I was invited to contribute to this site and share my trans* perspective on sexuality and gender. To be perfectly clear, I am only qualified to speak from my own perspective and though my viewpoint will sometimes overlap with that of other people, there are times when it will not.
Since I’m new here, I’d like to take a moment to introduce myself. I am a 51 year old transmasculine genderqueer who was assigned female at birth, uses he/him/his pronouns and is taking testosterone (T) to better align my physical body with my gender identity. I recently completed a legal name change to a typically male name which is similar to my birth name. Though I identify as trans* and masculine, I do not identify as male.
I started taking T last year after a lifetime of not really fitting into my expected role as a female. Even as a masculine lesbian female – dyke, queer, butch – there was something that didn’t work for me, like a pair of underwear that rode up in the wrong places and also felt too loose. Yeah, it was that uncomfortable. Over the years, I watched as some of the other butches I knew chose transition from female to male, becoming trans men. I pondered their choice and thought about my own discomfort in being female, but something held me back.
That something was the fact that though I do not identify as female, I also don’t identify fully as male. Combine that with my assumption that only male identified people went through transition and I was at a stalemate. Years went by as I learned more and more about gender identification and how complex it was. I hadn’t put my own situation into words, because the idea of not being female but also not being male wouldn’t fit into my head any better than a square peg in a round hole. You may be feeling similarly at this point, how does a person not feel either female or male, what else is there?
I didn’t know it for many years, but I was on a quest to find the words to describe my sense of gender. The main problem was that the words didn’t exist yet. The words ‘genderqueer’ and ‘non-binary’ were outside my knowledge until about five or six years ago, and they hadn’t been in common usage much before that. When I came across the definition of genderqueer, I felt like my brain suddenly expanded like a giant sponge animal dipped in water. All of a sudden, there was more room in the world, more reality to explore and occupy. The thing I’d been chasing, my own personal golden chalice, had a name, it existed in the way that it hadn’t before because now I had a word for it, and a new understanding about gender.
I’ve thrown a lot of terms in the preceding paragraphs that may be unfamiliar to you. You aren’t alone, I’ve had countless conversations with people over the last several years about the terminology used to describe gender identity and those conversations started with me being very ignorant.
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