Being MisGendered is no fun! I am constantly provoking a “she” from most people with the occasional “he” when I am dressed as Izzy. A lot of times I appear androgyne, these days at least, so many people stumble over pronouns but most people use “she”. I have large breasts and they are hard to hide without a binder. Being gendered by one’s large breasts is often frustrating and uncomfortable. This usually leads me to Gender Dysphoria, which can easily lead me into depression and frustration with the world.
Since 2008 I have been writing about gender and my experience with it. I find that when writing about my experience it helps organize my thoughts therefore allowing me to be most authentic in my life. It also helps me work out how I am feeling about my interactions in the world including my emotional experience. Over the years I have concluded that I refuse to take the health risks with synthetic hormones and surgeries so that our culture will accept me as male. I am not convinced this would help me feel any better, hence why I identify as a GenderQueer Transman. I haven’t take synthetic hormones but I have lost over 100lbs naturally in order to present more androgyne and masculine. I embrace, welcome and encourage ideas that help us get away from a binary gendered world.
As a gender activist I have been working to speak up for myself as a GenderQueer. This is no easy task since most people assume I want to take synthetic hormones and be a “man”. This binary thinking is frustrating to me and I am looking for other ways to present in the world. So at some point early in meeting someone new I take the time to explain the difference between sex & gender as well as what I prefer. I try to end it on a good note so they don’t feel “corrected” and instead feel educated, empowered, and enlightened. After a soft education about gender expression and pronouns I explain what I prefer. Here’s my little “speech” in the most upbeat friendly tone I can summoned.
“So if you can understand that my gender expression is Androgyne you can understand why it might be uncomfortable for me to hear she or he all the time, leaving me to feel what we call ‘gender dysphoria’. I know you understand this and want to support me so a way to help me is to either use my name or gender neutral pronouns. ” Usually at this point I give examples, introduce new gender neutral pronouns, and explain how this is all just evolving. Then I always finish with “So if you accidentally she me now, that’s okay, but I would appreciate if you he’d me later.” Usually followed with a smile and a wink.
One of my biggest struggles is giving a set of pronouns for people to use that are easy to work into our spoken language. I have used they, them and their but many of my intellectual friends find this confusing because they feel its a plural pronoun. I often agree with them and explain how this is easier for some folks because learning a new word is just too much.
As I was exploring online I found a great resource and review about speaking the words just as much as their written useage. I am begining to experiment to see if this set of pronouns is easier to use in spoken language.
This is copied and pasted from THIS GENDER NEUTRAL PRONOUN BLOG
1. Ne/nem/nir/nirs/nemself (A link to a story written with these pronouns)
Ease of pronunciation: 4/5
Distinction from other pronouns: 4/5
Gender neutrality: 4.5/5
Although relatively obscure, this has become my favorite contender. It follows the formats of existing pronouns while staying more gender-neutral than any but Spivak – you could call it gender-balanced. “Ne” is n+(he or she), “nem” is n+her+him, “nir” isn+him+her. Because it has a different form for each declension, it doesn’t lean towards following male or female patterns – patterns made very obvious when you read works about obviously male characters with female-patterned pronoun forms. The letter “n” itself can stand for “neutral” – a property we are searching for. A reader may be uncertain how to pronounce “ne” at first glance, but pronunciation of the other forms is relatively obvious. One problem when reading aloud is that the “n” sometimes blends with words ending in “n” or “m,” but it didn’t occur as often and wasn’t as problematic as “zir” with words ending in an “s” or “z” sound (see entry #4).
I will be experimenting with friends and community to see if its easy to integrate. Since I have a community of people that are willing to try gender neutral pronouns I want to try it on and let you all know how it went. The communities I have been able to try gender neutral things on with have been my spiritual community and drag, both of them supporting the ideas. I feel like its just a matter of time until finally we have something other than a binary world!