I call myself genderfunky. Other words could also work: genderqueer, bigendered, gender-full, agendered, genderless, genderfluid.
I love when people have no idea what my gender or sex is. I love being mistaken for the opposite sex by someone in person. When I was growing up – yes, all the way up to and through adulthood – my primary preoccupation with my physical appearance was how well I could pass for the opposite sex if I wanted to.
I have no urge to physically transition my body to the opposite sex. It wouldn’t fit me any better than the body I have now – which is to say that I like both, not that I don’t like either.
Gender vs. Sex
I understand “sex” as anatomical, genetic, and hormonal characteristics of male/female/intersex/what have you.
I understand “gender” as the behavioral, cultural, or psychological traits typically associated with one sex.
Me vs. The World
I do not associate characteristics of mind, heart, or body (outside of genitalia) with a given sex, which means that, inside my head, there is no gender.
The world around me has gendered almost everything: tones of voice, attitudes, levels of a given emotion, gestures, gaits, colors, clothing style, types of material possessions, living spaces, standards of beauty, strengths, weaknesses, likes, dislikes, hobbies, professions. This culture is inclined towards binaries, so its common interpretations of gender are also binaried: boy, girl.
Since I do not exist solely in my own little world, despite my best efforts, I perceive people in general as having genderiffic stereotypes, expectations, and opinions. When I consider what other people think or feel, in any situation or scenario, I always add the gender-filter while looking through their eyes. (Disclaimer: I’m aware that people have different types of and intensities of gender-filters; I am generalizing for sake of brevity right now.)
Aspects vs. Labels
I train in martial arts. I have a motorcycle and a mohawk. I wear earrings in only one ear. I carry at least one knife on me at all times. I wear button-down collared shirts and flannel shirts at work, and boxers and long wool socks all the time. I try to divorce myself from anything associated with negative immaturity or physical or emotional weakness. Most of my rolemodels, both present and past, could be described with the word “warrior.” I am broad-shouldered and solidly-built. I lift weights. I love Metallica and Godsmack and 80s rock’n roll.
I get misty-eyed over sappy moments, in music or movies or my own life. I watch childhood movies and will never stop loving Disney and Pixar. My hands are graceful and long-fingered and sharp-nailed. There are stuffed animals scattered everywhere in my home, including a few that stay on the bed; I still have the teddy bear that was my first ever plushie, given to me right after I was born. I have a dustmop-dog that is smaller than each of the cats, who fit into the palm of my hand when she was six weeks old. I’m easily susceptible to my emotional environment, so I’m careful with the places I go, the people I hang around, and the media I consume. I love Ani Difranco and Melissa Etheridge.
If someone read only one paragraph or the other, they would likely slap a label of masculine or feminine on me. But both sets of traits are true; both are me. I’m not just masculine or feminine; I’m a person that cannot be categorized in binaries.
Hence “person,” not “computer.”
I don’t rest easy with (what I think are) other people’s perceptions of me.
I don’t want to appear feminine, because in the culture around me, femininity (not women themselves, but girliness as a quality) is associated with weakness. I also don’t want to appear excessively masculine, because in the culture around me, “macho” is associated with insensitivity. And I prize both my strength and my sensitivity.
Ideally, I ignore gender labels. I let people draw their own conclusions, and I focus on being true to myself, in each little aspect, no matter what gender label someone else might slap on it.
But in 2010, I slipped up pretty badly. I fell into the throttling grips of my I-must-not-appear-weak compulsion, and my personal expression of genderfunky drifted into the decidedly masculine. I wound up suppressing the aspects of me that could be considered feminine, lest I as a person be considered feminine and thus weak. And this suppression thing is Not Okay.
I wrote this post. It took me days and several drafts. But I wrote it.
I am telling you, straight-up, that I am genderfunky. I am masculine and feminine, neither and both, something else entirely. All of it. None of it.
And I am recommitting myself to myself, to all the aspects of me, and to the truth of them, not the commonest labels they wear.
I’m just me, in my own space, doing my thing. The world and everyone in it can form their own opinions; I know where my truths lie, and that’s the important thing for me.