So I came across this article:
Holy fuck, did it hit home.
I have known or know many people who’ve transitioned, have thought about it, are thinking about it. People who don’t want to transition but find themselves not quite comfortable with gender binary. People who like a messy combination of things/traits society tends to say shouldn’t go together.
I, myself, fit somewhere in there.
It’s not something I talk about a lot, yet is something I’ve found myself questioning and thinking about since I was a teenager. It was in my decision to not wear makeup unless I was on stage or maybe going out, even after I was told that “women have to wear makeup.” Totally there when I said “why the fuck do I have to sit uncomfortably with my legs or ankles crossed?” and started sitting with my knees wide the fuck open, even after being told repeatedly that that’s “how a man sits”. Also there when I thought I’d like to have a penis. And when I started packing.
Here’s the thing for me, though.
I identify as a woman.
I like being a woman.
I like my name and having breasts, though since I was a teenager, I’ve wished I had the money to make them bigger.
I don’t pack all the time. I don’t even do it a majority of the time. (It would probably help if I fixed my leather harness as the elastic one is…less than optimal.)
Though I want a penis, I don’t want to be a man. I’d prefer to have a penis and breasts and be a woman. But I don’t have a (biologically attached) penis and I kind of like my bits and I don’t have money to get a (biologically attached) penis so I have a few silicone ones.
Basically, I just do my best to be the best me I can be and encourage the people I love to be the best them they can be. But it’s hard with all these messages about what a “real” woman or man is, that there has to be only those two, that there’s a “right” way to do any of this.
It’s like the whole bi-erasure thing where some straight and some gay people think that bi (and sometimes pan) sexual people just haven’t decided which camp they want to be in yet. Because “both” and “other” somehow aren’t valid choices.
I supposed I can understand it to a certain extent. We use labels to help us understand things. But what happens when new labels are being created? What happens when the way we previously understood something has to be updated for new information? Some people lose their shit and cling to that prior understanding as the Only Way.
The Unknown or New is scary. It’s threatening. I get it. “What else could change?” is the question that bubbles, unspoken below the discomfort with adapting to new information. It scares me, too. I just try not to let it stop me from questioning, exploring, seeking out conversations and information, learning, growing.
I find this type of fear permeates so many groups and separates extremists of all types from middle-of-the-road people (like I consider myself) who try to take it all in as they go.
You can find it in the political world, the religious world, trickling into the debate in the poly world between hierarchy and RA (which is a whole ‘nother post that’s been trying to work it’s way out of my brain.)
In most things, I keep coming back to a few tenets, which keep me going. This is how I try to live my life:
- Recognition: Gender is hard and like the comic said, it’s NOT a race.
- Be open: There’s no “One Twue Way”. I do me. You do you. Sometimes, with some people, if we all consent, we’ll do each other and figure out how that goes when we cross that bridge.
- Celebrate: People are glorious, nuanced creations that words can never fully define or encompass.
- Fuck the message, not the person (unless it’s the good kind of fuck): When someone says some variation of “that’s not the way it/you/women/men/sexuality/gender/etc works” (or Ur Doing It Wrong!), I respond with “fuck that.” I used to, in my wilder, more unkind, unformed, younger years say “fuck you.” But it’s not the people we need to be aggressive towards. It’s the message. Fuck the message that men can’t wear women’s clothes. Fuck the message that interracial dating and marriage is wrong or gross. Fuck the message that there can only be gay or straight. Fuck the message that there’s only one way to do poly. Fuck the message that you can only be a submissive OR a Dom(me). Fuck the message that there’s only one religion or political path or way to do -anything-.
- Be kind: We’ve all got our own struggles. Be kind, y’all.