I'm a 26 year-old genderqueer boycreature from Vermont. This Tumblr is devoted to connecting with my trans peers worldwide and also sharing my experience from beyond/between the gender binary. This is an ode to embodiments of intentional androgyny, permanent liminality, genderf*ck, chaos magic, and the subversion of oft-uncontested heteronormativity. Stay tuned and watch me sing myself into being... :) In addition to gender-related stuff, there may occasionally be content relating to spirituality/the occult, gaming, ecology, sci-fi, psytrance and other magickal things.
Posts tagged transgender
internalwarf4re said: Can you tell me a little bit more about yourself? I am interested in this whole "genderqueer" thing
Hi! Sorry it’s taken me forever to answer this, I’ve been neglecting this blog a tad due to school. It’s an important question, and exploring/expressing my own particular brand of “genderqueer” is the reason I started this blog.
My blurb up there is a bit mysterious because I don’t use the word transgender or FTM to refer to myself, although categorically speaking that might be where I belong. I simply say I’m a “genderqueer boycreature”… But I was not born male (or to put it in more literal terms, I wasn’t assigned male at birth). I was born with what some would call, if they didn’t see the gestalt of my appearance, “girl parts”. :P
Genderqueer is a description that many people can claim, whether transgender or transsexual (don’t identify with the sex they were assigned at birth), cisgender (do identify with the sex they were assigned at birth) or by people who identify as third gender/neuter/eunuch/androgyne as well. Since it describes gender and not sexuality (per se) it is also used irrespective of one’s sexual orientation; there can be lesbians genderqueers, and straight genderqueers, although my experience is that people who identify with that term tend to refer to their sexuality with the umbrella term “queer”, which is a more vague and perhaps slightly more political (and profound) descriptor of sexuality…as it is actually more of a term describing one’s way of being and world-view (I use it to describe myself).
It hard to generalize with these things, but genderqueer basically indicates that someone doesn’t feel they can solely rely on the words “male” or “female” to describe their gender or who they are… although people certainly can and do identify as a genderqueer woman or a gendequeer man. Or they may just refer to themsevles as simply “genderqueer” without any other sort of gendered qualifier.
I identify as both genderqueer and transgender. The terms to me are interchangeable… at least in that they refer to the same phenomenon, namely that my configuration of gender identity (the way I think of myself in gendered terms) with my anatomy, behavior and presentation is not standard or the norm. I’ve felt “genderqueer” since I was a teenager, and Transgender is something I adopted more recently, in the last 2-3 years (I’m 26). I guess transgender is slightly more “clinical”, in that it refers to the fact that I have realized that my gender identity is closer to societal understandings and constructions of “male” rather than “female”. It also indicates to me that along with that I understand that it is possible with the aid of clothing, grooming habits, hormones or surgery to ease the feelings of dissonance that afflict transgender people (thus it also has involved the realization that I’m not alone). It took a while for me to come to that understanding, and once I realized I was transgender (and had always been), I considered that it would sort of replace what I’d been calling genderqueer, because maybe I just didn’t quite know what I was feeling and had just decided to call it that. But I’ve come around to continuing to embrace the term “genderqueer” even after arriving at the life-changing understanding that I was transgender.
I think this is because genderqueer to me helps to explain my non-binary identity, as well as my gender presentation (what some might call style) which is androgynous. Even though I’m transgender, I perceive myself as deviating from the norms for masculinity and maleness in our culture. While I don’t really feel like it’s correct to say I’m “more femme” or feminine than other transgender males, I do feel like I express my masculinity differently than them, but it doesn’t feel right to say that some people are more masculine than others, but rather than people interpret and perform masculinity and femininity differently. For some guys it really does make sense to say that they are not masculine, and are femme or feminine, but for me it makes more sense to just say I’m genderqueer. Essentially, even if I was not taking hormones or planning on having chest reconstruction (the latter is still a question mark for me) I would and will always be genderqueer — I’ll either be perceived as a very masculine woman or a very androgynous guy. So “gendequeer” is kind of my way of acknowledging that and making peace with it. :)
Honestly, sometimes I feel like my gender identity is best described just as “David Bowie” (lol) or by reference to various human-animal hybrids, or to the tattoo that’s etched across my chest in old-english style font that just says “Earthling”. :) But I know that you can’t put that sort of thing on a passport, hence the long tedious journey of attempting to figure out where I fit in, on, or outside of society’s gender binary system. Of course, many wise people will say that who cares about fitting in, and I would wholeheartedly agree with them. I would say to that, that I only care because that particular society wanted to put me in a box that I didn’t belong in (female), so I’d like to see if I can trick them into putting me into a different box (male), thus executing perhaps one of the greatest magic tricks known to manz. The latter box is a slightly better option than the former box, and a better platform from which to engage in gender-bending hijinks appropriate to how I feel: I can only be an androgynous guy if I’m a “guy” first. :D
The popular rhetoric of “becoming a man” or “becoming a woman”
I can’t explain coming out as transgender as the result of the desire to become a man, as FTM transgenderism is sometimes described as in “popular culture”. Becoming a man or desiring to be one assumes that one was not a man before. Thus I do not participate in that language to describe myself, or any other gender-variant people if I can help it.
Even though superficially it does appear that transsexuals (transgender people who use hormones and/or surgery for the purposes of altering sex characteristics) go through a change from one “state” or category to another, the irony is that this creates the possibility of very problematic readings into the motivations behind transition by cis and even other trans people. Essentially it is difficult for most people to not engage in a very “flat” reading of “transition” undergone by some transgender people.
The issue for me, arose when I realized (not simultaneously) that A) I was not seen as male by others and B) I had, despite this, always felt male or masculine in terms of gender.
However, once these realities were able to be reconciled with one another, a new reality was irrevocably realized: that of being able to identify as transgender, which was merely a further elucidation of an identity that had already recognized itself as genderqueer.
The tendency for others, during the course of my navigation of these issues, to describe me as “desiring to be male” need to be resisted and not internalized (be careful my fellow trans companer@s, because it is all too easy to unknowingly absorb the rhetoric of the oppressor — the one who names you). This rhetoric is simply false and does a huge disservice to all people, not just transgender people. Desiring to LOOK male and desiring to BE male are two very different things. It is important to point out that many people who are born male desire to look “more” male, testified to by the amount of advertising of fashion and grooming products to men, and in fact it is these people that form the majority of the consumer base whose desires for augmenting displays of masculinity and maleness are constructed and catered to. It is not surprise that transgender men also desire to participate in the cultural conversation of masculinity/femininity by looking “more male”. The metaphor of the continuum must be invoked here, instead a binary consisting of two opposing, non-overlapping ontological categories.
Put philosophically, it is not possible to desire “being”, since we are either alive or dead. However, it’s easy to forget that here in the good old USA, as this is a consumerist society where we are programmed with the idea that we can “be” whatever we want (which serves capitalism all too well, as “becoming” is associating with consuming in “more” and “better” ways, emulating the virtuous celebrities, which are like deranged saints)… BUT I reject the idea that that programming is a part of my gender or the processes necessitated by that identity. It is incredibly offensive to imply that transgender people are “enabled” somehow by neo-liberal/consumerist/capitalist society.
So please, forget the notion that transgender or transsexual people “want to be or become” a gender. They possess as full a humanity as anyone else.