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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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

http://the-toast.net/2013/12/17/female-crossdressers-are-hot/

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

Branwell Bell, Tuesday, 17 December 2013 17:15 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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.

Also...

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 (ten years ago) link

^ relatively androgynous *bodies

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

Her response was that she wants all the gender.

love this

sleeve, Wednesday, 18 December 2013 20:19 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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:

http://pi-ratical.tumblr.com/post/71437998564/i-am-really-extremely-amazingly-excited-to

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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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 (ten 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!

http://www.quickanddirtytips.com/education/grammar/yo-as-a-pronoun

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

A Friday LOL relevant to this thread: http://www.robot-hugs.com/but-men/

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

I love that cartoon

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

Howdy Ivy!

the manwich horror (Neanderthal), Saturday, 17 June 2023 00:27 (eight months ago) link

Hello Ivy!

Elvis Telecom, Saturday, 17 June 2023 00:28 (eight months ago) link

HIVY

serving bundt (sic), Saturday, 17 June 2023 01:15 (eight months ago) link

Hello, Ivy!

il lavoro mi rovina la giornata (PBKR), Saturday, 17 June 2023 13:14 (eight months ago) link

Hi, Ivy!

Lily Dale, Saturday, 17 June 2023 14:21 (eight months ago) link

hello Ivy!

rob, Saturday, 17 June 2023 14:24 (eight months ago) link

IVY

the dreaded dependent claus (Alfred, Lord Sotosyn), Saturday, 17 June 2023 14:35 (eight months ago) link

greetings, ivy!

jmm, Saturday, 17 June 2023 16:09 (eight months ago) link

So glad to know you, Ivy!

Jaq, Saturday, 17 June 2023 16:30 (eight months ago) link

great choice of name :)

call all destroyer, Saturday, 17 June 2023 16:34 (eight months ago) link

Hello Ivy!

Christine Green Leafy Dragon Indigo, Saturday, 17 June 2023 16:49 (eight months ago) link

Hi Ivy!

braised cod, Saturday, 17 June 2023 17:16 (eight months ago) link

hiya! xx

ava (paolo), Saturday, 17 June 2023 23:07 (eight months ago) link

how's it feeling for you? because it took me a wee while to get comfortable with my new name

ava (paolo), Saturday, 17 June 2023 23:07 (eight months ago) link

Ivy's a great name, congrats!

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 19 June 2023 16:52 (eight months ago) link

just reading through my posts from when i started questioning my gender a few years ago (as one does) and got a real how it started/how it's going moment

then - I've never really questioned my gender identity until recently (I always thought I was a cis male) but over the last few months I've been wondering if I'm non-binary or genderqueer. The main thing that I'm wondering about is whether I'm NB or GQ enough to really go all the way and identify as such.

I think the main reason I'd want to do that is for what I guess you could call political reasons - I think gender is bullshit and it would be great if all that gender role stuff just went away so we didn't have separate pronouns, different clothing sections in shops etc, so I sort of want to be the change I'd like to see and step outside of all of that. In terms of what I actually do/how I present there's not much that I do or would like to do that wouldn't really be classified as 'normal' male behaviour - except for wearing makeup, which I would totally do more of if that was more accepted. I think I'd like to use they pronouns but again I'm just not sure.

now - am out as a trans woman to pretty much everyone, am about to legally change my name and i also have a wee pair of tits

ava (paolo), Tuesday, 20 June 2023 08:23 (eight months ago) link

I sympathize with the feeling of not being genderqueer enough, but the fact that it’s weighing on you at all is a pretty big hint that you’ll be happier if you start sloughing off the dead skin of your received gender

― Canon in Deez (silby), Wednesday, 17 February 2021 16:15 (two years ago) bookmarkflaglink

ot fucking m, awesome piece of advice here, skin has been sloughed to fuck and it feels terrific :)

ava (paolo), Tuesday, 20 June 2023 08:25 (eight months ago) link

Ava Weepairotits

serving bundt (sic), Tuesday, 20 June 2023 09:06 (eight months ago) link

ahaha love it!! wish i'd thought of that :)

ava (paolo), Tuesday, 20 June 2023 09:33 (eight months ago) link

oh yeah, i started keeping a diary at the beginning of 2019 and reading some of those early journal entries are a blast. "I don't know about hormones... I mean no reason to rush things... maybe in a couple of years I might consider it..." three months later i'm like "I NEED HORMONES NOW" and two years later i had bottom surgery... i sort of speedran it in retrospect, mind you

Kate (rushomancy), Tuesday, 20 June 2023 20:30 (eight months ago) link

how's it feeling for you? because it took me a wee while to get comfortable with my new name

― ava (paolo), Saturday, June 17, 2023 4:07 PM (three days ago) bookmarkflaglink

i was playing board games with my friends last night and they were so sweet to insistently call me ivy but yeah: it's taking me an extra beat to respond to it bc it's all so new

ivy (BradNelson), Tuesday, 20 June 2023 20:34 (eight months ago) link

I'm glad your pals have been nice! but yeah it can take time to get used to it. quite often when i've been trying out something new genderwise eg a new name, makeup etc it can feel lovely and gender affirming but there's also a sense of wrongness there too, like what the fuck am I doing here, this is weird and new and I don't like it etc. trying new gender stuff can bring up a lot of difficult feelings and i hope it's not too hard for you, it pretty much always gets easier with time if you are finding it tough xx

ava (paolo), Wednesday, 21 June 2023 07:47 (eight months ago) link

xp yeah I know quite a lot of trans people who've sped through it and good for them, afaik none of them with that they'd taken it slower. I'm more of a slowly and gradually inching into the waters of transness gal myself though :)

ava (paolo), Wednesday, 21 June 2023 07:49 (eight months ago) link

one month passes...

I'm late but hi Ivy!

Get Me Bodied (Extended Mix), Wednesday, 16 August 2023 22:56 (six months ago) link

hi!!! :)

ivy., Wednesday, 16 August 2023 23:31 (six months ago) link

five months pass...

a couple of months ago it occurred to me that i've essentially self-identified as nonbinary for years, but that i've been uncomfortable with the outward identification because i imagine part of what it signifies to others is that i know how to be a better ally than in fact i do, when i have far too much to learn about how to respect others. iow, i "haven't earned it". yikes. i understand this is reeeeally common.

the other thing i had to reckon with was a feeling of not wishing to saddle myself with more labels and identities that i would just have to tear down and dispose of inevitably, and i... eventually put it down to a latent transphobia. i'm a fan of fewer, broader labels, and "non-binary" felt unnecessary to me because i for some reason regarded it as *chosen*. well, that fucking sucks. it was like 'no, i am looking at this the wrong way around, i'm not acquiring an additional identity, i'm divesting myself of a false one, that should be so fucking obvious". cool.

it's been a lot like coming out as gay- by the time i acknowledged it, i had long since settled into it and everyone else already knew. just a matter of fact 'oh, this is what it means, i guess.'

i'd stopped identifying as a "gay man" pretty much since i stopped dating and hooking up and in general living as a gay man several yeara ago and had come to just think of myself as "queer".

i have a wonderfully unisex middle name that starts with the same letter as my first name (and my last name lol), it's tempting to use it but i think my given name actually connects me more to my early childhood when my gender identity was least stable.

Deflatormouse, Saturday, 10 February 2024 22:30 (one week ago) link

Twice this week I was in a group with introductions around the table of name and pronouns, and I just settled on "all pronouns apply." Which is true and also keeps me from holding anyone responsible for referring to me one way or another.

paisley got boring (Eazy), Saturday, 10 February 2024 23:42 (one week ago) link

a couple of months ago it occurred to me that i've essentially self-identified as nonbinary for years, but that i've been uncomfortable with the outward identification because i imagine part of what it signifies to others is that i know how to be a better ally than in fact i do, when i have far too much to learn about how to respect others. iow, i "haven't earned it". yikes. i understand this is reeeeally common.

oh yeah it's basically the quintessential queer experience. straight people tend not to think of queer identities as awards one has to earn :)

the other thing i had to reckon with was a feeling of not wishing to saddle myself with more labels and identities that i would just have to tear down and dispose of inevitably, and i... eventually put it down to a latent transphobia. i'm a fan of fewer, broader labels, and "non-binary" felt unnecessary to me because i for some reason regarded it as *chosen*. well, that fucking sucks. it was like 'no, i am looking at this the wrong way around, i'm not acquiring an additional identity, i'm divesting myself of a false one, that should be so fucking obvious". cool.

see, i come from the opposite perspective - i love labels and i'll take all of them i can. i see this kind of queer dialectic going on all the time - the meme is one person saying "abolish gender!" and the other person is saying "more gender!" and both POVs are based and the people who hold either or both POV are awesome. for me, the absence of language is a greater burden to me than the presence of language, so i do tend more towards the "more labels" side, though not to a MOGAI extent or anything.

Kate (rushomancy), Sunday, 11 February 2024 00:34 (one week ago) link

some 3 am thoughts, just kind of thinking through a couple of things.

a friend was talking to me about jules gill-peterson's new book, "a short history of trans misogyny", and i sort of skimmed it last night. i found that a lot of it resonated with some thoughts and feelings i've been having over the last year regarding my own queerness. particularly in conjunction with you kind of "coming out" as non-binary, deflatormouse, if that's even how you'd frame it.

i really appreciate this space because it's really opened me up a lot to taking a larger view of queerness and what i think of as "effeminacy". my transition background, a lot of the people i socialize with, are more-or-less binary-presenting white transfemmes, often from a background where, whether we identify as "eggs" or not, presented more or less as cisgender heterosexual men. i had, particularly early on in transition, this idea of "transness" as being this sort of "correct" superior way of doing gender non-conformity. the last five years, and in particular my experiences in this space, have helped me to challenge this idea. there's this idea in radical thought of "killing the cop inside your own head". that's not something i really intended to do, but...

it was important to me, early on, to prove that i could transition without losing any of the trappings of - well, here's a challenge for me to talk about, when i talk about my past experience, it's the experience of being a white cishet man. because it's the sort of existence that is only really _possible_ for white cishet men. the "cishet man" thing isn't something i was able to do, but the whiteness, that hasn't and isn't going to change. it's dishonest of me to pretend that my whiteness had no relevance to the privilege i had. it's also misleading, at best, for me to phrase things in a way that suggests that i'm not still white and don't still have all of the privilege that comes with that. maybe "white 'cishet man'" is a better way of putting it. i might try that.

anyway, it was important to me to prove that i could transition without losing any of the trappings of being a white "cishet man". the monogamous relationship with a cisgender woman, the house, the professional job. i worked really hard to preserve those things. the last thing i wanted to be when i transitioned is the person i am now. who i am now is the person i was most afraid of becoming. when i started transition i sort of made a bargain with myself, that i'd transition but i wouldn't ever become one of those kinky polyamorous marginal queers who lived an unstable, precarious existence.

in retrospect it was a form of the same kind of bargaining process i had when thinking about whether to come out. gill-peterson talks about her own version of the bargaining process in _framing agnes_ when she said she thought if she wrote _histories of the transgender child_, that was something she could do instead of transition, and of course it doesn't actually work like that. in my case i thought that being a "trans woman", this sort of respectable version of effeminacy, was something i could do instead of being a, well, f-slur. it was really important to me to be a "real woman".

thinking about it now i do think that was a real, genuine need. being able to see myself as a "real woman", to be accepted as a "real woman", is a tremendous and extremely rare privilege. it's also something that i very much _didn't_ want, in the sense that by "real woman" people often at least implicitly mean "cisgender woman", someone whose transness is _invisible_.

there's this question in my head of "why didn't i transition", and the easy answer is "it wasn't possible", easy because it was true. why couldn't i? why wasn't it possible? and the reason is kind of at the heart of the difficulties i face as a "trans woman" today. one is that i believed i couldn't ever pass. the other is that i believed i would have _had_ to pass. my passing privilege means that i have a choice in how people perceive me, a choice between two things: a white "cisgender" woman, or a t-slur f-slur. each is partly accurate and neither are completely accurate. the latter is far more accurate than the former, though - nothing in the latter formulation requires me to use quotes.

one of the things gill-peterson talks about is the, here we go, _dual role_ a word like "transgender" has - in one context, a radical term of liberation. in another context, however, she talks about it as a term employed by NGOs to label people who _don't_ think of themselves in that sense. what i appreciate about "transness", my experiences as trans, is that it's allowed me to see the similarity i have with all of these other femme people, past and present. the thing i think that i perpetuated, early on, is the idea of the white binary transfem as being the Correct Way of doing gender non-conformity. the more i tried to follow that path, though, the more apparent the impossibility of it became to me. the second i make myself visible, people start seeing me as a t-slur f-slur, even (especially, perhaps) if it's not something they'd ever say aloud. i didn't, early on, have the strength to accept being looked at in that way, and because of my background, i had the privilege of not _having_ to confront that. it has been an exceptional privilege and it's a huge part of why i can say unequivocally that i'm a "real woman". i'm also, however, non-binary. i'm also a t-slur f-slur.

my experience isn't one of _mujerisma_, in the sense gill-peterson uses it. i have also, though, through this space as well as through nominally "trans" spaces, come into contact with all different kinds of queerness. when, here in portland, a queer bar calling itself "sissy bar" opened, run by people who i guess could roughly be framed as "cis gay men", i was aggrieved. i took it as an example of the gulf between cis gay men and trans women. i had, particularly, this ignorance about drag. what i got most from gill-peterson's book was words to frame an understanding i implicitly had - the difference between the professional drag queens, the "dual role" folks, and the street queens, the ones who didn't change out of their clothes before going out on the street - in other words, not just being gay, but being gay and doing crime, because going out on the street dressed like that was illegal. it's not drag itself i ever had a problem with. it's the ones who try to be gay _without_ also doing crime.

i don't "do crime" in the same sense that street queens do. that's largely, i think, a function of privilege. as much as i can be oppositional, doing crime is also _work_ for me. it's not illegal for me to go into a women's restroom and pee, for instance. it's not illegal for me to take estrogen. if i lived in a lot of other places, it would be. if i lived in a lot of other places, i'd be doing crime, just by existing. it would be a lot of work for me to _not_ do crime.

well, no, because it's not about the estrogen. in other places, in other _times_, before I had the privilege i do now, the crime isn't _existence_, the crime is _work_. even today, if you're not in tech (i'm in tech), it's hard to get by without doing sex work. it's important to me to not _have_ to do sex work. always has been. i'm also very much in favor of sex work, in favor of people having the ability to _choose_ sex work, to be able to do it safely and be respected for it. that's one of the first things i learned from being around other queer people - not trans people, queer people. you do what you need to do in order to get by. if other people judge you for that, well, they can think what they think. it doesn't change who you are. i needed to learn that in order to survive. i didn't learn it from respectable trans women.

--

transition, to me... in one sense i chose it, but in another sense i tried very hard, for many years, to _not_ transition, and failed. i can portray my transition as a "success", convince other people to recognize me as "valid" or whatever. among other trans women, though, it is different. among other trans women there's not the pressure to be "brave" or a role model, to say that yeah, i transitioned because it was too fucking hard not to.

these days it's important to me to talk about that experience. a couple of years ago that was mainly for the benefit of other trans women, and now, i still do that, but i also think of it in a broader sense of queerness, of effeminacy. one of the other things gill-peterson talks about that i related to was the way, in the '70s, masc queerness became the normative paradigm for queerness. that was the world i grew up in. one of the things i'm most angry about, w/r/t transmedicalism, was that it erased my _queerness_. i do think that erasure came from a number of different places, most of them, i think, more _situationally convenient_ than intentional. i don't see mustachioed leather daddies as being an intrinsically more "respectable" form of queerness. they're differently queer from me, _very_ differently queer, but we're not opposed - we both act to make the invisible visible. it was that generation and the genocide they suffered that taught me "silence = death".

i don't think that it was their _fault_ that femme queerness wasn't something open to me at that time. i'm glad it's open now. i'm glad that as a trans woman i can see myself as part of a larger femme diaspora, and that i've had the opportunity to learn that my being a trans woman isn't the Correct Way of being femme.

Kate (rushomancy), Sunday, 11 February 2024 12:53 (one week ago) link

I watched Everything Everywhere All At Once last night and selected The World Has Made Me The Man of My Dreams to listen to immediately afterwards, probably because in it Me'shell Ndegeocello erects and populates simultaneously occurring tiered dimenson-worlds (the different planes in 'Man of my Dreams' don't quite merge together the way the temporal layers in, say, b&w Blue Oyster Cult do. for BOC provide 'access points' only to immediately shut them down; Ndegeocello sustains your awareness of multiple space-time layers through an entire album by constantly pointing out interdimensional sightings)

But it got me thinking about the album title in a context of her expressions of gender fludity and i guess my own needs. It's very meaningful to me suddenly, almost talismanic, where it was a little perplexing before. I'm able to see confluence in the dissonances of my past and the divisions between my various selves. This is like the point where my own spatial-temporal layers merge together. Feels good.

I misspoke before, this isn't like coming out as gay. I came out as gay when after a long period of living as gay, it had become completely undeniable. Here, i have to keep reassuring myself that I'm not faking it. As much time as I've taken to settle into it, in some way it feels premature.

If i were to enter into a new relationship with a boyfriend, would i again consider myself a gay man? YES
Would I still identify myself as nonbinary, in that case? YES
Is there a queer subculture that i want to be part of, "like goth"? YES
SO WHAT
Are you afraid you might have to walk this back?
SO WHAT

Ndegeocello is an important role model for me in how she deals with overlapping and sometimes conflicting identities and how to deal with a language of categorizations that is hopelessly inadequate BY DANCING OVER THE FUCKING ABYSS

brb

Deflatormouse, Sunday, 11 February 2024 22:41 (one week ago) link

This thread might be useful to some people in here.

https://x.com/siobhanftb/status/1222871029929766912?s=46&t=bJOqpCuQneT7ju08y55VSA

piscesx, Sunday, 11 February 2024 22:59 (one week ago) link

have i ever talked about how completely affirming i've found encountering transphobia in the wild to be? i had all these fears about not being really queer or being queer in the right way, and they seemed like really sensible and persuasive things to be worried about. it got me down for a long time, until i heard other people saying the same things about me that i said about myself. because when i looked at them, i said "wait a second, these people are incredibly ignorant and hateful people". and i mean not just that, hearing it out of someone _else's_ mouth it was so clear how completely wrong, distorted, and unfair everything they were saying was. which instantly turned into "why am i saying these terrible, wrong things to myself?" like, i wouldn't say them about somebody else. that would be completely cruel and unfair. and other people saying those things about me, that's _also_ cruel and unfair.

there's kind of this idea of queerness as this taxonomy, this set of categories into which one has to be slotted neatly, and once i do that, i choose a category, i have to live completely within the confines of that category, or i'm a fake, an imposter, a disgrace to whatever category i've chosen to, i don't know, pledge to. there are people, queer people, who think like that, and i'll be totally honest i do _not_ get how they can live like that at all. to me being gay isn't about placing arbitrary limitations about what i am and am not allowed to like or want or do. there _are_ limitations, very specific limitations, but those limitations are absolutely not arbitrary - there are extremely good reasons for those limitations. "non-binary", though? yeah there aren't actually any limitations around that one at all. i mean i'm gonna be honest a lot of the time when i talk about gender to cis people i sand off the rough edges for their benefit.

like, i'm a non-binary trans woman. this is a really common thing, at least among the people i know. none of us understand "trans" and "non-binary" as being mutually exclusive. they're just different ways of looking at this one thing. i've seen some hints that on social media there might be some _discourse_ around this. one of the video essayists whose work i really love is lily alexandre, who made a video with the wonderfully clickbait title (because you gotta feed The Algorithm) "Do binary trans women even exist?" Of course they do. At the same time a lot of the "binary-presenting" trans women are also non-binary. Being binary-presenting and using she/her pronouns was a conscious decision I made. I looked at a world full of cis people who didn't really have a clear grasp on the idea that "non-binary" wasn't something _distinct_ from transness, looked at myself as someone who was unlikely to ever pass in any event (I was completely wrong about this, but by the time I realized that I didn't see any reason to completely change the way I presented myself), and figured, look, I don't _have_ to fight every single battle at once. I'm just gonna tell cis people I'm a trans woman and leave the rest of it out. I don't _have_ to also, at the same time, insist on being recognized as a non-binary person. That's not my responsibility.

It's been part of who I am since I started transition, though. All my paperwork has "X" for gender on it. That's important to me. It just doesn't really come up outside of that, though.

As far as sexuality, I don't even know how to _start_ explaining that. My standard line is that I'm a pansexual asexual - I'm willing to not have sex with pretty much anyone. That's one of those things that's a joke but also serious, in that whatever I do that's not-quite-sex and not-quite-not-sex - kink, mostly - I don't see a reason to care much about gender. Genital preference (which isn't gender anyway) is a non-starter for me since I don't do anything where genitals would need to get involved. I mean, what arbitrary criterion am I going to rule people out based on? Hormone balance? Like, when I ask for the results of someone's most recent STD screens should I also demand they give me all of the results of their hormone level tests for the past year? "Well, it says here your estrogen level is within the typical cis female range, but you've only been on HRT for nine months, I'm sorry, I'm gonna need you to be on HRT for at least three more months and to have started progesterone before we start going out." I mean god-damn. Finding somebody to do things with is difficult enough without placing stupid arbitrary restrictions like that on top of things.

Labels are great. Am I going to rule people out based on gender and/or sexuality labels? Generally no, unless it's something like "transamorous". Chasers can fuck right off.

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 12 February 2024 01:58 (one week ago) link

Yeah that's pretty good. "What do i really want?" is a favorite divining question.

Kate, i really appreciate your generosity. I'm not the first to say this and I won't be the last, but a number of your posts have helped me personally as i've been working things out. Ngl, I worry that saying so places more of a burden on you to sustain the level of generosity you have shown. but I guess you already addressed this kinda

i found that a lot of it resonated with some thoughts and feelings i've been having over the last year regarding my own queerness. particularly in conjunction with you kind of "coming out" as non-binary, deflatormouse, if that's even how you'd frame it.

Yes, I've been "coming out" to friends and family one by one over the last couple of months. I felt i should say something here incase it's an important context for some of the things i post, because i think enough people posting here regularly recognize my handle as belonging to a male poster, at this point.

Deflatormouse, Monday, 12 February 2024 03:17 (one week ago) link

ok that got messed up. first thing in quote tag is my reply to twitter thread linked by picesx

Deflatormouse, Monday, 12 February 2024 03:17 (one week ago) link

see, i come from the opposite perspective - i love labels and i'll take all of them i can.

i know.

i see this kind of queer dialectic going on all the time - the meme is one person saying "abolish gender!" and the other person is saying "more gender!" and both POVs are based and the people who hold either or both POV are awesome.

that is so sweet and really warmed my heart to read.

I actually was thinking of how you've talked about "not existing" before you transitioned, and i have talked about finding that "i don't exist" in a completely different, more positve sense.

There's a lot of brilliant stuff in your last posts that I feel no need to respond to. But i can talk a lit

I am middle eastern with dark olive skin. I think middle eastern kids in America are in an unusual position in that it's about as close to a blank slate as you are going you get. You're conspicuous but you don't really have an identity, other than 'the foreigner'. In fact, lot of people aren't quite sure what race you are; it's almost like you have to choose. There are pressures to assume the culture of white people but by choosing white you are then always bombarded with various forms of "why aren't you white?" - you are never really going to be acceptable.
A lot of Persian guys gravitate much more to the parts of Black culture that reach the suburban mainstream. Obviously, they are not going to be accepted as Black (my brother can attest lol)

I style myself as boyish/very soft-masculine. Because perceptions of softness are closely related to perceptions of whiteness, a friend once called me "white enough". I am still kinda pissed about that years later actually. Buuuuut the image of the brutish queer Arab in The Screwball Asses was really shocking- if I have dysphoria or dysmorphia it probably comes from stuff like that

I see the evolution of how I present myself as a process of subtracting metadata. I'm happy with where it is right now. As an album, maybe Plux Quba- it is vaguely childlike but there is so little information attached to it that you start to think about the difference between "Untitled" and " ". And then what little info you get raises more questions than it answers. It's really important for the content (music), which is so delicate and abstract, not to be overwlemed by the packaging. So much would be lost if you were directed towards a particular reading. It has to be allowed to take its own shape without presuming on what it is. There are a couple of important clues but they're very cryptic. That's all you need and all the material can sustain.

So, I secretly thought of myself as transgender in my early childhood and it was a *major* preoccupation of mine & something i was deeply ashamed of already then. I don't put a lot of stock in that memory, but it's been very helpful to me to hear women talk about their experiences.

Deflatormouse, Monday, 12 February 2024 06:21 (one week ago) link

I just want to let my own ambiguities take shape, or not.

Deflatormouse, Monday, 12 February 2024 06:27 (one week ago) link

Kate, i really appreciate your generosity. I'm not the first to say this and I won't be the last, but a number of your posts have helped me personally as i've been working things out. Ngl, I worry that saying so places more of a burden on you to sustain the level of generosity you have shown. but I guess you already addressed this kinda

i'm glad that it helps other people, and also talking about my experience of being trans is literally my favorite thing to do in the whole world. it's not out of a sense of obligation that i talk about my transness on every single thread i post on lol.

i really do think of myself as an "evangelical" in the original etymological sense, like to me, finding out that i was _allowed_ to be queer, _allowed_ to be trans, was such profoundly life-changing good news that i just wanted to tell everybody, like, hey, you know all that stuff you were taught about trans people? turns out it's all wrong! turns out all of the shit we all thought someone _had_ to do or say or feel or think in order to be "really trans" is just some shit cis people made up! i am _so goddamn happy_ to be able to tell people that, i legit feel #blessed that i get to do this. people can say i'm a "social contagion" all they want. the only response i have is that joy is a social contagion.

Yes, I've been "coming out" to friends and family one by one over the last couple of months. I felt i should say something here incase it's an important context for some of the things i post, because i think enough people posting here regularly recognize my handle as belonging to a male poster, at this point.

fwiw i know surprisingly little about a lot of the folks here, i've gathered a thing or two over the years from context but honestly a lot of times i just don't feel like what gender a poster is matters. it's the DS9 thing:

KOR: Curzon, my beloved old friend!
JADZIA (laughing): It's Jadzia now.
KOR: Jadzia, my beloved old friend!

i like when people come out mostly because then i can celebrate, haha! but they don't have to.

I am middle eastern with dark olive skin. I think middle eastern kids in America are in an unusual position in that it's about as close to a blank slate as you are going you get. You're conspicuous but you don't really have an identity, other than 'the foreigner'. In fact, lot of people aren't quite sure what race you are; it's almost like you have to choose. There are pressures to assume the culture of white people but by choosing white you are then always bombarded with various forms of "why aren't you white?" - you are never really going to be acceptable.
A lot of Persian guys gravitate much more to the parts of Black culture that reach the suburban mainstream. Obviously, they are not going to be accepted as Black (my brother can attest lol)

the idea of "passing" is definitely one that i think about a lot. particularly lately because i just watched "framing agnes" last weekend! it's about a lady who had a paper written about her, and the paper, published in the late '60s by a cis guy named harold garfinkel, codified the idea of "passing" in a trans sense. like a lot of trans stuff, "passing" was something that was taken, appropriated sort of, from somewhere else and assigned to us. in this case harold garfinkel took the concept from the pre-existing idea of Black Americans passing as white. and it's one of those things that's similar but not the same. i've talked with this a little with people from other backgrounds, and even though we're different we did have this kind of shared experience of passing being a double-edged sword - one is resistant to certain forms of prejudice, one can be seen for things other than one's Marked quality, but the trade-off is that one is _misrecognized_. it took me a while to figure out what i'm trans-passing _as_. i don't pass as a woman - i am a woman. one doesn't pass for what one _is_, only for what one _isn't_. what i pass as is a _cis_ woman.

in your case, it seems like - and please correct me if i'm mistaken here - by "passing" you get to choose what Marked identity you want to be identified as, which i guess is some kind of passing privilege lol. to me, there's no comparison between my passing privilege and my white privilege. white privilege is being able to be recognized _for what i am_ without being defined entirely by that quality. white privilege is the ability to be seen as an individual and not as a synecdoche for an entire demographic group.

I see the evolution of how I present myself as a process of subtracting metadata. I'm happy with where it is right now. As an album, maybe Plux Quba- it is vaguely childlike but there is so little information attached to it that you start to think about the difference between "Untitled" and " ". And then what little info you get raises more questions than it answers. It's really important for the content (music), which is so delicate and abstract, not to be overwlemed by the packaging. So much would be lost if you were directed towards a particular reading. It has to be allowed to take its own shape without presuming on what it is. There are a couple of important clues but they're very cryptic. That's all you need and all the material can sustain.

god i haven't listened to that record in so long. that's the other thing i sort-of love about transness - since it's not something that has, really, a clearly defined historical form, there are very few "canonically trans" songs before a certain point - and the few that are, like "candy says", are usually cis songs _about_ transness, however great they are - transness is nearly always a subtext. it's possible to read all kinds of songs as having some correlation to one's own trans experiences. transness, to me, is one manifestation of this invisible quality that runs through everything, unobservable except in retrospect. when i look back at past work that's implicitly or explicitly gender-fucky, these days i don't see them as being "trans" or even "proto-trans", just as the slightest hint of this vast, unnameable _thing_, from which transness is only one currently visible outcropping. any name i could give it would be a misrepresentation of who i was - the fact that my transness was not nameable or _thinkable_ is just this intrinsic part of it.

i love your framing of it too - "subtracting metadata". we've all been walking around with all this _shit_ stuck to us that we all take as being somehow an essential part of who we are. just taking off a particular frame and saying "ok, what do i look like now? who do i want to be now?" was an essential part of me being able to say, ok, here is this thing which i am. even this thing that i say i am now, though, "trans", this is just a frame that suits me better. this is just a way i exist in community with other people, a, well, social construct, if you will. that doesn't mean that my gender isn't _real_, that my womanhood isn't _real_, only that the description of it, the way i present myself, the way i communicate my gender to others, all of that is necessarily constructed.

thinking about it i guess it makes a lot of sense that you're hesitant about taking on labels... it sounds like you had the experience of, you could try on a label, but then you couldn't take it off, the people who saw you wearing that label would judge you based on that label from then on. that's one of the fears i had, one of the fears i've seen other people have, and i don't really know how to say to questioning people that it looks completely different from my perspective. when someone changes in a way that sometimes get called "detransition", for whatever reason, i'm proud of them. i'm really happy for them. in some ways they're choosing an answer that's more complicated, more difficult, because what's called "detransition" seldom means "oh i'm actually cis". it's "i'm actually this other thing", or "these hormones don't work for me", or (most of the time, unfortunately) "it's not safe for me to do this right now". it's hard when one decides one has to be outside of a community defined by this one particular word, really hard, and hell yes i'm proud of anybody who's able to do that.

like the absolute essence of transition is _taking care of yourself_. we all gotta make hard decisions, impossible decisions sometimes, and the thing is that when you do that there's no wrong decision. i regretted not transitioning before for a while until i realized that it wasn't really a choice i had. wanting to do something that _should_ have been possible but not being allowed is not the same as wanting to do something and choosing not to.

So, I secretly thought of myself as transgender in my early childhood and it was a *major* preoccupation of mine & something i was deeply ashamed of already then. I don't put a lot of stock in that memory, but it's been very helpful to me to hear women talk about their experiences.

― Deflatormouse

see that's the other thing, the role of memory in the whole thing. writing my transition memoir was such an amazing experience for me, because of the way my story changed as i told it. not in a sense that it became better or worse necessarily. just taking the evidence i had and looking at it and trying to see what came out of it, not looking for some ultimate truth, not looking for what was objective reality. just looking at myself from a certain perspective. one of the things that surprised me the most was when i asked myself "ok, if i'm trans, why did none of this ever come up before", and realizing that it had, and i'd just decided to think around it, put it behind a Someone Else's Problem field. and as far as i can tell that's what repressed memory is, just kind of saying "well i'm not going to think about that". that was a particular frame i had and one of the ones that i took down when i started questioning. so to me, that early childhood memory, and the fact that you not only secretly had that thought but were secretly _ashamed_ of, is something that's just incredibly important. there were a lot of things i _experimented_ with that i believed were bad and wrong, even then, even at that young age. even now it's kind of hard to talk about it. because if i say "i used modeling clay to give my he-man action figure girl parts when i was a kid", one, in was something at the time that i was really ashamed of. i thought it was this incredibly fucked-up thing, but when i look at it from today i can't figure out what's fucked up about, like, when you're a kid experimenting with gender stuff. and the other thing that i see happening is when someone tells their story, like "i did such and such a thing", someone else will be like "well i never did that, i guess i'm not Really Trans". i went through that too. i actually knew a trans woman in the late '90s, and i was really kind of ashamed to even be around her, i figured she could tell that i wasn't Really Trans, that i was an imposter and a disgrace to her. and like it doesn't work like that, none of us get to say "oh you're not Really Trans", there's no high council, i mean basically all of us are high is just how that works.

but then if i don't say that, then people are like "oh ok so There Were No Signs". and of course there were signs, but either (1) they weren't recognizable as signs, based to all of the bad metadata about gender that we were stuck with from an early age, or (2) we were actively ashamed of the signs, read some fundamental moral dimension into them that just isn't there, and buried and repressed them, made them invisible, made ourselves invisble - again, not a moral act, just the kind of shit queer people have to do to survive.

anyway that's an absolutely massive wall of text and basically none of it was what i thought i was gonna say when i started replying, but i hope it helps. it's really good to be able to talk about this stuff with someone else.

Kate (rushomancy), Monday, 12 February 2024 23:16 (one week ago) link

Do you ever read ilx on a desktop or tablet? I find that what looks like a massive wall of text on my phone sometimes turns out to be, like, 2 sentences.

It's definitely helpful, way more than I think you realize, at the very least because it's forcing me to consider things directly that i might not grapple with otherwise, or not right away.

by "passing" you get to choose what Marked identity you want to be identified as, which i guess is some kind of passing privilege lol. to me, there's no comparison between my passing privilege and my white privilege. white privilege is being able to be recognized _for what i am_ without being defined entirely by that quality. white privilege is the ability to be seen as an individual and not as a synecdoche for an entire demographic group.

Yes, that's pretty close to what i meant. I was thinking yesterday about DJ Khalid as an example of an Arab man who is accepted, more or less, as Black. At least to the extent that he has real agency in Black culture. He's a teddy bear ofc but he has that very suave and flashy look that would be tough for a white guy to pull off. If you put at him and his brother Alec Ledd side by side, you might not even think they're the same ethnicity right away because so much of what we percieve as "race" is in those social signifiers.
Now I am not going to be able to pass for Black but I would *absolutely* pass as mixed/biracial, especially if styled myself differently.
So yeah I kinda "chose to be white" and so i've been afforded some of the advantages white people have, though not all of them. And my brother was more undecided, for once in his life lol, and has straddled the two cultures more (e.g. he has worked for & with mostly Black men ; he is married to a midwestern white woman).

I'm an odd duck and used to be really tenacious. I always managed to be seen as an individual. When i think about what my male privilege has been, the biggest thing is I was always made to feel like my thoughts and ideas and opinions were Very Important (has this been for my best? idk, it's a lot to live up to). But sure, if I belong to any kind of group I'm always gonna be the "ethnic" one of those.

thinking about it i guess it makes a lot of sense that you're hesitant about taking on labels... it sounds like you had the experience of, you could try on a label, but then you couldn't take it off, the people who saw you wearing that label would judge you based on that label from then on.

This is tough to articulate but with labels, if there is something that applies very harmonoiusly, where I recognize part of my own condition and it leaps off the page, then I can feel a kind of vindication. And there's other stuff attached to it that doesn't apply, and that is dissonant and I just want to sweep it under the rug kinda and focus on the vindication. And i think i'm prone to getting seduced by the labels and the language, because I'm too wrapped up in my thoughts most of the time and not present enough. I tend to get distracted from the other nameless imbalances that the label doesn't address, and from the real core of the matter in some cases. Because i get a rush from feeling vindicated.


to me, that early childhood memory, and the fact that you not only secretly had that thought but were secretly _ashamed_ of, is something that's just incredibly important

The funniest thing is that I thought it was secret then, like nobody would have noticed that I openly preferred girls' activities and entertainment and asked for girls' toys and all of my friends were girls. In my mind, it was covert. Kids are funny.

One of my early memories- I don't remember exactly how old I was but I could read- my family went to Salem for an uncle's wedding. My dad took me and my brother to the Witch Museum and bought us a box of crayons. The pink crayon was labelled "light red" and that made me really happy because from then on I would be able to tell everyone my favorite color was "light red" instead of admitting it was pink, lol

and of course there were signs, but either (1) they weren't recognizable as signs, based to all of the bad metadata about gender that we were stuck with from an early age, or (2) we were actively ashamed of the signs, read some fundamental moral dimension into them that just isn't there, and buried and repressed them, made them invisible, made ourselves invisble - again, not a moral act, just the kind of shit queer people have to do to survive.

So yeah I don't think memories like mine say much about my gender identity today, but it demonstrates our awareness and and sensitivity to the ambient social pressures even as really little kids. Because clearly my parents and teachers didn't have a problem with it.

And you're right, I forgot about all of that for years and years.

Something you posted a while ago that was one of my final straws had to do with instantly being accepted into a "sorority" of women where you'd never been 'one of the guys' before. That one set alarm bells ringing. The main thing has been talking to women and finding I relate a lot more to women and find men quite alien most of the time. But also little things like there's an ASMR channel I watch where the girl flips through vintage womens' interest magazines, and the content is the kind of stuff i spend a lot of time thinking about.

I think I was assigned the wrong gender at birth, I have very little doubt about that actually. The delightful twist is that I'm very comfortable in my boy-skin. When I think about myself as a boy, I feel spry and light on my feet when in reality I am flat-footed and lethargic. I feel cute af. I guess that's "gender-euphoria". It's like a happy accident, in a way this couldn't have turned out any better. But there's a danger in it, which is that I start to fill so many roles myself that there is no room for other people in my life. You're prob aware of my psychoses, the oracles whose grand romantic gestures floor me, the stuffed toys i regard as familiars, the common household objects i perceive as showing me love. That's a lot of dopamine, and it's all very fulfilling. Really too fulfilling.

it's really good to be able to talk about this stuff with someone else.

It's a pleasure


My standard line is that I'm a pansexual asexual - I'm willing to not have sex with pretty much anyone.

This is gold, btw
It's been stuck in my head :D

I wasn't sure about pronouns because I always found they/them a little awkward where it refers to an identified singular, and ngl it has tripped me up a bunch of times when i'm reading. Turns out it soothes the dissonance he/him makes me feel, how about that.

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 00:45 (one week ago) link

*wrong sex sorry

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 00:53 (one week ago) link

new DN just dropped

butt dumb tight my boners got boners (the table is the table), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 03:02 (one week ago) link

haha

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Wednesday, 14 February 2024 03:18 (one week ago) link

kinda side jaunt, deflatormouse i loved your post and i may or may not get back to it. in the meantime i wrote (but didn't post) a thing yesterday about disgust, and then today i wrote this which i figure i will post:

I've found myself talking semi-seriously about what I've started calling "kyphophobia" and today I'm thinking, hey, it's probably worth explaining seriously why I talk about it and what it means to me.

For some number of years now, sometimes I'll be in situations where someone will say "lean back" or "stand up straight" or some such thing, and I will, and they'll say "no, that's not right". That was frustrating, but also kind of routine. My body not behaving the way I wanted it to has been kind of a lifelong experience.

I was born with a developmental disorder that's now known as "dyspraxia". It wasn't medicalized at that time. It was, however, clear that I was unusually poorly coordinated compared to my peers, and as a result I was treated pretty much the same way anyone with any kind of developmental disorder is treated. Oh, you're not good at this thing that everybody else is good at, what's wrong with you? It was something I could get by without it being acknowledged or treated in any way, which I think in some ways is an advantage. Now that I'm middle-aged, though, I find that there are a lot of, like, really effective ways to treat this stuff, and I'm thinking, gee, it would be great if I'd had this 40 years ago instead of being yelled at constantly because my body didn't behave in the ways other people expected.

And this is interesting because this experience is to some extent _correlated_ with my transness, because one of the interesting things about my body is that I have this thing called "hypermobility". Like, there's a normal range of motion joints have, and my range of motion goes a fair bit beyond that. It's a spectrum. I'm not, like, a contortionist like you'd see at sideshows, though I have met some trans people who genuinely are that flexible. It's still enough to qualify as hypermobile. And it turns out this _hypermobility_ is something that is statistically correlated with transness, along with a few other things, like for instance neurodiversity. I got no idea why. As far as I know, nobody has any idea way. Anybody tries to make the slightest _bit_ of causative inference here and I will psychokinetically glare daggers at your brain until you stop. (No, wait, I'm being completely serious here. I don't have psychokinetic powers. Or the ability to double-jump.)

A lot of hypermobility is associated with something called Ehlers-Danlos Syndromes. There are like 13 of these. I haven't been diagnosed with any of them, but it turns out it mostly doesn't get diagnosed. Most people aren't aware of it, aren't aware of the symptoms. As it turns out this is something that's pretty easy to test for! You can genetically test for EDS, which isn't true for a lot of other ways in which people are different. Honestly I'm pretty averse to getting tested for anything just because of the way people use genetics as a form of gatekeeping. If I say "a lot of trans people have EDS", somehow that turns into "if you don't have EDS you're not really trans". I am strongly and actively opposed to that sort of transmedicalist approach, so I haven't had my karyotype done or any of this other sort of genetic testing, because as far as my being trans goes, the results don't matter.

For EDS I guess it does, though, so I'll probably wind up getting tested at some point. For the moment, though, all I can say is that I do have joint hypermobility. See, I didn't think that having joint hypermobility would be correlated with dyspraxia at first. It confused me. I was like, wait, if someone's joints can move that much, that seems more like a superpower than something that would make you uncoordinated. The thing is that humans have the normal range of motion we do for a reason. Because my body moves in so many ways that most people can't, the idea of "OK, here, this is the most kinetically effective way to move", that's pretty difficult for me to get to, even now.

The other thing about my hypermobility is that I wasn't aware at all that I was hypermobile until after I transitioned. Some of the biggest symptoms of gender dysphoria for me were dissociation and depersonalization. I didn't so much feel like I was born into the "wrong body" as much as I resented having a body at all. I hated how it looked, sounded, and felt, I didn't see any possible way to change that condition, and as a result, I mostly tried to ignore it as much as possible. So much of the joy of my existence is what I call embodiment - the feeling of having a body and existing in that body for the first time.

And part of that is realizing the ways in which my body is different from "normal" bodies beyond, like, the trans stuff. When I started spending more time around other people (another knock-on effect of my transition), people started seeing me do my normal wrist stretches for my carpal tunnel and asked me "Wait, how do you do that?" I genuinely had thought that everybody could bend their wrist that far. I didn't think of myself as hypermobile because I wasn't a contortionist or anything. I also realized that my back wasn't curved the way backs usually are, so I went in to get spine X-rays. My physical therapist went and looked at them.

"OK, so these are the ones of you bent over - where are the ones of you standing up straight?"
"Those _are_ the ones of me standing up straight."
"Ohhhhh. Uh. So did this just happen, or...?"

Apparently it's unusual for someone to have kyphoscoliosis as severely as I do and just not _talk_ to anybody about it for decades. Honestly, I have no idea whatsoever how to benchmark pain, what's really severe and I need to get looked at, and what's something I can just deal with and don't need to talk to anybody about. I don't know how much it's _normal_ for people to hurt. See the thing is that physical and emotional pain have a _lot_ more in common than people often like to acknowledge. Not only did gender dysphoria hurt to such an extent that it was very difficult for me to accurately understand or diagnose other sources of pain _before_ transition, but I am still dealing with some pretty significant long-term effects from spending several decades working really hard to ignore the effects of an extremely painful, potentially lethal health condition, one that I really fucking needed to get treated. When it got so bad I couldn't ignore it, I tended to deal with it by doing things like curling into a ball for hours on end or screaming "IT HURTS" repeatedly, and being unable to elaborate any further. I got a reputation for being a bit of a hypochondriac.

My physical therapist is actually really great. I was able to tell her why I spent several decades not caring about my body, and she understood really well. She gave me some physical therapy exercises I can do in case I have days where I'm too depressed to get out of bed. It's worked out really well - sometimes doing the exercises gives me the kind of strength I need to actually get out of bed.

-

All of that is pretty much just background, though. What really has me thinking about this whole thing is what happens when I tell people I'm a hunchback, which is that people will tell me I'm not. It's funny, because the thing I was most scared about when I was coming out as trans was that someone would respond with "no you're not". When people tell me that I'm not a hunchback, though... well, it's just given me a lot of perspective. When I was coming out, what worried me most is that if somebody else said I wasn't trans, _they might be right_. When someone's in a position of authority, it's just so easy to kind of assume that what they're saying is right. With my kyphosis, though, I find people who are situationally in positions of authority arguing with me about my own body. Not maliciously, is the thing. Like one of the people telling me I'm not kyphotic is trans herself. That's kind of what's interesting to me.

I say "I'm a hunchback" and not "I'm kyphotic" because nobody fuckin' knows what "kyphotic" means. I've thought about, you know, is hunchback a slur, am I using a reclaimed slur, but ultimately I gotta tell people things in language they'll understand. Except they don't, because the only thing they know from "hunchback" is Quasimodo.

I don't really know a lot about _The Hunchback of Notre Dame_. I haven't read any Victor Hugo. I didn't see the Disney version (came out after my time). I think I saw some of the Lon Chaney version. I really like him as an actor, even if his girl voice in the sound version of _The Unholy Three_ wasn't exactly all that and a plate of chips. (Heat from fire, fire from heat, Lon.) Overall my impression is that it's a good story, a good movie, and my GOD is it kyphophobic.

Like kyphosis really isn't a super rare condition. Lots of people have it. It's a form of scoliosis, which again, is pretty common. The only conception anybody has in their mind of it, though, is this grotesquely deformed creature, which, like, OK, he's not evil, he has a heart of gold or whatever, that's nice. The Disney character design makes him look pretty loveable even. He's still deformed. I was actually writing about this the other day, the disgust response. Humans often feel disgust when we see something that we consider "extremely ugly". So the only idea in someone's heads of a hunchback is someone who's extremely ugly and disgusting, even if the moral lesson is that, hmmm, when I see someone who I consider to be so ugly that I'm disgusted by them, I shouldn't act on that emotion.

So when people tell me I'm not a hunchback, not kyphotic, what I hear them saying is more that "You're not extremely ugly, I don't feel disgusted by you". Which is good! I'm glad they don't consider me extremely ugly and feel disgust when they look at me. I'm still a hunchback, though!

It helps me to frame things in this way because the stakes for "kyphophobia" are so incredibly low. Nobody's going to try to "clock" me as a hunchback. It's annoying that people try to claim I'm not kyphotic when I am, but people who recognize me as kyphotic don't think of me as disgusting or grotesque because of it. I don't suffer prejudice because of my kyphosis. It's actually not a big deal at all.

And this is frustrating to me because in my mind, that's how people _should_ deal with my being trans. I just can't imagine saying that I shouldn't be allowed in the bathroom because my being kyphotic makes me a predator or some such ridiculous nonsense, but thanks largely to transphobic media narratives, people seem to actually believe that my being trans rises to that level of significance. It's just so bizarre to me that people are looking at me for "signs" of something that's far less observable than my FUCKING HUNCHBACK and meanwhile not only don't _notice_ that I'm a hunchback, they don't BELIEVE me when I tell them that I am! You ask me about my bones and I'll say things like "kyphosis, scoliosis, thoracic compression fractures", but transphobes, all they say is "BONES OF A MAN". Like, it's not even about them being _wrong_. It's not meaningful, accurate, or useful anatomical knowledge. There are a lot of interesting things about my skeletal system. If all someone's interested in doing with it is arbitrarily assigning a gender, they're missing a _lot of clinically interesting shit_. I guess that's what frustrates me the most about the pseudomedicalism of transphobes. If someone doesn't _like_ my body, fine, but if somebody's going to spend that much fucking time thinking about my body, it's absolutely appalling to me that they wouldn't at least find my body _interesting_.

-

So I guess... that's what my kyphosis, my hunchback, my experience with "kyphophobia" means to me. My body is interesting in a lot of different ways _other_ than being trans. Some of the ways in which it's _more_ interesting as well as more _obviously_ interesting are seen as _less important_ than stuff that just really doesn't matter at all to most of the people who make a big deal about it. The "kyphophobia" I experience is directly a result of negative, inaccurate portrayals of "hunchbacks" in the media which lead people to think of "hunchbacks" as grotesquely ugly and disgusting. The only way I can even _describe_ my kyphotic condition to them is by using a word which I'm just gonna go right ahead and call a "slur".

Despite this, my being a hunchback has _not_ caused me to suffer any significant prejudice. Even when people have misunderstandings about my being a hunchback, they don't go into a whole moral panic about it or react at all in a way that's grossly incongruent with my actual condition. People don't assign any moral value to my kyphosis. All of these things are particularly remarkable to me because of how starkly they contrast with the way people react to my transness. Talking about "kyphophobia" is in large part, for me, a way to communicate how grossly inappropriate and malicious the prejudice associated with transphobia really is. My being a hunchback isn't in and of itself important or noteworthy, and it _shouldn't be_.

Kate (rushomancy), Thursday, 15 February 2024 04:20 (six days ago) link

Not only did gender dysphoria hurt to such an extent that it was very difficult for me to accurately understand or diagnose other sources of pain _before_ transition, but I am still dealing with some pretty significant long-term effects from spending several decades working really hard to ignore the effects of an extremely painful, potentially lethal health condition, one that I really fucking needed to get treated. When it got so bad I couldn't ignore it, I tended to deal with it by doing things like curling into a ball for hours on end or screaming "IT HURTS" repeatedly, and being unable to elaborate any further. I got a reputation for being a bit of a hypochondriac.

ok this is why revising my drafts is good, the "extremely painful, potentially lethal health condition" i'm talking about isn't kyphosis, it's _gender dysphoria_. having kyphosis hurts but god, nothing hurts like gender dysphoria.

Kate (rushomancy), Thursday, 15 February 2024 05:11 (six days ago) link

I didn't so much feel like I was born into the "wrong body" as much as I resented having a body at all. I hated how it looked, sounded, and felt, I didn't see any possible way to change that condition, and as a result, I mostly tried to ignore it as much as possible. So much of the joy of my existence is what I call embodiment - the feeling of having a body and existing in that body for the first time.

i'm telling you, Plux Quba is the best! it's the only high school classic that I still go back to a lot (i am probably forgetting something). it's... i wouldn't say it's front-loaded, but it is "top-heavy" in that most of the density and physical mass is located in the first 2 or 3 tracks which are each like a minute long. And then after that the dominant voices on the record are disembodied voices.
So like the disembodied voices on Plux Quba are really the clearest expression i can find of how i experienced life as a child. Of, above all, detachment- and also perceiving things slowly, through a haze, and of the tactile and sensual being limited to the euphoria of a gentle lull, a brain sensation like ASMR.

Maybe what i'm trying to describe is trouble activating. And i still experience that some of the time!

I don't know if it's dysphoria or something else, because most of my life i regarded my body as just an avatar, and that kind of outlook leads to neglect and forming bad habits and it becomes like a self-perpetuating cycle. Having the sense that the self and the body are separate, or the mind and the body has been a very good way to experience life as a void ime.

I think I required other people to snap me out of it, honestly. I needed people to force me to be present, in real time. And I needed to be touched! It was never something I could do on my own, or by thinking or talking.

I hear you about how it's easier to just say a recognizable, misleading thing.

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Thursday, 15 February 2024 19:12 (six days ago) link

I don't know if it's dysphoria or something else, because most of my life i regarded my body as just an avatar, and that kind of outlook leads to neglect and forming bad habits and it becomes like a self-perpetuating cycle. Having the sense that the self and the body are separate, or the mind and the body has been a very good way to experience life as a void ime.

― O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse)

um yeah that's actually textbook dysphoria, that's dissociation, that was most of how i experienced my dysphoria. i legit didn't think i had dysphoria, because i thought "dysphoria" just meant constantly hating your dick and wanting it cut off, which i never did. (yeah i've had it cut off but i didn't ever hate it or even _want_ it cut off or anything, there was just other stuff i wanted that was incompatible with my continuing to have a dick.)

anyway "dysphoria" turns out to be all kinds of shit that i just thought was totally normal. and that also meant that when i felt bad because of dysphoria i didn't ever think of it as "dysphoria" or imagine that it had anything to do with my gender. i just hurt a lot and i wasn't ever to make the connection about _why_ i would have these attacks. like i'd see a girl in a pretty dress and my brain would be like "i wish i could be pretty like that", but i couldn't allow myself to consciously acknowledge that, which didn't make me feel better and sometimes i feel like might actually have made it worse. i felt like wanting to be pretty the way girls are was awful because women had to deal with patriarchy and all that and it was awful of me to want anything like that, i felt like i didn't have a right to want that stuff. i was never big into the stones but i thought about the lyrics to "paint it black" a lot.

Kate (rushomancy), Friday, 16 February 2024 16:26 (five days ago) link

My thing with the Stones is the indelible image of their recent incarnations playing Start Me Up or it's Only Rock n Roll in a hockey stadium makes me forget how good they actually were in the 60's.

anyway "dysphoria" turns out to be all kinds of shit that i just thought was totally normal. and that also meant that when i felt bad because of dysphoria i didn't ever think of it as "dysphoria" or imagine that it had anything to do with my gender.

Yeah it's a tough thing to recognize and diagnose.

like i'd see a girl in a pretty dress and my brain would be like "i wish i could be pretty like that"

I have only and always had eyes for the boys tho. Not sure if that complicates things more, or less 😅😂😭

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Friday, 16 February 2024 17:52 (five days ago) link

Yeah idk on second thought I mean I have worn eye glitter and mascara, little girls' plastic hair clips, pink and purple feather boas etc on rare occasions, like, the overall look i was going for was still basically male but there is prob some repressed shit going on here LOL

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Friday, 16 February 2024 18:24 (five days ago) link

Like at the very least there is def a certain pixie-ish candy/glam/kawaii style that I'm drawn to and have emulated at times

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Friday, 16 February 2024 18:30 (five days ago) link

i mean i don't think it's necessarily helpful to be committed to any one label, that's just how it went for me because i present "binary femme" (although also things change and evolve over time, i'm not actually very femme most of the time - i wear sweaters and jeans or t-shirts and jeans). the way i went about it was that anything i was afraid to do because of how people would judge me, i tried it out to figure out how _i_ felt about it. and, you know, one road leads to another; i've done lots of things since starting to explore that i was absolutely sure i _never_ wanted to do. so i'd say don't be afraid to try that, particularly if it's something like... the biggest thing that was a challenge for me was feeling like i had to "dress my age" and that is _absolutely_ not a requirement.

Kate (rushomancy), Friday, 16 February 2024 22:58 (five days ago) link

Thanks Kate <3
Oh I’m not at all concerned about what to call this. Much more focused on how I can use it to live more fully

Yeah I do a lot of things that are not age appropriate, nobody gives fewer fucks

O Fundo Escuro de (Deflatormouse), Saturday, 17 February 2024 02:13 (four days ago) link


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