Thursday, December 4, 2008

Why do I have to identify as anything?

I just watched a nice little documentary called "Gender Rebel". The hype for the film is "Three individuals shatter the confines of traditional gender identities. Watch the entire show online right now!"

Maybe I'm not easily shocked, but I didn't see any shattering going on. Eh, everything's got to be hyped. Too bad.

Random thoughts:

When a young woman considers surgery to have her breasts removed, her father says he might disown her and her mother is very upset. Why on earth would a parent care if their daughter has breasts or not? What if she didn't develop breasts as a teenager? Would they have given her up for adoption?

I think there are a hell of a lot of people who are gender fluid or not "identified as" male or female. Now that there's a word for it, genderqueer, more people are coming out of the closet about it. But, I dunno. Is there really a closet to come out of?

Am I genderqueer? Let's see: I don't have kids. I feel totally uncomfortable in a dress. If I'm wearing high heels I feel like a hooker. I feel vaguely uncomfortable with my hair the way it is now (longish). I prefer it in a buzz cut or even bald. I have never seen a mainstream movie or television show where I've identified with a female character. I wish I was flat-chested. I feel great in a men's suit. I love passing for a man, though I don't any more, since I've gained weight, grown my hair and developed big boobs. One of the happiest moments in my life was being introduced as an "honorary gay man" when I was the only female person at a gay men's weekend (long story). I had a blast when I used to lift weights at a macho health club at six in the morning. I liked that person I saw in the mirror - crewcut, wifebeater, and fairly big muscles for one so upper body strength handicapped as I. There's more, but it's too much information, and probably not in very good taste.

The list is long enough. These sounded like all the reasons the three young women in the movie gave for identifying as genderqueer.

Maybe it's a generational thing. I don't feel like I'm a Woman (with a capital W), but I certainly don't feel like a guy. I don't feel like anything. I'm just me. And that's fine. Maybe it's an age thing, too, 'cause I don't have a big driving need to find others "like me" to hang around with. I'm not scared of "being different" and I'm not above changing the way I look to fit in, even if I'm uncomfortable.

I suspect that if I was in my twenties now, things would be very different for me. I'd probably embrace boi-hood with open arms. But that ship has sailed, as they say.

After I watched Gender Rebel, I tried watching Beautiful Daughters, a documentary about the first all transgender production of the Vagina Monologues. It was really bothering me. Here was something I couldn't relate to at all. Seeing all those women in their coordinated outfits, their makeup, their perfectly styled hair. . .oh please! Is this what it means to be a woman?

In both movies, there was such an emphasis on clothes. How absurd. Does wearing a dress really determine your gender? I have always liked listening to music that boys like but I also love high-end perfume. So what? I've been told my odd and seemingly contradictory preferences mean I'm a gay man trapped in a woman's body and that may be true, but I guess I don't care enough to do anything about it. Never did. Well, okay, I have thought about it a little, but female-to-male hasn't been mastered surgically, and I really do not think I was born into the wrong body. Why do we have to be so black and white about everything!? I've never liked fitting into a box. So, I guess I'm not stepping into the one marked "genderqueer".

It's fine if you do. Please don't get me wrong. Go right ahead!

Years ago I picked up a copy of Kate Bornstein's hilarious "My Gender Workbook." My score was "Honey,you are a gender freak!" (or something to that effect). I also took a test online (now considered outdated by many) that was once mandatory for all men seeking sexual reassignment. Pretending I was a man, I failed miserably. Verdict? Don't even think of it (being a woman). What am I to make of that?

Well, the test was ridiculous. Again, lots of questions about clothes and makeup! So, I don't paint my toenails, never have and probably never will. Reassign me!

Photo note: Was going to post a pic of Annie Lennox, but ran into k.d.lang first, and I've always loved this pic. They both make me swoon.

Oddly, Lennox just blogged that she had "the worst pain she ever felt" in her back and her left foot went numb. She had surgery and is fine. Well, same here (without the surgery) on my right side. Could somebody get me an earlier doctor's appointment than the 22nd (which is just a meeting to get a referral??!!) Geez, I guess one needs to be a star to get some help!


TMC said...

I liked you before but now I like you even more. :) Bravo on your boldness!

Julie H. Rose said...

Aw, shucks.

I certainly didn't write that for approval, lol!

BitterGrace said...

Great post. Lots to think about. I hate the boxes, too, though I fit very neatly into the one marked "girl" as far as appearance goes. My brain is another story.

k.d. makes me swoon, too.

jmcleod76 said...

Like you, I never gave gender identity much thought (until very recently when I made some friends who are very gender conscious). No one has been able to define, to my satisfaction, what constitutes a "real woman," beyond the biological definition, so I can't really say that I'm not one. I get that there are folks who are uncomfortable with their bodies, and I affirm their right to change their bodies in whatever way fulfills them, but that's never applied to me. I'm perfectly happy with my "junk," as we so charmingly refer to "the plumbing," these days (another lovely euphemism), just not the cultural trappings that go along with it. That said, I have biologically female friends who are femme-ier than I am who call themselves "trans" and friends who are butcher than I could ever aspire to be who say they're all woman ,,, I'm OK with whatever terminology anyone wants to throw my way. "Genderquer" works, but so does "female." And I'll grin and blush if you call me "boi," but "ma'am" is OK, too (even if it does make me realize I'm now a long way from 20 ...).

Annie Lennox and K.D. Lang are both good, but Annie Lennox circa 1983 will always win, in my book.

Stephanie said...

Excellent post!

Julie H. Rose said...

Silly me just googled Annie Lennox 1983. She was great and a bit of role model for me, more than k.d.lang.

I have no problem with words others want to use for themselves. Whatever makes 'em comfortable is fine.

One time a drag queen said to me "I'm more of a woman than you'll ever be!" I had to crack up at that one. I said, "You're probably right", even though, honestly, I have no clue what that even means.

Does not having a uterus mean I'm not a woman? This is too much information, but there it is, for I have to ask that question. When people have their pets fixed, they say they've been neutered.