GenderQueer’s & Androgynes, the world is ready for us!
Androgynes! GenderQueers! Gender Variant people! Come out, Come out! The world is ready for you!
Since I been out as an Androgyne in the past few years I have always thought, “Is the world ready for us?” “Is this the right time?” “How much longer will I need to explain why I am not a girl?” Again and again I sat with this. The healing process for gender dysphoria can be frustrating and cultures all over the world have healing to do for their Gender Variant folks. By Gender Variant I mean ANYONE outside the binary gender system. There are a million gender expressions and its hard to just put them all in one word, but Gender Variant seems to work for most of us. All over the world past tribes celebrated gender variance but something happened. Something profoundly damaging and sick happened in our world to gender, ir shows up as gender dysphoria. Our culture treats gender dysphoria as if something is wrong with the person questioning their gender expression. Somehow it has become shameful to crossdress, somehow what your wearing determines who you are and what you are good at. It determines how you might live your life and even your sexual expressions! Somehow showing a beard and exposed authentic cleavage makes people very uncomfortable, in many places in the world. Most shameful is how many people with male genitalia are looked at as perverts, violently attacked in hate crimes, and often murdered with little notice by the general public.
In the western US there seems to be a gentler ease about gender in general although many people still look at me like I have 3 heads when I say I am not a girl! Generally there are more people emerging with a gender expression outside the binary in our culture, colleges are moving to a gender non confirming schools, and even Oregon has supported changing a person’s birth certificate to “gender non-conforming”. The north east is easier at understanding although they still seem to hold a very “transgender” perspective, which is not quite the same. Transgender people are still in the binary, often, as they choose to take hormones because they feel they need to be on the other side. Although many of them take synthetic hormones to later discover that they actually fit into GenderQueer/Androgyne better then the binary. Some people stop taking the hormones because of the health risks. Regardless, many transgender people would be willing to be classified as a “Gender Variant” or some sort of third option if it was equally supported. Speaking of equality I realize that women are not equal, yet. My experience as a woman tells me that things are not equal. My blog “Do I have to choose?” (A gender exploration blog) clearly shows the subtle differences, especially when I cross dress and people assume I have a male body. In fact the fact that its more acceptable for a person assigned female at birth to change over to male, as if we understand them wanting to step up in the world. BUT, when a person assigned male at birth wears a dress and high heels we see them as lesser then, weakly, and even perverted! The attitude of Stepping down into the “less than” is based on that women are “lesser than” in our current culture. There is also the assumption that cross dressing is perverted somehow when it has very little to do with sexuality, although it sometimes comes out that way, many oppressed things come out in sex. Another point is that gender norms support our rape culture, a huge problem for people born into a female body. Typically men are perpetrators and often believe that they are entitled to something from women, as if they wanted it. As if female bodied people are owned by male bodied people, that seems unequal to me. Another interesting fact is that currently gender is based on genitalia even though science proved long ago there are more than 2 sexes when we look at DNA, genitalia is just one piece of the story. My dream includes the equality of all genders which will lead to the extinction of gender in our future generations, which can support the unity of humanity rather than creating more lines. There is a pressure and understanding that someone is suicidal if there gender experience doesn’t change, and for our culture that currently means to take synthetic hormones even if there are health risks.
Recently though my hopes and dreams have began to come true. Somehow I am finding the strength to rise up as an androgyne in my spiritual community, leading to many people using gender neutral pronouns for me. Also, I noticed that by sharing my story others are inspired to either question their own gender expression or come out of the gender closet. Usually out of the gender closet means asking for different pronouns. Although still it takes a while for people to change their languaging and I try to help with that. I intend for our culture to change their language so that gender variant people can arrive in the world feeling welcomed, celebrated, and like they matter – hopefully reducing the extremely high suicide rate of gender variant people, currently a community with one of the highest rates of suicide. As more and more people open their eyes to gender norms and languaging we become aware of how “gendered” our language clearly is. Its about an awareness that is being taught. More and more people say to me that they have a child that has expressed this same desire for gender neutral pronouns or they know someone. More and more children are coming out younger and younger. More parents are considering avoiding gender until the child is old enough to express it themselves. Many people want to treat me with respect and love, they want to use neutral pronouns like I request.
I know I am asking a lot in changing people’s languages, but its that or my life loses meaning. I am not being overly dramatic, expressing my gender expression is serious. Gender dysphoria, a psychiatric term to describe what it feels like in the world to be outside the gender binary, is a real experience and often leads to social and general anxiety disorders. In a lot of cases of untreated or trapped gender variant people they would rather commit suicide than to live as their assigned gender and accept the gender norms. Please understand that the request to change your language for me is a life and death situation. For all of us gender benders! Gender Variance arrives in a lot of ways and the confusion can lead to a change in expression in itself. I even have experienced internal misogyny when I became even more aware of the gender differences in my gender exploration as a Drag King.
So when Gender Variant hear people being educated and people ACTUALLY caring enough to change their language AND take a second look at my gender expression. To take a moment to take me in and understand that I am NOT a girl, is a big deal. I have large breasts and when I travel its impossible to bind my breasts and my license still says I am a girl, there are only two options. My sex is female as far as I know but I haven’t had it biologically tested, although I have considered it. According to science there are tons of sexes according to our DNA, now that we can look deeper. Yet our culture still bases sex on genitalia, another piece to the rape culture that could be exposed and released through the emersion of GenderQueer/Androgyne. I can present as a male and most people will take me that way when I am IzzyAhee.com but that doesn’t work when your paperwork gives you away, and it can be dangerous in some parts of the world. So I travel dressed as an Androgyne but most people don’t know what that is, although when I explain it makes more sense than male or transgender. Its exhausting to constantly explain. Many of us have very little hope for the general public communications like in stores, restaurants, and airports. So most of us don’t bother to correct because its just too exhausting! Many young people have no hope that the older generations of people can wrap their head around a non binary expression and that they wouldn’t know what to do if they could. So as we educate many of us just suffer with the constant gender dysphoria. When we are “mis-gendered” we swallow it like poison, and we know its poison. We dismiss it as they don’t know any better and wouldn’t dare ask them to change for US! We are not that important somehow. I call BULLSHIT! I want to be treated differently and if I got to ask the guy ringing up my dinner at a Taco Joint to not call me lady or Maam, then that’s what I will do. I know its dangerous but someone has to do it!
When someone does it without you explaining its like a miracle, rarely does this happen and in public places like stores its practically unheard of. We get “maam” and “sir” or “ladies” which I find very offensive, even as a woman. I try not to walk around offended and I feel better if I speak my truth, even just a little. I know I am not dressed like your typical woman and all I am asking for is not to ASSUME. My clothing and expression is obviously something out of the binary, its not hard to see it. I was delightfully surprised for the first time in many airports around the USA I was treated with gender sensitivity. I was even more surprised when it appeared to be a cisgendered male, but I could be wrong.
Portland Airport, August and I am in a hurry. After a long line and me feeling a bit stressed from the rushing I am approaching the security person whom is very masculine expressing. I am going to use neutral pronouns since I really don’t know. Politely they wait on the rather normal people in front of me. I know I stand out because people stare at me, make faces at me, and say things like “your an interesting looking person”. As I step up for my turn I am waiting to get hit with “Ladies” and “Maam” just like they have done with the ones before me. “Welcome to PDX.” The security officer says to me when taking my boarding pass and ID. They don’t gender me. I feel like I am holding my breathe as if the punch is about to happen. I don’t speak, I know my voice comes across as feminine. Then looking at my license and as it scans they look up at my worried face. I look back at them with a desperation that I won’t have to speak too much and please don’t “Maam” me or “Lady” me… They smile and marks up my paper work. Looking me right in my worried eyes they seem to hold some compassion for me. I can see it in their eyes, they suspect I am gender variant. With deep compassion, an intention to comfort me, and an almost protective voice says “You will have no problems. Go ahead.”
Simple, no gender. Friendly. Welcoming. I felt confident stepping forward and didn’t feel like I was under a microscope so much. It was more about the safety of the plane, which is how that process is intended. I wanted to go back and thank that security officer, but that was not a choice in those circumstances. Instead I wrote this. To all of you that work in public, its possible to not gender people and even avoid gender. Simply you can just ask straight up but there is not always time for such intimacy, instead if we just extracted gender from our language we could allow for a little more peace among androgynes/genderqueers.
I can see that our culture is capable of this movement to include genderqueers/androgynes and all gender expressions. I am sure we can work with languaging and a basic awareness with compassion, understanding and evolution. The assumption of gender expressions and the shame around gender bending is our first step to helping our allies understand. Next, we need to ask for something other than his/her with the inclusivity that feels good to each individual androgyne or gender variant person. This could also change over time because of the impact of gender dysphoria on the psyche and self exploration process. Being able to be totally accepted as the requested gender is hyper important in supporting the realization of our true gender expression. So please to our allies do your best to adjust your languaging, find inclusivity, and be flexible as we heal.
To the Androgynes, collect your allies, ask for the prounouns that help with gender dysphoria, share your struggles – the community is ready for us, many of them. They are ready to stand by us. So when your feeling the weight of dysphoria – ask for pronouns that can help you heal that wound. Find ways to express the entire expression of your gender, we have nothing to be ashamed of and our divine path is profound. Hold your path Androgynes, you are meaningful, you are meant to be here, your life has intention and you have a world to change. Step us my gender variant kin, we need you!
If your interested in sharing your gender story with me or the public I am honored to hear it, publish it and help you get it out there. I want to hear from you! We need you to share your story because others that are struggling need to know there is hope for authentic gender expressions. I beg you to share it, as it could save a life, and you know it! Write email@example.com