Friday, June 12, 2009

I am not transgendered

That's right, you heard me. I am breaking my association with the term "transgender." No longer will I consider myself to be "transgender(ed)," nor do I want people to refer to me as such.

I haven't had a chance to get into a real gender rant on here, which is a shame, but I guess now is as good a time as any. This is a good gateway into my anti-binary tirade.

So. Why not "transgender?"

Referring to myself as "transgendered" implies and requires that I believe in that which we call the "gender binary." Which I do not. By claiming that I am "transgressing" societal laws and expectations of gender, I am accepting and putting my faith in the binary. I do not and will not ever allow that to happen.

This has been the big thing that has been confusing the shit out of me ever since I first thought I might be "different." I've always been simultaneously disgusted and jealous of the male body. When I look at the tan, buff guys that most teenaged girls croon and swoon over, I was crooning and swooning because I wanted to look like that. Why? I thought it was because I wanted to be a man, and I did, but for all the wrong reasons.

I thought that being a man would make me feel normal. I thought that my body had to match my insides in that, well, I act like a man, so I should look like one in order to fit in.

This, I realize now, is bullshit.

Why should I feel like I need to have a penis in order to be who I want to be? I like my body. I like what I've got. Why the hell should I feel like a stranger in a body that I am perfectly happy with? Because of the gender binary.

The gender binary tells us that you are either one thing or another and whichever side you ascribe to has certain expectations and limitations. If you are male, you don't wear a dress, you don't paint your nails, you don't shave your legs, and you have a certain name that announces that you are male. If you are female, you shave your legs, you wear make-up, you wear a dress to be formal, and you, too, have a name that announces what is swinging (or not) between your legs.

Yes, yes, I know, things have gotten more lenient as the times go by. But we are still stuck in this "check one of two boxes" system of oppression and bullshit. Why shouldn't someone with a penis be able to wear a dress and high heels and not be called a "drag queen" or "fairy" or "faggot?" Why can't he just be himself and who gives a fuck who or how he fucks?

By society's standards, I act like a man. Therefore, I must not have breasts and have a penis. SURPRISE. This could not be further from the truth, and maybe I'm okay with that.

Clearly, I am not discrediting transgendered people who undergo surgery. Whatever you need to do to feel confident in your own skin, you do it. But I just wonder how much of it is societal pressure? How many people who have dished out $15,000+ on sexual reassignment surgery just because the rest of the world decided that their body didn't fit who they were on the inside.

How many people would not have had to do that if we didn't still ascribe to the ideals of a dual-gender only system? If it was socially acceptable for someone with a penis to be sensitive, giggly, and wear pink. If it was socially acceptable for someone with a vagina to be hairy, never wear a dress, and be expected to pick up heavy objects.

Society was --and still is-- telling me that in order to be me, I need to inject hormones and have my breasts surgically removed. It's something that I'm still struggling with. Every day, I flip flop back and forth. Sometimes, I'm a confident anti-binary tyrant. Other times, I'm minutes away from making appointments to start hormone therapy.

It feels like things would be so much easier. I wouldn't have to deal with half the shit I get if my outside matched my inside. My unshaven legs would not be the talk of my old high school when I come home from college. My "dykey" haircut would no longer be just that--"dykey." I would not be expected to do or say half or most of the things that I am expected to because of my body parts.

I know, I know, fight it, man, just give 'em the ol' "Fuck You!" and don't conform! But it's not that easy. Not when I'm surrounded by all these images of attractive guys, scruffy guys with solid jawlines and broad shoulders, and I'm told that THIS is a real man.

I don't even know what the flying fuck a "real" man is on the inside, anyway. Does he drink beer, fart a lot, and beat his girlfriend? Does he hold open doors and lay his jacket over puddles for ladies to step over? What about someone who acts like a "real man" but doesn't have a penis? "Oh, shit," says the Binary. "We didn't think of that, did we?"

If there was no binary, would I be so fucking distraught?

I am not a woman. I am not a man. I am a human with certain organs that do not define what I do or who I am.

Fuck gender.

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