Friday, February 6, 2015

Genderalized Anxiety

To discuss, with as much or as little anonymity as you choose:
What is your gender?

An essay on that topic was assigned someone I know as homework. You don't have to write an essay, but I'm interested in your answer.

I have had several answers to that question that I could explain briefly or at length, but right now, I don't have one. That doesn't mean I don't have a gender, obviously; it just means that the words I used to use seem inadequate or inaccurate.

So, whatcha got?


bzzzzgrrrl said...

For those who are interested in more reading on the subject, this was really interesting to me.

Calvin Rey said...

About the tumblr link above: WOW. I was about to say, "You don't *obviously* have a gender. Some people are agender." However, now I will sit quietly for the next several weeks with my mind blown over how much I have to learn.

bzzzzgrrrl said...

Calvin Rey:
First: IknowRIGHT?
Second, though I am often sloppy with my use of "obviously," I didn't so much mean, "obviously, I have a gender" (though that link provided me with much food for thought). I meant, "The absence of an explanation does not necessarily equal the absence of a gender, obviously."

Anonymous said...

If the world can be split so binary into masculine and feminine, like ying and yang, then I am feminine.

I love the sacred feminine and the power of the feminine and I take comfort from shared sisterhood and from the ancestry of my maternal line.

It's not only spiritual for me but also physical. I identify with the mothers of our species -- mammals, so named because of our mammary glands.

I work in a masculine world and I am drawn to the masculine, though only because I think I am a powerful complement to it, not because I wish to possess it.

In the past, I've felt that my feminine power was discarded or ignored or dismissed because the masculine world often doesn't value what the feminine brings to the table -- and at those times I cursed God for making me a woman. But at the same time, I couldn't be a man. I feel female and drawn to be female down to my core.

(This is how I am able to support trans. I know the feeling of being female on the inside. I am also female on the outside. The feminine feeling is very powerful.)

The odd thing about all this is that it's not really sexuality. There's no sex in my gender identity.

I think feminine bodies are the most beautiful, curvy or slim, and I am drawn to the feminine body. It is so tender and beautiful. Male bodies don't interest me. Masculine qualities rev my engine! ...The bodies they are attached to? Not so much.

But it was easy for me to slot into societal expectations for me to marry a man because my particular masculine complement is my soul mate and best friend. I need to have 100% biological children because I, myself, was adopted and it's so complicated that I wanted my kids to not feel what I felt (out of place, unwanted, not fitting in.) And so I'm deeply satisfied by our male-female-child union.

I see the Creator God as genderless. When reading my holy book, I substitute "she" for "he" and it makes me feel comforted.

My female friends are crucial to my well-being and I will always feel more at-home surrounded by the feminine than the masculine. But I feel energized and enlivened by the masculine.

The crazy thing (for me) is that the masculine shows up in female bodies, I know it does, I sense it. And I'm highly drawn to that, too.

I read the post you linked to: "And that’s the real reason why cis people hate trans people so much. Because we egregiously fail at gender, and when you look at us you are reminded of the ways in which you fail gender too. We remind you of how far there is to fall and every gender performative act you perform is you striving not to fall."

Interesting. I don't feel this way, though I am cis. I think it's because I don't subscribe to the gender roles assigned to me. I work in a man's world but I feel the power of my own gender and --I BRING ALL OF ME WITH ME, EVEN MY GENDER-- to work.

Also, I ache for my husband, the father of my children. He contributed one cell to the process of creating the child, and I took it from there. I was the child's only source of food for six months -- mother's milk. It was sacred. It sounds hokey, but my husband would look longingly at mother and child, saying that it was a privilege to behold something so beautiful, and that if he couldn't experience this himself, at least he could watch.

My husband is very masculine - but he has a strong dose of The Feminine in him. There is no "better" or "most" to be described, just a privilege that I know I enjoy when my body and my gender align. To not have this would be devastating.


Anonymous said...

Also, just positing this theory, I wonder if cis people who live so-called normal lives get uncomfortable because they don't know how to describe the comfortable privilege they enjoy?

As in: I'm deeply satisfied as a feminine spirit in a female body, that was so lucky to have cemented a male-female union in time to produce a child. It's satisfying on a level that I didn't even know was possible.

(Not every mother feels this, I know. But I didn't expect it and it's delightful.)

And it is a gift. I didn't earn it. (That's privilege.) It feels wonderful and yet, it's a matter of luck and circumstance. (That's privilege.) I want to say it was a choice of mine, to take SOME credit, but it really wasn't even so much a choice as it was a lucky series of events, gifted.

But to admit this aloud? To men and women who may never feel such satisfaction? It feels cruel. I feel uncomfortable with my own privilege.

Privilege is a source of discomfort, which to someone who isn't self-aware, erupts into expressed hatred.

I think gender is done to us, in many ways, but that doesn't mean that we have to do it to others.

The desire to identify with a gender is put onto us by others, but some may be innate. We all want to belong, we all seek out identity.

As an adoptee (i know, not the same, not saying it is) with question-mark roots for so long, I felt deeply unsettled in who I was and in my place in the world.

This problem is outside gender, but I know this feeling of not being understood. People who aren't adopted JUST DON'T UNDERSTAND. They take for granted that their biological lineage is the same as their family of origin. And they think that adoptees should feel the same as they do ...non-adoptees have NO CLUE what it's like to not know a birth relative, but they think they do, they think adoptees should be happy with what they have, with what was given to them, and don't realize how amazingly awesome it is to know your biological relatives.

I strongly identify with the adoptee community, many of whom are described as angry. I'm angry! ...Angry that government bureaucrats get to know more about my genetic history than I get to know! A strangers is allowed to see an adoption record, but the child -- the individual -- is denied this right.

While I don't claim to know how a trans feels, I think I do understand this feeling of feeling so outside and the aggravation of having my own feelings and way of being, being put onto me.

Non-adoptees want to PUT ONTO ME their own discomfort. They know deep down they have something special and privileged, but it makes them uncomfortable -- I make them uncomfortable and they don't know why -- and so my voice and view is not wanted.

Sometimes, I think cis people are like that. They don't see their own privilege. *shrugs* ...Just musing aloud.

Sorry if I hijacked this at all!!


Belly Ballot said...

Nice post. thanks for the shared it with us. grey fabric

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