Gender and fancy dress

Posted: October 9, 2010 in Bodies, Gender, Personal, Sex & Sexuality
Tags: , ,

Dysphoria strikes big-time. There’s a fancy-dress party this weekend… and I’m going as someone who looked much as I would probably look had I been born with different genitalia. (that is, still non-gender-normative but coming from the other direction.) That means all the big guns in the ‘pass as ‘other’ sex’ artillery are coming out – the makeup, the padding, the disguising and minimising. (and yes, this is a description of what I’m doing and no, it doesn’t give any clues about my assigned gender. I’m not comfortable with it being known.) Before I can dress as this person, I have to be passable as the ‘other’ sex, and about 70% of my efforts will be towards the passing aim. (I use the ‘other’ sex in inverted commas because there aren’t only two sexes and I feel that the idea of sex is socially-constructed anyway.)

And I just wish I could look like this all the time. (Minus the frightening hairstyle…) I don’t think about gender much when I’m getting dressed, it’s true, but I sort-of do when buying clothes. I know that whatever genitalia I’d been saddled with I would still have been agender, but having been socialised into one gender I tend to react against that one. I have much worse reactions when I’m immediately taken for my assigned gender than when I’m taken for the other half of the binary, even though they’re both as wrong as each other.

I’m trying to get over that hangup, but the problem is that if I wear something hugely gendered as my assigned gender even once, people will start doubting me. No matter how many ‘other’ gendered cues I have at the same time, even if I have ‘other’ sexed cues, one gendered cue from my assigned gender overrides them all to the people who know me. Today’s a let-out, everyone knows it’s fancy dress and who I’m going as, but as for the rest of the time…

  1. nogendernovoice says:

    I have this exact issue; I cant even add to it, you’ve said it all.

    How did the party go for you?

    • JKBC says:

      It went all right… on the whole it was fun, there was a regrettable incident of being erased that I’m still considering whether to blog about (probably will, eventually; basically my best friend decided it was ‘easier’ to introduce me as a wrong gender because I looked so like the ‘opposite’ one… sigh)

      It’s wonderful to hear from people in pretty much the same place as me, so thank you. (sometimes I wonder if I’m the only one…)

      • nogendernovoice says:

        Its good to hear from you also – you are definitely not the only one that feels the way you do. Glad to hear the party was fun, overall.

  2. Pieface says:

    Wait- a regrettable incident? What happened? 😦

    • JKBC says:

      Ask me IRL if you want more detail than I gave nogendernovoice. There’s not really much more to say… I was going to post about it but then I decided against it.

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