Sunday, May 12, 2013

Humanizing Genderqueer 1: Andy

Humanizing Genderqueer: Lived experiences of non-binary people

I'm going to be giving a talk to the Ethical Society of St Louis about genderqueer issues. I'm asking genderqueer people to share our experiences with the humanist community, and I figured I might as well start with myself!

Gender Wins: Recall a happy memory of when you felt most comfortable in your gender or most accepted as your gender by those around you.

I am fortunate to have many, but the most recent was last weekend at my friends Laura and Dustin's wedding. I loved being around so many of the people I care about, meeting new people, them all accepting me. Got a lot of compliments about the bow tie, and even some on my dancing. Lulz, little do they know, I can't dance, I merely am able to flail about in time with the music.

I think one the the most heart-warming gender moments was when I explained to my son about who I am, and he got so excited and told me how cool that is. He "gets it" way more than most other people I know - almost never forgets my prefered gender-neutral parental title, and immediately corrects himself if he does. He also is comfortable with the right for people to self-identify rather than falling back on an ideological gender essentialism. He's also 6, so that might have a lot to do with it. :D

Gender Struggles: Tell about a time when circumstances would not allow, or you had to make sacrifices, to remain true to your gender.

Well... there really isn't any space to be genderqueer in the insurance world. There just isn't. I'm there for my functional utility and to be likeable. I need to be what customers want me to be, or it makes the agency look bad, and making the agency look bad makes my bosses look bad, and making my bosses look bad makes my position less secure. This is not unique to me either. Many (if not most) genderqueer people have employment dilemmas such as mine.

Humanist Involvement: Suggest something the humanist community could do to make a positive impact on your personal quality of life.

I think the humanist community could focus on gender equality beyond simply women's liberation. This isn't to say placing one struggle over the other, but to say that all gender rights are intertwined. That feminism is incomplete without transgender activism, and vice versa. That gender equality isn't just about creating two equal genders, but also creating the freedom for people to choose all genders equally.

How You Identify (optional): Name, age, gender, location, ethnicity, anything you deem relevant.

Andy, 26, genderqueer, St Louis, white, humanist, Whovian.

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