Purveyor of Pleasure

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

Tag: masculinities

By Any Other Name

I’ve been thinking a lot about what I call myself, the names I go by. Scarlet Lotus (St. Syr1) for some things, Scarlet Sophia for others, and Scarlet Tai elsewhere. When giving my name I usually say “I’m Scarlet” as opposed to “My name is Scarlet,” a subtle but notable difference. Scarlet is less of a name to me than a title these days, which may sound a little absurd, but that’s how I feel about it. That is a whole other post, however.

The more I think about it the more I wonder about having these different names. I’m beginning to think I just need one that I use for everything, but at the same time that thought makes me nervous. I’ve also begun thinking I need a name for my growing male side. At one point I started using Quyn, but I don’t feel it fits anymore.

In all this thinking I was reminded of a post by Aiden Fyre aka Mina Meow titled What’s in a Name? where they talk about having been born with a bi-gendered (or, other-gendered) name and wonder about that chicken and egg aspect of their gender journey. I was also born with an other-gendered name of which Tai is a nickname, a nickname I’ve been called most if not all of my life. Most people hear the name as Ty, but either way it is usually masculine-gendered. My full name is exceptionally unique easily searchable so I’m not yet comfortable disclosing it on here, perhaps one day that will not be the case.

Point being, however, that Tai feels like home, but now so does Scarlet. I don’t just use Scarlet online, either, most of the people I know here in Seattle know me by that name. At this point I kind of see myself as having a feminine-gendered name of Scarlet, an other-gendered name of Tai, and in need of a masculine-gendered name. Part of this desire for multiple names may be to act as a cue to aid others in understanding my gender at that moment, but at the same time I’m not confident that this is a good idea. It seems like too much work in some ways. At the same time, though, I like the idea of having different names.

I’ve also been feeling a lot more of my male side lately. With the rise in my sex dissonance I’ve come to realize my lack of masculinity. I’m not that interested in being butch or masculine, but I’m interested as presenting as a male, specifically a femme male. I’m feeling more like a femme trans man than I ever have before, and I want a name for that other than Scarlet or Tai. Though maybe I don’t need one.

This all is basically me thinking and analyzing through this post, it’s not any sort of conclusion, just musings. I don’t know how I feel about all of this yet. I don’t know how everything is going to play out yet. I don’t know where this gender journey will lead me. I do know that I have been binding more lately, I haven’t been feeling female but I’ve been exploring the femmeininity that comes up in me when I feel male, which is extremely different. I’m not interested in passing as a woman, in fact I’m sick of it. The problem is that I’m separating maleness from masculinity and that is difficult to present.

I don’t know what to call myself anymore, the name dilemma is only part of the problem. I have been fantasizing about so many new things lately, almost to the point of uncomfortability. I’m still trying to figure it all out.

  1. though I am moving away from using this as my last name []

Gender Journey

I’m having trouble with gender dissonance1 again and am working on getting to a place of doublethink2 around my gender. I just wrote about this, in case you missed it. Because of this I’ve been thinking a lot about my gender journey, my process to get where I am today, and I’ve been wondering about what will come in the future.

Most of these images are up somewhere on this site already, though a couple of them are new. Click for a larger version.

  
  
 

After compiling these, though sure there are plenty others, I am struck with just how long my genderqueerness has been with me. The first image is from somewhere around 2002, the next three from 2005 & 2006, 2008, 2009, 2010, and, finally, 2011. The very last one is from today. Even when I was presenting mostly femme I was gender bending a bit, usually at least a few times a year doing drag if nothing else, but often as a side part of me that I just pushed aside for a while, thinking I could just be femme.

I’ve come to a lot of realizations recently over why I did that, ones I’ve shared with Onyx and which I think make sense in a way. I’m becoming so much happier now that I’m integrating all of me, though I’m discovering even more identities, even more parts of me that are all me yet slightly different combining sex, gender, sexuality, and power in different ways to create a sub-category of me. I’m a service submissive boy, a demanding genderqueer Top, a bratty masochistic femme kid, a loving Daddy, a glitterfag, an innocent and excitable little kid, and more.

While a lot of the images above may seem similar, and they are, undoubtedly, are me, they each show a different gender expression in my eyes. A lot of them look similar, but I can see the first time I felt sexy and confident as a femme, the first time I really embraced my genderqueerness, the fun of dressing in drag in so many different ways. They are all similar, but all different.

Now, with my short peacock hair, flat chest, round hips, and eye makeup I’m becoming more comfortable with the self that changes into the red lipstick, twirly skirt, and low-cut top wearing femme that changes into the steampunky gent that changes into the bratty femme girl and so on and so forth. How I present varies, but my identities are all inside me all the time, choosing who gets to come out to play.

  1. traditionally the word for an uncomfortable feeling caused by holding conflicting ideas simultaneously, though now often used in place of dysphoria in reference to gender issues []
  2. simultaneously accepting as correct two mutually contradictory beliefs []

Ride the Spiral to the End

Just when I think I understand my identities the universe decides to throw me another one. It’s understandable, really, I’m forever expanding, growing, living laterally, and I don’t look at identities as fixed entities but as forever fluid, changing/shifting/evolving right along with me.

I’m not frustrated or upset by this, it’s actually quite amusing to me, but it usually disturbs my daily life until I integrate it. I tend to analyze whatever new is coming up in me individually before bringing it to anyone else, too, which doesn’t work too well. I think that I’m just going on as usual, but I’ve come to realize that what actually happens is I become internally-focused and often my sex drive suffers because of this.

Such is what has been happening for the last few weeks. I finally started expressing the sudden desires that have been arising in me lately to others which has really made a difference. I think part of the internalization had to do with me needing to make sure it was “real” before I told anyone else (whatever that means) and being somewhat afraid of making it real by voicing it to another person.

Words have power, and declaring something for a partner or the universe to hear is a pretty big thing in my world, not something I want to do idly, hence my hesitation. On the other hand, it would depend on the language used, and the language I did end up using wasn’t limiting or certain in any way.

I think the other part of the internalization was being afraid of it. I guess I should actually tell you what I’m talking about, shouldn’t I?

I wrote about it a little bit right when these feelings were starting up: for the first time I can remember I’m experiencing some body dissonance1. It has been a bit of a bumpy ride since I wrote that post talking about being Many/And Not Either/Or and about my masculinities being shy, not in a bad way just in a new and unexpected way. Maybe a roller coaster is a better description than a bumpy ride.

Not long after I wrote that post Onyx and I attended the Delving Into Power workshop. I was in femme drag the first day, boy drag the second (including a button-up shirt and tie that night), and somewhere in between the next. I realized at that workshop that I was tired of being read as a woman. The next weekend at the Aphrodite Temple I was mostly in femme drag in devotion to Aphrodite, but I found myself desiring a flat chest at the same time. Since then I’ve had this fantasy of figuring out how to make that happen: to bind to a flat chest but wear a (semi-)low-cut shirt at the same time. I’m not sure how that will work.

I say that this is new but I can’t say I haven’t thought about transitioning before. Mostly I wrote it off, though, especially because I don’t feel particularly male or butch/masculine. I do know there are femme trans men out there, though, but for as much as I want to have a flat chest and sometimes I wish I had facial hair or a deeper voice I also want to have hips and breasts.

Perhaps needless to say, I’ve been binding a lot more lately and dressing in a more masculine way with a flare of femininity. I actually find myself more interested in flashy eye makeup when I’m dressed masculine, my glitterfag coming out perhaps. It is rare that any gender expression of mine aligns completely with masculinity or femininity, usually it’s some sort of genderqueer just like me.

My makeshift binder is a little too big on me now, though, so I just recently bought an actual underworks binder (988) which I should get tomorrow! I’m actually quite excited about this. Looking back on posts I’ve written and the progression of my gender over the last many years I’m not at all surprised by this new phase, I’m actually somewhat surprised it didn’t happen sooner.

Expressing all of this to Onyx and now writing about it helps clear up some of the dissonance somewhat, making it easier to get out of my head. The disconnection I was feeling with Onyx while I was analyzing everything is definitely gone, which makes our relationship easier on so many levels. I have a feeling we’re going to start playing more with my boy selves together, too.

Ultimately, I don’t know where this is heading, and I won’t until I get there. I’m firmly committed to this gender journey, though, to keep going no matter what I find. I’m reaching out to embrace whatever may come, not knowing what it is, but excited for the opportunity to grow and change and learn.

  1. often called gender dysphoria []

Explorations in Gender: Busting Out of the Box

On March 24th from 7-10pm I will be teaching my first public workshop. The title of the workshop is the title of this post, and I’m pretty damn excited about this. It’s being put on as part of the Living Love Revolution salon & workshop series run by the same woman as the Aphrodite Temple.

Here is the description:

Explorations in Gender: Busting Out of the Box
A Living Love Revolution Workshop with Scarlet Lotus
Gender isn’t limited to two categories but is a swirling galaxy of expressions and identities that is vast and individualistic, which also means it can be confusing. Join Gender Studies graduate Scarlet Lotus for a night of exploration and learning designed for people of all gender expressions and identities. It doesn’t matter if you have been transgressing gender norms for years or if you are comfortable with the gender you were assigned at birth, either way there will be something here for you as long as you are interested in what gender is all about. We will explore new concepts of gender, go over terminology from the basic to the complex, talk about pronouns and how to approach people of non-normative genders, and learn tricks and tips for playing with our own gender in a way that is comfortable for us as individuals. We all have a gender, so why not learn to explore it!

If you are in Seattle and want to come down it is at the Sharma Center. No RSVP needed, but you can contact me for further information. I would love it if you would spread the word about this! Here are the social networking event pages: Facebook Event and FetLife Event.

Many/And Not Either/Or

My gender often comes in waves, cycles, variations; I often have gender swings that can last from a few hours to a few days.

Lately I have had trouble feeling at home in my body, which isn’t exactly a new experience but it is not constant. There is rarely a time that I hate my body as a whole, most of the time I wish I had the opportunity to morph my breasts at will. Not my cunt, just my breasts. I feel I would be perfectly content with the ability to morph from having my own gorgeous breasts to having a flat and possibly hairy chest, or perhaps I would look like Ardhanari most days if I had that choice. Or maybe not. I don’t feel the need for a penis, perhaps because I already have a variety of silicone cocks I call my own.

Currently my masculine presentations are extremely underdeveloped. My masculinities are timid and fragile. Even writing this I can feel them resisting posting this, but I persist.

Sometimes when Onyx is at work and I’m home alone I will put my sports-bra/binder on, pack, and change my hairstyle around. I make myself more masculine or androgynous in appearance than my usual femme drag. Sometimes I put on my suit and tie. Other times I dress up in masculine style clothing and put makeup on.

I say this happens when he is at work because my masculinities are shy and frightened of reactions, positive or negative. My masculinities are not sure how to take a compliment without feeling insecure. Thus I do not show my masculinities to many people or very often, not even Onyx who probably knows me better than anyone. It’s not like the few times I’ve shown off my masculinities in public there have been any negative reactions, in fact quite the opposite.

My gender presentation is only one small part of my gender and it does not define me, but we are taught to judge genders on presentation alone. I think this is often the cause of friends bypassing the fact that I have these masculinities in me. My presentation is very femme-focused at present. While this bypassing is completely understandable it is at the same time hurtful that people who I have conversed with about my genders still seem unable to grasp them.

Despite still embracing femme fagette I am rebelling against the binary assumptions that could be made because of it, it is easy to infer some sort of feminine/masculine balance within it. That may have been part of its original intention, I’m not sure at this point, but it’s not something that I need anymore. I don’t know what I do, though. Perhaps just genderqueer.

I used to say femme drag queen fagette, which just got less and less manageable as my list of identities lengthened and I also began wondering if I was appropriating a term that “belongs” to those assigned male at birth. I’m not sure about the last part, I’m still pondering that, but I don’t want to step on any toes or give the wrong impression. Regardless, though, drag has resonances with me. I am always in drag.

I love drag, in fact. My gender is drag. It’s over the top and fun. My gender is glitter and black leather and gentleman steampunk and corsets and ballet heels. My gender is neutral pronouns and postmodern. My gender is very tangible and also a construction.

I am many/and1 instead of either/or.

I know and participate in gender as a galaxy. A swirling mass of gender planets, solar systems that we all can orbit like moons or pass by as moving asteroids, comets or space ships. Personally, I’m forever exploring every gender I come across to find the ones that feel like home. There are just many that feel like home. I have planets I love to visit from time to time and others I have set up homesteads on, building up my own thoughts, feelings, and presentation of that gender.

I am finally at a space where I am comfortable with owning my gender, but I’m not yet comfortable with sharing it completely. I struggle with the need for my various aspects to be seen and acknowledged while at the same time trying to do things for myself rather than for others.

My gender is constantly in motion even though I sometimes hate the uncertainty that constant change brings and sometimes I wish I could just “pick one and stick to it.” That doesn’t feel like an option right now. I’m not sure if it ever will be.

  1. This might make more sense as both/and when combined with either/or but “both” seems to put a limit on what I am trying to express. []

Gender Exploration: Femme Fagette

I’ve been gravitating toward a much more “masculine” gender expression lately, really since we moved to Seattle. I’ve been slowly making my way over, though it’s only selectively masculine, it’s my fagette persona, my feminine masculinity that I’ve been working on developing.

Like my transition from bottom to Top to switch I believe this gender exploration will bring me from femme to fagette to femme fagette. Just as I knew I would end up a switch I had to explore the individual parts of that identity expression before I was able to really claim switchness for my own.

I believe in order for me to truly embrace all that is my gender identity of femme fagette, my own gender phrase and identity, I will end up never staying still in one gender for too long or coming to rest, much like switch is it’s own identity along with being Top and bottom identities and various other aspects of power and sadomasochistic and any other sexuality aspects thrown in. I claim femme fagette in the same way I claim switch, as a identity in perpetual motion, forever morphing and changing to fit my current desires.

The fagette aspect of my gender identity is somewhat femme in and of itself, so the two really are tied up within each other no matter what I do. I have days where I want to pack, wear a binder, and walk with a swagger and other days when I feel like putting on a ruffled skirt, corset, and a wig, and those days might not coincide with the identity automatically assumed.

My gender definitely has to do with both masculine and feminine energies but also a purposeful queering of those energies as much as possible. I often feel the most feminine when wearing traditionally masculine clothing, and visa verse. For me it is less about the specific gender expression than it is about playing with gender and experiencing it in a way that jives with me, however that might be.

As I mentioned in my last post I’m a bit of a chameleon, which is why, I think, I cling to such transitory identities. I enjoy labels, as I’ve gone on about ad nauseum, but the labels I end up claiming tend to be ones that are fluid such as queer, switch, poly, and femme fagette/multigendered/gender fluid, each of these can mean different things depending on the day and my mood.

One thing I worry about with terming myself “femme fagette” is that damned gender binary.

I recently opened FetLife and Twitter accounts for a “masculine” persona, Quyn or Quyntin Ari St. Syr. It was somewhat of a spur of the moment thing and inspired by Mina Meow and her persona Aiden. Ever since I’ve been thinking about what that means to have the two accounts and I know I as a whole am not fully represented now by either Scarlet or Quyn, but I wonder if I’m even partially represented.

I don’t feel like I have split personalities, both Quyn and Scarlet are me but are aspects of me but not the end all and be all of me either. There’s something missing there, and maybe that’s the complexity of how the two personae interact and feed off each other and there may be another aspect of me not yet fully grasped. I occasionally toy with the idea of getting rid of the Scarlet persona and expanding the scope of Quyn, but Scarlet has been such a part of me for so long.

I worry, however, that splitting the personae up in to, basically, a “masculine” and a “feminine” persona isn’t doing justice to what I’m actually feeling and is just working to reinforce the gender binary, as if in order to express an “other” gender identity I have to break it down into accepted gender norms. Though it could have the opposite effect, I suppose, since although I am setting up these two personae I think what I do with them could be potentially gender explosive and bust through the confining ideas of binary gender. I guess it all depends on how it’s perceived and what I do with it more than anything.

I’m still exploring and getting used to my newly embraced identities and I’m excited to see how everything progresses. I have had a lot of time recently to think about myself and my genders are something that I am working on figuring out more.

Body Hair

I’ve always had a love/hate relationship with body hair, I think that’s pretty common.

I’ve had periods of time where I can’t stand any of it, shaving my pits, pubes, and legs once they show even a slight bit of stubble, plucking my eye brows often freakishly goth-thin so that they are barely there (ah, teenagerhood). I’ve shaved my arms as well, though only once and never again since I thought it felt funny when it was growing in. I have tried shaving, waxing, plucking, rubbing, all to see what works best and what feels the best.

Then there have been periods of time where I love it in one form or another, not getting rid of it anywhere, or just shaving one part or another. At one point I was shaving nowhere but my pubic hair, which was kind of amusing. For a long time I shaved everywhere completely, though I’ve played around with different styles “down there” like a “landing strip” or a vee shape (though I haven’t tried using a stencil) and so on.

Recently I’d gotten lax about shaving, it was simply seeming like too much work, so I decided to stop completely. At some point Onyx remarked that this is the hairiest he’s ever seen me, and that’s true. For the majority of our relationship I’ve been pretty dedicated to shaving. One time when I was scratching my head, arm raised, Marla remarked that she thought my tuft of armpit hair was sexy, and I agree.

I suppose a lot of people associate body hair with masculinity, especially considering a “male” hormone is responsible for the growth of it (it is called androgenic hair after all), and growing more comfortable with an “other” gender expression has definitely been a catalyst for my choice to stop shaving. I’m not exactly interested in passing in one gender or another, and a masculine appearance was not my intention in stopping either, it is more about feeling comfortable in my body.

It’s also quite possible that I may change my mind tomorrow or the day after that or the month after that, I may grow tired of having a thick forest underneath my arms or a dark collection of hairs on my legs and take a razor to them. This is just one fluctuating part of that gender equation.

In addition to the rest of my body hair I have been letting the hair on my chin grow as well, instead of plucking it as usual. I have two little tufts to either side of my chin which are excellent for stroking when desiring to appear deep in thought.

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