It’s happened to all of us, the haircut that suddenly doesn’t work, or something about the humidity that causes our hair to refuse to do what we want it to. Bad hair days happen. And as I found out this weekend, so do bad gender days. They happen and they are a lot more unpleasant than bad hair days. No ball cap or hoodie hides my gender problems from me.
Dunno why it hit this weekend, but I think it’s related to some difficult threads on Facebook, around gender and marital status and a straight, white cis-male friend of mine not recognizing his privilege while lecturing me about why I should accept misgendering if it’s delivered in an attempt to be polite and respectful. There have also been some related incidents in meat space as well. I’ve been increasingly uncomfortable being labeled with female gendered terms: lady, gal, Ms., ma’am. They’ve always caused me issues, but it’s getting worse, I guess. I’ve let a lot of them slide for a long time because there is a part of me that is female identified, however, even that side of me isn’t comfortable with those terms. Even the female side of me feels more comfortable being seen as male.
Which led me to yesterday, feeling very dark and despairing of ever getting gender right. Last night, I temporarily ran away from home, down to my bar, to sit alone with a beer and get some head space for myself. I texted to Roxy:
“Fuuck. What am I? Neither here nor there, not him or her. Sometimes being in the middle sucks.
People want you to choose, ya know? Be understandable so they don’t make mistaks and embarrass themselves. Why can’t I just be easy?”
Roxy, as always, was wonderful, reassuring me that she liked me just the way I am, no matter who I am or who I become. And I know that which is why I feel comfortable reaching out to her from the dark places I get into sometimes with this. I know she’ll respect what I’m going through, love me regardless, and lead me out of the darkness when I’m ready.
I still don’t know what to do about this. I’m increasingly aligned with my masculinity, more comfortable being called Mr., Sir, he. Those terms fit in like a key into its lock, they make me proud, they fill me up, they open me up. On the other hand, ‘lady’, ‘gal’, ‘miss’, etc., hit me like something barbed and jangling. They don’t fit at all and in attempting to take them in, I end up feeling torn up, injured internally. And yet, when I think about going another step in the masculine direction, transitioning physically, I know that’s not the solution either. At least not at the moment. For now (and maybe forever), I’m in a weird hard to define middle ground. And I think to myself, “How do I expect other people to get it right, with regard to my gender, when I’m not even sure what I am all the time?” I really just want to be seen as a guy, one of the guys, a dad, a mister, even though I have unbound 40Ds and don’t inject T. I don’t want to have to give up my female body in order to embrace as much of my masculinity and male identity as I want to. And I know that makes it hard for people to know how to refer to me. When people ask me for my preferred pronouns, I might launch into a 1 or 2 minute rambling discussion about my complex gender and how all of them are appropriate depending on the context. Which, by the way, I have a hard time laying out ahead of time so people can avoid doing it wrong. More than once, friends on Facebook, good people, people who aren’t out to negate me, have read my rants and statuses about gender identity and asked me what terms are preferable to me, because they want to be respectful. And I try to give them an answer, but I don’t think it’s clear enough for most people to understand easily. I need to make it clearer, I guess.
This whole thing has me in a spin. I’m not a man or a woman, I’m both, but I like masculine titles, pronouns and terms much more than female ones, most of the time. Maybe I should just decide, make a choice, go one way or the other. It’d be easier on me and everyone else, right? Binary is easier. Genderqueer is hard. I don’t know, honestly. Sometimes it’s easy to claim my gender and sometimes, like now, it’s not. I get tired, worn down by the responses people give me. You might know how it goes, the people who are gender savvy are pretty easy to communicate with, but the world is mostly made up of people who aren’t. And in my working world, there is a predominence of white, cis-male, straight guys who aren’t very savvy about gender or oppression or privilege. They don’t understand why I’m making it so hard for them to do the right thing. And sometimes I think they’re right. Sometimes I get tired of having to explain. Maybe it’d be easier to just say “I’m a guy, a man, no ambiguity or confusion, go with it.”
The whole thing makes me want to pull into my shell and stop dealing with the world, ya know?
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