I’m used to being ignored. It’s a fact of life that people tend to think in the binary. It’s one reason it’s been so difficult to broaden the public consciousness on gender diversity. It’s also a fact that people are territorial. Us and them is pretty much innate (we can argue whether it’s more nature or nurture, but most people feel it to some extent).
I belong to several groups that are outside the binary. I am not black or white. I’m Asian (Taiwanese), so I get ignored when the question of race arises. I’m bisexual, so again, neither gay nor straight. It’s interesting because in the post about trans and gender-diverse people that I wrote about yesterday (at Ask A Manager), there were several bis in the comments (including me) who have said that we’ve gotten shit from gays and lesbians, and it hurts more than the shit we get from hets.
Side note: I am not happy with the term bisexual, but I don’t like pansexual or omnisexual, either. If I had my druthers, I would call myself sexual and leave it at that. I reall ydon’t like labels (and not in that smarmy ‘no labels’ way), but it’s because I find them constraining. I’m a sloppy, messy person who doesn’t fit into any one category. That’s why I’ll default to the broadest category possible, but still not be satisfied with it.
I’m also areligious/agnostic, rather than an atheist–and I’m certainly not a Christian, I don’t know if there is a god (though I don’t think there is is a Christian God), but at this point, I don’t care. Not in a negative way, but in a ‘I don’t want to think about it any longer’ way.
I have a similar feeling about gender. I just don’t care about it. I had been chewing it over before I ended up in the hospital, and my brain went in many different directions. The reason I started stepping away from ‘woman’ was because of other women. All my life, I had been told that I was not acting properly as a woman.
This included, but was not limited to–not having children (the big one); not wanting children (a bigger one); not wanting to get married; not wearing makeup; not caring about fashion, cooking, or cleaning; liking to climb trees; dislkiking dolls; picturing strangers on the street naked and how they’d be in bed; liking sports; and that’s just the short list. I’m sure some people would put Taiji weapons and video games on that list, too.
I’ve written this before, but two things that stood out in a positive way about my gender was when I went to a Asian bi and lesbian conference (right after coming out), and no one could place me on the femme/butch continuum (this was back when this was an actual thing). Everyone else was immediately pegged one way or the other, but when they got to me, there was a big pause. The woman who was gauging me said, “I really don’t know where to put you on the spectrum.”
The other time was when I was chatting up a big hot bulldyke. We were talking about sexual/gender identity (again, this was decades ago, so we probably didn’t phrase it quite like that), and she said I confused her. When I asked why, she said I had long hair and was very shapely, but I didn’t wear makeup and liked sports.
This was actually part of my problem back in the day. I never felt like I fit in the queer scene because I was not one or the other. If I were forced to choose a term back then, it would have been androgynous–but I didn’t adhere to the typical meaning of that word, either. I look very feminine because of my hair and my boobs. But I have a very deep voice, big square shoulders, guns for days, and a very hearty laugh.
My thinkingis more masculine, but my EQ is off the charts (which means more ‘feminine’ in society). I prefer to wear shorts and t-shirts and sweats and a sweatshirt in winter. I wear my hip-length hair in a high pony that I then braid. I undo it and wind it in a high, sloppy bun for sleep. I no longer wear any jewelry and have let my ear holes close. Not the ones for hearing, obviously, but the ones in my lobes.
Side note: When I first got my ears piereced, they got infected. My body is not fond of anything that isn’t a part of it, and it kept rejecting the earrings. I got my ears pierced when I was sixteen, and they did not actually stay infected-free until I went off to college, basically.
While I was in college, I kept gettnig my ears pierced. I ended up with five in one and four in the other. I also got my belly pierced in my twenties, but that kept getting infected as well. I finally gave up on that after a year or so.
I kept getting told that I did not think like a ‘real’ woman so at some point, it became a matter of not wanting to be in a club that didn’t want me. It’s funny because I talk about it with my Taiji teacher who had a similar experience. Her conclusion was that she was a woman, damn it, no matter what anyone said.
It’s funny that we have similar experiences and similar thoughts about the people who declared us ‘not real women’, but we went in very different directions with our reactions. We were both true to type, and I think they are both valid reactions.
For me, having a life-threatening medical crisis blew all the gender shit out of the water. I realized when I was in the hospital that this body just doesn’t matter–the gender of it, anyway. It got me through death (twice!), which was the only thing that mattered.
To be honest, I’m tired of thinking about it. I just don’t care about my gender. It’s not important to me on the daily. I go about my life living it without much thought about my gender. That’s why I’m currently rocking genderqueer/agender. II’m moving towards the latter because I just don’t want to think about it any longer.