Two blogs in the last week or so have really got me thinking about gender identity issues. Read them, they are awesome. http://www.wildyoga.co.uk/being-an-ally/ https://locksley2010.wordpress.com/2015/04/20/magic-and-a-thing-called-gender/
I find gender identity difficult. From the outside I look simple enough – born a woman in a woman’s body, mum, married to a guy. Except… gender has never been the primary focus for attraction. I fall in love with people. Since I hit puberty, I’ve found this body a weird and alien place to inhabit. I didn’t much like it as a child, but it made more sense then than it does now with curves and hormones. And yet, it also made sense to me when I was pregnant, a rare patch of feeling some coherence in myself. I find anything around binary gender difficult, and women’s mysteries remain a total mystery to me. I tolerate my body, uneasy in it, accepting it as best I can.
Back at uni, I dabbled in psychology, and played with tests, and confirmed beyond any shadow of a doubt that I am psychologically androgynous. Whatever that means. Most of the time I feel like I have no idea how to be female. Some of that is about culture, and personal experience, but the truth of it is that I do not identify much with my gender. I have no desire to be male, either (except occasionally on long walks where the need to pee generates a bit of penis envy).
In my heart of hearts, I often wish to appear genderless. On reflection I think this is primarily cultural. It is because I do not want people to relate to me in terms of my gender identity, or what they assume my gender identity to be. People who cause me to be conscious of myself as biologically female are, generally speaking making me uncomfortable, either because there’s something sexually predatory, lecherous etc, or because I’m being confined to some kind of gender norm. Equally, the people I feel happiest with enable me to feel like a person. It’s much easier to bring my head and heart into connection with someone else’s head and heart when who has which reproductive organs isn’t much of an issue.
In my ideal spaces, how I dress and the shape that I am makes no discernible difference to how people relate to me. I feel more comfortable with people who relate to my ideas and actions, who do not read intention into clothing or consent into skin.
My sexual identity, my gender identity, the social identity I want, is ‘person’. This is hugely important to me. But, binary approaches to gender, and the way in which social ideas about how we construct male and female identities, make that difficult. I don’t want to undermine anyone else’s identity, I know that the gendered aspect of identity is really important to some people. I don’t want to be genderqueer, I’m not asexual, because these are both labels that come back to gender and sexuality and I do not want to be labelled on these terms. To resist being defined by my visible femaleness without offering some gender-orientated alternative tag for myself, is nigh on impossible. But here I am, nonetheless, wanting something that is not a gender identity. It’s taken me a long time to get here.