from “My Words to Victor Fraknenstein From Above the Village of Chamounix: Performing Transgender Rage”
I’m cis, but feel similarly a lot regarding gender.
When I think that I don’t fit in the scenes I identify with, I am spurred to shave my head, work out more, and try to become mainstream ciswhitegay. I feel like I can’t, though, I’m neither masculine nor feminine nor androgynous, I use he/him/his (actually I usually express a negative preference— anything but she/her/hers). I just try to not embody the engrained aspects of gender that we take for granted.
So when I feel like I’ve put all this energy into being into leather, for example, and being a powerful communicator and lover…sometimes when I am rejected for not being straightforward masculine, not growing body hair, not being muscular, I feel like I should forsake that part of me and just…shave my head, hit the gym, lower my voice, dumb myself down.
I don’t though. I am still trying to remember that my gender identity is mine, not anyone else’s. I am starting to take pride in the fact that people are consistently assuming I am masculine or feminine, and then surprised when they don’t really think I fit into either. When people read that as failing, though, I long to aquiesce. But to do so would be to kill part of myself I love.
You don’t actually have to post this. I’m just using it because I couldn’t fit what I wanted to write in any other form. If you do post it I might get really sheepish because I’m a cis person talking about gender feels and that always makes me feel like I should shut up and listen more =[
publishing this because of reasons. cis people have gender feels too. gendered oppressions, limitations, and assumptions affect everyone.
is it still dysphoria if you feel compelled to revert?
like. i’m just kind of like “OMG NO ONE WILL FIND ME ATTRACTIVE. NO ONE WILL UNDERSTAND OR RESPECT ME FOR HOW I SEE MYSELF. THIS IS ALL VERY HARD AND DIFFICULT AND TAKES A LOT OF EFFORT. IDK HOW TO GENDER. LET’S MAKE IT EASY AND GO BACK TO BEING A CIS WHITE GAY MAN. I CAN HAVE IT HELLA EASIER. I’LL JUST ASK LIKE I DON’T HATE MY NAME AND THAT SOMETIMES BEING CALLED HE IS TOTALLY OKAY. AND THAT EYELINER MAKES ME GAY NOT JUST A DIFFERENT/WEIRD GENDER.”
and then i get weird urges to shave my whole head. and to work out and gain like 50 pounds of muscle. and start telling myself it’s all in my head (As if what’s in my head doesn’t matter).
is this anyone else’s gender feels?
because ever since starting to think about this whole trans* thing or really just questioning my gender in general (as opposed to be the colonizing cissie and questioning gender in general and the genders of others)
i’ve NEVER felt comfortable using either term cis or trans. and it isn’t because i think the terms don’t have weight or power or potential. but because i am not static. because i do move. but because that movement is sporadic. and contextual. and i know that that sounds like gender fluidity, sure. and that term appeals to me. but i don’t understand why we have to incorporate an opposite of trans.
i know that delineating between those who are trans and those who aren’t is helpful and necessary for creating safe spaces for trans* folks to have discussions. and i have stopped speaking as a cis person entirely because i’m not. yet i don’t feel comfortable speaking as trans* either.
my gender and the privilege that i have to explore is in many many ways shaped by my class, my race (and privilege thereof), my positionality and location, and my onscious decision to resist most terminologyto name is to limit and that is unavoidable. the limits aren’t always bad and often do more harm than good.
but i want us to start understanding folks as in progress. constantly. there is no end goal for anyone that we’re all shooting toward. rather than thinking chronologically as in “i was cis, ow ’m trans” I want us to think about the whole picture of a person. including the unkwown future of those people. myself included.
i don’t know what the fuck i’m going to be like in 5 minutes much less 5 years. and that’s okay. right? that’s okay.
and i don’t really feel the need to produce A WORD about that rather than a collection of them.
i’m also tired of conversations about authenticity. who has the “right” to this gender identity and who doesn’t. i can recognize there are lots of times where things are appropriative and fucked up. but they’re fucked up because the impulse to name non-normative things is omnipresent. if something doesn’t fit neatly into our ideas of gender, or race, or what a body is and should be able to do, then we start to name it. and there’s power in organizing around not fitting into that.
UGH. i’m just at such a weird place with all of this.
i could go all gung-ho on terminology and call myself a genderfluid, genderqueer faggot who goes from butch to femme in two seconds flat AND MY PRESENTATION DOES NOT EXPRESS MY CORE BEING OR IDENTITY.
but that doesn’t mean i’m not reinforcing the idea that we should define ourselves by what we AREN’T rather than by what we ARE or COULD BECOME OR MIGHT DESIRE TO BE.
ugh. irdk. i’m flipping shit in my head. hence the pause in tarot readings (sorry).
this is just my gender feelings at the moment. and it’s pretty fucking complicated.
2) How did you grow up with your gender?
Okay so I’m gonna put a trigger warning on this and put it under a cut.
[TRIGGER WARNING: DEPICTION OF VIOLENCE]
1) do you use any other terms to describe your gender?
I tend to use faggot to describe my gender. I mean in a lot of situations I’m gonna be read as male but I’m never read as just male; I’m usually read as queer and male either simultaneously or with the queer part first. And I’m pretty fucking faggy and queeny.
I also use butch queen because honey that’s what I AM. I also like cunt boy, but to me (i have no idea why) boy is kind of a sexual or flirtatious term? which HEYYYYYYYYYY that’s alright sometimes but that depends on who you ARE okay? but a bitch is cunt and they KNOW it. jsyk.
And I like the term genderfluid, but this one’s getting tailored and altered a bit to see if it fits me because I feel more like a solid in that my gender vibrates around certain fixed points rather than my gendered molecules flapping about all willy-nilly in whatever container they’re in.
^god that’s a brilliant metaphor. please. steal that.
god even my personality is fluid…look at me going from angry ass queer to queeny bitch to nerdy ass fag in three short paragraphs. GET INTO IT.
was asking how he should refer to me since i don’t like things like “dude” or “man” or “bro” and the like
but he also doesn’t feel comfortable calling me like grrrl or bitch and femmey faggy things like that cause he’s a cis-het male
i’m really appreciative of his respect but i have NO IDEA what to do haha.
i have very ~*ambivalent*~ feelings about pronouns at the moment
so what we’ll do is this.
here’s sort of how i’ll prioritize them for the moment with the disclaimer that any of them are fine, i’m trying to make myself figure out which i prefer, and keep in mind that i won’t really get upset with any pronoun you use unless you are using them in such a way as to not just gender me but stick me into some hegemonic idea of gender (namely…PLEASE don’t call me dude, man, bro etc.)
I do not like to be referred to by female pronouns. Being called girl or gurl or grrrrrrl are fine, but please don’t refer to me as “a girl.” Further, male pronouns are okay, but do not refer to me as man, dude, bro, etc. However, you may call me “a boy” or a “guy” but not “a dude” or “a man.”
I don’t care whether it’s person or persyn or even if you just say “that queer.”
This is how I’m feeling about my gender at the moment. Please respect it. I don’t have words to describe this stuff yet but i’m starting with the basics in terms of how others view me and refer to me.
NOTE: THIS IS HOW I FEEL ON THE INTERNET. “IRL” I WILL PROBABLY PREFER MALE PRONOUNS UNTIL I FIGURE ALL OF THIS OUT. IT’S EASIER.
feel free to ignore this shit
but here we go
so basically this big abstract social structural thing we all talk about with reference to gender and sex and sexuality presumes some stuff:
Maybe that’s why they call you straight. Sex ==> Gender ==> Sexuality
So obviously this has a lot of issues for a lot of people and I’m one of them (though I am by no means attempting to posit that I’ve “got it the worst” or anything like that, merely speaking from my experiences).
So when I still liked the term gay for myself (or better yet when I still used, I didn’t really think critically about that part of my identity, I just sort of used it because it was there and I thought that I was supposed to fit the definition not find a word to express my own definition), I always noticed the way that people weren’t just gay, they were tops or bottoms or versatile. Forgive me for the unparallel structure, I just can’t think of how to turn versatile into a noun…
It’s something you declare, or confess if you prefer Foucaultian terms, about yourself. In social networking sites, dating sites, hook-up sites, gay communities, all that shit, the presumption is different. The presumption is that you’re gay and that the sex you want to have with people of the same gender identity as you (or it’s probably better to say the same “sex” but we’ll come back to this) is going to be penetrative. To spell it out…a dick will go in an orifice. Yes, in case you didn’t pick up on it yet, I am only talking about cis gay males. That’s what I was experiencing and the phenomenon I’m referencing pretty much only applies to this that I’m aware of.
So we’ve got our framework, now let’s dive into the analysis part.
Here’s why I dislike this model of a second kind of confession. You don’t just come out, you then confess your preference. And it isn’t in verb form as in “I prefer to top” but rather it is a state of being that you confess that implies a kind of fixity and stability. I am a top/bottom as opposed to just I top/bottom. Okay, with me? You’ve probably noticed this.
So the reason I dislike this is because to me it comes off as assimilationist. Yes, I’m using that word. Yes that is my ~*~*claim*~*~ and I’m bout to back it up with my personal logic/thoughts on it.
We’re still trying to make the lines straight when we use these words. We’re still trying to say that we have this sex that we’re not even going to bother thinking about, and we have this gender and we do identify with other men (I feel weird using we here, but for argument’s sake and since we’re talking about my past self-conception) but our sexuality doesn’t look right. Okay, I know what we’ll do, we just come up with words that define the way we have sex on the same phallocentric terms that straight folks use. One’s gotta be the girl, one’s gotta be the boy. But let’s not be blatant about it because we are gay but we’re still cis dudes so we gotta fight to keep that privilege when it’s convenient to use but act like we’re the oppressed among the oppressed when it helps us win arguments. So instead of “the boy” and “the girl” we’ll say top (coming from the idea that the way EVERYONE has sex is in something at least reminiscent of the missionary position in which the person being penetrated is underneath the person doing the penetrating), and bottom and it’ll basically mean the same thing.
So we are literally, kinisthetically describing a way in which our sex could look like straight sex. Why we do this, okay it could be for any number of reasons, ranging from wanting to be ~*~*accepted*~*~ to wanting to feel closer to our sex/gender (yes i’m conflating the two because deviation from that makes the lines crooked and we need those fuckers straight), or anything else you could think of. I don’t really know why and this isn’t about hypothesizing.
What this is about is pointing out that to me this language and this model for gay male sex and sexuality isn’t really all that imaginative. It’s taking what’s already there and calling it something different. Yes there are people who would say that they personally aren’t that different from straight folks and those same people may even tend to make blanket statements about gay folks in general being the same way. But there are a shit ton of us who talk about differences between queer folks (HA first time i’ve gotten to say queer) and straight folks and we don’t naturalize those differences but rather recognize those differences as socially constructed as well.
So to recap. Straight folks are straight because their sex and gender and sexuality go in a straight line based on some big abstract structured social model that says it has to be that way like this sex (male/female) ==> gender (man/woman) ==> sexuality (attraction to opposite). Cis gay males have this dominant model too, hereafter to be called “hegemonic homosexuality,” that basically tries to straighten out the kinks in wherever this goes wrong like this sex (male) ==> gender (top/bottom) ==> sexuality (attraction to opposite).
Okay kiddos that’s all the time we have for today in John’s corner of the world. Stay tuned and be ready for some more overly analytical thinking about sex in a world where I seem to fail my predestined journey from point A to insert rod b into slot c.