Underneath my yellow skin

Tag Archives: binary

Free to be me?

I’ve been talking about gender a lot lately. Why? Because I don’t get it. I say this with zero snark. Every time I hear people talk about gender, I feel like I’m listening to a foreign language. Follow the way my brain works. I’m going to be as honest as I can be here. Which means that it might be uncomfortable to read.

Other people say that they feel their gender deep in their soul. That being a man or woman (in this case, the binary) is a core part of their identity. People who are nonbinary also feel this deep in their souls. I have heard so many people talk about their gender and how important it is to them.

Whenever I think about my gender, I try to concentrate on what it is, and I get–nothing. I know I’m NOT a man, but as for woman or nonbinary, I mostly just shrug and say, eh, maybe? I’ve used this analogy several times. Being called a woman is like wearing an ill-fitting raincoat. It’s going to keep the rain out, mostly, and it fits, mostly. But it’s uncomfortable, and I’m going to take it off as soon as I can with a sigh of relief.

I don’t mind if other people call me a woman or want to connect on that level (we women, we’re sisters, etc.), but it’s becasue I’ve had similar expenciees. I am coded as a woman and I look very much like a woman is expected to look. I have hair down to my hips and I’m very curvy. VERY booby. And I love my body (now). I’ve never hated my curves, even when I hated my body in general.

I’m very comfortable in my body now. In a large part because it saved me from dying. Twice. Literally. But even at my most “I loathe my body” time of my life, I never hated the boobs, pussy, hips, or ass. Well, mourned the lack of ass, but that’s different than hating my body in general. Also, I can thank Taiji for giving me an ass! Ian has confirmed (very diffidently) that I do have one now.

Other people calling me she doesn’t bother me. Being called sir on the phone (which ALWAYS happens because I have a double alto voice. About as low as possible for someone who is AFAB) does not bother me. I used to be called sir when viewed from behind because I wore a black trench coat and had very short hair (this was on campus for college), and that did not bother me, either.

To be clear, I am not a guy. But I don’t care if someone calls me sir. It doesn’t bother me, even though I don’t identify with it. I am fine (sort of) being called she/her, but I would rather not be. And I will not call myself that. Though I have by mistake.

If I had my druthers, I would just ignore gender. It doesn’t matter at all to me except as to how others treat me. That’s the biggest thing about gender for me–it causes people to view me through a certain lens. Because I’m AFAB and LOOK like a woman, that’s how I get treated.


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Another layer peeled

I’ve known since I was very young that there was something wrong with me. I wasn’t like other kids and they didn’t seem to think the way I did. I didn’t have any real friends–not the way other kids had friends. They talked about the tv shows they watched (I didn’t watch much tv) or the movies they went to (I never went to the movies) or the latest songs (I didn’t listen to music. Apocryphal story that I’ve been telling for decades. The first pop song I ever heard was Electric Avenue by Eddy Grant when I was in sixth grade.) I read in most of my free time, which was not popular to talk about.

I was fat, Taiwanese (before it was hot/sexy/in to be Asian), brainy, and had no sense of what would make me fit in. Second-generation American struggles are real, yo. I constantly felt like I was an alien in a strange world. I had no idea what I was supposed to say or do. It was a miserable experience and I became deeply depressed when I was seven. I spent the next twenty years wanting to die, but not having the guts to do it. I learned to act like a normal person, but I felt as if the rules were always changing. And, of course, what was normal for one person or group of people was not the same for others.

One thing I’ve learned in my many decades on this planet. People love to categorize other people. Maybe this is just an American thing, but I doubt it. We tend to be attracted to people who are like us. It’s human nature; I don’t begrudge that. It’s the way to know if you’re safe or not in a quick heuristic glance. But, there are limits to the heuristics, and I’m finding them not useful at all these days.

Here’s the thing. Most people are black-and-white thinkers. They are binary in their beliefs, even when it comes to ideas that don’t lend themselves to being so concrete. When we talk about racial issues, it’s always black and white. MAYBE brown thrown in for good measures from time to time, but I wouldn’t hold my breath as an Asian and forget about indigenous folks at all. We Asians came up for a hot second with the corona virus causing many people to lose their minds and start outright hating on Asians, rather than just doing it quietly. I’ve given up a long time ago about anyone caring about Asian people in America except for the quick sentence when anti-Asian violence happens.


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