Trans/Genderqueer/Agender/Questioning Thread

Message Bookmarked
Bookmark Removed

Bramwell seconded this. Anyone can post in here I guess but let's try and keep the focus on talking about experiences and conjectures/thoughts about what this whole non-binary gender expression means to you. Queer theory is fine, Bio-truths and imposed rigidity BE GONE!

Have fun!!

I guess I could start by paraphrasing my everything2 post from long ago... basically I identified as an androgynous bisexual male, which means I present as a man, but feel much more androgynous/agendered/pangendered(?).

Sexual as well as Gender identity might be fun to talk about. You want to post in here? You know who you are ;)

if you can't take a joke stay the fuck out (Viceroy), Monday, 16 December 2013 13:25 (five years ago) link

I have so! many! thoughts! most of which I have already said in the other thread so I'm kinda burned out on talking right now, but yes! I am so glad this thread exists!

Kinda feel like, sexual identity is linked tangentially to gender identity, but as stated before in a correlative-non-causative way, so personally I'd prefer talking more about gender identity, but that might be 30 years internalised biphobia talking. Maybe overcoming biphobia is something we can talk about...

BUT. I also recognise the fact that gender is an identity separate from sexual orientation e.g. there are heterosexual trans women and lesbian trans women and bisexual transwomen - hey, just like cis women! - so there may be male-identity fancying genderqueers and female-identity fancying genderqueers and "gender is not the principle thing I'm attracted by" genderqueers - hey, just like everybody else.

But, basically, YAY. Excellent thread. Thank you.

Branwell Bell, Monday, 16 December 2013 13:33 (five years ago) link

30 years internalised biphobia talking

Hah, you're not the only one dealing with that, for sure! Yeah, it seems like sleepy time and I also said a bunch of stuff on the other thread...

I feel like I should have included Trans in the thread title... I might try to get a mod to change that.

But, sleepy time... encroaching... must succumb...

Viceroy, Monday, 16 December 2013 13:42 (five years ago) link

(Tis the season for thinking of departed friends, but god damn, did I just get a nostalgic tear, suddenly imagining Bimble bursting into the middle of this thread announcing "HI GUISE!!!" preferably accompanied by an angular Bauhaus bassline)

Learn To Keep Your Mouth Shut, (Branwell Bell), Monday, 16 December 2013 13:51 (five years ago) link

Oh! Oh! This is kind of important, so I wanted to add it right up at the top here.

The other reason I'm kind of a bit wary of lumping in discussing "sexual orientation" with discussing "genderqueer identity" is this: I do not wish to participate in the marginalisation of that other oft-erased group: Asexuals

Because, ironically, one of the largest group of genderqueer and agender people I've ever encountered in one place is the asexual community. It was often noted in that environment that there is a much higher incidence of genderqueer and agender people in the asexual community than in society at large. However, no one wanted to go so far as to categorically define a causation loop there. It might be that people who have sexual desire have less reason to signal a gender at all; it might be that being agender causes one to question all aspects of identity, including sexuality as well.

Either way; Asexuals, they exist. It would be remiss not to say so, at the start.

Learn To Keep Your Mouth Shut, (Branwell Bell), Monday, 16 December 2013 15:55 (five years ago) link

Viceroy, I don't really know what you had in mind for this thread, but I just thought that this page is RELEVANT TO MY INTERESTS A+++++++++ WOULD LISTICLE AGAIN

and possibly relevant to the thread, but mostly just kinda hott.

Branwell Bell, Tuesday, 17 December 2013 17:15 (five years ago) link

Oooh that is a good one!

As an aside I was hoping this thread might receive more attention but it seems to be just you and me. Wish I had a fun article to counter with.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 03:40 (five years ago) link

Also as someone who is very attracted to androgynous people the female crossdressers who were in the middle of the rankings were way hotter to me than the ones who were more convincing males. I think my favorites are #14, #9 & #8.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 03:53 (five years ago) link

Oh hi! I've been wanting to participate in the other thread but I haven't really had time to read it. So I guess in the past 6 months/year I've been pretty strongly questioning my assumptions about my own gender and come to the conclusion that I'm probably genderqueer. I've become a lot more comfortable with a more feminine gender expression although I still have my masc days where I just want to walk around in jeans and a black hoodie. I definitely glad this thread exists!

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 07:34 (five years ago) link

A couple things that have really helped me build confidence over this in the past few months in particular: having an awesome trans roommate who takes me to lots of queer events and meeting my amazing queer gf who is totally into me exploring my feminine side.

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 07:38 (five years ago) link

I will keep an eye out for more links, Viceroy. They tend to float through Twitter and Tumblr and it would be nice to give them more discussion.

Hey Rev I'm glad you popped in here.

I wonder sometimes why we talk so much about clothing when we talk about Genderqueer, because it goes so far beyond that, and it does make me worry about coming across as shallow (because "thinking about clothing" is coded "female" and therefore "shallow and not worth considering in any serious manner" and really, fuck that particular logic of thinking.) But given that clothing, in our culture (most cultures?) is the single most visible indicator of "coding male" or "coding female" it's not surprising people end up talking about it.

(I mean, obv there are other aspects of my life where I experience other-triggered gender dysphoria, notably "you're the lead guitarist?" or "you're the DB admin?" or "you're the DJ/producer/soundperson/whatevs" but those things don't make me feel *genderqueer* they just make me feel like the person saying these things is a MASSIVE FUCKING SEXIST because those things are such inherent interests/my fucking career/whatever, even though in their heads these activities are "male-coded" and I spend so much of my time doing them in male spaces and I don't think about "presenting male" in those spaces, I just think about "doing my fucking job." There are, believe it or not, Cis Women who also have those careers! This made me feel like it was a political act to identify as a Cis Woman while in those roles, even though really, I am not.)

So we talk about clothes, and we talk about presenting gender through clothes, because clothing is a language that we choose as a way of expressing something about ourselves. And quite frankly, I don't think "jeans and a hoodie" codes "male" at all in this time in this society, it codes "default clothes; unisex." What would be "coding male" in the way that putting on a skirt (a skirt and not a kilt) is coding female? I dunno; putting on a suit? A shirt and tie? Waistcoats? (Waistcoats are such a "girl in drag" signifier, it's hilarious. I have always loved waistcoats p much since high school. Not even Mumfords can take them from me.) Even now that men almost never wear waistcoats, even with suits (more's the pity) and the last time a boy in my office wore one, everybody said "Oh, you're dressing like (Branwell) now?" and he was mortified.

But the thing is, for me, putting on a waistcoat or a shirt and tie does not *feel* like Drag in quite the same way that putting on a dress and pantyhose feels like Drag. And I don't know how much of that is to do with the fact that women's clothes are often really super-uncomfortable, and change the way you have to stand and sit. And maybe it's deep memories of spending my entire childhood up to and including adolescence running around in my brother's hand-me-downs as play clothes and only having to put on Girl Drag for formal occasions like church and dinner parties and jeez, those situations were uncomfortable, so I have projected the discomfort onto the clothes associated with them?

The only place I've ever felt the slightest bit comfortable wearing "girl clothes" was on stage, and that was always a theatrical performance, and that playing the role of "Rock Star" involves putting on a costume whether that is leather trousers or a 60s minidress. (Or "On The Dancefloor" at clubs, which is a different kind of "Stage".) Playing gigs at the Pyramid Club, where there was a rock venue on one floor and a drag club on the other, and as you went in, the drag queens would look you over, and if you went onstage wearing jeans and a t-shirt even at the height of the grunge era, they would say "Honey, you're not even trying" yet if I turned up in a suit with a model on each arm, they'd be far more approving. (And got into the idea of wearing ballgowns and wigs onstage as a drag performance rather than my actual gender expression.) I own dresses I now never wear because I no longer go onstage and I've given up even wearing dresses to weddings and funerals.

But this is something else that Rev hits on. Performing gender implies an audience. When I was working, it went without saying to put on a shirt and tie to go to work. Now I'm unemployed, I'm not going to do the same just to go to the supermarket. Having a roommate, having a partner, going to queer events and the like give you contexts in which to explore performing gender in different ways. Which is great! It sounds amazing! But without a context, sitting around on the sofa in pyjama bottoms and a massive hippie jumper so large as to render me genderless provides comfort on one level (no one is making me perform gender, phew, what a relief) but having a genderqueer space and a context in which to exist and perform without judgement (or at least without judgement on what gender you're supposed to be) would be way, way better.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 10:11 (five years ago) link

Hmmm, I don't consider it drag when I wear women's clothes and I've really never cared for drag as an artform at all. It's exactly the performative aspects of it that I find offputting (also, while this obviously doesn't apply to drag kings or "bio queens", I've always found the idea of men caricaturing women gross). I guess I think about it more in terms of inner expression than performance. Wearing women's clothes doesn't feel performative to me so much as expressing my authentic (bear with me on this word) self. That doesn't necessarily mean that when I wear male clothes I'm being my fake self, depending on how I feel. But sometimes it feels off and I feel dysphoric, albeit this is fairly rare. Like on my dating profile I have a picture of myself in a suit which I have there because it was taken by a professional photographer and it's really the best recent picture I have, from a technical standpoint. But I was just looking at it and going, "that's not me." However, on the actual night this past summer when the photo was taken, I felt like an absolute stud dressed like that.

What I really react negatively to these days is having my masculinity enforced by other people, almost always men.

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:23 (five years ago) link

Something I wanted to say on the other thread: I can't relate to people who say they have no inner sense of gender or never thinking about their gender presentations. I'm constantly thinking about how I present my gender, almost to the point of obsession recently. My friend Lorena said something recently (which I can no longer find) that I identified strongly with about feeling alienated by non-binary people who felt felt neither male nor female. Her response was that she wants all the gender. I feel like that too.

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:28 (five years ago) link

Which is probably why I feel comfortable being addressed by either male or female pronouns but don't like gender-neutral pronouns at all.

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:31 (five years ago) link

I mean, obv there are other aspects of my life where I experience other-triggered gender dysphoria, notably "you're the lead guitarist?" or "you're the DB admin?" or "you're the DJ/producer/soundperson/whatevs" but those things don't make me feel *genderqueer* they just make me feel like the person saying these things is a MASSIVE FUCKING SEXIST because those things are such inherent interests/my fucking career/whatever, even though in their heads these activities are "male-coded" and I spend so much of my time doing them in male spaces and I don't think about "presenting male" in those spaces, I just think about "doing my fucking job."

That's clearly some classic sexist assholism...
"What?! A LADY Doctor! *monocle pop*"
bleeecchhh. Why do people even fucking make comments like that?!

anyway, my only takeaway is that being able to admin a database is 1) not a gendered activity and 2) damn fucking sexy.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:32 (five years ago) link

Obviously none of this is to shit on people who tend more to the agender side, that's just much farther from how I feel personally than either male or female binary genders would be. xp

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:33 (five years ago) link

anyway, my only takeaway is that being able to admin a database is 1) not a gendered activity and 2) damn fucking sexy.

Haha my response would be 1) not a gendered activity and 2) ewwww techies avoid AVOID AVOID but agreed that that's just plain old sexism.

The Reverend, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:35 (five years ago) link

Hmmm, I don't consider it drag when I wear women's clothes and I've really never cared for drag as an artform at all. It's exactly the performative aspects of it that I find offputting (also, while this obviously doesn't apply to drag kings or "bio queens", I've always found the idea of men caricaturing women gross). I guess I think about it more in terms of inner expression than performance. Wearing women's clothes doesn't feel performative to me so much as expressing my authentic (bear with me on this word) self.

I have in the past taken any chance to wear women's clothes in public with the *pretense* that I was in drag/standard straight boy crossdressing, like for costume parties and such... but really I was trying to see how well I could pass for female. Which in its own way is performative, maybe? I don't think its performative in the same way as being a drag queen or a female impersonator is.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:37 (five years ago) link

For me, it's more like... I would just like agender to be an *option* for me. It is never going to be an option for me because of my stupid fucking annoying body (and the first person who says "binders" to me will get a pop on the nose, because, really, *fuck* binders.)

Nah, really, I'm OK with my body most of the time. But it just means that "body positivity" has an extra dimension to it. It's not me; it's some station wagon that ferries me around.

I'm feeling kinda bummed now, but it's been a kinda "onslaught of bad news" kinda day.

p.s. adminning a database is not "sexy" it is a fucking job. And I would also really like a space where every action I performed was not judged on whether it was "sexy" or not. I'm really not trying to pick on you, Viceroy, I know you meant it as a compliment, but that's part of what I am trying to get rid of. Say adminning a database is "powerful" or "cool" or whatever else. But I'm kinda done with being judged on "sexy."

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:39 (five years ago) link

Sorry, I guess that was flip... I meant really more that it's difficult and brainy and that sort of thing is attractive to me. I understand how you feel and I apologize.


For me, it's more like... I would just like agender to be an *option* for me. It is never going to be an option for me because of my stupid fucking annoying body (and the first person who says "binders" to me will get a pop on the nose, because, really, *fuck* binders.)

Is perhaps being able to be fully agender is a privilege that people with relatively androgynous can enjoy? I haven't really thought about that.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:45 (five years ago) link

^ relatively androgynous *bodies

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:46 (five years ago) link

Nah, I get it, and it's fine, but I do appreciate the apology.

I don't think it's related to "relatively androgynous" but more to "man as default gender." It's easier to pass as the quintessential "non-gendered" avatar stick man of the internet when you have short hair, white skin and no visible breasts.

I could say more about "androgynous" becoming code for "pretty boys and slim girls" rather than people that actually have a mix of masculine and feminine features, but... oops, I think I just did anyway.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 19:50 (five years ago) link

"androgynous" becoming code for "pretty boys and slim girls"

I think, unfortunately, that IRL, there's no "becoming" about it - that's what they mean. I mean literally androgynous but not in an avatar stick man way cause that sounds weird and gross.

And I agree with the man as default gender thing as it relates to the ease of being androgynous and identifying as agender. Looks like male privilege wins again.

I guess I don't have anything more to add to that line of discussion.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:00 (five years ago) link

Well, no, because one can separate the concepts of "androgynous" and "agender" and "default gender" - these are different things to be teased apart.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:03 (five years ago) link

I feel like your're mad at me for agreeing with you and also mad at me for not being able to completely formulate what I mean to say perfectly.

Of course you can separate those concepts, I was trying to talk about how they might be interrelated. But I'm pretty clumsy I guess. No offense intended.

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:16 (five years ago) link

Her response was that she wants all the gender.

love this

sleeve, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:19 (five years ago) link

Viceroy! I'm not angry at you at all! I apologise if in any way shape or form, anything made you think I as angry at you! I think these are interesting conversations to be having, and I'm grateful to you for having them with me!

OK, honestly, I am experiencing quite a lot of ~ambient anger~ right now, mostly because it's been "International Talk About Sex With 13 Year Olds" today and yesterday and all week really, and, as someone who was raped at 13, that's a topic that generates huge amounts of quite justifiable anger in me - which I do understand, keeping that anger under control makes my posts about any emotive topics kinda short and curt and maybe a bit strained, which can probably be read as "angry." But I'm not actually ~angry~ at anyone right now. Especially not you, Viceroy. This stuff is cool to think about.

Branwell Bell, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:26 (five years ago) link

oh ok! Damn, yeah I can see why you'd have a lot of ambient anger and distress! That sounds really shitty to have to deal with and highly triggering!!

Viceroy, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:56 (five years ago) link

I think it's an interesting dynamic, that "I want to have ALL the gender" vs "I want to have NONE of the gender" are related in that they are both rejections of the gender binary, but they're also quite different, both in presentation and maybe in the internal experience of it. The confusion over vocabulary is to be expected when it's still unfamiliar (and in many cases, still in the process of words being defined.) (Are any words ever really *done* being defined? That's another question.)

"What does this word even mean?" is a good discussion to start with IMO.

Branwell Bell, Thursday, 19 December 2013 12:49 (five years ago) link

I don't know if anyone else is still even reading/posting to this thread or if there are just too damn few of us to keep this going?

Anyway, this popped up on Tumblr today:

And there's been a lot of discussion about pronouns in the trans* community (and I still don't feel entirely comfortable identifying as part of that community, even thought "the trans* community" as such was specifically widened from "the trans community" with the aim of including ~people like me~ - which is a weird thing in and of itself, because the bulk of my life has been identity-based communities narrowing themselves to *not* include ~people like me~ - so on one level it's nice but on another level, it's kinda... I don't want to co-opt an identity I have no right to? But that is not the discussion at hand here...)

The discussion I want to bring up is about pronouns. And though I am really, really in favour of the idea of Gender Neutral Pronouns (whether that be Zie/singular They/whatever) just for the purpose of getting the default misogyny out of the English language. And though I am also really in favour of people using - and other people respecting - the pronoun that best fits their gender. And fully believing that actively misgendering someone who has specified a pronoun is an act of aggression.

Still, I don't actually GAF what pronoun someone uses, regarding me, and feel that it's somehow bad that I've not even considered this. (Dealing with shit in my life, I've got bigger fish to fry/hills to die on.) But trying to say that in a way that is not diminishing of people who do feel it's important to them. This is my personal experience, and my personal preference, and is in no way proscriptive of other people's preferences or experiences!

I would love a gender neutral pronoun to use on *everyone*, and to use in place of all those clumsy "him or her" constructions in instruction manuals. I would love that!

But the idea of adopting a pronoun and insisting people use it with regards to me... wow, I have enough battles.

Branwell Bell, Thursday, 2 January 2014 11:10 (five years ago) link

(The thing about thinking "you are the only one" for years, then finding others ~like you~ is that sudden fear that you might actually be ~doing things wrong~ when you had no idea that all along you were even doing a thing.)

Branwell Bell, Thursday, 2 January 2014 11:45 (five years ago) link

iirc Sweden recently introduced a gender-neutral pronoun ('hen'?) into the language. Will be interesting to see how usage picks up over the next few years.

Ramnaresh Samhain (ShariVari), Friday, 3 January 2014 10:55 (five years ago) link

That's the kind of question that thrills my inner linguistics nerd - is that the kind of thing that can be imposed onto a language, will usage pick up, or will it become a kind of formal thing that falls by the wayside?

Not even looking at pronouns, but looking at formal systems of grammar, there are examples of both tendencies. That Latin, with its multiple declensions, had nouns that were masculine, feminine, and neuter. But most modern Romance languages (at least the ones I've studied) have lost the neuter and gone to a 2-gender system. Then you have a language like English, where, even though its source languages have grammatical gender, almost all nouns except personal ones have had the gender rubbed off them.

Feel like on account of this, English should be better. (And for a long time, it seems like it was - have seen evidence that singular "they" was considered good English grammar for most of modern English's history, and the default "he" was actually fairly modern invention.)

I guess this is just kinda indicative of my systems-thinking, that I really want a gender neutral pronoun for applying in general cases, but am completely uninterested in whether or not it gets applied to me specifically.

Branwell Bell, Friday, 3 January 2014 12:15 (five years ago) link

I read about someone documenting the organic use of "Yo" as a gender-neutral pronoun by young people--oh, here it is!

Horreur! What are this disassociated lumps of (in orbit), Friday, 3 January 2014 14:09 (five years ago) link

In most cases you can rewrite a sentence to exclude pronouns and thus avoid the awkward "they." For example:

"A student asked me if they could use the bathroom" becomes "A student asked to use the bathroom."

the objections to Drake from non-REAL HIPHOP people (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Friday, 3 January 2014 14:17 (five years ago) link

The place I butt up against pronoun trouble the most is actually in writing manuals/help documentation for databases and other apps. So, although to a certain extent, you can replace gendered language by making it plural (Data entry operators should do X... blah blah blah... then they do Y...) but there are times when obviously only one user will be using a particular bit, and shoehorning in "they" becomes more and more clumsy. The obvious solution would be to use "you do X..." but technical writing can't easily take on that tone of informality.

Branwell Bell, Friday, 3 January 2014 14:40 (five years ago) link

A Friday LOL relevant to this thread:

Ian from Etobicoke (Phil D.), Friday, 3 January 2014 15:40 (five years ago) link

LOL-tastic! I'm going to go and put that on the Gurl Thread because: relevant to our interests!

Branwell Bell, Friday, 3 January 2014 16:03 (five years ago) link

I think a gender-neutral pronoun is pretty important but their seems to be a weird glut of them and they seem to be not easily pronounceable or at least it's not self-evident how they would be pronounced. Such words won't catch on if you can't use them unawkwardly in spoken English, I feel.

IDK my knee-jerk opinion is that instead of worrying about misgendering someone, you should probably just ask them their name and use that. If they want to tell you their gender they will.

Viceroy, Saturday, 4 January 2014 00:31 (five years ago) link

I love that cartoon

sleeve, Saturday, 4 January 2014 01:04 (five years ago) link

um also in the "don't know where to put this so I'm putting it here" department, two teenagers that I currently know have decided to change gender from F to M in the last year or two. I live in a diehard bastion of the Left Coast, so it is really awesome to see them be able to do this with a minimum of hassle and a lot of community support. in fact, one of the families moved back here from Minnesota so that the kid would have an easier time (they had left a couple of years ago).

Pat Califia was probably the first person I read who really started breaking down the science of gender, in terms of how the reality is non-binary. it makes so much more sense to me when you open up the possibilities like that.

sleeve, Saturday, 4 January 2014 01:16 (five years ago) link

Re gender neutral pronouns, I've been saying "they" since I was a kid. It sounds pretty natural. Re misgendering someone, it isn't often that I have to refer to someone's gender at all unless I do so in the third person, which is a situation that rarely comes up when a person is present, and can be avoided with a little thoughtfulness. What I usually do is explain to the person I'm talking to that I don't want to misgender so-and-so, and say "they," or I just say "they" in the first place and forego the spiel. It's not a perfect solution, because it's not what that person would necessarily prefer, but it's respectful, maybe? Or not. I'm not sure. But they don't have to hear something dysphoric to their face.

bamcquern, Saturday, 4 January 2014 01:31 (five years ago) link

I was thinking recently that I suspect there are a lot of cis gendered men who would like to be prettier, or would like to look nicer in women's clothing (or even to have the opportunity (which they do have, I admit) to engage with fashion and style the way women do) or who would like to be more "feminine." I also thought about cis men and women's dissatisfaction with their bodies and genitals: balls that hurt, ugly penises, ugly vaginas, stubbly faces and hairy legs, high pitched and low pitched voices, balding heads, weird boobs. (Assume free indirect discourse where you please. Add your own scare quotes.) The wrong shape. The wrong height. All the sex-characteristic pains and discomforts.

bamcquern, Saturday, 4 January 2014 01:40 (five years ago) link

I'm totally happy with my body, it's just my presentation and, I guess, personality traits I find myself unhappy with often. I guess that's not quite true. Sometimes I wish I was short so I would have to stand on my tippytoes to kiss someone.

Re: pronouns, I feel bad about it but "they" just feels awkward to me. I use it if someone has specifically requested it or if I have good reason to suspect I might otherwise misgender someone, but it feels so lumpen on my tongue. For other people's usage to describe me, I prefer male pronouns unless I have specifically given permission to use female pronouns.

Viceroy, I'm guessing for most people who choose pronouns like ze and hir and etc, it's more about queering language than practicality of use.

The Reverend, Saturday, 4 January 2014 07:21 (five years ago) link

Two of my roommates had a big shouting match a few weeks ago cause one (cis) kept purposefully misgendering the other (trans). I had to intervene on the side of the latter because the former just did not want to listen to him, but I was really glad he finally stood up for himself on that matter.

Oh and, I was going to post about "yo" a couple days ago when BB first brought this up but I didn't have time! I've been thinking about "yo" a lot lately.

The Reverend, Saturday, 4 January 2014 07:26 (five years ago) link

There's this weird disconnect between wanting to use people's pronoun's as a way of showing respect for their gender identity, which is great, and this space of "treating trans* people totally differently from the one one treats cis people, which is totally icky.

I was emailing A, who had met our mutual friend B, who is trans, at a concert, and I wanted to ask "What is B like? Zie is hilarious online! Is Zie the same in person?" because I do not know what pronoun B uses and respect B enough to want to get it right, and know that B's trans-ness is an important thing to B. But at the same time realising, that if A had met C, who is cis, I would not have thought twice about saying 'What is C like? She seems really wise online, is she the same in person?" and I would never have thought to use a gender neutral pronoun with C. And not knowing which of those two options is the better - queering everyone, or trying to adjust my language based on known preferences*.

*Yes, I also know that using the words "preferred pronoun" is problematic. When you are talking about e.g. a trans woman it is quite clear to me that her pronoun is "her" and this is not a "preference", this is just her pronoun. But asking to use "their" or "Zie" or "Hir" etc - the act of *choosing one* of several ambiguous pronouns is a preference, where requesting "a gender-neutral pronoun" is not a preference in the same way "a trans woman is she" is not a preference. It's tough. I'm of two minds about this.

It's shitty, because I've heard both sides, in terms of "showing respect means not assuming and waiting until the person volunteers" vs "OMG I am so sick of having to *tell* people what my pronoun is, it would be nice, just once in my life, to be *asked*" which really starts to feel like, whatever choice you make, is wrong. But still wanting to show basic respect.

It depends. I've said before, I don't really care what pronouns people use (I've spent a lot of my life being indiscriminately gendered, with embarrassment for the other person, and mostly just amusement for me) but for real, if anyone ever uses "zie" or any other gender neutral pronoun with me, I instantly perk up and just think "you are my people!" because it shows they've thought about this stuff.

OK, I'm going to do some reading on "yo". It feels rather too American for me to use, but it's an interesting idea.

Branwell Bell, Saturday, 4 January 2014 10:25 (five years ago) link

Kind of thinking about other stuff, presentation and the like...

Body dissatisfaction in cis people is a whole nother kettle of fish, possibly tangentially related, but... OK, I spent nearly 3 years working for a cosmetic surgeon, surrounded by an environment that was constantly trying to ramp up body dissatisfaction for commercial gain. On one level, it actually made it easier to ignore, because when you see the brutal capitalist machinery of what is behind the constant advertising/media representation of "body perfection" it does on one level empower (ugh, sorry, horrible word) one to see the man behind the curtain and go "this is fucking bullshit and should be torn down and resisted with every ounce of one's being." But on another level, living inside that environment 40, 50 hours a week, every week for 3 years, I do believe that ramped up my body dissatisfaction and, more saliently, my gender dysphoria to the breaking point. The result was a kind of collapse that I'm able to see in retrospect as a nervous breakdown. Living in that environment would have been difficult and challenging for person who was totally confident in their Cis-ness. Living in that environment as a person who was already trans-ish and questioning and would have called themself probably genderqueer had they had that word, it was one of the most actively poisonous environments of my life, all the most poisonous aspects of late capitalist gender malarkey ramped up to 11, all the time.

So... on level, it's like, yeah, this shit is awful for Cis people. But it's worse for trans* people.

But from a different angle, there's a point where, if you are trans* you are almost never going to measure up to "society"s standards of beauty, so why bother, and it's incredibly freeing to recognise them as impossible-for-you and thus disregard them.

OK, what follows is mine own digestion-of-things-I-have-read and quite possibly bullshit and misremembered because my memory is so poor, feel free to correct me or link the correct source or call me out for unexamined bias, but this is my supposition:

It's inspired by the memory of reportings, IIRC, of self image in fat women - I do not remember if this was an actual study, or just a blog or a comments thread, so I do not know the sample size or how representational this is. In this discussion, there was a discrepancy in the self-reporting of white women reporting poor self image based on their perceived fatness, but fat black women had better self image and were more likely to self report feeling "beautiful" and affirming their beauty than fat white women. And there was some discussion of what might cause this, if it were a greater acceptance of a wider range of body types in African American communities (well, yes and no, different range of body types, but not necessarily wider.) But when those black women were asked about their positive self image, individual women said things like - because the standard of beauty in this country is so based around thinness, yes, but also whiteness, blondness, European looks, those things are just Not Applicable. If you have to recreate a personal standard of beauty entirely from scratch, that standard of beauty for self love can include fatness as well as different standards of skin tone, hair texture. It's paradoxically less of a big project to include that one aspect in an image of beauty and self love made completely from scratch, than it is to try to match a standard of perfection where you are capable of matching several aspects (whiteness, European features and hair) that do look like you, but not the impossible one that doesn't look like you (weight).

I apologise again, for any misremembering, misinterpretation and also for lack of links to where I encountered these ideas - the fat-o-sphere is a big place. It might have been a study, a blog, a comments thread, I have such poor memory, I do not remember the source; I would be grateful if anyone else did. I also acknowledge the possibility that I may have got this completely RONG in a way that is hugely offensive to Women of Colour, though I really hope that I haven't. I do *not* mean to imply that black women "have it any easier" in this culture, because clearly they do not, it's about self-reporting, not about how one is perceived by others.

Now I'm done qualifying and hedging and "trying and probably failing not to express racist things when talking about race": the thing that stuck with me, and the takeaway that I took away, was this idea that when you are trying to measure yourself against an impossible standard that *seems* achievable, it is much harder to resist it than an impossible standard that will *never* be achievable. To use an example switched to enhance its absurdity: there is some capitalist fantasy world where if I buy all the products and use all the things, it is just conceivable that it might be achievable, *maybe* to turn out looking like Claudia Schiffer. There is no fantasy world where I buy all the products and use all the things where I turn out looking like Idris Elba.

Cis-Het femininity, I have just accepted, is just not an option that is available to me. I say this as someone who has been "read" as queer, my entire life, even when I was trying most hard to present as heterosexual. Cis-Het masculinity is also just not an option that is available to me. I am already "other". It's up to me to piece together a personal standard of gender, like a personal standard of beauty, which includes me and that I can live up to.

Talking about this stuff is hard, and I am not up to the task. I apologise again for all the ways in which I have got it wrong. I am often aware of being the stupidest person on any given thread, this is just one more. Sorry.

Branwell Bell, Saturday, 4 January 2014 11:23 (five years ago) link

Oh, and one more thing, which I was thinking of after waking up but before reading this thread: wondering about the intersection of "performing a gender" with "interacting with other people."

This is a thought provoked by how currently isolated I am right now, how few IRL interactions with other people I have right now, and if my increasing sense of "being agender" is related to "no others to perform gender to" rather than an intrinsic quality. Interactions with other people = "performing/identifying genderqueer" while being on one's own for days/weeks at a time = "no performance, ergo identifying agender."

Don't want to sound too mopey or "lonely guy just thinkin bout things" though.

Right. Must. Leave. House. Now.

Branwell Bell, Saturday, 4 January 2014 11:37 (five years ago) link

Realised, on reflection, I can summarise that sprawling, overthinky, awkwardly phrased post up above:

For Women of Colour, and/or also for Trans* people, practising self love as a political act.

Branwell Bell, Saturday, 4 January 2014 12:23 (five years ago) link

Yeah, that whole spiel otm. I guess I'm conventionally attractive, but the less I've worried about imposed standards of masculinity, the more attractive I've felt. When I was trying hard to be masculine, I didn't feel attractive at all.

OK, I'm going to do some reading on "yo". It feels rather too American for me to use, but it's an interesting idea.

Not just too American! On a side note, part of the reason I've been thinking about "yo" a lot, is because my roommate, who is black and trans, has a name that begins with those two letters and is used to being called Yo anyways. So I've ended up trying it out a few times since reading about it. Plus it's just fun to use.

The Reverend, Saturday, 4 January 2014 19:12 (five years ago) link

aww you're welcome. just did the same.

also, love the DN!

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Wednesday, 26 June 2019 17:23 (two months ago) link

been practicing my spivaks lately; that shit is hard to rewire your brain around

Fuck the NRA (ulysses), Wednesday, 26 June 2019 18:01 (two months ago) link

I almost never look at profiles unless someone's being an absolute dick and may be about to get banned, I should probably check them more often.

In terms of the original question, I'd probably try to do a friendly "not sure you've got these pronouns right" post, not accusatory but just giving someone a heads-up. That's assuming that the poster they're referring to has expressed what pronouns they prefer on this forum - it's a reasonable thing to keep details of your life off ilx, even though we're generally pretty non-anonymous.

emil.y, Wednesday, 26 June 2019 18:12 (two months ago) link

ilx is doing fine, the only thing that would help is if the board was more active, which can't be helped i don't think. i keep thinking about starting a 77 thread for trans/nb/genderqueer issues but i just don't think the board's active enough anymore for it. i just cannibalize the bi thread, which people there are fine with.

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Thursday, 27 June 2019 00:15 (two months ago) link

pronouns in profiles an excellent idea! i’ll definitely do that.

btw i have something to say re 77 but will keep it to 77

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Thursday, 27 June 2019 06:38 (two months ago) link

and just picking up doctor casino’s points: in my ~~~journey~~~ (not for this thread) i’ve picked up a hell of a lot of detailed language and etiquette around gender identity and sexuality, and would love to make myself available to help or talk about any of this. my ilx email address is long dead but i’ll happily make a new account with my real email address if it would help.

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Thursday, 27 June 2019 08:38 (two months ago) link

for the record i did go ahead and start a 77 trans/nb/genderqueer thread but to be honest I don't know how much use it will get, I'm only familiar with three current regulars who self-describe that way and I don't even know if the other two are on 77. I think it's nice to have a semi-public space to talk in-depth about some of this stuff but at the same time I have a pretty strong aversion to being the only one in the room talking, if I'm gonna journal I'll just journal and not post it anywhere.

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Friday, 28 June 2019 14:00 (two months ago) link

I have a pretty strong aversion to being the only one in the room talking

same, but being a 77 thread it could grow in detail and patronage (general e.g.: there is a load of stuff i would never say off 77)

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Friday, 28 June 2019 21:35 (two months ago) link

one month passes...

I am not on 77 but would be happy to talk about my transition and related issues there.

somebody give eliza 77 access already! :)

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Saturday, 10 August 2019 00:44 (one month ago) link

Hi everyone! As of yesterday I'm officially out as a transgender woman. I'm Kate. It's good to know all of you!

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Tuesday, 20 August 2019 14:16 (three weeks ago) link

Hi Kate. Congrats!

pomenitul, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 14:17 (three weeks ago) link

Wow, congrats!

jmm, Tuesday, 20 August 2019 14:51 (three weeks ago) link

That's so awesome, congrats Kate!

Good morning, how are you, I'm (Doctor Casino), Tuesday, 20 August 2019 15:00 (three weeks ago) link

hi kate!!!! congratulations <3

american bradass (BradNelson), Tuesday, 20 August 2019 15:08 (three weeks ago) link

howdy everyone!

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 00:39 (three weeks ago) link

congrats Kate!

Blues Guitar Solo Heatmap (Free Download) (upper mississippi sh@kedown), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 01:00 (three weeks ago) link


Carisis LaVerted (m bison), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 01:07 (three weeks ago) link

Way to go Kate!

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 01:33 (three weeks ago) link

Kate! <3 Congratulations!!!

I don't get wet because I am tall and thin and I am afraid of people (Eliza D.), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 02:46 (three weeks ago) link

yay kate ❤️

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 11:37 (three weeks ago) link

thanks again everyone! also Eliza I don't want to embarrass you but I do want to say that there were a lot of people who transitioned before me and just seeing their experience helped me a lot, helped give me the confidence to realize I could do this and it was possible for me, and you were definitely one of them in a big way for me, so I want to thank you for that.

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 13:38 (three weeks ago) link

**blushes deeply** I am very flattered and glad that I could help in any way. And will continue to do so!

My own transition experience is, of course, still ongoing and there are always new things to deal with. This weekend, e.g., I am attending a baby shower for a cousin, and it will be the first time any family members except my mother, nephews and niece have seen me in person since I started transitioning. And a lot of my family are RWNJs. To say I am nervous would be exceptionally understating it.

I don't get wet because I am tall and thin and I am afraid of people (Eliza D.), Wednesday, 21 August 2019 14:49 (three weeks ago) link

I recently had a very “soft” coming out as MTF transgender online elsewhere, but I haven’t really talked about it in depth here.

After a lifetime of buildup my “egg” finally cracked back in January, and I came out to my siblings and my cousin (whose gf is trans) first. They were all supportive and continue to be. I came out to my parents next, and thankfully they have handled it pretty well so far. My mom even said “It makes sense, you’ve always been so girly.” Lol. My dad kinda just grudgingly accepts it, but I expected as much.

Outside of my immediate family, though, I’ve been very selective about revealing anything. I’ve been especially trepidatious because earlier this year two long-time female friends of mine, both of whom I trusted, completely flipped out and cut me off after I told them that I was trans. Astoundingly, despite not knowing each other they had both been frequenting similar TERF-y places online and soaking up all of that vile propaganda.

Obviously that was a real gut punch, and to make things worse, a therapist I was seeing for my ASD/ADHD issues (a whole other kettle of fish by itself) completely dropped out of sight after a personal domestic crisis. There was no advance warning or referrals for me (or any of her other clients, as I later learned). Unsurprisingly, with all of these abandonments happening in quick succession, my ability to trust people took something of a hit for a while.

Thankfully I have since found a very kind and generous LGBTQ-friendly therapist, and she was able provide a referral for HRT. I started on spironolactone about a month ago. If all goes well, I may start on estrogen next month, but we’ll see.

Right now I’m trying to take this slowly and go at my own pace. Out of necessity I’m still (mostly) presenting as male for now. While there are actually a good number of trans people where I live, it’s still a very conservative area, so it’s not always easy to know where and when to feel safe.

In any case, while it’s scary at times, I am glad to have started on this path.

Thanks for reading!


P.S. As some of you know, my name IRL is Alex, which was short for Alexander but is now short for Alexandria. My preferred pronouns are she/her or they/them. Thanks again!!

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Thursday, 22 August 2019 01:55 (three weeks ago) link

X-post congrats Kate!

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Thursday, 22 August 2019 01:55 (three weeks ago) link


Carisis LaVerted (m bison), Thursday, 22 August 2019 02:35 (three weeks ago) link

blooming post

quelle sprocket damage (sic), Thursday, 22 August 2019 03:22 (three weeks ago) link

hiii kate, hi alexandria !

also latebloomer this is an incredible ilx username reveal/plot twist/bit of foreshadowing

ogmor, Thursday, 22 August 2019 09:06 (three weeks ago) link

Welcome Alexandria! Sorry you had to go through that bad stuff so early on. A beginning is a very delicate time, and it's really hurtful, and a lot of work to overcome, when someone comes at you with the shamehammer that early on. I'm still afraid of it to a certain extent - it still feels awful - but people have given me so much support and love and acceptance that now I feel like I can handle it. I'm glad you're moving forward with your life at a pace you feel comfortable with despite being hurt by people you trusted. If it helps, every day there are more of us on Team Love/Support/Acceptance and we will not stop until you and every other trans person out there has more gender euphoria than they know what to do with. :)

Ogmor so much of my life feels like first-act foreshadowing now...

Abigail, Wife of Preserved Fish (rushomancy), Thursday, 22 August 2019 12:00 (three weeks ago) link

Hooray <3 <3 <3 Alexandria!!!!

Wau @ Kate and Alexandria, congratulations, y'all and others itt are bravely embracing who you are to an extent that genuinely inspires awe in me.

Dez Tekken (Old Lunch), Thursday, 22 August 2019 13:14 (three weeks ago) link

Is anyone from the board planning on going to the National Trans March on DC on 9/28? I'm going to go down and stay with my cousin, and she and her boyfriend are going to march with me. If anyone else is going I'd love to meet up!

Alexandria you've been on this godforsaken site probably as long as I have and i've always considered you a superior human being, one of the truly delightful regulars of ILX, and i salute you.

omar little, Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:00 (three weeks ago) link

What Omar sez.

Ned Raggett, Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:02 (three weeks ago) link

cosign, stoked for you (and kate!)

hope this doesn't change anything for banaka though :)

also ogmor otm haha

imago, Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:07 (three weeks ago) link

I'm getting verklempt y'all

Thanks everyone for the kind words. It means a lot<3<3<3

Conceptualize Wyverns (latebloomer), Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:16 (three weeks ago) link

congratulations to kate and alexandria!

Seany's too Dyche to mention (jim in vancouver), Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:19 (three weeks ago) link

'Grats Alexandria!

pomenitul, Thursday, 22 August 2019 18:28 (three weeks ago) link

Congrats, congrats everyone!

emil.y, Thursday, 22 August 2019 22:45 (three weeks ago) link

congratulations kate and alexandria and much <3 to you both

estela, Friday, 23 August 2019 01:38 (three weeks ago) link


a passing spacecadet, Saturday, 24 August 2019 12:42 (three weeks ago) link

congratulations, both, and good wishes

forensic plumber (harbl), Saturday, 24 August 2019 15:36 (three weeks ago) link

It is a joyful thing! Happy for you!

plax (ico), Saturday, 24 August 2019 15:42 (three weeks ago) link

congratulations alexandria! jeez, this thread is absolutely the loveliest thing right now

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Sunday, 25 August 2019 12:11 (three weeks ago) link

alexandria <3 <3 <3

Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix), Thursday, 29 August 2019 08:27 (two weeks ago) link

Came out yesterday to my extended department (several dozen people) at our team meeting yesterday. Don't ask me how I managed it because I don't know. Wrote up what I was going to say beforehand. I'm proud of it. I liked the simplicity and clarity it had. Decided to stay home from the concert I was going to go to so I can take it easy and recover. I'm still an introvert and I still need to take care of myself and give myself space to breathe.

sock fingering, baby (rushomancy), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 00:00 (four days ago) link

that‘s monumental, you are fantastic <3

times 牛肉麵 (Autumn Almanac), Wednesday, 11 September 2019 00:24 (four days ago) link


sock fingering, baby (rushomancy), Sunday, 15 September 2019 01:14 (eleven hours ago) link

You must be logged in to post. Please either login here, or if you are not registered, you may register here.