visibility

April 2

Les, after hours of thinking and writing, I posted the following on Facebook.

I wanted to write something on Transgender Day of Visibility on Friday but missed it. I’m posting now because I wanted to last year but wasn’t yet out to some of the people I really needed to be.

I wish I’d had the words for being neither a boy or girl as a kid. Because I never learned it was a thing, I didn’t know that I wasn’t a girl. I just knew that I was frustrated with the different options and rights for boys and girls, and felt an overwhelming urge to defy gender norms, and be myself. Sometimes I wish there’d been books, fiction and otherwise, featuring characters whose relationships with gender matched my own or otherwise ignited me. I read a lot of LGBT literature in middle school and high school, but didn’t linger on the few transgender characters I stumbled across, mostly because binary transitions (FTM or MTF) weren’t relevant to me. I still haven’t read a book or watched a movie with a character I truly identify with in terms of gender.

Can you imagine that?

With a personal history of vocal feminism (forever this) but also comfort with being called girl, sometimes I feel self-conscious about my past. I feel afraid that because I was comfortable being “girl-ed” in the past, people will disbelieve my nonbinary identity. But this is a fundamental truth: regardless of my education, I was just as nonbinary and genderqueer as my 5 year-old self twirling in dresses or pestering my mom for things to carry in my pockets as I was in 6th grade when people asked if I was a boy every week. Or, didn’t ask—just called me a boy, or wondered what I was in not-so-quiet whispers to their parents or friends in 8th grade.

I could tell you that at no point in my life have I been any less or more nonbinary than I am now, but honestly, there is a time seared into me: because of the ways it made me feel out of place in the world and my skin, the night I was crowned Homecoming queen in high school is the queerest and most transgender I have ever felt. Being queer and trans is never a problem, but feeling like there is no space for you to exist as you truly are is.

We get an inadequate education on gender and sexuality in schools and the media. The best education is everyday life but often it doesn’t feel like it’s easy or right or safe to ask questions or say to someone: neither girl or boy feels right to me, or sometimes my body doesn’t match how I feel on the inside, or I like my body but it makes people assume things about who I am that just aren’t true.

Or: I don’t see myself growing older in this society as it or I currently am.

And that last one is something we really need people feeling comfortable sharing. We need changes so that everyone, regardless of their gender, can live open and comfortably. We need a society with an emphasis on respect, inclusivity, and dignity. We need more conversations about the limitations of the gender binary system of man and woman, and the society that is structured around it. A binary system transgender people are reminded of daily on survey forms, in department stores, when we need to pee, join a soccer league, or are being Sir-ed or Ma’am’ed on the phone.

From a young age, we don’t get many discussion on the either or the neither or the both or the whattheheck of gender. It’s assumed that we are what was written on our birth certificates when we were born.

We aren’t given many safe spaces to ask and learn about gender and sexuality, regardless of what’s in our hearts or between our legs or who invites butterflies into our stomachs.

Because I grew up around families that didn’t match my own, and because I had parents who let me wear what I want, and let me chop off my hair even when they weren’t thrilled, I got to learn and grow and feel better about myself sooner than some. I got to like different things at different times and mostly not feel ashamed. Some shame, of course. That shouldn’t be an of course.

Because of some advances in education and policies, and sheer need to live authentically, more people are coming out as trans. Thanks to beautiful and brave humans like Laverne Cox and Parinya Charoenphol, there are are more openly famous transgender people. More, even, than when I was a kid. But we still have progress to make, everywhere.

There are about as many experiences with gender as there are people in the world. My trans, my nonbinary, is nobody else’s. One transgender identity isn’t representative of all, and I think that’s important to note. We need many representations of trans individuals in literature, film, and the public and private sector. We need people feeling safe, comfortable, and proud to be themselves without hiding or lying or avoiding the careers or people or sports they really want in their life. We need visibility and inclusivity as a habit and rule, not the exception.

Here’s to visibility.

from a distance

December 4

Les,

Somehow it’s been months since I wrote with regularity, and

I can’t give you a solid reason why. Perhaps

because coming o u t         [to my parents]

was a big focus of mine, and now that I started

I don’t know how to proceed. The stress

of the initial conversation has lifted, and I am left

with the regular, daily work, and the need

for further conversations. But sometimes,

it’s just nice to breathe, and hunker

I’m not done. The work is not

done. But I’m alive, and perhaps

that (continuing) is as how it should be.

Did I tell you a year ago I learned a favorite author has Lyme?

I know I did not tell you

a friend was diagnosed with Lyme.

They keep shining, Les,

and every day, I think we all try

to do the best

we can at the time.

trying for patience, compassion, understanding

October 25

Les,

While scribbling about zizi and gender neutral family titles last week, I also scribbled the following.

By asking others to honor my identities, I’m in a way asking them to come out to others by putting themselves in the types of uncomfortable conversations that result from one saying a person is neither a woman or man. It shakes some people’s realities—the teller’s, and the tellee’s. Although I don’t mean to, I’m asking others to help me feel more comfortable by using language that may discomfort others.

I don’t mean to cause discomfort. I just want to exist as I am, and have these basic truths be respected.

Zizi? Not a Girl, Not an Island: Finding Gender Neutral Words for Family

October 20

Les,

On National Coming Out Day last week, my sister texted me excitedly that her friend came out as genderqueer on Facebook, and that their friend’s new nephew will call them Zizi instead of aunt or uncle. My sister loved the name and wrote that perhaps I’d like to be Zizi Emily or something else one day! Zizi made her smile. I responded yeah, I could maybe be Zizi Em, Zizi Gritz, or just plain Zizi. Her texts gave me some much needed hope and joy.

None of us exists as a complete island in this world. We are connected through bridges, blood, households, offices, teams, and more. Although we are all individuals, we are also defined by who we are to others—who we love, bicker with, tease, and mourn. Our bonds with others and the roles we play in these relationships are integral parts of our identities.

One of the most difficult things about being nonbinary is how quieted I feel when thinking and talking about my family.

I don’t have words—not satisfying words substitutable for gendered ones—when talking about who I am to those I love. Sister and daughter, both important and strong words, make me unsteady.  I may have some attachment to sister, but I can’t place an asterix on it in conversation with a footnote explaining I’m not actually a girl. I don’t want to offer fuel to anybody’s misinterpretation of my gender. Niece and aunt just have no business being used for me, outside of Niece being one of my middle names.

I don’t feel I can ask anyone to restructure their thinking of gender for me, so I spend a lot of my time quiet. As someone who rushes across crosswalks so cars can turn sooner, how am I supposed to feel comfortable asking for spaces made for me in conversation? How can I ask people to accept new words and ways of thinking? New words forged and new fabric sewn, so I can talk about being a child to my parents, sibling to my brother and sister,  _____ to my aunts and uncles, and _____ (zizi?) to my sibling’s children? There are so many things I’d like to talk about sometimes but don’t, including how sometimes I daydream about someday chasing around my sister’s and brother’s future children, teaching them how to use the library and reading with them, and teaching them the names of trees and when different flowers blossom and bloom in spring.

Language is important. I exist and I’m someone to my parents, my siblings, and my aunts and my uncles, and I will be someone to my siblings’ possible future children, regardless of the letters that don’t exist in a dictionary for me. But not having words for who I am to others, and words reflecting the very important relationships between us, renders me invisible to myself and others in conversation sometimes.

My sister’s text touched me both because Zizi is a great possible idea for what my future nieces, nephews, and their possibly nonbinary sibling(s) can call me someday, and because the idea came from my sister. I was touched that my sister saw something she thought we could use, and came to me. It makes it so much easier to navigate the world as nonbinary when I’m not doing it alone. I really love my family, and family of friends, and I like being able to identify myself in relation to them, as do many folks who are trans and nonbinary.

None of us are islands. Not completely.

It’s true sibling is a gender neutral word, but how often does someone introduce you to another as their “sibling”? I’ve always thought it’s a rather strange word with the texture of room temperature wet canned dog food. I’m thankful this gender neutral word exists, but I’m not looking to get cozy with it on a regular basis.

 

lemonade, cayenne, and walking away

May 22

L,

I’ve lost my appetite again. Even when I think I want food, even when I have some, I struggle to finish even half of what’s before me. What I swallow is not enough to satisfy my hunger. Hunger I know I have, even if it doesn’t quite resonate.

One of my strengths is looking for the bright sides in my life (if not the broader world when I think about systems of oppression) and looking for the best in others. There’s a lot of beauty so that’s not difficult. But there’s a part of me that’s asking to be allowed to be express my hurt, too, when something is amiss. And also, what is not quite anger (or perhaps a small dose), but impatience and sass.

My main instincts are to be gentle, compassionate, and self-deprecating, but there is both cayenne and strawberries in the lemonade I’m sipping.

Perhaps someday the gentle me will smile and bow to the sassmaster me, and the sassmaster will laugh to those who need to hear it,

“Manners and all, I’m the baddest b you’ll never have again,” and walk away.

 


I didn’t need Lemonade when it was released, but I’ve listened to it nearly nonstop the past week. Thanks, Bey.

I don’t explicitly refer to gender or sexuality in this or some other pieces, Les, but that doesn’t mean they aren’t on my mind, or part of this. I don’t have energy for nouns on target today.

Tulips and Appreciation

April 10

Were you ever in love with the world, Les? So darn enamored you caught yourself from tripping? I find that just like with colors, I can’t pick a favorite season. I’m in love with the the spin of the earth on its axis and our trip around the sun. I’m in love with living in a place that experiences changes in light and warmth. So it goes, there’s something to love about every season. For a while this year, when pondering possible least favorites, I considered winter. But while in Yosemite, I saw the leaf- and star-shaped ice in puddles in the red earth floor below sequoias. Perfect replicas of leaves in ice, no leaf detritus in sight. And I remembered I lived in a world with wonders in every season. Every single day there’s something to celebrate.

Every year, spring swells my heart with the sight of tulips. I can’t explain how excited or peaceful I get. How I will stop wherever I am if I feel drawn to admiring a flower more fully. I can’t not acknowledge every patch or lone tulip around and admire the differences in shape, size, pattern, and color. The petal tips pointed like a swallow’s wings, the classic rounded ones, reminding themselves of the Netherlands.

I fall in love with the world every time I see a tulip. I just do.

Maybe because there are so many kinds and I haven’t seen all of them yet. Maybe because they complement each other. Maybe because the rains can knock their petals from them, and scatter the ground with wilting color. Maybe because their bulbs can grow soggy under ground and we’ll never know exactly what will rise. Maybe because every year they are a gift.

I was born into this world, in this place, in this age, and I don’t know how I feel about that sometimes, but oh god, these colors, Les. I’m so glad to live in a world with these tulips.

 

 

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3 Strikes and Someone Owes Me an Ice Cream Cone: How to Get Folks to Stop Misgendering

April 6

Dear Les,

Last week, a brilliant idea struck me. Okay, brilliant may not be the right adjective here, but I’m sticking with it. I thought of a way for people to pay attention to the ways they refer to me and stop misgendering. Being called girl, grrl, lady, woman or any other feminine noun just doesn’t do it for me, especially if someone knows better. Actually especially if I still need to share my preferences with someone, but let’s focus on the people who do know better.

If I share my nonbinary gender identity with someone, they should honor that by referring to me in gender neutral ways, both formally and informally.

I understand some individuals playfully address many people in their lives as “girl/gurl/grrl”, but it’s important to recognize not everyone may be comfortable being addressed in this manner. I’m not. Calling me a “grrl” after I’ve indicated I’m uncomfortable with girl nouns isn’t cute. If a person knows an AFAB individual doesn’t identify as female, they should reevaluate their wordplay. They can even ask that individual! The point is it’s not okay to ignore another person’s discomfort and pretend everything is okay and funny because “everyone” is girl.*

So what’s the idea?

If a person continues to misgender me (pronouns, nouns) after I share my preferences with them, I will playfully but firmly tell them that if they misgender me three more times they owe me ice cream, juice, or a slice of pizza. This is a somewhat fun and funny way of asking someone to pay closer attention to the way they address me. Rather than being aggressive, it says that I care about them and our relationship (enough to spend time getting ice cream, etc with them), and I care about my health. Of course, this is best used with friends and other folks you are on good, possibly fun terms with.

I first tried this with the person I went on a first date with a week and a half today. She thoughtfully asked my pronouns while we walked to a sushi restaurant; she had noticed I wrote “genderqueer” on my Tinder profile. We had a casual conversation about my gender then moved on to the next topic. After she accidentally misgendered me a couple of times (including “grrl” with that “everyone” explanation, but an apology), I told her if she did it three more times, she owed me ice cream. Four hours later, she slipped for the third time and I laughed and told her she owed me an ice cream. I already knew we’d go out again, so this wasn’t an uncomfortable request. On our third date, with me in a pizza mood, she delivered on her promise and bought me pizza.

She hasn’t misgendered me since.

Some limitations to this fun idea:

It’s not the best if you think someone will intentionally misgender you to get time with you. My date didn’t but she could have if she thought it was a way to ensure a second date. If you feel harassed by someone, don’t use this with them. Unless you feel safe/respected enough to assertively request something that doesn’t involve spending additional time with them, like a pack of gum. (“Tom, if you do that 3 more times, I’m going to have to ask you to buy me gum.”)

The point of this exercise is not to get people to buy you food or treats, but to remind them of your preferences and get them to be more conscious of their behavior.

So far it’s been great.

 

*Two months ago, I found myself looking down at the person I was with and thinking, “really?” when she called me “girl” during sex. I’m a pretty easygoing person and I wasn’t angry or sad, but I did feel unseen and not respected.

Alternate title for this piece:

Give Me My Gender or Give Me Pizza: How I’m Getting Folks to Honor My Identity

 

who are you doing this you for?

April 4

Hey Les,

International Transgender Day of Visibility was last week and I wish I could say that I came out to the rest of my oblivious peers on Facebook, but I didn’t. I’m out as nonbinary to many people in my life and have few qualms about making a statement about my gender on Facebook but haven’t. I haven’t had a conversation about my nonbinary identity with my parents yet, and out of respect for them, I’m waiting. I’ve posted genderqueer, beyond-the-binary content on my page, including my featured Boobed and Not-So-Dangerous post on Neutrois Nonsense, but I haven’t directly stated that I’m not a girl.

It’s a really kickass and affirming thing to be out to the world and not carry the daily weight of others’ false ideas of your gender, but I want to write about the opposite now: how it’s also okay and valid to not be out sometimes. There are some really good reasons people remain quiet about their identities.

There are many reasons folks remain quiet about their actual identities but I’ll focus on mine. To begin, here’s the question that inspired this post.

Who are you doing this you for?

I scribbled this question in my work notebook last month while thinking about the identities and titles we adopt and why, including the compromises we make with ourselves and others, whether they are necessary or not. While reading Gender Failure this fall, I was moved by something I’m pretty certain Canadian artist, musician, and performer Ivan Coyote wrote; while I haven’t been able to refind it in my book yet, I’m pretty sure I didn’t imagine it.* Ivan Coyote,who uses they/their pronouns, mentioned they go by “she/her” when working with young women in schools. Why? Because they want “girls” who may not actually fall within the binary as cis-girls to see who they could grow up to be. Or to show cis-girls that they could grow up to do nonconformative things too. That moved me, Les. The idea that we can adjust how we identify to lend a hand or hope to our younger selves is powerful.

Did I completely imagine that passage? Even if Ivan Coyote doesn’t identify as she/her to young women, I think it’s a lovely and bittersweet to edit our public presentation (title, not appearance) to ensure young people can find gender role models. I’m a pretty comfortably frank queer and genderqueer person (with some exceptions, as I share), but it took years to get here, Les. My younger self wouldn’t have imagined I was trans. My 12 year-old self couldn’t have guessed I’d end up here. Maybe if I’d known of more nonbinary and queer people, I would have seen more of a future for myself. But I wouldn’t have found it by looking for trans and nonbinary folks. I didn’t know what being nonbinary was.

A few weeks ago, I posted a piece that I tagged “lesbian” and for days afterwards I felt uncomfortable. I’m not actually a lesbian-identified individual. Those days are gone. I tagged the piece lesbian because the girl I was seeing in the poem identifies as one and I wanted to honor her identity and acknowledge that some lesbian-identified folks on this site might identify with some of the content. But tagging it that way made me feel a little sick for days afterwards. Like I was lying about who I am. Like I was pandering for likes when I’m actually just here to write to you and read other lovely humans’ writings.

I think it’s fine for some trans and nonbinary AFAB folks to hold onto their “lesbian” tags but I’m not sure if it’s right for me yet. I want to be able to offer a hand to my younger self, if she ever goes looking for help, but I’m unsure if I can bear the weight of “lesbian” right now, even for her. My muscles no longer hold that weight.

Who am I out to as queer?

As far as I know, most people in my life know I’m queer. Most passersby probably know I’m queer. My parents, siblings, extended family, coworkers, classmates, and employers know. If my dog understands romantic relationships, she probably knows. It’s not an issue. And if it was, I wouldn’t really care. I’m out to my family and I have their support (although coming out to my parents was initially rocky), and that’s all I care about. My core support network is solid. Nobody else gets to affect my sense of self. No one can make ya feel inferior without your consent, so says Eleanor Roosevelt, but we often give consent. I don’t anymore. Anyone’s possibly negative opinion of my sexuality means nothing to me these days; I don’t give anyone that power over my sense of self.

Is it harsh to say I don’t care what people think of me? I do for many other areas, but not this.

Who am I out to as genderqueer?

Most university coworkers, friends, and even some faculty

Most good friends (if not, it’s because we haven’t spoken in awhile)

FB friends who pay attention

siblings

As of last week, my current coworkers in the Contact Center; I shared in the blurb about me in the newsletter that I prefer gender-neutral nouns (person, friend, coworker, scamp, etc)

Who am I not out to and why?

As a nonbinary human, my parents. Anyone else, it’s probably because I’m not out to my parents. I try to restrain myself from running around yelling “I’m not a girl, please don’t ma’am, miss, or lady me!” As I mentioned, I’d like to post a statement about my gender on Facebook and request to be addressed in gender-neutral ways, but can’t just yet. My mom’s on Facebook and I haven’t told her or my dad. I don’t want her to feel shocked, hurt, and angry at finding out I’m queer from the Internet rather than a conversation. I know I’m playing with fire by maintaining this blog—my mom could probably find this one following a link to my poetry and photography blog from my Facebook.

This is my guilt: knowing I’ve invested so much time in gender exploration but haven’t shared key aspects of my identity, including/especially preferred ways of being addressed, with my parents.

But I think I also deserve to feel safe and comfortable.

Why not come out?

Sometimes it’s just not relevant to the conversation or matter at hand to share one’s sexuality or gender with another human. Who the heck cares what my gender/sexuality is while talking sports or the prison industrial complex? Unless somewhere in that conversation I feel I’m being mis-identified and feel safe enough to say something, I don’t see a reason.

Other reasons to not come out?

Safety. Sometimes having a roof over one’s head or food is more important that coming out. Not for everyone, but for some people. I don’t think my parents would kick me out for being nonbinary, but I’d feel much more comfortable having our conversation after obtaining my own place. I don’t want to feel dependent upon them for basic needs when I come out. If the conversation is difficult, it’d be more comfortable for everyone probably to be able to part ways then rejoin for further conversations after some dust settles. It’s difficult to advocate for yourself if you feel like you are going to lose something important—shelter, relationships, safety, etc.

There is strength in taking care of one’s self. There are multiple ways to practice self-care as a trans, nonbinary and/or queer person, and sometimes it involves waiting to come out, or not coming out at all.

I love and respect my parents and I don’t think my coming out will be disastrous, but I know it will be difficult, Les. It will take time before things smooth out and we all feel comfortable enough talking about gender and my own not-a-girl identity. I hope to come out soon. Hopefully within the next few months. And while I feel guilty for waiting to share such important information with my parents (perhaps I’m overestimating how difficult this conversation will be), I’m glad that I’m trying to take care of myself. I’m glad that I’m trying to prepare myself for our conversation.

Next year, I’ll post something on International Transgender Day of Visibility. I don’t plan on waiting until then to finish coming out.

*If I was mistaken about the Ivan Coyote thing, please correct me, Internet. Why/where did I get that idea?

what’s this for?

March 22

Sometimes I wonder what the purpose of this blog is, because I don’t think you get enough joy from me, Les. And while trying not to be like women shamed into smiling by catcalling strangers or familiar men who don’t get that they’re upholding a double standard by asking women to smile when they wouldn’t ask men the same, I do want to be more joyful here.

Lately I’ve been sharing more pieces containing feelings of confusion, anguish, shame, or other discomfort. I’ve shared letters about dating, polyamory, my dad’s health, sex, asexuality, nonbinary living, and I’ve definitely written many more letters to you I haven’t posted. Back in August, I told you I’d write you about gender and sexuality, and some angst comes with that territory, but I’ve been feeling extra exposed and anxious about my letters recently, and that’s no good. Maybe I’ve been too personal, maybe too negative, maybe too self-absorbed. Maybe all three and then some. Probably the latter.

Regardless, I don’t want to overshadow the other stuff—all of the joy, gratitude, and relief, I regularly feel.

Because while I regularly write about complicated topics and let some uncertainty or pain appear in my poetry, life is pretty darn good.

I think I need to make more of an effort to share those joys, even if they don’t seem to directly relate to topics of gender and sexuality. Laughter is important.

Yesterday morning, giggles bubbled out of me and my coworker T as we instant messaged each other from across the office. After expressing my intense need for a hike in Forest Park to her and another coworker (including an inexplicable urge to roll around in the dirt), she told me about seeing a woman smell cherry blossoms on her way out of a grocery store that morning. This woman raised her face towards the flowers, sniffed, then jolted back with an “oh!” T laughed both in the moment and in the retelling. Apparently, cherry blossoms smell bad. T warned me not to smell them, and so of course I promised I definitely would, today or tomorrow!  I have to know! As I still haven’t found a short enough tree, I’m venturing back out tonight to look for one. Someone’s gotta smell the cherry blossoms in the dark.

During my next call, which I answered choked with swallowed laughter, I found a lull in which to ask the customer, a (probably) middle-aged white woman, polite, but not friendly, if she had ever smelled cherry blossoms. I explained why I was asking, and shared why I’d been laughing as I answered the phone. She told me she hadn’t smelled cherry blossoms before either and now she had to as well! We laughed and wished each other good smellings at the end of the call. I asked her not to hold it against the bookstore if it didn’t go well.

My kind of customer service includes conversations like that.  Last Friday I let a caller talk for a few minutes about whale watching in Alaska because I REALLY want to see a whale and there weren’t any waiting callers. Apparently I need to bring my average call time down about a minute but I’m not cutting out that laughter.

Les, life is a mess and that’s not such a bad thing. Sometimes I question what this [life] is for, and but the little moments sustain me as much as anything. I’ll share more of those joys in the future.

I will continue to write you about gender and sexuality. Yes, I have anxiety about my gender, the gender binary, and sexuality, and I get self-conscious about sharing that anxiety on here, but I think that’s alright. Things aren’t tidy and perfect for me or anyone else. The messy is okay. I hope it’s okay with you that I want to keep writing.

Right now I’ve got to go find some cherry blossoms.

Ace While Agender, Always Caught in a Blender

March 20

Les,

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.