Often times being genderqueer feels like abiding by a hypocritical rule book that says in order to be post-gender you must be a combination of two binary genders, reject the two binary genders, or be something completely different. This concept widely accepted by the genderqueer community makes it ten times harder to come to grasp […] There’s always talk about rejecting gender, abolishing gender, being post-gender, but fuck it I want to embrace genders and my genders and everyone else’s genders. But how do I do this in communities where “[f]uck gender” is so rampant and loud and wild and passionate and strong? I love being genderqueer but the definition of what it is for me is so blurry now that it’s scary.—Trans Unrest
There’s a lot of turmoil in those that are differently gendered. Having to deal with a community that has so many definitions and being someone who doesn’t feel like any of them is super hard.—Queer Trans Fattie
On-line, I am seeing more people who claim they are “trans-masculine”, “masculine-of-center”, “genderqueer”, “non-binary”. (Agender, a separate but related concept, I will get to momentarily.) Before I transitioned, when I still identified as a butch, I liked sports. I tried to remain logical, rather than be emotional. I dressed in the men’s department and used men’s fitting rooms. I got the stares from women in the bathroom and often end up using family/unisex bathrooms instead (though you had yet to catch me in the men’s bathroom at that point). I hated what little breasts I have, and still found menstruation as disgusting and repulsive when I was 12 and first started to get it. As gender variant as I was, I still identified as a woman.
Cisgender individuals, believe it or not, aren’t so rigid about gender roles anymore.
Reading this butch-vs-trans post on Butch Voices, I came across several comments that warn of ”butch-flight”:
Sometimes, I feel that the community has started a fad shift into trans-centric identities and me as a lesbian woman could be losing more of our butch females […] I do tend to wonder what has influenced some of those choices and if they will still feel like the right choices 5-10 years later. This is not a knock on the trans members of our community at all. […] It’s nice to know that the more masculine side of the spectrum still has those who want to keep their female bodies too.
Now, this argument has two sides I can see from. The first is that people assume now any form of gender variance means transgender, and that’s BS that needs to stop. (Sadly, it’s more allies than within our community that this happens with.) The second is being claimed by a group that we ourselves do not identify with—”butch flight” being one of these, as many of us were wrongly claimed by a group we didn’t want to be members of, but we had no other option for a time, until we realised becoming men was actually an option.
In the fight to stop emphasis and segregation on gender and sex identity, identifying as something besides male or female, whether as “genderqueer”, “non-binary”, or even “gender-fluid” actually reinforces the fallacy of gender essentialism, instead of helping to fight it. I see the argument that women don’t feel female because they cannot associate themselves with what people expect of women. It’s not that they feel male on the inside; they associate media and popular associations with being female. Saying you are not female because you do not relate to what is considered male and female, shows you reinforcing the idea of what it means to be male and female, rather than help expand the definition. Identifying and transitioning because you understand your identity doesn’t align with your natal gender designation, that I can understand; just because you don’t meet cultural definitions alone, that doesn’t help us!
The history of cultural roles and expectations of men and women were based on the on sex, not gender. Back when life was an absolute struggle to survive, they didn’t have the liberties and free time for “self discovery”. What you were born with, usually that’s what you lived with. Usually you would know by puberty you were the “third gender”, because your body—not your gender—didn’t develop normally, and usually you got shit-canned or got the worst lot of work in the tribe or village. Some societies had laws in place that, because these people wouldn’t or couldn’t bear children, they were to be provided for into their old age, as children were your only form of social security. Others allowed for them to make their own subcultures to survive, especially in agrarian, not pastoral, societies.
Men who practice cross dressing or experience “feminine” traits still note themselves as men, yet many gender-variant AFABs now consider themselves something other than women. Why is that? Is being female still considered weak, undesired?
I understand that labels help validate our existence, so long as we don’t overload the definition of that term. Whatever happened to gender variance, that you can still identify as a man or woman, but you just don’t do what is the usual for your gender identity?