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My identity: Gender

February 2, 2009

When I started this blog, I was in the middle of an identity crisis: “…in any given day I’ve gone through identifying as genderqueer to ftm to butch dyke.” Now, I’m pretty stable in my transmasculine identity.

So, how would I define my gender? I identify as a transboy/transman, or as a genderqueer guy, or as a genderqueer transguy. I no longer feel purely genderqueer, totally outside of the the male/female binary; I still reject the binary, but I identify with male pronouns, names and words (man, boy, guy; niño, muchacho, chico, varón, hombre).

However, I feel it’s important to add the word “trans” or “genderqueer” to those male words. I’ve been thinking about this for a while. At first, I wanted to differentiate myself from cisgender men because I wanted to have a totally different, self-constructed masculinity. Then I realized that there are all kinds of cis men: there is a hegemonic masculinity, but there are infinite others as well.

So the “trans” or “genderqueer” part of my identity is there to mark the consciousness of my gender. I am male-identified, but that’s a choice that I renew each and every day. It’s kind of like femme identity: a femme woman is a feminine woman, but she picked that femininity consciously, not because she was pressured by society. I’ll have to be careful not to fall into certain default patterns of behaviour “just because that’s what men do.”

4 Comments leave one →
  1. February 5, 2009 1:00 pm

    genderkid, clearly you are thoughtful, intelligent and insightful. I was especially drawn to the last paragraph. It hit a nerve with me. I am a femme lesbian who came out in 1974, during The Flannel Shirt and Hiking Boots Regime (for dykes).

    As a teen, in order to keep my Dyke Membership Card, I thought my only choice was to be different *exactly like everyone else*.

    That didn’t last long. And yes, I got kicked out of the club for “buying into the Patriarchal Misogynistic Society”. So much fear on both sides, queer or straight. It sounds to me as if that is what you are experiencing now.

    Ironically (echoing come fundamentalist homophobic preachers) I was born who I was born, but circumstances forced me to consciously choose to act on who I was within the bounds of my own society. I appreciate your clear understanding that we do have to make some hard choices after looking in the mirror…in order not to buckle to pressure form *either* society. LGBTA society is much more accommodating to all kinds of dykedom than it used to be, but I am hearing it is *not* accommodating to who you are, and it makes me very sad and angry.
    Best
    Jane

  2. genderkid permalink*
    February 5, 2009 1:14 pm

    Hi Jane,

    Thanks for sharing your story. I draw a lot of strength from femmes’ gender histories; knowing how you girls had to face accusations of betrayal empowers me to choose any gender I like, regardless of how it may be interpreted by others.

    Actually, I haven’t faced too much pressure from the LGBT or straight communities yet (except for the usual homo/transphobia). Mostly I had to deal with an inner sense of guilt for buying into heteronormativity. But I got over that =)

    Regards,
    genderkid

  3. February 6, 2009 10:36 pm

    I relieved to hear the LGBT communities have been generally accepting. I completely understood your comment that basically “everything is pretty ok except for the *usual* homo/transphobia.” Oh that…the usual, we can handle that. No problem. Just the usual, every day homo/transphobia. *sigh* Though, things are definitely better, at least in the big cities on either coast.

    Glad you’re here. Glad you’re posting. Brave.
    Best
    Jane

  4. genderkid permalink*
    February 7, 2009 1:08 pm

    Yeah, it felt weird to write “the usual homo/transphobia”; but it would be worse to feel discrimination from within the LGBT world on top of the straight/cisgender world’s discrimination.

    Off-topic: my spell check underlines “cisgender” and recommends that I replace it with “genderless”. Strange suggestion!

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