Rant About Being AFAB

Warnings: for discussion of transmisogyny, equality, and the innate personhood of GNC people called women and people who were born with vaginas.

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When I was born, the doctor looked between my legs and said “It’s a girl!” And that was that. I was given a female name, female clothes, and have been treated like a person who was growing up to be a woman every since.

Did you notice something about that last paragraph? How all the verbs were passive on my part? Yeah. I am Assigned Female At Birth, and that will never change. Ever.

However, because this was a passive thing, I literally had no say in it. I didn’t get a choice in a name I hate or a place in a gender binary that insisted I liked pink, really I do. And no matter how much I change, or keep my pants on at all times, or even lie about it, these facts will always be deciding factors in how people deign to treat me.

I spend a lot of time thinking about trans women. Not in a creepy chaser kind of way, though. More in a “I wonder if they will ever stop decrying the heinous sin that is being born female” kind of way. And yeah, I get that transmisogyny is a real and terrible thing, and I get that trans women face far more discrimination and hatred than almost any other gender.

But at the same time (and please, read this carefully and with cautious eyes, because it will be very easily misinterpreted) I think that the idea propagated by the trans women I’ve met, that only AMAB transgender people matter or are important, or the idea that everyone else is untrustworthy scum, is utter bullshit. Moreso, it’s sexism, pure and simple- that you, a person I know very little about and who I have only just met, are less than me because you don’t share my gender identity and genitalia.

If I had my way, I’d rather have a completely sexless body, like one of those dolls that you can dress to be a boy or a girl, or some combination. I’d rather not be AFAB, but I’d just as much rather not be AMAB.  And I feel that it flies in the face of everything GNC (gender non-conforming) people should stand for- that it’s not the body or gender that makes a person, but the mind and actions.

Countless people, trans and cis alike, have been, continue to be, and will be hurt every day for their identity. But exchanging cispatriarchy for transmatriarchy is not the answer to this suffering- and yes, that’s what “trans women are better than everyone else you are all scum” is becoming. A transmatriarchy, even if only on the internet, is taking shape. It makes me wonder why we see the need to raise one sex, one gender above the rest. Because at its base, AMAB trans people had the same experience at birth as I did, with one difference- the doctor looked between their legs and called them “he” instead of “she.” Why should that make all the difference?

 

~Terrance

 

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Crash Course Gender

I got a question today on tumblr that said this:

“hey, can you explain your genders to me? I don’t know much about other genders and I really don’t ever want to offended or hurt anyone with my ignorance, so would you mind explaining? sorry to bother. I hope your day will be/has been as lovely as you”

And I wrote a huge response, and then looked it over and decided to reupload it here too:

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You’re totally good. I’ve been thinking about gender a lot recently, so hopefully what I say sounds halfway coherent.

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As a preface, I’m only me, and this is about my gender identity/ies. I don’t speak for anyone else in the nonbinary spectrum or trans* community.

  • Genderqueer– As I understand it, this word means someone whose gender either shifts frequently, or who identifies outside of the gender binary (man or woman is the gender binary).
  • Nonbinary– All of my genders except bigender are nonbinary. That means that there are days when I feel like the words “man” and “woman” are completely obsolete in the context of me and my body. Sometimes, even nonbinary doesn’t fit, and then I’m agender.
  • Agender– When I’m agender, I don’t identify as any gender. I’d rather not be called “her/she/herself” just as much as I’d rather not be called “he/him/himself,” or “hir/hirself/hirs.”*
    *Please note that there are more nonbinary pronoun sets, but I won’t list them all because there are dozens or hundreds of variations.

    Usually I stay away from situations where people divide by genders (like gym class or class projects) and people who’ll refer to me in the context of being a woman or a girl, or having female anatomy. (because I pass as cis with everyone I interact with physically).
  • Bigender– This refers to the polar opposites of my gender identification. As my gender shifts a lot, it’s rare that I’m bigender. However, there are days when I feel completely masculine, and like I want everyone to see me as a man or a boy.
    And then there are days when I feel decidedly feminine, and wearing my uniform school skirt doesn’t bother me, and I usually attempt makeup on days like this. These days, I want everyone to see me as a woman or a girl.
    These days are decidedly rare for me, and usually I’ll go a month or more without being either- and then one day BAM! I’m back in binary mode for a day, or a month, or a week.
  • Genderfluid– If I was going to describe my entire gender identity with one word, it would be hard, but I’d say this one fits best. Being genderfluid is exactly what it sounds like- my gender is fluid, and shifts around a lot. How I identify and present myself also shifts a lot, and sometimes it’s really frustrating trying to decide who I am.
On gender in general- gender is a really frustrating topic for me, because it’s so difficult to pin down. In my day to day life, like I said, I pass as a cis woman. Butch, yes, and often people think I’m lesbian because of my short haircut and my lil friend who IS into girls, who likes to hug and cuddle and stuff. I’ve not talked about my gender at length on this blog (or my other blog) before, mainly because a lot of people I know followed me then.
So that’s a crash course in my various genders. There’s a lot more (I’ve got two different blogs for talking about it) but if I wanted to encompass all my gender related thoughts on this post, you wouldn’t reach the end for a week or more. Hope this helped, and always feel free to come ask if there’s something you think I can clarify for you! ❤
~Terrance

To Improve Without Change

When did our culture become a culture where no one gives?

When did we become a culture of owing debt and being owed our due?
When did family stop meaning blood and start meaning people you choose?
Why is it so hard
In a world where to give and to get
Is an anomoly instead of a normality
To feel like you deserve a gift
And are capable of giving?
And why is knowing the difference between
Your place
And pride
So hard?
And knowing that knowing your place
Doesn’t make your place a bad one?
When did hating yourself
And hating circumstances
Become the same thing?
And when did your responsibility for me
And mine for you
Become optional
And distasteful?
When did we stop being human, and become
A society of people bound
By other people saying
“I can’t do that.
Society won’t allow it.”
And refuse to become a society of change?
To err is human
But when will we become divine?
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~Terrance

Shave and a Haircut, Two Bits

So I got a haircut. It’s been about three months, and I got an actual cut- where it had been about to my shoulders, I got it buzzed on the back and sides, scissor cut on the top. It’s not a particularly feminine cut, but I like it. It’s shorter, I use less shampoo, bedhead is far more manageable… and it’s cooler, both figuratively and literally.

As always, my mother felt that she had a right- no, a responsibility to tell me on no uncertain terms what she thought of my hair. I look like a boy, masculine, butch, hulking… most of which would have made me really happy, had they not been flung at me with barbs attached. Mocking me for not being feminine enough, and with a hateful look that could freeze hell.
I really do enjoy being masculine. It’s comfortable, it’s a place I know. But every time I do anything to fill that, my mother has to tear it down. I got a binder, I cut my hair off, I dress in a way that the person in the mirror is a person I’m okay with being. And then my mother sees me, and tears it away.
Fine. So I went out yesterday, and bought makeup. I spent about forty-five minutes to an hour trying out different ways to apply it, different eye shadow, learning to apply eyeliner. And I washed it off a few times, and tried again, and I acheived something I liked- lower lashline eyeliner and red lipstick. I went out into the family room again, and then it’s more comments about how shitty it looks- words like “ridiculous,” “ugly,” “gross.”
So I present to you, my readers, this dilemma. Reluctantly feminine, I wasn’t feminine enough. Actively masculine, I’m brutish, hulking, ugly. Actively feminine, and I’m ridiculous and ugly. And all that without the comments on my weight, which, even if I started on a doctor-approved 2lb./week weight loss program, she would continue to make comments about my weight for at least another two and a half years.
Nevermind how many times I ask her to speak to me like an adult if she has thoughts on my appearance, never mind how many times I have asked her to keep her opinions to herself, especially unhelpful, unasked-for, unwanted opinions, to no avail.
I live with the woman. I have at least another year and a few months to live with her, unless she dies suddently. And I don’t know how I’m going to survive, because being around her drains all the joy and will to live from my life.
~Terrance