Purveyor of Pleasure

Pleasure is my business, my life, my joy, my purpose.

Tag: femme (Page 1 of 8)

Four Days to Top Surgery

I had the pre-op appointment on Thursday. I felt so much better after the appointment, not just because of the information that was given to me, but moreso because the level of care, compassion, professionalism, and humor that everyone I spoke with had. I feel in very good hands. Not sure if I’ve mentioned already in here that I’m having surgery with Dr. Megan Dreveskracht at La Belle Vie in Tukwilla. I’m scheduled for Noon on Thursday, October 4th. Now just four days away (basically three and a half as I’m finally posting this)!

I was pretty paralyzed for a while there… or at least moving very s l o w l y through my days. Basically, I had a whole lot of freeze happen in my nervous system after I scheduled surgery. A microcosm of the macrocosm of surgery freeze I have experienced over the last few years, no doubt. I had a challenging time staying in my own experience for a while, feeling stuck and having to sort out a lot of feelings, preferring to distract myself. I scheduled nearly a month ago, which seemed like plenty of time. I had assumed the year I waited between consult and surgery was enough time for me to have sorted through my myriad of feelings about surgery, but obviously not. Not only have I never had surgery before, making this experience terrifying in and of itself for that reason, but this is a trans surgery, so I also had all that to contend with.

My fear and freeze had to do with the questions that I had no answers to. I wondered what it would be like to have surgery. I questioned how I would be able to let myself be the kind of vulnerable and receive the kind of support I know I’ll need. I felt a whole lot of internalized transphobia come up. It had already taken me many years to come to the decision to have surgery, each movement forward finding a new set of blocks within me. Already wrestling with so many transphobic questions for years, I had paused in my road to top surgery after my initial consultations a year ago because of the way they bounced around my internal landscape. All the questions came back after I scheduled. It was no longer an abstract interest or desire, it was happening. There was a date.

Of course, this transphobia isn’t coming from me, not really, but it is inside me. It’s coming from the culture and has seeped into all of our bodies through conscious and unconscious messages. It is coming from the current power structures and social institutions that we collectively agree to. We can call it heterocisnormative imperialist white supremacist capitalist patriarchy if we want to, but no matter what we call it, it is the water that we swim in and where we get our nourishment (and, coincidentally, why we are all actually starving). The assumptions. The caveats. The questions. The comments reminding me not to rush into anything (my response: I’ve been talking to my therapist about this for over two years. I’m not rushing). The assurance that I’m still loved if I do this (my response: that was never in question! And yet, it is, thanks, transphobia). The commentary on the politics of trans surgery or how it may or may not impact my mental health and my life to have this surgery (my response: too much for a small aside, but I’m doing this for me and the personal is political). Then there are the questions I have grappled with for years, why it took me so long to do this: what if I don’t like it? what if it’s the wrong choice? what if it means people will think I’m a man now? why does it matter so much to myself or anyone? why will it make me a “more valid” trans person (as if I’m not a valid trans person already) in the eyes of so many? why can’t I just be fine without it?

So many questions.

These questions, and more, have been running through my head pretty regularly for years. Those responses are all ones I have received directly. This is all transphobia. It’s exhausting.

It has been a long road to this surgery. I recently looked back over old journal entries to find dates for transness/transition/top-surgery-related milestones: I started binding in 2011, using gender neutral pronouns in 2010 and id’ing as genderqueer in 2007. I’m pretty sure it was also 2011 that I finally began thinking my genderqueerness might be enough to consider myself to be trans. I had previously been told by a number of trans folks that I couldn’t possibly be trans because I’m femme and AFAB, an experience that, no doubt, set me back a bit in terms of my self identity and gender expression. For a few years, at least, I was terrified and anxious any time I tried to express anything other than (cis) femme, certain that someone would realize I was a fake and call me on it. Instead of feeling like I could embrace other trans folks in my process of gender exploration, I was at least as terrified of us as I was of cis folks invalidating my gender.

I first really talked with my therapist and doctor about the possibility of top surgery well over two years ago. It always seemed like something other trans folks got, but not me. Actually, I am sure they both asked me about it prior to when I started testosterone in 2015 (which also took me over a year to actually allow myself to explore, my first appointment with my Doc to discuss T was in late 2013 and I didn’t start T until early 2015), and I have been uncertain about surgery all those years. Questioning if it’s a good idea, if it’s really for me, all those questions above, all the thoughts. I wasn’t regularly binding until a couple of years ago, having previously utilized it as part of my gender expression rather than a central indicator of it. Now, and for a while, I have been binding daily (unless I am at home all day with no visitors). I experience more social dysphoria than physical dysphoria.

Because of my level of privilege, the barriers to top surgery have all been personal and cultural, with a minimal amount of medical and/or class barriers to the experience. Because I have private insurance through my husbear’s tech job, I have a trans-knowledgeable therapist I see every week and a GP who is one of the best trans-related healthcare providers in Seattle, also arguably one of the best places to be trans in the country. My fat body has been a barrier to my choice of surgeons, and I did have to endure some fatphobia in the selection process, but there are still plenty of surgeons in Seattle who would take me as a patient. I met with three doctors to choose the one I am going with. I hit a bit of an insurance snag last year, as we switched insurances in August and again in January, and that was enough to be a factor in my stalling, but not the main cause. I took my time getting to this place because of all the barriers I had built up in myself against surgery, against getting what I want and need, against doing things for myself.

Ultimately, though, I’m doing this for me. Sometimes I wonder if transitioning is the only thing I’ve ever truly done in my life that is just for me. For so many years I tried to be cis. I tried to be happy and content with being read as a woman, even though I’m not. I tried to be content with being assumed to be straight, even though I’m not. I tried to be happy with my body the way it is, especially after so much work to love my fat body, and I will be. Surgery isn’t necessary for all trans folks, but for some of us it is the answer. Even if it eases just a little discomfort, makes our lives just a little bit easier, or makes us a little bit happier, it is worth it. It will not eliminate my experiencing transphobia, either internal or external, that is something we all have to work on every day. It will not mean I will no longer be misgendered, though I’ll be more likely to be misgendered as a man than as a woman, so that will at least be a change. At very least, this surgery will free up a whole lot of brainspace that has been dedicated to the “what if” of surgery. At best, I will feel more comfortable, more at home in my own body and in the world.

A Small Coming Out

My aunt asked me if I had a cold, referencing my more-gravelly-than-she-was-used-to voice. I took that moment to make the choice to share with her and my mom that I have been taking testosterone since January. This is only sort of true, as since I started I’ve raised and lowered my dose, paused in my taking it, started again, and am currently playing with the dosage/levels in order to find the right fit for me.

This was the first time I told any of my family about taking T. I was asked if I had a goal, an end result that I was shooting for. I said I’m not trying to go to male (whatever that means anyway), and I’m pretty close to where I want to be. And I realized this is true. Mostly femme-presenting, but not always. A little confusing in the right lights. Genderqueer femme. Pangender genderfucker. Genderfabulous. In the sometimes-called “middle,” though gender is not actually a line like that, but T levels are (or, at least, we talk about them that way).

I’ve gained so much of myself over the last a bit over nine months since I started, and I feel simultaneously more visible and more invisible for various reasons. When I started I didn’t know if or how long I would stay on. I had confidence that my body would know, that I would be able to feel if it was right for me, and I did. And I’ve thought a lot about what I’m getting from T, what I’m not getting from T, what it “means” to be on T, all of that. And I “altered” my “natural” hormones plenty before T through ten years of various types of hormonal-based birth control, so I also figure: how is this any different? It’s really not. And yet it also is.

Both my mom and my aunt were accepting. Not phased much outwardly by it, but clearly a little shaken up by it and the casual way that I shared this information. I was also shaken up by the casual way that I shared this experience I have hid from many people in my life for the last three quarters of a year. My therapist assures me that it’s my choice who I tell and who I don’t, that I don’t have to tell everyone, and I know that is true. And it has become an integrated part of my experience already, and it’s mostly the people who haven’t seen me or heard me for a while that would notice anything different anyway.

I’m not always likely to volunteer information about myself, in fact I rarely do, but I don’t like to intentionally dodge or lie when asked directly about myself. I strive to be genuine in all that I do, so it felt good to share, even if it was jarring and a bit disorienting and if I had been planning it I could have fortified myself a bit more. I didn’t expect any other reaction than what I got, my family is pretty accepting, and also pretty stoic, and that combination is the reaction I received.

More than anything, though, this experience made me realize I’m closer to where I want to be than I thought, and I know more about where I want to be than I have before. It’s still amorphous, liminal, and difficult to describe, and I know it will change as I change. However, I’m no longer trying to grasp it so tightly, define it, dissect it, or understand it out of confusion and desperation. And that’s a big difference.

Two Months

Today I did my ninth shot of T, which makes two months that I’ve been adding testosterone to my body intentionally. I have had so many shifts and feelings about it since I started (since well before I started, really), and I’m endlessly glad I am doing this. It is showing me a lot, more than I can even hope to articulate. It still feels right and I still want it, though I’ve definitely had my struggles so far along the way (which I’m told is usual in this process, but I think often we just hear the positive side of transition because it’s an easier narrative to give and it’s way more vulnerable to show uncertainty with something so often misunderstood).

I am also so grateful for the support I have in exploring this and making this shift, this transition. Everyone I have talked to about it has been understanding and interested in a way that hasn’t felt objectifying, and the comments on my first post about it were so lovely they still occasionally bring me to tears. Onyx​ has been amazing on every level throughout this whole process, and living with someone going through similar experiences has been so useful.

It’s been interesting to experience my conceptual and embodied experiences of my non-binaryness, femmeness, and genderqueerness in this new context, the context of taking T. These aspects of myself have been central to my identity and embodied experience of the world for a good decade now, but I find my relationship with them is shifting as well as I go through this new experience. I am more confident and comfortable with them as I engage in what is often thought to be only for binary masculine people. I’ve been eating up as much media from other femme, non-binary, and/or genderqueer trans guys, which has definitely been helping, and I know that I am not alone in the way I feel and experience my gender and the world, but it’s also a struggle to be so outside of the norm.

I have had to challenge a lot of the narratives I (and others) have about testosterone and what it means to be taking it while also occasionally succumbing to or fighting off the urge to look and present more masculine to make it easier for others to see me and understand me and for myself to really embrace this transness of mine. I have had to define and redefine what it means for me to take testosterone, and I’m still not completely sure what it means, but I do know I want it. I like how it feels and who I am when I’m taking it and I like what it is doing for me, even if I’m unsure sometimes. It’s this body-based knowing and sense that I am doing the right thing that keeps me sane a lot of the time through this process.

I struggle with using the words “man” or “male” as I don’t feel those are accurate for me, though they also feel so much better than “woman” or “female” ever felt. Therefore also “he” feels way better than “she,” and this has been true for a while, but “they” is still where I live. Guy feels good, in an almost gender-neutral sort of way, but genderqueer is still where I live. As I’m feeling more comfortable, though, too, I am caring less what others refer to me as, and that has been one of the best gifts of this so far.

I’m slowly discovering this thing that I’ve kind of known for a while, but that I haven’t really had the experience of: that I can actually be me. I can actually be me the way I want to be and be seen. I can be a non-binary femme trans genderqueer (guy) and I can also be comfortable with people not really getting it and misgendering me (to a point, of course, and it still stings sometimes more than others), but because I’m actually doing the things I need to be doing for myself I’m much more comfortable. I’m more comfortable in myself, and that’s what’s most important.

Thoughts and Experiences of Gender

Someone in a facebook group I’m in asked the question “What are your thoughts and experiences figuring out where you fall, or don’t, on the gender spectrum?” so here’s my response.

A big part of my gender experience at the moment is being sick of being seen as female, though I don’t exactly feel male either, and I strongly identify with being femme. I have played with gender consciously for years, got a degree in gender studies to help me figure some of this out (I hoped it would, anyway), and have been contemplating medical transition type stuff pretty seriously for a while now.

I have known myself to be genderqueer for over a decade (that’s when I started having language around it), and definitely have been genderqueer and worn a mixture of “masculine” and “feminine” clothing for as long as I remember. When I was very young in playdates with friends I would rarely put myself in a masculine or feminine role with things we were playing, but would choose gender neutral things (such as, we were playing wedding and I would be the officiator rather than the bride or groom–though that wasn’t 100% of the time). My mom encouraged me to wear pants and more androgynous clothing, but I also really enjoyed dresses, skirts, and more feminine clothes as well. In high school I began consciously developing my own genderqueer style, which included wearing suits one day, and a skirt and fishnets the next; or sometimes a “men’s” button up shirt, tie, skirt, and fishnets all together; or a suit jacket with a corset; or punk-y bondage pants and a tshirt; or all sorts of other things. I wore a suit to my Junior Prom, and then a vinyl dress to my Senior Prom. I shaved my head when I was 16 and kept my hair short through most of the rest of high school, constantly dying it crazy colors. I have so many other expressions and experiences that make me really realize how long I’ve been non-binary genderqueer, but that’s enough for now.

I was one of the very few out people in my high school, having come to understand myself as “bisexual” (so I called myself then, I usually go for “queer” now) in seventh grade. This and my style of dress managed to make me an outsider and weirdo, but I always felt comfortable there too. However, I had little experience with people who wanted to date me during these years, mostly people were interested in fooling around a bit, but not actually in a relationship.

In college I started experimenting and expressing femininity more, at least partially (unconsciously) because I thought that would help me get a partner. I also lost a good chunk of weight and could fit into the very high end of standard sizing (or mostly the in between sizes, but sometimes that meant standard sizing). When beginning to delve deeper into femininity and explore that I immediately was most identified with a femininity I found expressed by gay men and drag queens, but I also immediately rejected that I could express that type of femininity due to being AFAB, and was confused and sad about it.

I did find myself a partner during this phase when I was attempting to be femme cis woman, and luckily he is someone who supports me in all of my gender expression. I have struggled for years to figure out how to express myself in a way that felt truly authentic, and so I’ve just tried as best as I could. Over the years I’ve amassed a gigantic makeup collection as well as clothing all along the “gender spectrum.” I really enjoy a wide range of gender expression, as I always have. I began packing and binding quite a few years ago, and do so off and on. I also enjoy to wear push up bras, corsets, and high femme dresses. I enjoy it all.

I tried for so many years to be content with being a cis femme or femme genderqueer for a long time. Now I’m beginning to work on being seen more and read as a guy, even though I don’t identify as male or feel male really fits me, but I know female doesn’t fit me even more. If I have to choose (which I both do and don’t), I would much rather be read as male than female. So I’m much more interested in being read as a femme guy than a femme woman at this point, because that at least feels closer to who I am, even if it is not quite right. I actually have an appointment in a few hours to begin testosterone to see if it’s right for me. As I said at the beginning of this post, I’m really sick of being seen as female, which seems to happen no matter how I dress or what I do. I wholly embrace my femininity and the closest way I have to describe my gender at this point is as a non-binary genderqueer femme trans person (maybe trans guy if I need to orient myself slightly in binary land–which seems to help some people see me–plus “guy” feels slightly gender-neutral at this point too). In the last few years I’ve been able to see (digitally, mostly) a number of femme trans guys and realize that aspects of transition are an option for me, which has definitely shifted my idea of what my future could be like.

All that said, I’m not sure I’ve figured out gender at all. I’m getting somewhat close, maybe.

A Big Beginning

I will be starting testosterone on Monday.

I have an appointment with my doctor at 3pm on Monday to learn how to inject it properly. This is both exciting and terrifying for me, but the more real it becomes the more I’m really looking forward to it and feeling like it is the right thing to do.

I had my first appointment with this doctor over a year ago, November 2013 to be exact, and that is when we began discussing the possibility of testosterone. I had been talking with my therapist about it before that. At that time I decided to wait until after I was done with Grad School and I had lost some weight for me to start (I was also just generally nervous about some of the side effects and obviously not ready at that time). While I am not done with school, nor have I lost weight (in fact, I’ve gained a bit through this thesis process), I am tired of waiting and it feels important for me to begin now.

I have understood myself to be genderqueer for nearly a decade, though I have been genderqueer for as long as I can remember. Around 2011 I began playing with the identity “femme trans guy,” but I didn’t entirely know what that would entail. I did not think things like testosterone and surgery were available to me, so even with starting to call myself a femme trans guy I didn’t completely know what to do with that information.

Since 2011 I have had times where my gender has come forward, and other times when I was trying so hard to be a femme woman or a femme genderqueer or anything other than what I have slowly come to realize I am. I have denied myself for so long, and it is past time to really embrace all of me. I am a guy, and I am genderqueer, and I am also undeniably femme. My pronouns are they/them/theirs, or any other neutral pronouns (this has been true for ages), though I may want he in the future.

At this point I am far more terrified of the social aspects of transitioning than anything else. The process of coming out and experiencing other people’s transphobia and transphobic microaggressions feels excruciatingly exhausting to me. I tend to be a fairly private person, and this is not something I can be completely private about. I plan on telling people slowly, in my own time, or maybe not at all. We’ll see.

I am also aware that I won’t fully know if testosterone is right for me until I try it, and possibly until I am on it for a while and my body can really feel into it. I have had the T in my possession for a couple of days now, and the more I look at it, touch the little glass vial, feel into what it will be like to take it and if it is right for me, the more it feels comfortable and right. I don’t know if I will be on it forever. I don’t know if I will want surgery in the future (though I do really like my breasts in general, but who knows). I can’t predict the future at this point, all I know is that I will be starting testosterone on Monday.

Personal Gender Praxis

In discussing gender with a friend a while back I came to the question: where is my default? They had recently shifted into a gender expression that is closer to their identity and mentioned that they were beginning to feel like they are not in drag every day. They have found their default. I chewed over this concept in my head before saying “I’m not sure I can wear anything that isn’t drag.” I don’t just mean this in the way that all gender is drag1, but in the way that I wasn’t sure if anything was more inherently true for me and less drag less copy than anything else. I’ve been constantly wondering: is there a way that I can express my gender adequately?

There are many aspects of presentation often/generally associated with femme or femininity–skirts/dresses, makeup, hair flowers, etc.–that I really really enjoy. I generally think that I’m pretty sexy in femme-type clothing. That is, when I’m not succumbing to internalized fatphobia and feeling down about myself. I really enjoy taking the time to do some elaborate makeup on myself, something artistic, something lovely. But none of these things has to do with my gender identity for me. All of these things are presentation. I definitely favor a femme presentation, and am rooted in that, but I still experience dysphoria and dissatisfaction with being seen as a woman or female.

I have solidly identified as genderqueer for over eight years now and was presenting genderqueerly as far back as high school, though I didn’t know the name for it then. During my first few years of acting I nearly refused to play female parts. And yet I still question it sometimes. I still wonder if I’m just “transtrending” or trying to seem different or unusual or to be a “special snowflake” or some other bullshit. And let me just take a minute to say how offensive it is for someone to use the term “special snowflake” to describe someone else’s gender. There’s something self-deprecating when people use it for themselves, but to use it toward another person is just rude and shows that you don’t actually appreciate their unique identity. More often than not I see it used by people whose gender falls into the binary or someone who would never use it for themselves, and it just reeks of disrespect. End rant.

All that said, despite the many times I request gender neutral pronouns from people in my life I almost never get them. I know that it’s “confusing” because I was DFAB and there are many aspects of my presentation that are femme, and that gender neutral pronouns are difficult to use and remember, and all of those things. I know that I fuck up with other people’s pronouns sometimes, especially when they are gender neutral, though I try to correct myself. The correction is what matters most, I’ve noticed, and not going overboard with the apologies when correcting.

Speaking of pronouns, I had an experience recently where, after mentioning that I really enjoy the ne/nem/nir pronoun set and making a self-deprecating comment about being a “gender hipster” because of it (that seemed to be taken at face value rather than as a joke. Oops), I actually had someone attempt to use that pronoun set when referring to me. They asked if they had used it correctly, and I, somewhat abashedly, sort of dismissed it in a “oh, sure, whatever, it’s all good” sort of way. It actually meant a lot to me that they attempted, but I was also already in an uncomfortable social situation around a lot of people I didn’t know and totally downplayed it. They responded with something that stung about me not actually caring about caring about the pronouns because I was so flippant about it.

Why did I do this? I have thought about the situation a lot, and what I can figure is because I am so just not used to getting the pronouns that I ask for. Almost ever. I’ve identified this way for so long and I’ve been requesting these pronouns for so long that it’s just exhausting to even attempt to police people into using them anymore, so I just sink deeper and deeper into not being seen. When I do get the pronouns that fit me used for me I am overjoyed because of those years of not being seen, but also because of all the times I’ve gotten them from someone, and then they forget the next time, and even if I say something or remind them it then starts slipping away each time I see them… well, let’s just say I don’t get my hopes up anymore.

It’s really difficult to get excited about something that I am just sure won’t stick around. This is becoming a self-fulfilling prophecy, though, too, since I’m not actually advocating for myself in this situation. Sigh.

I’m sure if I presented in a way that was read as more masculine it would at least be easier for people to remember not to “she” me. If forced to choose between masculinity and femininity, however, I choose femininity. I just am not a woman, and I don’t feel like I am cis female either. I have pretty solidly identified as a fem/me trans guy for the last few years. I’ve been seeing a therapist for a while and I’ve talked to a doctor about starting T, which is a possibility for me as all my tests came back in a way that means I’m in the clear (though there is a bit of family disease history that puts me in a little risk) and could start taking it if/when I want to. My doctor, therapist, Onyx and I have discussed it a bunch and have determined it would be best if I finished grad school and lost some weight before starting it.

Problem is, I am not convinced this will help my dysphoria or “fix” my gender problems, though it seems like a good potential start/attempt. There is something to be said about being able to be seen, however. Many of my identities put me in this liminal space between culturally acceptable binaries: bi/pansexual-queer, genderqueer, switch. I am femme-presenting easily-read-as-cis and partnered with a cis guy, and most of my identities are invisible. I don’t know if this will help me be seen, but I know I need to try.

  1. “[T]he more we go looking for that real gender, the more it recedes and in its place we find only other [people], who also stylize their bodies in very specific, learned ways we recognize. Woman is to drag—not as Real is to Copy—but as Copy is to Copy. Gender turns out to be a copy for which there is no original. All gender is drag. All gender is queer.” – Riki Wilchins in Queer Theory/Gender Theory, p. 134 []

Genderqueer in Femme Drag

I’m currently in the Bay Area attending the Sexological Bodywork Training, which is a whole post in and of itself that I should probably write one of these days. Right now, though, I need to talk about gender, because it’s 2am and I have to be out of the house by around 7:30am in order to get to the training on time, but I can’t sleep.

Today one of the topics addressed in SexBod was gender. We were asked yesterday to bring something to wear today that represented our gender. I panicked a little. I didn’t know this would be something to do when I left Seattle, and so I felt way under prepared. This sent me into a tailspin about whether or not, because I didn’t bring something for my two and a half week stay in the Bay Area that meant I couldn’t legitimately claim to be inhabiting a gender space that included that presentation. Am I just faking it? Am I appropriating? Am I really just a cis person who wants to be different? Does my femme gender presentation negate my gender identity or my sex identity?

I have been presenting pretty high femme lately, and I really enjoy high femme. I love my breasts and I love showing them off. I love my hourglass figure. I love corsets and have taken to wearing a lovely black satin underbust corset a lot in daily life. I love my cunt. However, I do not identify as female or a woman. Even though I love these aspects of my body I do also have a strong desire in my being for a flat chest (which I can sort of achieve with my binder), facial hair (some of which I have naturally), and a cock (though my desire for a cock is mostly a desire for my clit to enlarge into a cock and to keep my front hole as well, something that I know is at least slightly achievable with testosterone). These desires are highly conflicting in me as I do not want to have to have one or the other, I want to be able to have both options.

While I recognize, understand, and believe that all gender is drag and gender is simply a symbolic language and I should be able to move in and out of it as I choose, at the same time there is a difference between gender presentation, gender identity, and sex identity, and when those identities and presentations are fluid it seems like people default to the “real” one must be the one that the most easily understood, and that if I choose to present femmeininity I must be cis female because my body is perceived as female. At the same time I have anxiety over presenting ways other than femme, because I doubt my own attractiveness even as femme and adding more non-normative presentation into that makes me question it further. This is hilarious (to me)1 in some ways because I find gender variance and genderfucking incredibly attractive, and I know there are many other people who do as well, but I still hesitate about it.

Because I’ve sort of resigned myself in the last year or so to not being able to be read as what I am I’ve sort of given up. I love femme too much to give it up, and I have not yet figured out how to be seen as a genderqueer femme man without binding every day and taking away other markers of my body that I don’t always dislike. I find that because I am female assigned at birth and I embrace femmeininity when I do bind or pack or try to present in what is for me a more genderqueer way I get dismissed as being fake or trying too hard or like that is my drag and being cis female must be my reality. It often pains me to be read as cis female, but part of me has accepted that I probably will be no matter what I do, unless I decide to transition, and even then (because I would be a femme guy) I would probably sometimes also be read as female anyway. It’s all a big confusing mess to me.

To complicate things I’ve been feeling super femme lately, but I notice that whenever I get into spaces that allow me the hope of being seen as genderqueer that comes out in me stronger than anything else. But what would it mean to be seen as genderqueer? It’s so frustrating and confusing that presenting femme makes me feel like it negates my other identities, but when I have the desire to present as femme what else am I supposed to do?

Mostly it comes down to being seen. I don’t know if there is a way to actually be seen as a genderqueer person who is FAAB2 and femme, because femmeininity is often read as femininity and femininity on a body that is regarded as female means I must be cis female. I often wonder myself if I’m “really” just a cis female who is trying desperately hard to be different and delusioning myself or something, but the pain I feel is real, the dissonance I feel is real, the struggle I feel inside myself is real, so it feels like something innate in me, not something I’m forcing. At the same time I just don’t know how to be seen. I don’t feel like when I say I prefer third-gendered pronouns and I don’t identify as female or woman but I am femme that people actually understand that. It is easier to just let people project their own ideas of gender onto me, but it is exhausting, and often I let part of myself be hidden because of it.

  1. not “haha” funny, though []
  2. female-assigned at birth []

Gender Fierce

I would blame my recent graduate school adventures for the lack of posts on here, but it started way before that so I really have no excuse. The last few months have been pretty wonderful. I presented at my first conference on a trip to San Francisco1 and I started graduate school. Onyx and I (Onyx especially) have been really involved with Occupy Seattle as well since the day it started. He’s been more involved overall than I have due to school, but I have been supporting it as much as I can. We also held our annual V for Vendetta/November the 5th Party which was wonderful. I’ve just about stopped doing anything other than school and spending time with Onyx at this point, the party was the last time I really socialized with anyone else.

Week eight of ten has just begun so I’m working on final papers and the like, this quarter has flown by so fast! I have a lot I want to write about on here, but we’ll see when I have the time to do it.

For now I just want to leave you with an amazingly awesome song by deli.sub aka delisubthefemmecub on tumblr, I absolutely love him2, and I know he says that his videos aren’t really meant to be seen on their own outside of his tumblr stream but I just have to share this anyway. Gender Fierce (Anthem?):

P.S. In case you want more of him: This is also amazing, powerful, touching, saddening; and this also.

  1. It went rather poorly, but oh well, it was a learning experience []
  2. in that way that you can love someone who you’ve never met and only read their posts on the internet []

Femme Galaxy

In 2008 I started a femme-focused group blog. I wasn’t new to the world of blogging, but I was definitely new to blogging as a community. I’ve learned a lot since then, although I will be the first to admit I still have a lot to go, and at the beginning of the month I did a little bit of remodeling. What was once The Femme’s Guide is now Femme Galaxy, with a brand new name, new theme, some new writers on the way, and a few new post series ideas in the works it is almost like a whole new site. Almost.

The biggest thing that hasn’t changed is the focus: femmes and femmeininity. I always wanted it to be a community-focused site, but I wasn’t always aware of how to get that. Couple that with my own fluctuations with the identity of femme and my own gender confusion for the last few years and my motivation to work on the site went way downhill. For more on the low-down of why I changed the name and the things I hope to do with it check out the post I made when I officially re-launched the site and changed the name.

Living in the Void

I’ve been thinking and talking a lot about gender lately. My last class went swimmingly and left me with a lot of things I want to write about on here when I have the time, which seems like rarely. Gender seems to be coming up more and more in everyday conversation, or perhaps I’m now just around more people I can talk about it with. Gender and kink seem to be pretty damn central to my life, including my sex life, right now, which makes sense since that seems to be the only things I can actually post about.

I’ve been dissecting these desires that keep popping up in me to transition, and I think the cause behind them is primarily wanting my gender attribution1 to be something other than woman or female. This has been making me ask myself why I care to be seen that way, and that I’m not sure of yet other than the fact that I don’t identify with those terms and haven’t for quite some time. Some days I am comfortable being seen as I am not, others I curse the limitations the societal concept of gender forces upon us, all days I want to help others understand this world of gender that I live in and help them chuck those societal concepts to the curb.

My bodily sex and gender desires keep fluctuating, as always, but the lack of identification with most things female, womanly, or feminine save for femme is pretty constant. I’ve said for years that the femme gender I am drawn to for myself is that which is difficult to attain on this body, it is a femme that is generally seen as reserved to those assigned male at birth. It is a drag queen femmeininity, a glitterfag femmeininity, a femmeininity I’ve been told throughout my entire life doesn’t “belong” to me. But what if it does? I’ve been exploring this a lot lately.

At the moment I’m happy being somewhere other than “male” or “female,” “woman” or “(wer)man,” “masculine” or “feminine,” even though it means often not being seen and having to explain myself over and over. I enjoy playing with those concepts but do not fit into any of them any way except for queerly. I’m actually okay with that, or at least most of me is, but part of me is desperately trying to figure it all out. I’m letting that part of me relax and become comfortable with not knowing but it’s taking its sweet time getting there.

And so, I wait. I meditate on otherness, on rarely if ever fitting in to any box, and I become at peace with it. For a little while, anyway, until the next misgendering, the next microaggression. I meditate on what it means to be other gendered, to be genderqueer, to inhabit a genderqueer body rather than a male body or a female body. I meditate on gender and I come up with and/or expand on models that help me explain the exciting and swirling complexness that is gender, and I realize I am okay being in a void, even if that often means I am just fumbling around in the dark.

  1. The gender that other people assign onto us, the gender we are perceived as “being” due to the other person’s understanding of gender. []

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