I recommend reading the entire article for context. I think its interesting because when I was a kid, if some one asked me if I thought people who ‘were gay or lesbian were bad or wrong in some way’ I would have probably said yes, but if you asked me why I wouldn’t have known (bear in mind section 28 was repealed in 2003 and I was at junior school between 1994 – 2005 so school wasn’t going to tell me jack all). I sort of never thought about it much until when I was older and just sort of realised its all fine (which is bloody lucky!)
Kids don’t really think about it, thats why they are so accepting, but on the flip side, they don’t think about it much so they believe anything they are told from family, other children, the media ect … Parents need to talk about these things to their kids, or it will be left to playground insults of calling each other gay to shape there perception of sexuality. I think if I had been educated a bit earlier about this (or at all actually) I would have know more about myself. I never knew I had the feelings I did because I never thought it was something I could have. Of course I knew about LGBTQ people but I never thought that could be ME.
Over the years everything became more confusing and it wasn’t until I went to university that I even started to really engaged in what it meant to be bi-sexual (a label I no longer identify with), I had the attraction but I never spoke about it much unless in flippant terms, or got involved in the LGBTQ community. My life has changed because of engaging with these people, not just because I’ve made a lot of friends, but because I started to learn about things. The more I knew there were names and explanations for how I felt, something many other people felt, the more I felt them. Maybe thats sounds odd but it was like I was being given permission to be me.
I found out the label ‘Queer’ was a thing and looked into it’s meaning and took it as my own. I felt bi-sexual wasn’t really accurate and although queer can refer to a number of things I find it better to be vague then explain than use a term that isn’t quite right and have people assume the wrong thing.
Back to about feeling like I was being given permission to be me. At some point I realised I really started missing wearing jeans. I think I was watching some of Arielle’s videos, and looking at her style and jokes about how lesbians dress and I was like ‘I wouldn’t mind trying that’. I had owned a shirt for a while and loved wearing it but never thought to buy any more. I got more. And more. And irritated when I didn’t have any to wear, like I used to feel when I had to wear school uniform. At the same time my undercut expanded and my hair got ‘accidentally’ cut short. I thought about how when I talked about ‘women’ in contexts like feminism I never really felt like I was talking about me, but some other group. I never worried I was manly, I never have been and never will be. I have traits some might consider male, but I don’t really by that way of thinking.
I knew a few people who didn’t identify with gender, and the more I thought about who they were, the more I saw that was who I was.
So no I have to leave past tense behind. I’ve felt this way for a few months but didn’t want to say. I know there are harder things to share with the world. But I’m still scared. I’m worried that people won’t get it, will ask me to explain constantly. What do I say to strangers who mis-gender me? What if I realise in a years time of whatever this is not the case and have to go ‘sorry guys I’m not actually genderqueer’. What if men or queer women don’t like me in a romantic way because they don’t see me as a woman?
But thats what I’m trying to say now in this really round about way. That I don’t identify as a man or a woman. I’m just this floating thing. Like a balloon. A genderqueer balloon. This started as a Facebook status and after about 200 words I knew now was the time just to bloody get it out there.
I like girly stuff, I do love a good skirt and heals. And I like shirts, and guys hats. And it’s not all about aesthetic. I wonder why I didn’t know sooner, but then I look about my red, vaguely gendered bedroom thats been this way since I was 13 and think maybe it was pretty obvious I just had no words.
And that brings me back to the point I made at the beginning. Educate young people so they have the words, so if they have these feelings they know what they are and don’t have to wait as long as I did to figure out who they are.
Some days I’ll look girly, some days I won’t. Some days i’ll pull a face at heavily gendered things and others I’ll love them. I don’t know, I just take each day at a time.
So would you mind they/them for me as a pro-noun?
I can’t keep just doing it my head anymore, its a real thing of me now, it seems so silly to keep it inside.
And I totally reserve the right to realise I was incorrect, although I can’t see that really happening.