Monthly Archives: June 2011

today i will totally do stuff (like come out)

my partner is just fucking plasmic.

he seems to really accept my gender (or absence thereof) and to understand that the gender binary is a social construct that doesn’t work for everybody.  we have casual confabulations about gender expression, gender identity, and trans issues.  my partner hasn’t called me his girlfriend in ages; he calls me his partner.  he tries with all his furry might to apply non-gendered pronouns to me.

my partner still snags on the pronoun thing.

when he tells me silly stories about us in the third person, he generally calls me “it”.  i guess he’s ok with calling me “it” when he’s being silly, but he won’t call me “it” when he’s being solemn.  i don’t mind being called “it”.  i think the word is so jarring that it makes it harder to use feminine pronouns by accident, if that makes any sense to you.

we’ve been experimenting with the “ze/zer” pronoun set with some success.  the trouble with it is that you have to over-enunciate the words in order to make them sound different than feminine pronouns.  mostly, though, “ze” is fabulous.  my partner is getting better about using my name or “ze” instead of feminine pronouns and i’m veryvery stoked that he’s as supportive as he is.

when my partner is chatting to someone other than me, however, he usually uses feminine pronouns.  like if someone says, “how’s mx. punk? is she still looking for work?”  it’s understandable that my partner might say, “she’s happy and awesome— except for the part about looking for work.”

it isn’t that my partner thinks of me as a female— i know that.  i know he respects my gender and i know he tries veryvery hard to avoid applying feminine pronouns to me.  it’s just that other people trick him into applying feminine pronouns to me.

still, that’s pretty good for a cis man who only knows one person of non-binary gender and who grew up believing that the gender binary had the last word in everything.  actually, that’s pretty good for ANYbody— i know a few queers who aren’t half as understanding as he is.  i know i’m lucky to have such a supportive partner.

i want more.  is that greedy?  i want my partner to suddenly stop with the feminine pronouns.  i want to be out as genderqueer.  not out as in telling people when it’s appropriate, but out as in being instantly recognized by strangers for what i am.  i want people to know what i mean when i come out to them as genderqueer.  sometimes, this closet is stifling.

i know this culture doesn’t really leave space for non-binary gender and i know that isn’t going to change anytime soon.  i totally accept that.  really, i do.

i think my discontent may be more about the times i haven’t come out when i could’ve and less about whether or not my partner occasionally calls me a girl or whether strangers assign me a binary gender.  i think i would feel less stifled if i tried harder to be heard/seen/felt.

i need to come out to more people.  i need to speak up for myself a little more often than i do.  sure, sometimes it just isn’t appropriate, but why haven’t i come out to my landlady?  she would be cool about it and she’s like family to me, so why haven’t i told her?  why haven’t i come out to any of my teachers?  why do i let so many people who might be down with my gender just see me as something i ain’t?

this has gotta change.  now.  today i will not stand by while people make erroneous assumptions about my gender.  today i will totally do stuff.

tomorrow, too.

update (june 26, 2011)

i came out to my landlady a few days ago— and she said, “i know, mx. punk”.  dude!  she said she didn’t know that i cared about pronouns, but that she’d already picked up on my otherness.  she didn’t think i was female!  she said so!  and now she’s calling me a person instead of calling me a girl!  holy flying caterpillars!

i’m too excited to even type properly hjdfhjdsf7bhfjfffd!!!!!!

update (two minutes later)

oh, yeah.  a flying caterpillar isn’t really that absurd.  i mean, if the caterpillar waits awhile it’ll grow up to be a butterfly.  fuck.  ok, so pretend i wrote, “holy flying porcupines” instead.  ok?  ok.

update (two seconds later)

porcupines don’t fly, right?  am i right?

the gender binary is NOT to be used as a broadsword! stop it!

as a non-binary trans person, i know what it’s like to be attacked by people wielding their belief in the gender binary like a broadsword.

for example, when i bind my chest and dress the way i always do, i’m allowed to open doors for myself.  when i wear a bra and otherwise dress the same way, i’m expected to wait for the nearest man to open the door for me.  this is ridiculous because my gender is the same no matter what clothes i’m wearing.

of course, when people attack me with their faith in this restrictive, binary system, i attempt to elucidate the matter.

when i try talk about my gender and how i live outside the gender binary, the people i’m talking to almost invariably have no idea what i’m talking about.  ideas like “gender binary”, “gender-neutral pronouns”, and “non-binary gender” are rejected as being too impossible to even consider.

i can’t seem to find language simple enough to satisfy some of these people!  sure, sometimes people look thoughtful and respectful, but others really do reject the rejection of the gender binary.

we need new words, but we might need new brains to think of them.

i drew you a picture! yay!

do you like it?  i like it.  the green cockney bastard is rad!  …no, i don’t really think the green cockney bastard is trans* or genderqueer.  he doesn’t have anything to with this blog— except that he’s awesome!

you’re welcome.

also, and even more importantly than the green cockney bastard, i want to acknowledge allie brosh of hyperbole and a half.  anyone who’s ever visited her hilarious and seriously awesome blog can probably tell that my drawings are inspired by her illustrious work.  allie brosh, awesomely, can actually draw.  i can’t, though; i’m just pretending.

huzzah for awesome!

my strange bathroom experience

today, while on a massive job-quest in the mall, i participated in a strange bathroom scene.  it did not involve eggplant, bondage, or cameras; i want to tell you about it anyway.

first, some background.  as a person of non-binary gender, i find public bathrooms to be pretty awkward.

sometimes, i get to choose between skirts and pants.  i love this because one of the bathrooms is clearly labeled with a symbol i immediately relate to: pants.  i may have rockin’ tits, but i’ve never worn a skirt— so i should use the “pants” bathroom, right?  i love pants!

other times, i get to choose between “women” and “men”.  i sooooooo do not love this.  i’m not a woman and i’m not a man, so what should i do?  should i occasionally bind my chest in public so i can use the men’s bathroom?  should i admit defeat and use the women’s bathroom because i have lovely, c-cup tits?  should i piss outside in the garden like a good kitty?

when i DO use the women’s bathroom, i feel as though i’ve admitted that my appearance renders me female.  i find it humiliating.  i keep my head down, my shoulders up, and i cringe quietly about my business.  i hate how the people who see me in there instantly believe that i belong in the women’s bathroom.  i hate knowing that they all assume i’m something i ain’t.

when i use the men’s bathroom, i don’t usually have any trouble as long as i keep to myself.  this is pretty bizarre, actually, because, as i mentioned before, i have unbound tits.  i also wear cat ears, 15.7 trillion colorful bracelets, and star stickers.  i suppose my men’s band shirts and punk jacket allow me to “pass” without close inspection.  that’s not to say that i’ve NEVER had trouble in the men’s bathroom— i have.  ohBOYohBOY, i have.  anyway, i lack the nerve to use the men’s bathroom very often at all.

on to today’s bathroom experience!

to start with, i have to piss.

then i have to choose between “men”, “women”, “handicapped” and “family”.  that’s not fair, people!  those labels are way too specific; they make me feel like non-binary people have been deliberately left out.  i’m sure it was an oversight, but i still feel a tad left out.

if my choices were pants, skirts, pants/skirts/wheelchair— that’d be cool because i could imagine that i might belong in the non-gendered bathroom.  but no, you have to go and label the bathrooms so clearly that i can’t pretend to belong in any of them.

there aren’t any families approaching, so i choose the family bathroom.  i go to the bathroom like any other human being.  i don’t do anything weird like masturbate or make a mess or take too long.  i just piss, flush, wash my hands— and then the door swings open.

i hadn’t locked the door; the latchable bathroom stall had lulled me into thinking that i didn’t really need to lock the door.  i mean, what if some kid had dumped juice on their hands and their desperate mother had wanted nothing more than to de-sticky the plump appendages of their juicy spawn?  i could shut the stall door behind me and still urinate in secrecy.  right?

so this young couple with two toddlers shove busily into the bathroom, all happy and tired about shopping.  then they notice me with my cat ears, spiky punk jacket, torn-up jeans, and obviously child-free state.  the parents are clearly not stoked to see a lone person hogging one of the two sinks in the family bathroom.  the mother gets this pinched, bitchy look on her mouth but she doesn’t say anything right away.

i attempt to wash and dry my hands with as much dignity and efficiency as i can muster.  the parents just stand there and look at me.

i keep drying my hands.  they keep looking at me.

forever.  seriously, it seems to take me forever to get most of the water off my hands.  i just want to get out— i sorta feel like i kinda have the right to be in this bathroom, but i feel like they’re squishing me with their eyes and i don’t wanna make a scene.

i’m done, anyway.  time for me to fuck off.  i open the door to leave, head still held high with enduring dignity—

“this bathroom is for FAMilies ONly.  Not just ANyone can use it.”  the woman emphasizes certain syllables in order to sound ever so slightly whiny and pushy.  she doesn’t even look at me when she says it— she just keeps washing her hands.

“well, i’m not male or female.  my gender is non-binary and i don’t belong in the women’s bathroom any more than i belong in here.”  my head is kinda swirly because, these days, i’m not used to confrontations, but my mouth actually seems to know what it’s doing.  “i’m not a woman, i’m not a man, i’m not handicapped, and i’m not a family.  i still have to choose a bathroom, though.  have a pretty splendid day, lady.”

i reopen the door and i stride through it, both shaken and proud—

“pervert.”

the woman calls me a pervert as though under her breath, just loudly enough for me to hear.  as though being transgender is a perversion.  i can’t be bothered to continue the confrontation with this petty woman, so i leave.

i keep pretending to just be proud of standing up for myself without being rude, but i’m pretty quivery.  it’s been years since anyone has called me names.

sure, i used to have to defend myself all the time, but people tend to treat me with more kindness and respect than they used to.  i don’t know why, maybe i attract a different kind of person now, but most people i meet are pretty awesome.

this little and squeaky part of me starts wondering if the woman is right.  most people think i look pretty female, so maybe i should just use the women’s bathroom.  it would mean an end to bathroom confrontations.

plus, people with giant strollers shouldn’t have to use the cramped women’s or men’s bathrooms.  that’s what the family bathrooms are for; people with bulky strollers and rambunctious kids.

the other part of me thinks i should keep using non-gendered bathrooms whenever i can, as long as there aren’t families or handicapped people waiting to use them.  this part of me thinks that using the women’s bathroom when i don’t have to would be a humiliating defeat.  that family in the mall had to wait for less than a minute.  actually, the mother didn’t have to wait to wash her hands until i was leaving— there were two sinks.

???  i need opinions on this, people.  what do you think about all this?

i know i’m going to continue to use non-gendered bathrooms whenever i can.  i know i’m also going to have the occasional bathroom confrontation and i’m probably going to continue to experience doubt.  when i have to piss, i’m just going to pick a bathroom and piss.  when all the choices are wrong, what else can i do?

but if there were a bathroom with a rainbow on it, i’d use it every time!