My assigned gender FAILS me

Posted: September 7, 2010 in Gender, Personal, Relationships
Tags: , ,

Got slightly pissed off earlier – my friend was asked, out of my earshot, by some acquaintances of hers I don’t know whether I was a boy or a girl. No problem there, I like people wondering. The problem came in her answer. She told them my assigned gender. Now, while my assigned gender can’t be a secret while my birth name is still in usage, that doesn’t mean it’s okay for people who know my (lack of) gender, for the first person I told about my (lack of) gender, to misgender me to people who I will never be able to correct. How hard is it to say, that’s JKBC, I’m not very good at answering your question, I’ll introduce you and JKBC can answer your question? It’s been nasty enough introducing myself as my chosen name, catching my friends who still use my old name, correcting people they’ve told about me… I love my friends, don’t get me wrong. I just hate it when things like this happen.

Sometimes it destroys my faith in them. As far as I know, I’m the only non-cis person I know in the real world. I’m not good at getting support even from my closest friends, but I do need them to validate my identity occasionally, not to erase me and pretend I don’t exist. I understand, it’s hard to explain my (lack of) gender (I’m leaving sexuality completely out of this) to someone who knows nothing if you’re only a friend of mine and aren’t in my head. My (lack of) gender is not common, and it is hard to explain. But it’s easy just to point them in the direction of me. I don’t think I’m that intimidating… On the whole, I’m cool with answering questions. I believe that it isn’t the job of any marginalised group to educate others – but I will, on the whole, claim it as my job as regards myself and my identities.

I’m so sick of all this. Of people just erasing me ‘because it’s easier.’ Of the parent I told saying, ‘why are you getting worked up? I still love you, I just can’t think of you as anything but my [gendered term for offspring].’ Of having no-one to talk to. Of being the shoulder to cry on, but needing to explain the problem before I can get it in return. Of being misgendered every time I go out in public. Of the people I trust betraying my trust.

I’m not going to say anything else. The rest of it belongs in my private diary, not online.

  1. R. M. Graley says:

    Hello. I hope you don’t find me entirely pretentious for commenting here. I stumbled across your blog entirely on accident, but I’m so glad that I did. I’ve been sitting here reading for the past several hours now and so much of what you’ve poured into these posts reached out and yanked on all my emotions.

    There’s far too much for me that I could say in just one sitting as a response here, and it’s all tumbling around in my head too quickly to get out in any coherent form anyway; I did want to say a few things, though, that I /can/ manage to get out without blathering on like a complete idiot when we’re total strangers.

    I wish I could say I didn’t understand (even a little) about the problem with friends and family who insist (or masquerade as innocent or any other number of excuses and reasons) what they’re doing isn’t as painful or as cruel as it really is. I won’t pretend any situations or experiences I’ve been in or had are exactly as yours, or that I’m you, but I wanted to do a little of what I hear echoed in your posts: ‘you’re not entirely alone.’

    I once had a friend (a roommate who I no longer live with now) who, along with another handful of her friends, routinely ignored all requests, explanations, and even outright demands (when I would break down and let my frustration and temper get the better of me), to give me the dignity I deserve. Whenever confronted in any manner about it by me or my fiance, the topic/myself were always inevitably treated with comments like ‘well it’s just a phase and she’ll get over it’ or ‘yes, but she’s not /really/ a man,’ or any other number of like-minded remarks that always tore me down and made it that much more difficult to even face any of them, or feel close to them at all.

    There was irony and frustration inherent in all of this, as well, over the years, because they could accept a changed name from my birth-assigned one, a name which was quite obviously a male-gendered name, but they couldn’t accept me or who I was past what their eyes said?

    “So sick… Of being misgendered every time I go out in public. Of the people I trust betraying my trust.”

    So am I. I keep dreaming of a day where I can start breathing again.

    • JKBC says:

      Of course I don’t find you pretentious! I’m glad my writing has reached people. I do exactly the same when I find a blog that is interesting…

      I’m sorry all that happened to you. It hurts the most coming from the ones that are meant to be closest. Those words are really awful – who is anyone else to judge a person’s self but that person? I always find it hard to get why people think that’s okay.

      I keep dreaming of a day where I can start breathing again.

      Same. And sometimes it’s really hard to keep the dream alive.

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