Thursday, April 25, 2013

Neither, Am I

I used to write about my gender mostly on Tumblr. It felt like the safest place, since this blog was known to so many people who know me in “real life”. Over the last couple years, though, the tables have turned. Now it seems people who know me are the safest and strangers on the internet are the ones who judge me harshly.

I have never received any hate for being trans from people who weren’t trans themselves. I’ve been misgendered, sure. People have slipped on name and pronouns. They’ve given me curious looks. But the only people who have outright hated me are trans men who decided I couldn’t be trans if I wasn’t exactly like them. “You’re not a real man”, they say, “so you must be a woman.” The word “woman” is invariably said in a sneering manner, as if woman is the worst thing a person could be called.

For those guys, what makes them not-women is that they are men. But I’m not a man, either. What makes me not-a-woman is simply that when someone tries to stick the label “woman” on me, it peels off and flutters to the ground like a band-aid with too much dirt on the back. I can’t explain what it is about me that makes “woman” not the right label. It isn’t man-ness. It’s simply a lack of woman-ness.

Truth is, I like having access to a certain kind of femininity. I like to cover myself with rainbows and sparkles. I like to play with babies and keep a cute house. And when it comes down to discussion of emotional and spiritual matters, I’m much more comfortable in a group of women than a group of men. I’m drawn to authors, bloggers and motivational speakers who focus on women as their audience. I enjoy hobbies that appeal to large numbers of women, like hula hooping and needle crafts.

So what does that make me? Where do I fit? And why do I have to fit anywhere, anyway? Why can’t I just be?

Why can’t we all just be?