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On Genderwhatever

December 8th, 2009

tumblr_ksg2xfgD7U1qzjgceo1_400A lot of people have been doing a lot of talking about gender identity.  Whether they identify as male or female or somewhere in between or neither.  What others identify as.  How they feel about things that are gender specific.  Some even have entire blogs dedicated specifically to what it’s like living genderqueer or genderfree or… genderwhatever.  I admit I’m not up on the lingo.

If I’m to be honest, I never really thought about it.  Haven’t been paying a whole lot of attention.  Just really… don’t care.  I mean, sure, I think people should be free to be or not be whatever gender they feel they are or aren’t.  I guess it just always fell under the heading of “Things I Believe but Don’t Necessarily [need to] Understand”.

I guess that sounds horrible.  But it’s really just not all that big of a deal to me.

I realize it’s huge to them.  Especially to people who are just realizing that they don’t really identify mentally as the gender their body chose to take shape as.  And I want to say, first and foremost, that I am not, in any way, trying to diminish that.  I can’t imagine how upsetting it must be to some not being able to reconcile their bodies with their minds.

Well, I mean, I can.  But not in that respect.

I also realize how difficult things are going to be for them if/when they “come out” to everyone they know.  I know and rail against the way they’re treated by ignorant people.  And I am all for giving them the same rights us “normal” people, with bodies and brains of the same gender, have.  Matter of fact, I demand it!

But for me, it’s never been a big deal.  People are who they are.  If they’re not total assholes, I don’t really care who that is.  If they’re decent people, then who they are doesn’t make me dislike them.  Live and let live, remember?

I wish everyone could be that way.  I really don’t understand why they’re not.  Oh, I know all the excuses.  None of them make sense to me.

I’ve never identified as anything but female.

I’ve always had “tomboyish” interests.  I liked sports and hated skirts, growing up.  I sometimes wish I were male.  Especially when the monthly monster comes to visit.  I’ve lamented the fact that girls have always been expected to be feminine, even when they really weren’t interested.  But my lack of interest in femininity is more how much work it is to achieve than what gender I identify with.  And for whatever reason, regardless of what my parents said, I never really assigned gender to chores or toys or clothes.

Maybe it’s because I never had a brother for my mother to assign the boy chores to.  Or because my interest in baseball prompted my father to, in jest, introduce me to his friends as his son.

There’s never been any doubt in my mind that I am female.

And this sort of gave me a way to describe how unintentional peer pressure works on me.  Reading about people whose mind and body cannot agree has made me question why I’ve never questioned my gender.  I’ve been sitting here for days going over and over it in my mind.

I mean, it’s no secret that my parents usually looked at me funny when I asked for a boy toy and found a way to replace it with a girl toy.  For example, I wanted a remote control car.  So my parents bought me a remote control Barbie car (that was so cheap my sister managed to break it in less than a week – don’t get me started on that little diddy).  My mom tried for years to get me to wear skirts and “act like a lady”, but I have a wild streak in me that refuses to be tamed, and she finally conceded that skirts just weren’t practical for a girl as rambunctious as I am.

But when it comes right down to it, all things aside, I am, through and through, a girl.

A couple people* I read, in a couple of posts on their blogs, actually advocate for doing away with gender specificity altogether.  They talk about everyone being one fluid gender.  They feel it will make things easier on those of us who aren’t sure which side of the spectrum we fall on or do know and want it to be accepted.  And this is where I get confused.   I really don’t understand extremists.

I want a middle road.  A place where I can walk comfortably and not be hated by either side.  And I don’t want to give up my gender identity, one of the few things I’ve never waffled on, just so someone else can feel more comfortable with theirs.  How’s that fair?

Add that to the list of things that define me.  I prefer diplomacy and compromise that leaves no one unfulfilled to catering to the vocal majority or wounded minority.

And now I’m sitting here kind of annoyed with myself.  Because I actually spent some time looking up the “PC” terms and then avoided using them in case I used them in the wrong context and offended someone.  I’ve decided I’m going to use whatever terms come to mind and people can just deal.  Because it changes all the time.  Not specifically terms referring to gender neutrality or fluidity or queerness or freedom or whatever the fuck we’re calling it these days.  But terms referring to homosexuality and race and religion and disabilities and…

It’s exhausting.  And it hinders communication.  Stop it already.  Honest to the Invisible Man, no one made up labels to force us in a box.  It was so we could communicate with each other.

*No, I’m not telling you who advocated for what.  If you have to ask, I’m probably not talking about you.  And before you get your panties in a bunch, the authors of the blogs I read are just as entitled to their own opinion as I am, and I don’t think any less of them for them.  I just don’t get it.

Categories: rayne Tags:
  1. December 8th, 2009 at 22:54 | #1

    I think you make a really good point: you’ve never questioned or thought about your gender, because it’s in line with your biological sex. You’ve never noticed or explored it, because there’s never been a reason to.

    And I think a lot of cisgender people don’t realize that: yeah, it’s not a big deal to YOU (a general you, not you as in rayne), but it’s a big deal to US (general us, as in those that it is an issue to). You’re one of the ones that’s able to wrap your mind around that concept, but many others cannot.

  2. December 9th, 2009 at 11:40 | #2

    Rayne,

    I’ve come to the conclusion that the penguins may well have it right. “smile and waves, boys, smile and wave.” On my recent trip, I met someone who self identified as “gender queer.” Being the curious soul that I am (after gettng past the worry of insulting them), I asked what the hell that meant. After a long, drawn out explanation, I was left with the impression that they simply didn’t know who they were and felt like it changed so often as to defy specific classification. Oddly enough, that made sense to me.

    As for PC terms, I hear you. I’d just gotten used to using STD instead of VD, and now it’s STI. For God’s sake, make up your minds folks>

    Dave

  3. December 9th, 2009 at 12:39 | #3

    @dweaver999 I refuse to call them STIs. I was raised on STDs and that’s what they will be. If that makes me ignorant… whatever. Seriously. Lol.

  4. December 10th, 2009 at 14:02 | #4

    -insert inappropriate joke about being raised ON STDs here-

    Anyway, I think there’s a few issues you discuss here but the big one to me is that there are so many things which are important to people who are directly affected by them but don’t mean squat to others. And it doesn’t mean that others don’t necessarily care or are rude or any other bad thing, it means they’re just different people with different problems. I don’t consider gender identity much for the reasons Britni listed but neither do I think about being confined to a wheelchair. My husband stutters and this is, understandably, a big deal to him but not to me because I don’t. Alternatively, he has super fast metabolism so has never had weight issues like I do. These are all issues that are rightfully important to folks who deal with them personally (and they all affect identity and perception as well) and all issues that deserve some amount of awareness but there’s no ONE issue that everyone will be able to understand. That’s just life and I think people who are so wrapped up in their own issues sometimes need to take a step back to understand that.
    .-= Adriana´s last blog ..Does Your Affiliate Program Suck? =-.

  5. December 10th, 2009 at 15:03 | #5

    @Adriana Hee. I probably could have worded that better.

    And I completely agree with you. 🙂

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