I want to be able to…

Someone wrote…

I want to be able to talk to someone, say I’m neither male nor female and not have the discussion become about that.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?


Posted by on August 26th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 12 comments »

12 Responses to “I want to be able to…”

  1. Milo

    I know, I hate that. I had a discussion with a friend of mine yesterday, just sort of casual saying that we needed to find people to date because in our friend group we were one of the only single ones. She promptly said, “Well, according to you, you’re androgynous, so I wouldn’t know what you’d want.” As though my gender preference were so innately tied to every other aspect of my being.

    I understand that this is halfway off-topic, but it seems that once someone has the inkling to bring up the fact that you are gender non-conforming, that either ends any conversation there or makes the conversation only about your gender. It sucks :(

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  2. Simon

    The worst is when people try to explain to you that that’s not possible, like you don’t understand gender, when really they’re the ones who don’t have a clue.

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  3. Anonymous

    **twinkle fingers of consent-yness**

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  4. Anonymous

    HEAR, HEAR

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  5. Clara

    Transgendered people round here are still considered very strange and exotic creatures. I’ll admit that i sometimes rather enjoy that status… but it can be tiring. Even where gender-fuckery exists, little to NO actual knowledge pertaining to it as a vast range of attitudes ideas aesthetics and sensibilities exists. Which can lead to some awkward social situations. Like i said, tiring…

    … sometimes i think it would help to just have a concise briefing prepared for such scenarios: an overview – a short history of my gender confusion and resulting identification… maybe with an accompanying slideshow to put things into an easier language. Just a little something to whip out in these situations so that at the end of the presentation, (after the raucous applause has died down) i could just go: “And that’s the end of that. Any questions? No? Good. Now, where were we? Ah, yes: whose seen the scott pilgrim film? Isn’t Ramona GORGEOUS?!…blah blah blah…”

    … y’know? Just get it over with in one go so i get on with having an ordinary conversation. Somedays you just dont want to be scrutinized, by yourselves or others.

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  6. Anonymous

    DITTO! Erg.

    I mean… well… not quite. I don’t personally identify as trans… yet… well… maybe, but … anyway: I’ve had this exact experience whenever i tell people i’m bi. or pansexual. or confused. or open to persuasion. or whatever variation one of those descriptions i decide to give. People, generally male people, seem to view this as a invitaion to look prod an poke me about my sex life or the queer “scene” to which i’m presumed to belong to (whatever that is). it sucks. and it’s too invasive for me. so i totally see where you’re coming from.

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  7. embarrassed

    I think people are more accepting now than they were a few years ago… i hear the phrase “Well, it’s their life.” in converstaion about transgender with surprising frequency… BUT i think that the trans community isn’t widely discussed or visible to the extent that people – i mean, that anyone – well – EVERYONE can be expected to understand (if anything i expect misunderstanding, bah humbug). Curiosity is natural.

    I often find myself feeling terribly guilty in those situations because i feel like i’m responsible for the awkward-ness… that is… i know i’m not atcually tryign to make things uncomfortable, but… sigh… what do i mean? I put my foot in my mouth a lot. ive had my fair share of people who have treated like a freak show or wanted gossip material or whatever – people do ask about it out of polite curiosity and naivety. It’s not their fault, bless ‘em… they do just want to understand. Show their interest. Sad to say, having had some pretty dire experiences with opening up about this stuff, i can get pretty cagey and uptight when quizzed about my androgyny…and once the conversation is over i just KNOW I’ve given off a totally wrong impression or been rude or standoffish or… god, it’s tricky.

    And i know that if your open and un-embarrassed about the whole thing then it shouldn’t be tricky.

    … but it is. for me it is, at least. when or if i do share about gender-identity i feel… a little exhilerated, nervous, but generally glad to have aired my thoughts and feelings about the whole thing: i like feeling that i’ve at least tried to inform someone.

    But then i also feel there’s this huge imbalance between us… like, in order to restore balance i have to ask them to share with me a really awkward, cringe-making secret from their schooldays or something! I’m probably just a little ashamed … still… haha! i’m embarrassed myself!

    Well, that’s my experience, at least. I hope for a day when people can be comfortable with the grey area. Maybe i need to include myself in that category first.

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  8. Simon

    Right?

    If we’re close friends, I’ll probably talk to you about gendery shit at some point, but I want to do that on my terms, not just when you’re feeling particularly curious about the inane details of it or the really-fucking-difficult-to-explain identity part of it. And if we’re not friends, well, there’s really nothing to say.

    I recently switched name/pronouns and it’s so not a big deal but everyone’s making it into one and is all of a sudden so like “interested” or “nosy” or whatever about me and my body/identity, like … gar. Ew. I am not here to satisfy your voyeuristic curiosity.

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  9. J

    me too!!

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  10. Samson

    “I am not here to satisfy your voyeuristic curiosity.”

    THIS. Also, I’m not here to be tokenized.

    Although–I tend to be upset about the exact opposite, too–when I state that I’m neither male nor female and get something along the lines of, “Um. ‘Kay.” Especially in some trans spaces where so many people are transitioning to a more commonly-recognizable point on the gender map. They can be very firm about being male or female and want nothing to do with your wishy-washy neither-male-nor-female.

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    Lo replied:

    It’s unbelievable how trans people who are firmly male or female discriminate against people who they think are “confused.” As if no one has ever thought that about them. What’s so wrong with being neither or both?

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  11. Phia W.

    I was thinking about this today, actually; it’s often easier for me to steer the conversation away from ‘which of the two genders are you’ when I see it coming than to even let it be mentioned at all, since I know everything else will suddenly not be worth talking about.

    Frustrating.

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