Ace While Agender, Always Caught in a Blender

March 20


There have been years I knew I wasn’t going to date anyone unless I felt like wearing the dresses in my closet. If the desire to wear them never came and my dresses remained untouched, I’d think, “welp, missed the boat again.”

Somehow the me that enjoys wearing the right dress or skirt is melded with the part of me that experiences romantic and sexual attraction. That me flirts and shimmies with a wink and laughter. That me occasionally wears lingerie instead of tight Adidas sports bras and sparks at teasing lovers.

That me hasn’t been around much in years.

For the past two and a half years, more of my time has been spent in a different state of being: agender. I always identify outside the gender binary of woman and man—dress-wearing me is also queer and nonbinary—but agender me feels distant from gender and attraction altogether. With a passport, I can get as close as looking through a window. I can see other people date, identify with “butch,” “femme,” girl, “boi,” and other names, and I can scroll through online dating profiles, but I usually feel removed from it all.

Agender’s not new for me. More of my time just seems to be spent this way now.

Two years ago, I composed a poem, Shapeshifter, about my gender changing with the seasons, as well as a poem called Tea Hour about the ignored dresses in my closet.  I was accustomed to wearing heavier, more gender-neutral clothing in fall and winter, and more “feminine” clothing like dresses and skirts in spring, but my dysphoria at wearing the latter articles of clothing was lasting much longer. I’d sometimes wonder if I should remove the chiffon, velvet, and soft cottons from their hangers, fold them carefully, and donate them. Maybe a part of me was gone.

While I’m agender, I feel somewhat blank and invisible. Asexual, aromantic, and incapable of attracting others.* Not attracting others isn’t a bad thing if I don’t experience crushes myself; I wouldn’t want anyone to experience any painful unrequited affection toward me.

But I do sometimes stress about feeling blank and invisible. I strain against the a’s of my gender and sexuality when they don’t seem completely natural. I want to experience attraction and know some part of me is capable regardless of my gender identity or expression. But in my gender fluidity between agender and a more feminine nonbinary, I get anxious someone will want to trap me in one. I worry someone I may fall for will only want one version of me and I’ll be stuck in clothes and behavior that don’t fit when the seasons switch. Or someone who could like me one way (dress-wearing me, even if I’m not wearing dresses), will never do so if I’m stuck in agender. I realize these anxieties may sound ridiculous. Perhaps they are.

Does this happen to anyone else? Does your sexuality (regularly) fluctuate with your gender? Do you worry about dating as a genderfluid person? Did yours change when you lived as a man, Les?


*What we take for our realities often aren’t so true. Sometimes it’s good to be reminded how limited our perceptions are, even if we don’t connect with what others tell us. Once, I told my coworker and friend at my university’s pride center that I felt invisible to others when it came to dating. I stated this as a matter of fact in passing, coupling it with my gender dysphoria and asexuality. He disrupted the conversation to wind things back and tell me that multiple people had approached him about me. I was just surprised. A confused block of ice.

6 thoughts on “Ace While Agender, Always Caught in a Blender

  1. I definitely relate to this! The stronger my libido gets, and especially when it’s more spontaneous (rather than responsive), the more I lean into boi mode, whereas when I’m not feeling sexual, I’m more agender. I don’t think either one causes the other, so much as they are manifestations of the same thing happening inside me.

    Liked by 1 person

    1. That’s really interesting to read—thanks for sharing! I’m unsure I understand the relationship between my libido and gender energy, but I think the two are connected in a way. Or perhaps it’s this—I’m more comfortable being intimate with someone when I’m happy and sassy with myself… and I’m more certain of a pleasant interaction with someone when I lean more “feminine.” I’ll have to work at describing this better. Using “feminine” to describe myself makes me extremely uncomfortable.

      Liked by 1 person

  2. Raye

    I’m not ace or agender, but since coming out as genderqueer I’ve noticed it’s much more difficult to experience sexual/romantic attraction to other people. I think I’ve always been demisexual to some degree but I also think this is a natural part of figuring out my identity as a trans/nonbinary person. I have to go inward and “date myself” for awhile. And I so relate to the worries of being trapped in one version of your expression, or that someone will only like one version of you. I worry about this a lot because it feels like there’s so much pressure in the queer community, across generations, to adhere to the “butch/femme” dating binary. In addition, I find my expression also flows with who I’m attracted to; I tend to feel more femme when I’m into a masculine-presenting/identified person and more butch with a femme person, and sometimes I like it and sometimes it starts to cross the line into feeling like I can only be that way or the person will only like me that way, especially if I meet them in that form (I too think of it as shapeshifting in a way).

    Liked by 1 person

    1. It’s affirming to know someone else experiences some gender fluidity in dating too. I’d be really interested to learn why else you think attraction has become more difficult since coming out as genderqueer. For me, I wonder if it’s because I’m stressing about that real or imagined butch/femme binary and where I fit into it as a nonbinary/genderqueer person also attracted to nonbinary/trans folks. This is something I’ve been struggling to write about for months.

      Also, Dating yourself is the best. I love taking myself on dates or just cracking myself up. It’s nice to be relatively comfortable with who you are before investing so much of yourself in others. I’m more likely to experience attraction to others when I’m attracted to myself.

      Liked by 1 person

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