It is no longer one or the other. Humans have been peeling off the labels of male / female for years now, arriving at new vocabulary and hybrid forms of what one can be. It is illuminating and awe-inspiring.
Recently, during a conversation about gender, my mom said: But I don’t have to announce I am straight.
And I responded: Because people already assume. But imagine if you weren’t, and people thought you were. Wouldn’t you want to let people know they are wrong?
So, we come out. To newspapers. To co-workers. On television. Online. To our lovers. To our friends. Over text message.
But it is never just one time.
When I came out at nineteen, I thought I was done.
Phew……that was rough, but they [my parents] seem to be ok about all this. Now I can just live.
But we are labeled in more ways than sexual orientation. I am no longer a lesbian. I am queer. And my gender is complicated and still arriving at a movement of letters. For now, I call myself genderqueer.
I am re-arriving at my body. Knocking my way in…ringing its doorbell. We aren’t as friendly as one might think. I am tentative inside of this core.
Recently, a popular social networking site called Facebook (which I am not on and would normally not give extra time toward, but learning of this made me feel a slight admiration for), added almost 60 different options for users to identify their gender. I was deeply moved. It is no longer just male or female. It never has been, but so many of us have been checking off boxes that were the lesser of two wrongs. Now, people can actually see their self-identified gender.
For anyone who has had a difficult time connecting to the ridiculous sign on the bathroom door of a public place, this is a moment of clarity. In fact, a few nights ago, I was performing in a bar where the female restroom identified itself with a high-heel on the door. I thought: I am not a high-heel. So, where can I safely go to the bathroom? How has shoe wear become our identifiable gender markers?
The list is long, but it is even longer and will continue to grow. Here is what Facebook users can now choose from:
- Cis Female
- Cis Male
- Cis Man
- Cis Woman
- Cisgender Female
- Cisgender Male
- Cisgender Man
- Cisgender Woman
- Female to Male
- Gender Fluid
- Gender Nonconforming
- Gender Questioning
- Gender Variant
- Male to Female
- Trans Female
- Trans* Female
- Trans Male
- Trans* Male
- Trans Man
- Trans* Man
- Trans Person
- Trans* Person
- Trans Woman
- Trans* Woman
- Transgender Female
- Transgender Male
- Transgender Man
- Transgender Person
- Transgender Woman
- Transsexual Female
- Transsexual Male
- Transsexual Man
- Transsexual Person
- Transsexual Woman
Recently, I have become friends with a human who is finding their way in and around themselves. They are transitioning from how they feel on the inside toward something more visible on the outside. I have begun to dig around inside myself toward what I have been feeling and finally they are offering me a safe space to do this.
I have been inside this body for decades. Finding the right word to name my feelings is enormously empowering. However, when we get past the labels, the hard part is daily translation. Some people wake up inside their bodies and feel complete kinship. Even love.
Imagine waking and feeling so lost, you wonder how it is possible to get misplaced inside something that has always been there.
Humans are incredibly complicated, constantly evolving creatures. We are incorporating new words into formal dictionaries. Boxes are being added as languages develop. The language of our body. Of our sexuality. Of our gender.
Be more open to people blurring the confines of male / female because that list is going to continue to grow.
Pingback: Gender-Bender Award – What Do You Want to Call Yourself? | Tiffany's Non-Blog
Congratulations! After reviewing lots of WordPress publications for February, I’m awarding you with this month’s edition of my Gender-Bender Award! http://tiffany267.wordpress.com/2014/02/16/gender-bender-award-what-do-you-want-to-call-yourself
My Gender-Bender Award is an opportunity to celebrate those who challenge and disrupt the gender binary. Thank you for being a part of that 🙂 As an award-winner, you are welcome to use my exclusive Gender-Bender Award graphic on your blog (if you linked back to me, it would be appreciated).
Please nominate a post for March! You can nominate anything you’ve seen on WordPress, even another post you’ve written yourself.
Thanks again and congratulations!
Thank you so much for reading this and finding the breaths within each word. Gender is a language and a gesture and a sound and a movement of translation. I am still working on recognizing my own. It is a journey.
Pingback: Still Don’t Know My Gender | The Comedy Sojourn
What a material оf սn-ambiguity ɑnd preserveness
ߋf precious familiarity ɑbout unexpected emotions.