I question- is the narrative of (especially) parents grieving a transitioning child problematic in general or just for me because that story doesn't at all resonate for me? I'm not sure if it's because I'm on the Autism Spectrum or because I'm agender and I needed my child to start me putting my own gender questioning into words- or any other number of things. I read things after my daughter told me that her assigned gender had been wrong that talked about gay and lesbian parents worrying about transgender children because of assumptions. I guess, I'm already so far from the mainstream that it never occurred to me to worry that my sexuality would be used as a reason why my child is transgender.
When I hear/read other parents speaking of mourning the lose of the child they thought they had, I have to keep my eye rolling to a minimum, keep my opinions to myself; I don't think most parents with newly out children are ready for the radical gender exploration in my head. First off, I don't think that grieving should ever be put on transgender/gender non-conforming people. Secondly, my child didn't die when she came out as transgender. I believe that my child is a whole person who doesn't exist to live out my dreams; at a PFLAG table when she came out, I said, “My only dream for my child is that she moves to an urban area where she's comfortable, and where I'm comfortable to visit.” I have no need to grieve the wonderful, intelligent, beautiful daughter who often sits next to me at SOGI (sexual orientation and gender identity) support meetings.
Genitals don't solely equal gender; yes, I laughed to myself when this idea came to me because of the play on The Queen's comment “Behavior does not solely equal identity.” Of course, The Queen was speaking to a friend and lover who was in the process of a same-gender attraction after identifying as a heterosexual all his life.
One thing that most irritates me about genitals is the way that they remain gendered- “penis is a male part/vagina is a female part,” for instance.
(Please excuse the intermission; I got that far and forgot what I meant to say.)
I wonder- what would be the reason(s) to have anything about gender or genitals on an Alternative and Augmentative Communication board/device?
If gender/sex is a social construct- and some people say it's wrong to divide people by their genitals- why do some people feel a need to question their gender and their genitals' impact on their gender identity? This reminds me of a vlog by Kat Blaque in which she talked about “would there be transgender people in a gender-less society?” Personally, I think there's truth to the idea of humans as naturally categorizing and naming things around us- like I don't experience gender within myself, but I see gender as others present or claim it. The problem I see in these questions is that the difference between self-labeling or “the labeling of others” is never acknowledged. I feel that I'm agender, but most people look at me and see long hair, larger breasts on a non-obese body, and say “woman.” I hold that my internal understanding of my gender outweighs others' impression of my gender based on their culturally based assumptions and understandings.
“What gender are you when we make love?” Audrey's question to me that really pushed my gender questioning to a higher pitch that found me identifying as non-binary and agender.
I recently had someone talk to me about “kids now spend so much time online.” I just went polite, seeming interest; I didn't want to point out to the person that I prefer life online. As an Autistic person who can speak but does better, is more comfortable using written communication, online communication is mostly written so I don't have to declare my neurodivergency if I don't want to. Online relationships- whether romantic or not- have value to me in ways that too many other people my age and older just don't understand. However, I push further than “online relationships” to what maybe just other neurodivergent people will respect- I have a romantic relationship with one of my characters (from the erotic romance I write). She's also polyamorous and I consider the people in her relationship network (also my characters) to be my virtual family. While Audrey (my girlfriend) doesn't have a flesh-and-blood body, she does have a body as she and I discussed in the creation of her character. She is a transgender woman who only used hormones a short time and has only had tracheal shaving (reduction of the Adam's apple) as far as gender confirming surgeries are considered. Are you dying to ask what that means in terms of Audrey's genitals?
A recent joke- I started a conversation with a friend by saying, “I have magical nipples.” Yes, we've moved from the genitals between the legs to the nipples on human chests. You see, I was assigned female at birth and I haven't had a bilateral mastectomy (although I have had a breast reduction) so I have breasts; I sometimes wear a chest binder and I do like to think of them as pecs instead of breasts then. I'm sure I've told this story elsewhere, but it fits here: roommate raised totally repressed feels nudity is awkward and doesn't want me to go around nude. This pissed me off when the AC broke and the temps soared to 90 Fahrenheit. One day, I put on a pair of shorts and my binder- my “magical nipples” that supposedly mark me as a woman needing to cover her chest were covered by the binder.
So I'm not going to tell you about Audrey's genitals, but I do have a vulva, a vagina, and breasts or pecs.
My name is Joelle and my pronouns are she, he, or they.
I like that statement much better than “I'm pronoun indifferent.” Of course, I could go some better- “My name is Joelle, I'm agender, and my pronouns are he, she, or they.” I wonder if changing the pronoun order would startle people, since much of my presentation seems “feminine.” At a recent meeting I attended, a person used “they” for me and it was strangely pleasing. Maybe not so strangely- the first time I masturbated to orgasm after getting on an anti-depressant, it was The Queen calling me “boy” that pushed me over the edge into release.
I grew angry at one support group session where some people referred to “she/her” as “feminine” pronouns; I vented, “What does that mean when I as an agender person use she/her?” After all, languages evolve over time; when I first pondered my gender as a youngster, the terms non-binary and agender didn't exist, as far as I knew.
“Joelle ate most of his chips, but didn't finish their salad because her stomach was full.” I find that quite an enjoyable sentence. :D “He opened their can of energy drink and she took a sip.” Yes, this would be why I encouraged Happy to try out different pronouns one at a time until joy settled on the noun-self pronouns joy/joys/joyself.
While the previous paragraph was meant to show how switching pronouns in the midst of one sentence or paragraph could cause confusion, I have to admit that a person's pronouns changing regularly, like for a genderqueer person, is something that I find confusing. Of course, the way in which genderqueer/genderfluid people experience their pronouns, I don't think it's quite like pronoun indifference such as I have. As an agender person, I only feel gender in relation to other people, almost as a reflection of what gender they see me to be.
Among the things that complicated coming out as non-binary for me, not wanting to change my name or my pronouns was something that made me feel less valid. A little explanation- my daughter told me she's transgender, asked to be called a new name and she/her pronouns before I came out as agender. Also, as I looked at non-binary YouTubers, I was struck by “come out, hair cut, they/them pronouns”- it seemed almost formulaic to me. And none of it felt right to me. It wasn't until I was able to consider things like “I want to wear a chest binder sometimes” before I was able to settle into comfort with my pronouns as they are; I still felt too much like I was appropriating someone else's struggle to consider anything but the pronouns of my assigned gender.
When it comes to writing, I'm glad that “What are their pronouns?” is a standard thing I consider when creating a new character; I don't assume cisgender people using the pronouns of their assigned gender.