I’ve been thinking about analogies, metaphors etc for gender/s/non-gender/s, ways that I can describe how I know I am agender and that can be used to apply to people who have gender as well, and I’ve come up with an idea. It’s better when I’m saying it out loud because I use hand gestures, although it would be best on a drumkit.
So basically, I was assigned one of the binary genders. That, throughout my life, has been a bass drum coming from outside of my own head going bang-bang-bang-bang. However, if I was my assigned gender, I would have had a cymbal inside my head going crash-crash-crash-crash in time with the bass drum. Being agender, the cymbal isn’t there.
Perhaps the other binary gender assignation is bang–bang–bang–bang – the bass drum is being played at a different tempo. So that would mean that if you were assigned one and were the other, the two beats – cymbal and bass – would be out of sync with each other. And non-binary gender/s/non-gender/s would have different rhythms again. Genderfluid people’s cymbals would change tempo, or there might even be more than one tempo going at the same time. Some people might have different parts of the drumkit inside their head – some folks with very little gender might have just a metronome instead of a cymbal, for example.
However, you can’t consciously change the tempo of your cymbal, although some folks’ cymbals change naturally – mirroring the fact that we can’t change our gender/s/non-gender/s. The bass drum can change its pace if society recognises us for who we are and accommodates us.
This metaphor would also encompass why cis folks can often claim that they don’t believe in gender and don’t have an innate gender. The cymbal crashes from inside have been drowned out by the bass drum of the birth assignation, and because the two sync up they can’t tell that they’ve got the cymbal there unless they think about it. But for non-cis folks, the discrepancy between the bass drum and the cymbal would make it painfully obvious that they were both there.