Sunday, June 23, 2013

Humanizing Genderqueer 7

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.

There's not a lot to draw from here.  I guess the closest thing to a win I can claim is the day I finally felt comfortable admitting to myself who and what I am.  I didn't have a term for the lack of a mental gender, but even acknowledging that in and of itself was freeing.  I knew, and finally could say openly, that I didn't identify by gender and that I didn't like or dislike others for their gender.  It was incredibly freeing to look around and think, "I'm human.  That's all I ever have to be.  That's all anyone ever has to be."

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

I grew up in a really strict household, gender- and sexuality-wise.  You were what you were born with (not even allowed to shorten your name or take a nickname), and you would burn in hell for all eternity if you even dared think about someone of your birth gender.  For me, that was always a problem because I never felt like I had a gender.  My parents treated me like I was the most despicable child they'd ever seen because I didn't fit what they felt a good Christian child should be.  I tried for many years to fit into what they wanted, but I could never give up on who I am.  I got into a lot of arguments with my stepmother because she felt I was deliberately doing it to spite them.  Their carefully crafted facade of us being the perfect family tended to crumble when I was around, and they hated that.  There were several years of "therapy" where the (not even certified) therapist would tell me I was a horrible child and that I needed to be better for my parents.

It didn't get much better when I got out of the house.  I took a year to just reevaluate who I was and what I believed, because I knew that what I had pounded into my head wasn't it.  I had to make a lot of apologies to a lot of people I'd put down in a failed effort to gain my family's approval.  It took me another year and a half before I could admit to myself that I liked people regardless of what gender they were and that I really didn't notice or care most of the time anyway.

I've never had anyone take me seriously when I try to talk about it.  They all just assume I'm a tomboy and leave it at that.  While it helps me avoid some of the nastier things that can happen to us, it can be really frustrating to never be believed.  We don't get to pick our bodies.  I don't choose to be female.  I don't want to be male.  I'm human.  That's all I've ever considered myself to be.

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

Bigotry isn't something you're born with, and nothing scares people more than the unknown.  Don't teach children to think in terms of gender binary or to judge those who don't conform to it.  Educate yourselves in what it means and what changes, and acknowledge that despite those changes we're still fundamentally the same as anyone else.

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


Survey results shared with permission.

No comments:

Post a Comment