I’ve spoken elsewhere about my gender identity and where I am, and the truth is I still don’t know. I settled with genderqueer because it’s as good a descriptor as any other and I don’t have a better one.
I’ve had doubts about my gender for about as long as I can remember but there wasn’t a framework for talking about it or understanding it when I was growing up. The explosion of the internet and the communication possibilities it’s created have allowed new generations and old to discuss who they are and discover themselves without as much fear of rejection.
For me, a common factor in this was that other people were sure. Whether I thought they were idiots or pretenders or just making stuff up1There are some very particular groups who I can’t tell if they’re for real or not, and others which seem crazy to me. Their kink/identity is not my kink/identity and that’s okay., they were as sure in their identities as anything else and they flew their flags high and proud. I couldn’t do this – I didn’t know what my flag was and while “questioning” may have been one of the things Q stood for, it wasn’t a very welcome one when everyone expects you to be sure and calls you out as a pretender if you’re not. I’ve never found the queer community as welcoming as most of my friends have and I don’t know how much of that is down to particular gatekeepers leaving lasting impressions and how much is due to my own hesitance.
I’ve tried to be open about these things and not hide them away because bringing these things into light is important and providing an example for those around me and those who will come after me is equally important. I’m quite conscious of the role I may be playing for my niece as she comes into her own identity.
As for me, I’ve always been default SWM. So much so that I’ve been criticised for taking part in internet discussions because I couldn’t understand what’s being talked about; for having opinions that don’t align with rhetoric. The problem is that I’m not. I am white – no getting around that I’ve; I’ve got male physiology – no getting around that either; but straight? cis? Not so much.
I watched something earlier about how the Simpsons ridiculed Japan as being this crazy place in 1997 – and they did, I remember the episode. The Simpsons is not a great role model for how to act in society or treat others – is a commentary on the times and a comedy show. But having watched the Simpsons for many many years, the one scene that stands out for me in my memories more than any other is Bart teaching Lisa how to walk in heels. This was a kid who was the boys’ boy, the biggest troublemaker in town, the bad boy; but he knew how to walk in heels well enough to teach his little sister so she wasn’t embarrassed when she tried it. That has always stuck with me.
If I had done panto like my siblings, I probably would have been wearing dresses throughout my teenage years, but as it was I didn’t really start until I got to uni and my older friends put me in a dress and corset at a party. Spoiler: I looked good. But there’s a difference between doing that at a fancy dress party and doing that in real life. The first dress I bought was a little over a year ago, for Cim, and it was nerve-wracking. Was it going to fit? Was I going to look stupid? Was I going to look like a man in a dress? The was probably my biggest concern. No one wants to look like a man in a dress; you want to look like you belong in it, not stick out like a sore thumb. But I did manage to pull it off, and I got compliments on it – a lot of them and that helped bolster me towards outing myself as not quite male.
I still don’t know how I truly identify. There’s almost always going to be part of me that wonders whether I feel like I do in certain subjects because of trauma, past experiences, and depression. But those things are also part of my identity. I can’t change that I was molested at LT, but I can choose not to let it define me and to grow past it. I can choose to evolve and discover and be someone who is more myself than who I was before.
Part of that may well be a transition from one name to another – hence this account. Physical transitions are unlikely, however.
Originally posted on Facebook