Questions, journeys

Posted: November 21, 2010 in Bodies, Damned binaries, Gender, Personal
Tags: ,

Last time I talked about The Question (are you a boy/man or girl/woman?), it was to express my sorrow at those who asked it, couldn’t take ‘neither’ for an answer and decided to have a good peer at my groin to get at the truth. This time, it’s a bit more positive.

I really and truly don’t mind people asking me. (bear in mind, I speak only for myself, and others may have other views.) It’s what comes after that I dread. The responses come in two categories; ‘that’s impossible, do you have a dick or a cunt/FUCKING T****Y!’ or ‘that’s really… unusual, tell me more.’ The first is, rather obviously, horrible and tends to result in me unleashing the full ice-bucket of stone-cold verbal outrage on them. The second is the response that in my rational mind, I want (what I really want is ‘Oh, right. Your jacket’s awesome!’ or something of that ilk).

This society is one in which there is no consideration for those of us who do not fit into the categories of ‘man’ and ‘woman’, still less for those who have no gender at all. As such, while it isn’t ideal that people can’t accept that they can’t tell and don’t need to, I would rather someone asks me rather than makes up their own mind and then sticks with it.

Many people ask me. Teenagers and adults I’m more wary around – I tell the truth to whoever asks, but I make sure I’ve got an escape route – because they’ve generally formed their opinions and prejudices already. Young teenagers and older children are possibly the worst, because they tend to be less bound by considerations of politeness than older people but have generally formed most of their prejudices. Children, though – I always hope that my words will set the cogs of acceptance and understanding turning. Even when they have bad reactions at the time, I think that maybe someday when they come across someone else a bit like me, or when they read something about folks like me, what I say will come back to them and they’ll think, ‘yeah, ze was human enough – maybe those folks aren’t freaks.’

I often wish that someone had said something like that to me, although I was never the calling-out-to-strangers-on-the-street type. It would probably have made my journey here that much easier; maybe it would have saved me one of the phases of gender conformity that made me so miserable. Maybe, merely by existing openly, I can make the journey easier for others – those who ask, and those who know the ones who ask.


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