Trans/Genderqueer/Agender/Questioning Thread

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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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

(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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

^ relatively androgynous *bodies

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

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) Permalink

"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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

Her response was that she wants all the gender.

love this

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

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

(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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

A Friday LOL relevant to this thread:

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

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

I love that cartoon

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

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

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) Permalink

I feel UK ILX needs to hash out the terf wars properly tbh, too much is being unsaid

imago, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:10 (seven months ago) Permalink

which thread?

sarahell, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

xp this is probably not the best thread for it though, given that it's mostly folks posting about their own personal stuff rather than the wider political implications of 'trans' becoming a recognised/accepted category

soref, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:45 (seven months ago) Permalink

soref otm

Jacob Lohl (stevie), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:47 (seven months ago) Permalink

if he hadn't posted in this thread, I wouldn't know about the "wars" -- is it on UK politics thread?

sarahell, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:55 (seven months ago) Permalink

FFS, people already have to live with hatred being spewed at them every day, why would you purposefully bring extra shit here? "As a person who has no real stake in this but wants to have a fight, I'm inviting people who want to curtail your human rights onto your thread, k everyone?"

emil.y, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 17:58 (seven months ago) Permalink

oh, i saw it as the opposite, emil.y -- for people who can, er, properly school the terfs to come to the other thread and do so.

sarahell, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:00 (seven months ago) Permalink

I'm only aware of one thread that exemplified why imago's idea is a terrible one.

and generally, I doubt anyone has actually ever changed their viewpoint as a result of reading an ILX thread?

kinder, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:02 (seven months ago) Permalink

i do not want to involuntarily encounter the uk ilx terf wars or whatever

princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:02 (seven months ago) Permalink

if there are terfs on this website they can gtfo imo

princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

xps. guardian thread iirc, this is definitely the wrong thread for that discussion.

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

there are and they can imo

( ͡☉ ͜ʖ ͡☉) (jim in vancouver), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:03 (seven months ago) Permalink

if there are terfs on this website they can gtfo imo

― princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, November 6, 2018 10:03 AM (one minute ago) Bookmark Flag Post Permalink

fuck off terfs

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

oh, i saw it as the opposite, emil.y -- for people who can, er, properly school the terfs to come to the other thread and do so.

― sarahell

OK, yeah, that would be less of a ridiculously terrible idea, though I still feel like it's a bit presumptuous for imago to roll up like that (this may be my tiredness making me super-irascible, though).

I only saw one dodge post of "bothsiderism" on that other thread, I'll pop back in and keep an eye on it though, b/c TERFs can very much all fuck right off.

emil.y, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:13 (seven months ago) Permalink

I doubt anyone has actually ever changed their viewpoint as a result of reading an ILX thread?

i have, but i think it was a food poll

sarahell, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:14 (seven months ago) Permalink

I am the person being referred to. I’m not a terf but I did go through a phase of going down some weird rabbit holes on Twitter esp. when drinking. I apologise for that and wish all of you the very best.

brokenshire (jed_), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:24 (seven months ago) Permalink

I’m burning with shame about it right now.

brokenshire (jed_), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:27 (seven months ago) Permalink

ty and I retract my rebuke

I did think this might not be the right thread but I am fascinated (grimly) by the weird obsession of huge parts of the uk 'intelligentsia' with basically being bigots about trans people. I'd like to discuss the phenomenon without necessarily being rancorous with other ILXors - but if there's another thread that works better (which there almost certainly is) then let's move there.

Thread bump inspired by reading G Linehan's Twitter feed, which is essentially a hate-crime

imago, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:38 (seven months ago) Permalink

i wish linehan would shut the fuck up forever

princess of hell (BradNelson), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 18:44 (seven months ago) Permalink

and generally, I doubt anyone has actually ever changed their viewpoint as a result of reading an ILX thread?

― kinder

not true, i am now a fully automated gay space communist

dub pilates (rushomancy), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 19:36 (seven months ago) Permalink

regarding the topic of the thread it's not something i feel totally comfortable talking about on the public internet

dub pilates (rushomancy), Tuesday, 6 November 2018 19:37 (seven months ago) Permalink

I want to know what sarahell's FOODIE FLIP-FLOP was

kinder, Tuesday, 6 November 2018 20:34 (seven months ago) Permalink

yall i'm pretty pysched about a college friend winning a house seat in MI -

haley is badass

marcos, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 15:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

oh geez wrong thread i am sorry. too many tabs open

marcos, Wednesday, 7 November 2018 15:05 (seven months ago) Permalink

So last night I had my first followup with my doc since I started HRT back in July. She's comfortable doubling my current dosages -- going up to 4mg estrogen daily and 50mg of t-blockers. Interestingly, my labs show no significant changes in the levels of either over the last 16 weeks. I sent a note to her to ask if that's normal; in either case my estrogen is less than half of what would be considered normal/acceptable for a perimenopausal woman of 49.

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Thursday, 8 November 2018 16:29 (seven months ago) Permalink

If you were only on 25mg of blockers that's a really low dose. I take 200mg/day.

Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix), Saturday, 10 November 2018 06:01 (seven months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

propose we rename "rolling maleness and masculinity thread" to "rolling heteronormative thread"

dub pilates (rushomancy), Friday, 14 December 2018 03:12 (six months ago) Permalink

i never know how to behave around trans women

one of the saddest things about being non-conforming is the way trans people tend to avoid each other for fear of being "made"

personally i'm really encouraged and inspired whenever i see a trans woman in public but i know when most people make trans women they don't make them as heroines

errang (rushomancy), Saturday, 15 December 2018 21:33 (six months ago) Permalink

I know exactly what you mean. Even when I'm in a space I know is safe I don't want to put a trans or nonbinary/nonconforming person in a position they don't want to be in. e.g. one of the bartenders at a place I go to regularly, a place I know is welcoming of the LGBTQIA+ community, is gender nonconforming, but I don't know them well and vice versa, so it's not like we spend a lot of time chatting or anything. I don't even know their pronouns. :\

On a happier note, this week marks five months of HRT for me, and while looking in the mirror every day and thinking "BE MORE FEMININE MORE QUICKLY" is very frustrating, I looked at a picture from about a year ago, and then compared it today. I had just gotten some green highlights added to my hair after determining with my therapist that I should try something to be kind of confrontational/nonconforming/"out," but I look fat and dumpy and unhappy. This morning's picture really does look like an entirely different person. A longtime friend recently told me, when I posted a pic on FB, "This is the first time I've seen *you*, Liz, and not just the shadow of Phil." That made me feel really good.

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:02 (six months ago) Permalink

you look fantastic, congrats!

errang (rushomancy), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:10 (six months ago) Permalink

cried a little reading that, thank you for sharing as always liz, and you do look fantastic <3

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:25 (six months ago) Permalink

excellent glasses also!
do you mind me asking what the hrt does in terms of how you feel? hormones are mad stuff, I had a regular very specific and strong hormone-enduced dysphoric experience (luckily extremely brief - it was so obviously linked to a physical thing it didn't worry me) but I have no real grasp of what other stuff gets really affected by changes in hormones

kinder, Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:35 (six months ago) Permalink

I seem to be past any ill effects, even after having my dosage of estrogen raised from 2mg to 4mg last month, but when I first started I had pretty bad nausea for quite a while, along with hot flashes and sensitivity to cold. (My wife found this particularly funny, in a "now you know how it feels" kind of way.) All the other changes have been positive, so far as I can tell -- softer, more translucent skin on my face, more defined cheekbones, finer hair growth on my arms, slower body hair growth all over, etc.

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 14:45 (six months ago) Permalink

lovely to read your story, Liz. you look so wonderful. <3

i changed my name this week (Matthew, to Em) and came out as non-binary to those i know. i'm a bit bashful and can't stand attention, though - and i still present neutrally. but i felt compelled to do something. i feel like a phoney, like i'm not trans enough, or something - but i've knew i was trans since i was at least 14... it's just things were rough where i was growing up, so i could never acknowledge it comfortably. i would crossdress privately, but it always made me feel worse. instead of adjusting physically, seeking support, i escaped into chatrooms and cybersex for years where i could explore my sexuality/identity safely - spent at least ten years wrapped up in escapism. it's so strange to be acknowledged, accepted, and addressed in a virtual environment as your true gender, engaging with others and developing relationships/self... only to logout and nothing's changed. the self you developed is completely virtual, and nobody can really see 'you' outside of that environment.

in some sort of attempt at developing an identity, i attempted to embrace masculinity the past two years - grew a beard, developed some confidence through a hetero relationship i had. i felt like i was living a double life up to a point. i negated so much femininity to accord to social custom. it left me filled with anger. i had to stop pretending. i still often feel consumed by masculinity and it's like i just need to rid my body of it.

as far as the binary goes, i still kind of believe that balance of gender is important within everyone. maybe this is mickey mouse science but it's just a simple theory i hold. i feel like the root of many men's anger and distress is because of this 'toxic masculinity', that they have no outlet for femininity/are raised to be ashamed of it. anger is not something i have experienced much, at all, up until i began to repress my femininity.

this year, when i decided to ease up on cybersex/online activity, all my dysphoria came screaming to the forefront of my life. i drank so much, but i'm out of those woods, now, too. dypshoria still eats away at me daily and i don't really recognise myself in the mirror. my hair is so short, i cut off so much of it in self destructive behaviour. i suppose a name change is the first step in trying to positively acknowledge dysphoria. i know it's going to be at least a year before i manage to get on anything like anti-androgens, HRT. i'm not terribly unhappy with my body, and i'm kind of femme naturally, anyway (aside all my body hair). i just really wish i had the means to deal with this years ago, but here we are.

it's easy enough to feel comfortable/natural being your best trans self in empathetic company, when alone, in virtual spaces etc., but when it comes to work environments, family stuff, it's still really tough. maybe when my hairs long enough ill feel comfortable dressing more femme. at any rate here's to a new year of constructive development over self-destruction. love to anyone else struggling.

meaulnes, Tuesday, 18 December 2018 18:09 (six months ago) Permalink

Em <3

i still often feel consumed by masculinity and it's like i just need to rid my body of it.

extremely real right here.

I have measured out my life in coffee shop loyalty cards (silby), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 18:12 (six months ago) Permalink

So much of that sounds sooooo familiar, Em -- in the early days of the internet I did the same things, exploring my identity via IRC chat rooms, AOL forums and other places, and it always left me extremely unfulfilled. Like you said, I'd log out and nothing would be any different. <3 to you and know that there's a big queer family out here supporting you!

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Tuesday, 18 December 2018 19:06 (six months ago) Permalink

congrats em. i know what you mean about the body hair - a lot of what kept me from acknowledging my issues was not having to put all the work in to look good as i'm very lazy. i just feel so much better without all that hair, though!

i don't like all the testosterone i have in my body, but i find myself surprised at how much i can attenuate the tendency towards anger and violence just by not behaving in culturally male ways. i know how camp i sound when i do it, but talking in a softer tone, using more variation in tone, really emphasizing the upper part of my range, it all makes me feel a lot happier and more relaxed.

maybe i'm being overly negative, but until the idea of men being feminine stops meeting such hostility and resistance, i'm not sure what hope there is for "masculinity".

errang (rushomancy), Wednesday, 19 December 2018 00:43 (six months ago) Permalink

Great strides Liz and Em. Leave it all behind, the future belongs to future you.

an incoherent crustacean (MatthewK), Wednesday, 19 December 2018 11:55 (six months ago) Permalink

thanks lovely people.

i can attenuate the tendency towards anger and violence just by not behaving in culturally male ways

nail on the head. my masc. confidence and personality spoke louder (figuratively) than my feminine, given the environments i grew up in - pubs, working class places, etc. part of me doesn't want to lose this extroverted joviality; it's how my friends know me - i'm still figuring out how to be confident and outspoken and feel femme, too. i don't want to feel muted and shy, but i very much did forget how to be gentle!

meaulnes, Wednesday, 19 December 2018 13:10 (six months ago) Permalink

one month passes...

informed my boss of my preferred pronouns today and how i'd like to be addressed by them at work. she was so supportive in response i almost started crying

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Monday, 28 January 2019 21:35 (four months ago) Permalink

anyway: that's pretty good progress

jolene club remix (BradNelson), Monday, 28 January 2019 21:35 (four months ago) Permalink

good job! i look forward to talking about pronouns this first week of classes. it feels super good to be inclusive!!

weird woman in a bar (La Lechera), Monday, 28 January 2019 21:40 (four months ago) Permalink

Brad <3

Norm’s Superego (silby), Monday, 28 January 2019 22:26 (four months ago) Permalink

My oldest (13) is going through puberty and "figuring" things out. She's into gender politics, learning about... herself/sexuality,... I told her I just want her to be happy. So whatever she identifies as: I love her. I love reading this thread. I'll go back to lurking.

nathom, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 08:00 (four months ago) Permalink

Yay, Brad!

Plinka Trinka Banga Tink (Eliza D.), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 13:44 (four months ago) Permalink

Brad that's great!

flamboyant goon tie included, Tuesday, 29 January 2019 14:34 (four months ago) Permalink

i'm glad this thread is here too

i'm mostly not dealing with shit. whenever i think about things my thoughts get so dark so quick. it's surprising how quickly shaving has become a habit for me, though. i thought it would be time-consuming and unpleasant. it's really just time-consuming.

The Elvis of Nationalism and Amoral Patriotism (rushomancy), Tuesday, 29 January 2019 14:37 (four months ago) Permalink

four months pass...

Pretty great reply from Nick Cave to this question in his newsletter:

I’m non-binary, which (sorry if you already know this) means I feel neither male nor female. To most of the people who know me in this shitty country town, I’m a butch dyke. My amazing girlfriend got me into your music, and I honestly can’t adequately thank her for it, and can’t adequately thank you. Especially when I saw some of the music videos, the androgyny and sort of cross-genderedness of your performance style (my girlfriend agrees you often bring an amazing drag-queen energy) make me feel so seen and understood, in a way I never get to in my real life. I never thought I’d see the physical embodiment of what my mind desperately wants my body to be like, though it’ll never be. It was an unformed yearning before. I want to be like you when I grow up. I guess my question is, what would you say to as not-man, not-woman, pseudo-dyke fan and their unformed yearning to feel right in their body and now has an admittedly unattainable model for exactly what they want to be?

... (Eazy), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 00:37 (one week ago) Permalink

petition to make nick cave the new pope

because seriously fuck the pope

Flood-Resistant Mirror-Drilling Machine (rushomancy), Tuesday, 11 June 2019 01:15 (one week ago) Permalink

It also seems that for most of my life I felt a strange gravitational pull toward an undisclosed traumatic event, that could only be described as a dreadful yearning, and I found it eventually in my son’s death – something that both destroyed me and ultimately defined me.


kinder, Tuesday, 11 June 2019 18:26 (one week ago) Permalink

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