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Scheherazade in Blue Jeans
freelance alchemist
Did I have to say this? Okay. 
5th-May-2010 04:01 pm
So hey, to head off further assumptions - I'm not cisgender, I'm genderqueer.

(Is it coming out if you were never in the closet about it?)

I don't regard myself as exclusively female, and I really never have. The way I view myself and interact with the world just does not fit into the gender binary. Sometimes I identify as more masculine than feminine, sometimes it's the reverse. I'm perpetually in flux in any given reaction or circumstance, which doesn't really lend to sticking a label on my gender identity and adhering to it.

I'm not transgendered; that's different. I'm perfectly fine with my human suit being female. I'd be fine with it being male, too; I just wish it was more functional! But I don't really have body/mind dissonance. (Well. Except for reasons that have nothing to do with gender.)

I am just sometimes a guy, and that's fine.

I use female pronouns because I grew up with them, so they feel fine applied to me. Plus the only place where I really get asked what pronouns I prefer is my BARCC colleague's pro-feminist men's group, and I choose female pronouns there because much of what they're discussing is male privilege stuff, and no matter how masculine I'm trending in any given interaction, I just do not have the male privilege.

I know that this post will not surprise people who know me in person, many of whom have noticed this without having to be told. But I encountered a pile of bitchiness today directed at me that was all cis-this and cis-that, and I was like "Um. Not cis, actually, and I'm puzzled that you are assuming that."

Because here's the thing; making blanket assumptions can be an intellectual-laziness thing, and in cases like this, it's often a way of othering people and refusing to deal with them as individuals.

But guess what? I do not fit into the gender binary. I never have. Pretty sure I never will. Who am I? I'm shadesong. There's only one of me. So you don't get to stick a fake label on me and pretend that it tells you anything about me. You have to meet me as an individual human being, and with respect.

Which is how you should be treating everyone anyway.
5th-May-2010 08:05 pm (UTC)
The closest thing to a label that I have ever thought of in terms of you that seemed descriptive at all would be parent.
5th-May-2010 08:11 pm (UTC)
That, I totally am!
5th-May-2010 08:09 pm (UTC)
I don't much use labels. Folks is folks, themselves, actual and whole. That is if I notice them at all. I call you Little Sister and I believe I asked you first, but if you wish me to I'd stop. And you know my inner child is a 13 year old girl.
5th-May-2010 08:10 pm (UTC)
I'm cool with that; the specific way you and I interact is more Cap'n/Kaylee than anything else. (See how individual that gets?)
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5th-May-2010 08:27 pm (UTC)
Hmmmm. Meeting you in person should be very interesting, then.
5th-May-2010 08:32 pm (UTC)
5th-May-2010 08:31 pm (UTC)
5th-May-2010 08:35 pm (UTC)
That's kind of interesting. I don't tend to think of cisgender and genderqueer as mutually exclusive categories, but then the latter is especially nebulous. (And probably has to be.)

Of course, as you know, I have huge problems with the gender binary and how it is represented, which even includes your comments about "acting like a man" or "being a guy". I have lots of trouble understanding what you mean by that outside of a cultural context. See earlier reference to Simone de Beauvoir.

But I fully support you being cranky if you don't identify as cis and people keep assigning it to you anyway.
5th-May-2010 08:37 pm (UTC)
I have lots of trouble understanding what you mean by that outside of a cultural context.

And it will take me a big long series of posts to really spell it out! Because it is so nebulous and situational.
5th-May-2010 08:36 pm (UTC)

I like this.
5th-May-2010 08:50 pm (UTC)
I try to teach my kids the following phrase. "You are a unique, special person, unmatched in the entire universe... just like everyone else." It says much in the way we should respect each other, yet also respect ourselves. GenderQueer... goes well with Pansexual and Sapiosexual; my short hand is getting longer. BiPolyPaganSwitch was so much quicker.

Be well, get some rest... I want to meet you at WisCon rather than read a note saying you're to exhausted to leave the house. I've a copy of a certain comic book I'd love to get signed if you'll be up for that.
5th-May-2010 08:51 pm (UTC)
BiPolyPaganSwitch was so much quicker.


I hadn't heard Sapiosexual before.
5th-May-2010 08:59 pm (UTC)
I could have written this post.

I sometimes don't even apply genderqueer because I look female and am fine with the pronouns, but I also see why it's a valid term to use for oneself.
6th-May-2010 06:56 am (UTC)
I hear ya. I've been getting myself used to the genderqueer nomenclature over the past couple of years.
5th-May-2010 09:10 pm (UTC)
I am beginning to truly resent the use of those three little letters, which I know is somewhat unfair.

I am not a stranger to GQ/trans activists, and yet I've only ever seen the term 'cisgender' wielded in righteous indignation, and about 30% of the time it's misdirected or overly cruel.

This may be a product of my own lack of experience, but that doesn't make it a positive trend.
5th-May-2010 09:16 pm (UTC)

What happened to you is seriously annoying. You'd think that somebody fighting for gender freedom wouldn't make foolish assumptions.
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5th-May-2010 09:36 pm (UTC)
Were the people who were "all cis-this and cis-that" talking about you being cis*gendered* or cis*sexual*? Because cissexual privilege is very real, and from what you're saying you do have that. (And you do seem to be conflating the two when you say "I'm not transgendered; that's different. I'm perfectly fine with my human suit being female.")

I will acknowledge that I am a bit twitchy around this issue because I have seen people who are definitely in receipt of cis privilege of various kinds using a genderqueer identity to disclaim this and associated behaviour.
5th-May-2010 10:02 pm (UTC)
Just to clarify, reading this back - I'm not saying that you're doing what those people do re utilising a genderqueer ID only when it's convenient in disowning their own privilege!
5th-May-2010 09:50 pm (UTC)
I can so relate.

I'm genderqueer, too...it's only recently there was a single word to describe it. I never identified by gender, and even now, I will refuse to answer gender questions that only offer two choices. People look at me and assume female--they start to interact with me and end up confused, angry, and upset, which is why I'm single and live alone. I'm totally convinced I should have been born male; I don't want to be either gender exclusively, I feel like I embody both equally. I can't explain that, so I just live it. In terms of pronouns, etc, I'll answer to anything that's printable. :-)

But I really feel insulted--seriously--when I'm referred to as a "lady" or a "gal," even in a friendly way. I know I shouldn't react so viscerally, but I do.

I've been mistaken for a boy from time to time, without making any effort whatsoever to look like one, which tells me something about the energy I put out. My online persona has always come across as male to people who didn't know me, and I never corrected anyone's assumptions that point. It's always bothered me that identifying others as male or female is so important to most people. It's not important to me on any level, including sexually, and I honestly can't understand (other than intellectually) why it matters so much to just about everyone else.
6th-May-2010 01:07 am (UTC) - Thread hijack - ignore if you feel inclinded
I don't know you. We've never, to my knowledge corresponded, nor do I remember your LJ Username from previous discussion. I say these things by way of disclaimer, since some of the reaction I want to relate to you could, completely against my intent, offend. I pray your patience as I explore what you said.

I carry a HUGE burden of privilege, and some places where I definitely am outside the circle. What struck me so strongly was your visceral reaction to "lady" or "gal". I'm a 50 year old Caucasian male military retiree. I've been raised by middle class educated parents in a suburb. I come with baggage. Some of my baggage involves slang use for EVERYTHING. I'm your classic "Dude" slinger in many conversations.

I'm trying to find out if it's those two words specifically, of if its the box those words carry that insults you. I tend to err on the side of neutrality when dealing with a community where bois and womyn are prevalent terms, but it seems that many of those phrases might also offend.

So... your name would be the best form of address ~ its clearly "you". "Hey, Lady" clearly on the edge of worst. Are there phrases between the two that work?

Once again, feel free to ignore this if you don't want to get into it here.
5th-May-2010 10:00 pm (UTC)

I am just sometimes a guy, and that's fine.

No matter how masculine I'm trending in any given interaction, I just do not have the male privilege.

If at some times you're a guy, then at those times you have a degree of male privilege (though not the same as those who are perceived as male and/or ID as male full time)
5th-May-2010 10:36 pm (UTC)
*nods* In this group in particular, they're talking about people who are male-bodied/full-time male/etc.

That particular colleague and I keep tossing around the idea of starting a blog to discuss our gender stuff, as we are often wryly amused by big male-bodied him and tiny female-bodied me being so reverse in a lot of ways...

I know that I have privilege, as I'm white, but I don't tend to see myself as ever having male privilege; even when I feel like I'm interacting with the world in a way that I feel is more masculine than feminine, people who don't know me well still treat me as straight-up female.
5th-May-2010 10:40 pm (UTC)
I guess what I don't understand is how this differs from you being a ballsy woman?

It's like... ummm... I'm gonna sound like an idiot no matter how I ask, so I'll just ask.

This just sounds like you're tired of normative cultural hegemony. "Chicks is all thinkin' this and dudes is like thinkin' dat." You assert. Does that make you less female or does it just mean the norm is bullshit?

Where does my understanding fail? Please let me know.
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