…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.


Gender Dysphoria from an Agender Perspective

One of the most useful skills I’ve ever picked up was from a Mental Health First Aid course I took as part of a mandatory job training. I had no idea that two years later the person I would be using my training the most on would be myself. I approach Mental Health First Aid the same way I would approach regular First Aid. I would be able to treat a sprained ankle from home, for example, but I would want a professional to treat a broken ankle. Currently my gender dysphoria is like a sprained ankle; hurts like the dickens, but is still manageable.

The problem is, just like a sprain, one wrong twist and I’m left hobbling along gingerly for days. The most recent incident was triggered by mostly harmless comments from my coworkers. The first being, “Why do have to be so aggressive?/I don’t like your attitude”. Alone those comments are hurtful, but not enough to cause days of emotional grief. The second catalyst was another coworker and I were talking about meditation and how he’s using meditation to have “out of body experiences”. It just hit me out of nowhere that “out of body experience” is exactly how I describe looking at myself in the mirror. The idea that someone was purposely trying to do what I feel on a daily basis was the “wrong twist” that sent me on the latest spiral.

The hardest thing for me about a bad dysphoria incident is the spiraling thoughts and the anxiety that comes with it. I’ll usually alternate between being sad and feeling like a freak to being pissed off at the world. The circling thoughts that I have during that time are definitely not healthy and I have to remind myself to take action to stop spiraling downward. I also get really bad headaches whenever I get mad or upset so I take my mental health very seriously.

First Aid courses love their acronyms. For a sprained ankle the acronym is RICE. Rest, Ice, Compression, Elevation. Keeping the the sprain metaphor I also ‘RICE’ed when I realized how emotionally distressed I was this past week:

REST: Resting was probably the most important step. Since I was at work at the time of the trigger incident, I did calming techniques to tie me over until I could go home and go to bed. I spent a lot of time reading and keeping to myself until I could relax and I made sure to get plenty of sleep. It took work because I was still anxious, but I made resting my priority.
Informed: Secondly I look at my options. What resources to I have available? Who can I reach out to? Most of the job places I’ve worked at have mental health resources if I needed it. Did I need to call in an take a mental health day. Would transitioning physically or socially help? What are my options for that? (I’ll touch more on transitioning a little later.)
Compression: This was actually the first week that I felt like I needed to wear my binder in public. I usually work 9 hour shifts so wearing a binder at work isn’t comfortable. Instead I wore my binder to my night class and it felt amazing. The binder I have is super comfortable (for a few hours at least before I feel like I need to take it off). It’s weird to think that I felt like I could breath easier wearing it.
Engaging with Community: Since I knew I was still feeling bad I talked to some folks in an agender chat room. I love to vent. If I can talk about my problem to somebody and get it off my chest then I feel a million times better. It’s amazing to have that interaction with people who get it, have been there, and can remind me that it does get better. Having a support network in place is one of the best things you can do for your mental/emotional health.

After a few days of taking care of myself I’m feeling much better, but the truth of the matter is my gender dysphoria is probably never going to go away. When I look in the mirror I’ll still feel that “not my body”or “out of body” experience. I don’t think a physical transition would work for me. I’m agender; there isn’t gender to for me to transition into. If there was a way in my culture to look truly androgynous that wasn’t colored by the masculine/feminine, then maybe I would do that, but I don’t want to be seen as a man or a manly girl, tomboy or butch. I don’t want to be seen a girl, feminine, or womanly. I want to be seen as agender.2a5ef1a7-bb94-44d5-a0d0-b505ed4919e0_560_420

Maybe if there were nonbinary folks in mainstream media I would feel more comfortable in my own skin. It would be nice to have role models. It would be nice to have something to point to so I could tell my coworkers, “See? That’s just like me.” For now I really have no idea what I can do to get rid of my dysphoria for good. It’s a problem, but for the moment it’s a manageable one. That’s just going to have to be good enough even if, occasionally, it really hurts.


If you’re into me, then you’re not straight: Orientations and attractions to non-binary people

Hey there, folks! Check out this awesome post by valprehension touching on Non-binary erasure and complication when is comes to orientation labels. The title says it all.

Non-binary people are a weird position in the dating world (ok, I mean, we’re in a pretty weird position all the time to be honest. But anyway, today I’m talking about the dating world)…

Source: If you’re into me, then you’re not straight: Orientations and attractions to non-binary people

My number one take-away from the post was the mention of the complication that came with people identifying as “straight” while still being sexually/romantically attracted to non-binary individuals and how “straight” and “heterosexual” don’t mean the same thing. I greatly enjoyed the post and will be thinking about this topic in the future.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 22

[Somehow I forgot to hit the submit button yesterday. Oops!]

What is your sexual and romantic orientations? Are they affected by your gender?

I am asexual and aromantic! Hence the name of the blog. The aromantic part is the big one because I’m not romantically attracted to anyone (or at least attracted enough to act on it). I really don’t focus on any non-platonic relationship possibilities. On the one hand it sucks because people say “Friendzone” like it’s Mordor or something. I want to be someone’s Samwise to their Frodo really, really badly. I just want to be someone’s best friend, but I haven’t found “the one” in that respect either. People place so much emphasis on romantic relationships. I wish Hollywood would make a “Falling in best friends” story. I’ve heard other ace/aros talk about the same feelings of wanting to be someone’s number one, but not in a romantic sense and they feel shoved aside when their besty finds a significant other.

But since I’m not attracted to anyone romantically or sexually my gender doesn’t really affect my orientation.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Day 21

How has your relationship with yourself been affected since you realized you were Genderqueer?

Actually my relationship with myself has been awesome. I’ve been toying with the idea of genderlessness in writing for a long time before I even knew agender was a thing. In college I was part of a writing club and we had a group story going for almost 5 years before we all scattered and went our separate ways. My absolutely favorite character was a biromantic/asexual/agender character and this was a character I created just out of curiosity before I even knew the terminology. I created this character because I wanted to ask the question “can you have a genderless character in a story and make it work”? Well, it turns out my writer’s subconscious knew me better than I knew myself because I ended up finding this character the most relatable out of all my character creations. The character went by an alias “Liberty Jones”, or “Lib” for short and since then I’ve adopted the name Lib as one of my online monikers. I use “Kit” for more serious stuff, but I use “Lib” when I want to be myself.

Creating the Lib character was the first step in finding myself and I hope to reuse the character someday to inspire other non-binary and agender individuals someday. It’ll be a while before I can free up the energy to give the character the justice they deserve, but it’s definitely on the short list for passion projects. I look forward to playing with the character again because usually it’s the author who gives life to the character, but this time it was the character who helped me really come to life as a person.


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 4

Name some queer heroes, influences, or crushes you’ve had.

This one is sooooo hard because there are so few queer heroes in media. The GameTheorists on Youtube do a nice piece on just how far the U.S. goes to bury their queers. Gay and trans characters are often the villains in video games and lesbians are mostly eye candy. This is because the video game market targets a male audience even-though women make up 60% of the game market. Movies are also mostly targeted towards young men, but women buy more tickets and see more movies (and no it’s not just mom’s buying tickets for their kids). There is a huge imbalance between the marketing department and which sex the majority of the market makes up. Because of this there really haven’t been any heroes or influences for me to latch on to. Even less are heroes and influences that are non-binary, agender, or asexual. A lot of gay and lesbian media that does exist has a heavy romantic element to it and because I don’t have a gender I can’t relate well to trans focused media. I’m a minority within a minority group.

But when I was young (about middle school age) there was probably one hero/crush that I could count. My favorite anime in middle school was YuYu Hakusho and one of the main characters was Kurama: a very feminine-looking male character.


Kurama starts out as a villain, but manages to redeem himself as the series progresses. He looks like a weakling, but is the most able strategist in the series. He’s definitely a character I looked up to because it didn’t matter how he looked because he had the brains to out smart any opponent. I wish I were that classy.

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.

30 Day Gender Queer Challenge: Prompt 1

Do you use any other terms to define or explain your gender or lack of gender?

Yes, I do! I prefer using the term agender over genderqueer because I feel like the former more accurately describes my gender experience. I don’t experience gender like most people do because I don’t experience gender at all. The most I’ll feel about my gender identity is neutral. I feel like there’s a huge chasm in my mind and on one side is me and the other side is gender and there’s absolutely no way for me to make a connection.

I also prefer the term nonbinary/non-binary over genderqueer and transgender because I prefer to distance myself from the gender binary all together. Genderqueer and transgender are two broad of terms and can be used by people who are still in the gender binary. When I say the terms genderqueer or transgender people automatically just flip the gender binary in their minds and neither gender on the binary applies to me. I think “agender” just gives me a better starting place when I’m explaining my gender identity to other people.

(See this post for a full list of prompts!)