Yeah, I’m thinking about gender and sexuality again. I feel like, at least in the everyday language of mainstream society, people just have to make a binary out of everything. Male or female, gay or straight, cis or trans.
It’s that last one that struck me during the past week. Even when people try to get past the gender binary by acknowledging the existence of trans people, they still tend to default to a binary: if you aren’t cis, you’re trans. But what happens if you’re neither? That’s where I am — my gender identity is neither the same nor the opposite (and doesn’t that concept itself reflect the binary all on its own?) of the sex I was assigned at birth due to my biology. It’s…overlapping.
And then, if I’m neither cis nor trans (or possibly both-and), does that make me straight or gay? I’ve always felt I was theoretically bisexual; I’ve never been in a romantic or sexual relationship with a woman, but I’ve always felt it was possible. (The bigger hurdle is starting a relationship with a new person of whatever gender, so I haven’t been in too many to begin with.) But even though I’ve only been with men, they’re not the “opposite” gender from me, because my gender doesn’t have an “opposite.” So what’s the word for that?
I realize that within the LGBTQ community, people bring a lot more nuance (and a lot more specialized vocabulary) to the conversation, but it seems hard to bring that nuance, that non-binary thinking, into the mainstream. And yet I don’t know how to approach queer spaces, either. I feel like there probably is a place for me there, but I also worry about stepping on other people’s toes, or maybe taking on a label that I don’t deserve to have. I actually do like the word “queer,” as well as “genderqueer,” because they strike me as descriptive but vague enough that maybe binaries can be avoided.
I am actually planning on going to part of a conference next weekend, the Five College Queer Gender and Sexuality Conference in Amherst, MA. So I’ll probably be writing more on this topic in the near future, as I reflect on how that goes. Should be interesting!