Sunday, June 2, 2013

Humanizing Genderqueer 4: Caleb

Humanizing Genderqueer: Lived experiences of non-binary people.

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.

My roommate was throwing a party while I was working the closing shift at my job. When I returned home I opened the door to a room full of people shouting my new name at me. I didn't even realize they had all heard about the name change, but everyone was super accepting of it. It felt amazing to have my identity validated by my friends in such large numbers.

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

I've truly had a very smooth social transition. My friends are overall very accepting, and I am planning on going by my new name my next semester at school. I am also going to hormonally transition starting in June. However, physically transitioning may pose its own problems. My appearance already causes some stares, but I expect it to get much worse in the coming months. I also risk being outed at work. I'm only going to be on T for a few months, but I don't know how fast my body will change. I am going to try to hide it as best I can at work, but they may figure it out. I also have to hide my gender identity from members of my family, and I know I will lose contact with my sister and possibly my father if they find out. But I know I need to transition, so these are risks I have to take.

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

To begin, I need some basic recognition that my gender exists. I have contacted some organizations in the secular/humanist community about making forms, memberships, and applications more genderqueer friendly with large success. Ideally, I would be able to type in my own gender identity, or be able to select non-binary or genderqueer. For the most part I have to select "male" or "female", and sometimes "other". While this seems like a small step, it would make me feel like I'm a valuable part of the community, and not someone who has to fake being another gender to be included.

Also, a push for unisex bathrooms would be cool.

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

Caleb, 21, genderqueer, Iowa, white

Survey results shared with permission.

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