Monday, April 24, 2017

Some Gender With Left Girl

I know this is meant to be a blog primarily dedicated to writing, but screw it. It's my blog and damn it, I'll talk about what I want to talk about.

Today, I want to talk about gender. 

I've been thinking about it a lot lately. I say "lately" and you probably think the last week or so, but in reality I've been thinking about my own gender for around a year now. 

A while back, I had a series of thoughts that led me to the conclusion that I am not cisgender. (I'm not going to go into Gender 101 in this post, but there's a lot of information on the Gender Wiki, which I link to below.) 

I won't go into too much detail, but suffice to say that I don't entirely know what "woman" is supposed to feel like but I don't think it really fits. I said to a friend the other day that "woman" feels like a shirt 18x too big and I feel swallowed by it. But I am also not masc-aligned in the slightest. I do not experience masculinity in any way and feel no affinity for labels under the transmasculine umbrella. I do experience the "feeling of gender" (whatever the fuck that means) most of the time. But I also occasionally do not experience gender at all -- but agender doesn't feel like a term that fits either. 

Around the tail-end of 2016, I was researching nonbinary labels -- at the time, I was trying out "femme" as a gender identity and while I liked it, it still felt kind of incorrect -- and I stumbled on demigirl. 

A quick definition from the Gender Wiki: 

Tumblr n176r6j6281r5b1yro1 500
demigirl (also called a demiwoman or a demifemale person) is a gender identity describing someone who partially, but not wholly, identifies as a woman, girl or otherwise feminine, whatever their assigned gender at birth. They may or may not identify as another gender in addition to feeling partially a girl or woman.
Demigirl can be used to describe someone assigned female at birth who feels barely connected or disconnected to that identification, but does not experience a significant enough dissociation to create real physical discomfort or dysphoria. Demigirl can also describe someone assigned male at birth who is transfeminine but not wholly binary-identified, so that they feel more strongly associated with "female" than "male," socially or physically, but not strongly enough to want to identify as as a woman.
Demigirls may also identify as demigendernon-binary and/or transgender and can be any age. Demigirl come from "demi" meaning half in french. The male contrapart is demiguy.

I really grokked to this and it felt right. It felt good to finally have a word that made me feel like me. And most of the time, I generally do feel like a girl. But every so often, I experience this swing into something else and I don't have a word for it but having a word that encompasses my fluctuating state is amazing and so, so, so validating.

Now, despite identifying as a non-binary gender, I don't currently identify as transgender. By definition, if you do not identify with the gender you were assigned at birth, you are trans.

That said, for me personally (and your mileage may vary) I feel uncomfortable calling myself trans. For a number of reasons, but most notably because nothing about how I live my life has changed with discovering a term for my gender.

My pronouns are still primarily she/her (though I am absolutely fine with they/them) and my gender presentation is still very much femme-leaning. I am an AFAB person who still identifies as femme-aligned 83% of the time.

And as much as I love the term "conditional privilege," I don't feel as though it applies to me on this. Because I present exactly the same as I did when identifying as cisgender and no one would know that I'm nonbinary without my explicit explanation, I do not experience transphobia. So I have a hard time with attaching that label to myself -- it feels very much like appropriating a level of oppression that I do not experience.

Now -- keep in mind that nonbinary is a gender experience under the transgender umbrella, and most NB folks I know also identify as trans, and that is 100% valid. This is simply my own experience and not indicative of anyone else's experience or opinions.

It's an issue that I admittedly go back and forth on for myself, believe me.

What about you guys? Do you also identify as nonbinary but not trans? If so, feel free to share in the comments or @ me on twitter! I'd love to know the thoughts of other nonbinary folks on this issue.

Til next time!