Well, obviously, I’m not going to just come out and tell you my name. As you will come to find out in my writings, I’ve spent much of my life trying to be what other people want me to be. I’m starting to take myself back. I’m trying to give myself permission to just be me. So I guess for my writing, I’ll just be “Me”, too.
So hello Reader, I’m Me. It’s nice to meet you.
I grew up and live in the southern part of the US, but not “The South”. My upbringing was fairly typical: my parents were loving and took care of me, I had no major traumatic experiences growing up, though my relationships with my siblings were distant because they were all significantly older than me. I was an intelligent kid, and probably more emotionally mature than my peers, which led to some distance between them and me. So from an early age, I learned to be comfortable by myself. More recently I’ve come to identify as an introvert (I’ve been one as long as I can remember, but never connected the word to my own personality). Perhaps I learned my introversion from my childhood.
I’ve had a privileged life up to now. I earned good grades through high school, attended a good university and have a degree. I’ve worked in my chosen field ever since then, and have been able to steadily advance in my career to a point where I earn a comfortable living. I’m married and we have a child and two dogs. We all love each other. My family is healthy and we live comfortably. I’m very lucky.
So what’s so interesting about me that I’m writing a blog about it? Well, I’ve recently come to realize that I’m genderfluid. No, I’m not some puddle, and you can’t use a mop to clean me up (well I suppose you could, but I wouldn’t let you). I’m genderfluid: I experience my sense of my own gender as an frequently-changing place somewhere on the gender spectrum; and sometimes multiple places on the spectrum simultaneously; and sometimes I’m not even on the spectrum. Confused? Me, too! But I’m getting better about understanding this part of myself.
In plain English, this means that sometimes, I feel like my gender is masculine (what many people might call boy or man), and sometimes, I feel like it is feminine (girl or woman). Occasionally, I feel like it’s either a very balanced combination of feminine and masculine (I call this “balanced”, or neither (what I call “neutral”). On rare occasions, I feel a sense that I’m both strongly masculine and feminine at the same time – this is a very weird feeling! And all of this is an internal sense of myself; I’m not talking about how I dress, or how I act – those are called “expression” or “presentation”. Sound freaky? It is! In fact, unless you’ve experienced some form of gender non-conformity, I’ll bet you’re having a very hard time even imagining what this is like, or how it’s even possible. Well, it’s complicated.
Let’s look at the word: Genderfluid. It’s a compound word, made up of “gender” and “fluid”. Let’s start with the easier word: Fluid. We’re talking about fluid as an adjective, not a noun. The appropriate definition is fluid (adj.): changing readily; shifting; not fixed, stable, or rigid. Are you with me so far? Now, the word gender (n.): either the male or female division of a species, especially as differentiated by social and cultural roles and behavior. So, putting these together, someone who identifies as genderfluid experiences their sense of their gender (the ways that society separates and identifies the division of our species through our roles and behaviors) as something that changes.
Here’s your homework: Try a little thought experiment: tell me, without referring to your body, body parts, chromosomes, hormones, DNA or other physical characteristics – how do you know you are a man/woman? What intangible qualities identify you as a woman or a man? Good luck!
Want to learn more?
Nonbinary.org is a good place to start learning the terminology. Start with Gender Identity; Binary Genders will probably feel familiar and comfortable, but Nonbinary Gender might seem strange and awkward.
Similarly, the Gender Wiki will give you basic definitions, but is a little less comprehensive.
Want to dig deep? Try genderdiversity.org‘s terminology page.
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