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Pride Challenge: Day 19

Butch or Femme?

BS binary.

Personally, I identify as a tomboy femme – slightly femme of center, to the point where high femme/high butch and its accountremont is drag for me.  I occupy the middle and that’s fine by me.

To look at?  Suits.  Anyone in suits.  I love looking at folks in fancy dresses, but…mmmmm…suits.

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Pride Challenge: Day 18

Something about the LGBTQ community you don’t understand or have a question about.

Why the white, cisgender, gay men insist on hogging Pride events.  You had your turn in the spotlight, how about you let go of that, just a little, and let other queer community members step forward?

I know this is changing, but not quickly enough.

To a certain extent, I understand how this came to be.  For these folks, there was only one axis on which they weren’t in the position of privilege – sexual orientation.  These days, sexual orientation matters less if you have the other privileges – at least: race, gender alignment, and sex.  Your sexual orientation matters less to society as a whole if you are not politically active in regards to it, especially if you conform to gender expectations regarding expression and presentation.  These gay men got more power as the stigma around gayness decreased, so they ended up saying screw you to anyone who wasn’t them, and formed modern Pride celebrations in their image.

This is some of what activism has bought the queer community – the ability to fly under the radar if you don’t raise a fuss.  Which is bullshit.  Pride started out as a riot – making a fuss, making ourselves known, putting ourselves in people’s faces so that they can recognize that we are people who are as deserving of equality, de jure and de facto, as anyone else, even if we don’t/can’t conform.  Lacking that, why are we accepting flying under the radar as a second option?

Maybe we aren’t.  I think the trans* community has been slowly picking up the mantle that has been slipping from the fingers of the white, cisgender, gay men, and making it our own, sewing our own colors onto it.

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Gender Conversation

I had a lovely conversation with Moss while we were out on a date last night regarding gender, which as a fluid thing for me, can be a bit complicated to talk about, partially because it changes on each given day (roughly), our language lacks words to describe it some days, and some days I just don’t know.

He wanted to know more about my relationship with my gender and seemed to be in the place I often am – where do I start with the questions?

But the question that struck me was “why?”.  Probably because “why?” is always my favorite question and is, I’ve found in most cases, the hardest question to answer – possibly because it involves digging into motivations that aren’t always clear.  I love it because it digs in to what makes people tick, which has always been fascinating to me, both from a physiological and psychological perspective.

I digress.

I identify as non-binary trans because it fits right, like “queer” fits right.  I am bisexual and I am genderfluid – these identify facts about me.  Non-binary and queer, in a way, demonstrate my attitude about my identity: I don’t care what people think about them, I am who I am, and anyone who doesn’t like it, can just go hush themselves.  The trans part is difficult for me – I have just recently embraced that part of the non-binary thing – I don’t identify as the gender I was assigned at birth, that’s a basic definition of trans.  Sometime my gender does round or slide to one or the other – more often to female than male, by quite a long shot – but much more often it just hangs nebulously in the middle.  I also do occasionally experience bouts of gender dysphoria – more often when I am depressed and/or restricted in my presentation options.

But why?  I’ve never felt comfortable in boxes.  It took me a long time to learn to color within the lines.  I was a major tomboy growing up.  I was never the good hostess that my mother wanted me to be.  Grace has been a learned skill for me – it’s not an inherent thing, either physically or socially.  I spent most of my time growing up in the outdoors, wandering around, or in my room with a book.  Exploring comes naturally and easily to me, even if the unpredictability can occasionally set off my anxiety.  I am ok with being the weird kid who never quite fit in, but was close enough to normal that I was never shunned.

As an adult I learned to become comfortable with the more feminine aspects of my personality and style that I had rejected early on, for a number of reasons: 

  • Feminine clothing is not often designed for comfort or practicality (dresses with pockets are a major win for me – I wish I could afford more of them),
  • Foundation makes the patchy bits of my skin which are normally pretty unnoticeable super obvious (just don’t wear foundation, you can wear whatever makeup you like), 
  • Femininity is often read as weakness (I still struggle with this one), 
  • Long hair gets in my face and that drives me mad (so cut it)
  • Breasts get in the way – I did not like having them at all until midway through high school (having properly fitting bras and clothing that either accentuates or hides them based on my gender presentation feels is super helpful)
  • Femininity is often read as submissiveness (meeting strong, no-nonsense femmes has really helped with this)

So, here I am.  A genderfluid (non-binary) tomboy femme.  It fits comfortably enough to not be restrictive, but gives me a few labels that help me figure out my place in this world and in the queer community.

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Pride Challenge: Day 15

Your favorite LGBT quote

Image Source
This one really struck me the first time I saw it.  To me, identifying as queer is important because of the reclaimed aspect of the word – you used this word against the LGBTIA community for so long, now we’re taking it back.  There is power in our language and this quote really goes there for me.

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Pride Challenge: Day 9

What do you think about LGBT Pride? Is it helpful or hurtful? Encouraged or unnecessary?

I think it is fabulous.  The focus is in the process of changing though, to be more inclusive of everyone who isn’t a white cisgender gay man, and I like the direction that is heading.  Pride organizers need to remember though, that any sort of shaming of non-monosexual and non-binary people at Pride events is unacceptable – just because we don’t conform to your queer narrative does not mean that this is not our holiday too.  Please remember us in your events!  

Also, for the love of all that is holy and unholy – do not forget that Pride happens because of a group of non-white transwomen who had the gall to stand up to the establishment for their right to exist without harassment (and worse)!

I have been going to my local Pride parade for the last, I think, 7 or 8 years now.  Ever since I started going I haven’t missed one.  It is one of the few events where nothing else gets scheduled – that Sunday is sacred.  Last year was the first time I marched in the parade (loads of fun), with our local leather contingent (I’m adjacent to that scene, but it still didn’t feel quite right).  This year I’m going to be marching with our local bisexual women’s network (they are all gender/no gender inclusive), which feels a lot better to me – I do think I’m going to try to rep the non-binary angle for that.

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Pride Challenge: Day 8

What do you think the closet or being closeted means to you?

The closet was a safe place at one point in time, where I could be while I was still figuring out who I was and how that could fit in to my family as that person.  Fitting into society as a whole hasn’t really ever been a part of it – I’ve always been strange enough that I was never quite going to fit in to any social group or pass as a “normal” person for longer than about 6-8 hours at a time (and even that probably doesn’t hold up under much scrutiny).

I have tended to only come out of the closet when there was a compelling reason to do so, or I just couldn’t hold it to myself any longer.  However, coming out as a concept has become much more complicated for me over time – I prefer to be out, for sure, but the idea of the necesssity of making a big deal out of it has been starting to strike me as weird.  I mean, being bi, poly, non-binary – these are normal things and I should be able to talk about them in ordinary conversation without it being a big deal.  

They say coming out reduces the stigma around marginalized groups, but I think that it doesn’t have to be a big deal to do it.  Heck, think of a world where it isn’t a big deal for someone to off-handedly mention their same sex partner when talking about vacation plans (even when they’ve never talked about them before) or mention that they prefer they/them or xie/xir pronouns without someone picking on their grammar.  Imagine a world where this is a normal ordinary thing for people to do.  I like that world, so I do what I can to create that world, by trying to talk about my sexuality, gender identity, and relationship styles without implying that they should be anything but normal and ordinary.
Granted, as much as I like the idea of that world, I grew up in this one, where these things aren’t normal or ordinary.  So, sometimes having a foot in the closet is necessary to maintain economic security or safety.  And sometimes my ideals don’t match my situation and I am a hypocrite – I am slowly introducing my parents to the idea of non-cisgender gender identity, so I can talk about my situation comfortably eventually and know that they have the whole context in which to judge it.  I am sharing my experiences with my partners on Facebook and slowly widening what I am comfortable sharing about any of my relationships and the group of people I am comfortable sharing it with.  I am hoping that I can bypass coming out as an event to my extended family by just presenting my life as it is to my family on Facebook.

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Pride Challenge: Day 7

How your parents took it or how you think they might take it

Bi/Queer – Quite well.  I actually came out to them on National Coming Out Day, when they’d come up to where I was going to university for a visit.  We ended up splitting up at the bookstore after lunch, so I told them separately.  My mother said that she knew already and had for awhile (I don’t know how she knew if I hadn’t for very long).  My dad said ok, whatever makes you happy – his response to most things, really.  He has asked me a couple times if my bisexuality was still a “thing”.  Oddly enough, he hasn’t asked since I came out to them as poly and I introduced them to Lola.

Non-Binary – Haven’t done this one yet.  I did get the perfect opportunity in January to do a Trans 101 session with them at my father’s birthday dinner and was careful to use language that was inclusive of people outside the binary.  They were genuinely inquisitive and curious about the subject and gave me space to be the expert, which was really nice.  I think that there is more to talk about before I tell them for sure about being non-binary and I think even when I do, getting my preferred pronouns used will be an uphill battle.  But I’m not super worried for the time being – I am ok with being called she/her (except by people who know otherwise/who know that they/them are my preferred pronouns).  We’ll see when we get there, I guess.