as different from their assigned gender because of how binary driven society seems to be. The endless barrage of “either or” is extremely frustrating at time and I prefer to use as precise language as possible. I like that it gives me a starting point for the conversation. Most people today have at least heard of the term transgender and it has been added to the Webster’s dictionary where as agender and nonbinary are still unfamiliar terms for the majority of people. What I don’t appreciate is people dismissing non-binary terms and identities as “internet fads”. It’s frustrating to no end that people were so willing to believe that red heads were going extinct which was a proven internet hoax or that we eat spiders on accident in our sleep (also proven hoax), but are so dismissive of social changes that arise because minorities are now able to communicate and share experiences through social media. It’s a good feeling to read somebody’s post and think, “That’s just like me!”

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 6

When did you realize you were Genderqueer?

I didn’t realize until recently. I first had to understand that “none of the above” was an option. Discovering I was asexual came first. I was 25 and literally typed into Google “Is it normal to have never dated?” and that lead me to some asexuality blogs.

I know people complain that cis-persons saying “they just know” isn’t helpful, but that’s actually what put me on the right track. I was in an asexual chat room and the topic of gender came up. When I realized I didn’t just know what gender was or what my gender was that clued me in that I wasn’t binary. I began looking at the different gender possibilities and tried to match up what felt the most of my gender experience which turns out to be a lack of gender experience. It was being part of the asexual community that allowed me to realize “none of the above” was a viable option.

I feel like I keep going on and on about living in a small town in Texas, but that played a huge role in my ignorance about the queer communities and about myself. The sex education is “abstinence only” to which I was like “yeah, sure okay.” Because I wasn’t attracted to anyone. I do find people aesthetically pleasing and I have a weakness for sassy eye-rolls and sarcasm. I find an intelligent (and often exasperated) mind to be very attractive.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 5

Dysphoria and how you manage it.

My dysphoria usually comes in the form of anger at how other people see me. People take one look at me and assign a binary gender and all the stereotypes that go with it. The stereotypes are the worst. The idea of a non-binary gender doesn’t even cross their minds. I live in a conservative area. One of my best friend’s parents is transphobic and it terrifies me on a daily basis that I’m different from everyone else not because it’s weird, but because people seem to just naturally hate things that are different. It terrifies me that people don’t understand or can’t understand the concept of a non-binary gender or a genderless individual. It took me years to fully understand what gender was, but eventually the concept was able to click. I took the time to look into other cultures and how they see gender and that really helped.

Looking into other cultures and mythology also helped me deal with dysphoria. As mentioned in a previous post there weren’t a whole lot of gender neutral or queer role models for me to look up to so I ended up having to look deeper and farther a field to find comfort. I ended up looking into Eastern Religions. Hinduism and Buddhism mythologies ended up acting like a balm and helped me deal with my dysphoria. In Hinduism nearly every god and goddess has both a male and female (and sometimes neutral) form. Buddhas also will change gender depending on what country they are in. While practitioners of the religions are very conscious of gender (Hinduism has specific gender roles and Buddhism is a male dominated religion) the philosophies behind them make me feel better about myself more than western religions do. I’m able to feel more spiritual because I see the gender binary as an Earth-bound concept and that biological sex doesn’t matter beyond the mortal plain of existence.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 3

What’s your favorite ways of upsetting gender roles (i.e. genderbending/genderfucking/etc…

It just so happens that in my family my mom was the bread winner and my dad got to be Mr. Mom and raise the kids. This probably contributed to me not understanding what gender actually was (in addition to being agender) because in my family gender roles were already blurred. I think history is going to repeat itself when it comes to my siblings. My brother’s girlfriend makes more money than he does and my sister is working on a business degree. I can see both of them leaving it up to the men to take care of the dirty diapers while they bring home the bacon.

My favorite ways of upsetting gender roles are being a healthy mix of both masculine and feminine. I wear make-up in public but don’t shave, read comic books, read trashy fanfics, wear both men’s and women’s clothes, wear both men’s and women’s deodorant, laugh at dick jokes, laugh at highbrow jokes, and just be myself mostly. I wear gender neutral clothes or try to find a way to make clothes look more neutral when I wear them. I live in a small town in Texas so it’s hard for me to go all out like I want to with my gender and image, but the spirit is still there. Mostly I just say, “fuck the binary”.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Prompt 2

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

Unfortunately I didn’t learn about the complexity of gender identities until I was 25. 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?”

Once I realized that I didn’t “just know” what my gender was I began to investigate what that meant for my gender identity. Before I thought gender was just an advertiser’s gimmick based on what parts you were born with and what gender roles you’d be expected to engage in when you grew up. Girl’s played with dolls because they were expected to raise kids and boys played with trucks because trucks were cool, I guess. It didn’t matter because all the kids would say that they only played with their demographic specific toys but I knew they secretly played with both because, come on, toys are toys and trucks were cool. I didn’t play with either actually. Once I discovered books I had absolutely little interest in anything else.

Once I realized that gender wasn’t a marketing tactic and an actual inherent part of the identity I confirmed what I had known all along. I wasn’t a boy or a girl. Some of my earliest memories are from the 1st grade. When another first grader asked me what my favorite color was I didn’t want to say “blue” because that’s the boys’ color and I didn’t want to say “pink” because that was too girly so I mixed the two together like the little genius that I was and picked “purple”. (my favorite color is actually blue, but I pretty much love all the cool colors on the color-wheel)

I didn’t like playing with boys or girls. Boys were too competitive and unless you could fight your way to the top of the pecking order it wasn’t worth the fuss. Girls always had one lead bitch telling everybody what to do and I wasn’t about that life. So, I played by myself. I must have looked pitiful because one of the teachers would always talk to me. So instead of engaging with kids my own age I began conversing with adults early on and this made me more mature than my classmates which in turn only served to alienate me more. In simple words, I would say that growing up without a gender made me grow up quickly and solitary.

But the teacher who would take the time to talk to me also lived right down the street so when I moved away next year they gave me the best company of all, a book.

My Gender is Like a Rose (The Importance of Context from a Linguistic Perspective)

The very first thing I was taught about linguistics is “language is arbitrary” meaning words have no meaning; we give words meaning. Take the word “cat”, for example, there is nothing about the sounds kuh-ah-tuh that suggests anything about a small creature that meows. Then there is the word “mouse”. Is it a “click” mouse or a “squeak” mouse? We can’t know without context. Words are arbitrary and it is only after we understand that language and words are arbitrary that we can attempt to master them.

Continue reading “My Gender is Like a Rose (The Importance of Context from a Linguistic Perspective)”