Dots and boxes

I feel kind of weird about my gender, more in phases and bursts than continuously. Occasionally I would think about it, but not in a way that would change my overall box for myself, and I usually kept the internal label of cis woman as a default. My weirdness about gender was indirect, and it never felt like loathing my body or an explicit message of “being a woman is not right, I must be a man.” I have a friend who’s trans, and she recommended that I read “Nevada” by Imogen Binnie. My friend told me that in her experience, the book had never clicked for cis friends she had recommended it to. One of the themes was dots that finally connect to spell out being trans. As trans-aware as I had been (trans-ness has always and had always been an interesting topic to me), this was a new idea. Indirect signs of gender noncomformity or trans identity? I thought about things in my life relating to gender, and I want to lay them out here. Some of them fit the idea of me being trans, and some of them fit the idea of me being gender noncomforming, and a few don’t fit neatly into boxes. I may expound on these later, but for now, getting them out is of more importance.

  1. Women have always felt other to me. When I was young, I usually had friendships with boys (or girls who fell outside the normal gender schema), and girls seemed foreign.
  2. A lot (but not all) of feminine things were an act. I remember adolescence as difficult for this reason, and I always thought it was because I never properly learned how to do the things women do, like care for long hair, wear makeup and dresses. I taught myself to do those things, but many times wearing a dress felt like crossdressing, and I usually (but not always) disliked how I looked in makeup. My family has a very strong sense of propriety, so I guess I had to learn. On the other hand, I know that as a very small child, I had a princess/pink/barbie phase. (What does this mean, and how can I incorporate this is what I feel now and have felt at other times?)
  3. I never hated my body’s femininity. I have the curves of a woman, and a voice that would give me away if I tried to pass (right now I’m so closeted, except to my partner). I don’t hate my breasts or feel distress at my genitals, although I do have some yearning to have certain parts of a male body.
  4. Left to my own devices, without concerning myself about social perception, my style of clothing and my way of presenting myself is at least androgenous. I like short hair, like either androgenous or masculine clothes (casual or business casual are both fine by me).

One thing about me is that I enjoy categories. In much of my life, I think about things in terms of categories and labels. I can handle ambiguity, and in fact I love subtlety, if I can attach variables to things in order to understand the patterns and to analyze them. With many things, this works and is successful. But for any gender identity that isn’t out and out cis, it seems to fall apart. I would feel fine leaving my gender at default/unthought of (like my partner, who is blissfully unquestioning of his gender and who is clearly male inside and out), but that doesn’t seem to be a privilege I have, so here I am, puzzling out what picture these dots make.

 

Edited 2/16/2016 to take some particularly personal info out. Original post 12/14/2015.

Thinking about gender

Hey all, I’m Jonathan, and as far as labels go, I haven’t figured it out yet. Male feels pretty right, but that’s a big step, yeah? Especially the social aspect of it (how often do trans men lose friends and family from transitioning? I’m not sure). So maybe I’m masculine gender fluid, maybe I’m trans masculine, maybe I’m complacent because of the consequences of being something other than a gender conforming person. Untangling socialization and internal needs is tricky.

Other stuff about me: I’m interested in tech and coding, as well as other intellectual pursuits I can take apart, analyze, and put together or present in new ways. Language is cool, I like stats and math, and reading both fiction and nonfiction is nifty.

In the future, I’m hoping to ponder more about gender and the world and what boxes I fit into, but for now, good night.