By Hollis Taylor
Now that I have gone through so many transformations and healings I feel like I am finding myself underneath of things. I noticed when I had time to express as a man, Izzy Ahee, I felt more balanced. I have recognized the need and made plans to go out as Izzy. Thank goodness for a Queen friend from Harrisburg, her name is Destiny. Since she is trans she totally gets my desire but often assumes I want to transition. I still don’t want to transition for a variety of reasons but I still want to be a man sometimes.
I noticed that I am going out more and more with my binder even to regular errands and so on. I find myself wanting to be mistaken for a man more and more. I recognize this imbalance, its a lot of how I felt before I started Drag in 2013. When I first embodied Izzy I fell in love with that expression of myself. I loved, adored, and celebrated drag with a passion. I loved being Izzy and loved my life as Izzy, even though it wasn’t full time. For sure it was refreshing for me to be treated as a man. People automatically used the male pronouns for me and assumed I was male. Until I let a female voice out or they realized I was a performer, then as a King it is assumed I am crossdressing. At a drag show its all about gender bending so its a safe place for me to genderbend.
Pronouns are interesting because we only really have binary pronouns. Without pronouns people have to repeat your name over and over again. Its awkward speech without pronouns and its awkward with pronouns. I started noticing that I was bothered by strangers using female pronouns all the time. I was refreshed when people have to look at me a couple of times to determine if I am female or if I am male. I found myself hurt that almost no one uses male pronouns with me. I almost never hear male pronouns. With my lovers I ask that they try to mix up my pronouns, although that’s hard for them. Even as Izzy they both struggle with using male pronouns. They don’t impose gender roles but for sure they struggle with using male pronouns. Maybe its their own struggle with understanding sexuality and gender….what lesbian loves men? I know that they try to balance the two with me but I realize our culture doesn’t support gender variance language.
I realize that our culture doesn’t have room for two spirted people, genderqueer, gender benders, gender variant, gender neutral, and gender fluid folks. It can be hard to change using pronouns and I know that I struggle at times myself. I want to correct people but I don’t and I know this doesn’t help anyone’s cause. I don’t know how our culture will find our way through this but for sure the binary can corner gender variant and transgender people in a way that feels isolating and trapped. It certainly feels lonely in our binary world, at least for this two-spirit person. At times I feel like no one understands but I know there are some of us that do. Many us struggle with this every day. I feel like as a genderqueer I don’t fit into either side of the binary and instead I don’t fit in except with other gender variant people.
At times a transgender person fills that gap but for sure with them I feel the pressures to transition, as if that will conclude my gender struggles. I am not convinced of that. I think my gender struggles are rather unique although I know there are others out there like me. I know that these silly little words like girl, boy, he, she, her, lady, maam, and so on seem to hold so much power over our psyche and over our souls. But who is the one that needs to change? US?
We were born this way…and I know trying to dismiss gender dysphoria is next to impossible. I believe in the spiritual perspective that TRANS people and GENDER Benders of all kinds are here to change the world. Native Americans regarded two-spirited people as deeply spiritual shamans although I would NEVER call myself a shaman. I might do shamistic work but in no way could I honestly wear that label. There are many cultures around the world that regard two-spirited, transgendered, and gender variant people as spiritually generated souls specifically brought into the world to change the world, minister people, and get in touch with deep spiritual embodiements. I do firmly believe this to be true, which might explain why Drag feels spiritual. At least when your behind stage and in the community it feels like we are all following some profound spiritual path. It’s intense and I have witnessed it among transpeople as well. But this spirituality is recognized by very few. First we need to get past the idea that sex and gender are different. But discussions about my gender experience is uncomfortable for most people. Even my lovers don’t get it, although they try to be sympathetic and sensitive. But even in the spiritual world Two-Spirited people are often still outcasts. Spirituality for me though is very personal so I rarely share it with anyone, maybe because I am two-spirited. In our culture though, functioning as a gender bender can prove to be very challenging.
I don’t think WE need to change, I think our culture needs to change. I think our social language needs to change. I think socialization is hard for many of us and we need to make big efforts to accept, understand, and love all people. I think WE need to stand up and insist on the eradication of the binary. How do we fight something so deeply ingrained that just the discussion confuses people. I can’t even converse about it, right now, which is why I am writing. Is it simply one person at a time? I ask for both pronouns but only get male as corrections. Do I correct strangers? Maybe I should start with those closest to me. I know they love and support me but how do I explain how stupid 3 & 4 letter words mean so much to me. How can I help those closest to me understand the complexities of being GenderQueer.
I am going to recognize that I question my choice to NOT transition at this time. I find myself wondering what it would be like to be on Testosterone and have larger muscles. Imagining I had facial hair I had to shave and take care of it. I imagine how it would feel to be treated as a man all the time and then something happens… my mind stops me and says “But then you will no longer be a woman.” This is what makes me Genderqueer, not transgender. Although I am a transman that is finishing transitioning to a more masculine expression of myself through weightloss and exercise. Speaking of exercise its time for me chop wood! Physical movement improves my ability to work through things like this when I am doing all I can to make it better. Next Saturday Izzy….we got a date! Maybe I need to find a way to ask for more “he” pronouns from those that love me most.
By Hollis Taylor