Category Archives: Queerness

The shape of my gender

NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

ALSO NOTE: This article contains discussion of physical dysphoria.

In high school I studied the way boys moved and sat, particularly the way they crossed their legs with one ankle on top of the opposite knee. I enjoyed the shape of it, the geometric strength and openness of it, particularly when contrasted with the prim silhouette made by sitting the “girly” way. I trained myself to walk with a smooth step rather than a bounce. I wore loose pants and open button-ups over t-shirts. I wore bras and shaved my armpits and legs because That’s What Girls Did, but the only reason I ever practiced applying eyeliner was for the school plays.

I did not think of myself as transgender then. “Transgender” was the glossed-over tag at the end of GLBT; sexuality was a far hotter topic than gender identity even at my relatively liberal school. My vague definition of the word, at the time, mostly consisted of “drag queens.”

Family members, in the form of holiday and birthday cards, told me I was growing into a young woman. I would read those words and sense a wrongness, but when I asked myself whether I wanted to be a man instead, the answer was “Not really,” and I considered that the end of it.

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It’s not you, it’s the patriarchy

Photo by Thomaz Scalquo Cia (corpitho on sxc.hu).

NOTE: This is a transgender-related entry. If you are confused by any of the terms used here, check out Ronen’s Trans Glossary.

ALSO NOTE: This entry addresses points of biphobia and transphobia which some may find unsettling or triggering.

WARNING: YOU DON’T WANT TO CLICK THIS LINK. You especially don’t want to read the comments section. This is not reverse psychology. You really, really don’t want to. It is a train wreck. It is a pit of sharks. No matter who you are, you will walk away from it feeling ill.

In summary, for the strong of willpower who managed not to click: the link would have taken you to a post in the Oh No They Didn’t! Political community entitled “Where’s the politics in sex?” The original post was penned by a Huffington Post writer who is apparently (I had never heard of her before yesterday) notorious for transphobia and being generally Fail. The piece is about bisexuality in women, and here is one of the defining quotes:

I believe now, that if bisexual women had an ounce of sexual politics, they would stop sleeping with men.

To be honest, I didn’t read the complete article. I still haven’t. The above quote made me say “Oh, for fuck’s sake” (out loud) and move on. Then, when I came home later in the evening, the post’s comment count was over 400. It is now, as I type this, over 500 and still climbing. It is full of people discussing (often with great vitriol on both sides) the idea of ‘political lesbianism,’ i.e., the decision by women to exclusively date and sleep with women Because The Patriarchy.

And I did read most of those comments.

Now, here is my situation: I am an AFAB, bisexual (pansexual if you really want to get technical) trans individual who has been with the same (cis) man for more than six years. We are going to get married. Even though my identity is queer, this grants me a lot of straight privilege, especially since I haven’t yet begun any sort of legal or hormonal transition. We go out together, people (usually) see a straight couple, and thus we avoid harassment. We have the right to get married and receive both the social and legal benefits of that choice, and thus we avoid the legal persecution that acts upon most gay couples in America. I came into my queer identity while I was already dating him, and made the choice to keep on dating him, and thus continued to benefit from a system that persecutes others like me who happen to make a different choice. I know that the social pressure for AFAB people to date men, and only men, is the reason that up until the point I started dating him, I had never been with a woman. I am in no way unaware of these facts. I think about them, not every day or even every week, but often.

I have been tempted by, at times – I have experienced angst over – the idea that I should leave my cis male partner and go find a nice woman or queer person to settle down with. Because The Patriarchy.

Here’s the problem with that line of thinking: it’s fucked up.

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