yes, I’m genderqueer. no, I’m not trans.
I know that people outside the binary fall under the trans* umbrella, but it’s still not something I feel comfortable identifying as.
The fact of the matter is that transgender individuals, especially those who were male-assigned at birth, have it a hell of a lot harder than I do as a FAAB genderfluid person. I’m four-foot-ten. There’s no chance that I’ll be taken as anything other than a young teenage guy or a woman, and in either case I’m not perceived as a threat or, in general, at risk of assault due to my gender identity. It’s of course annoying when I’m feeling and trying to present as male, but that isn’t even my whole life. I get breaks from being dysphoric, so to speak.
The second thing that consistently bugs me about the trans* umbrella is that there are people who would never identify as anything other than cisgendered but are nonetheless gender-non-conforming. And I feel like these people, though they don’t fall under this umbrella, share experiences with me just as much as a transgender person might. It’s more annoying, less life-threatening; still soul-sapping in a lot of cases where expressing oneself is damn near impossible. Further, saying “My gender changes” sounds as absurd to the average ear as “I’m a straight guy but I love <stereotypically very feminine thing here>”. Which is a mixed bag; it means that as long as we live in the roles we’ve been assigned we’re safer than those who can’t, but it also means that we’re less likely to be taken seriously (which is, again, a good thing where being taken seriously means being beaten up).
Much of the discomfort I have with identifying as trans* is that, honestly, in everyday life, I’m not just stealth but mostly okay with being read as female. My general weirdness is more my identity than my genderfluidity in particular is. Gender really isn’t that big a factor at all for me. (I’m pondering whether I’m more agender than anything else - but the fact remains that some days I’m dysphoric and some days I’m not.)
But if I’m honest with myself, there’s some selfish, irrational fears to it as well. As a child I was suspected to be trans, being as vocally masculine as I was. In hindsight, lots of the things I did would have been rather alarming to those around me when they were just me being me - a powerpuff-girl-loving child who wanted to be a dad one day. And that led to much bullying and ostracisation - as it later did to the six months of prolonged abuse which have colored so much of my adult life. That’s why recognizing that I had dysphoria was so hard: because I never wanted to go through that again.
I’m not trans. I have distinct cis privilege despite being genderfluid, and that’s why I don’t identify as such. I’d feel like I was appropriating an identity which came with hardship I don’t face. But I am always an advocate for and identify with those who are gender-non-conforming in any way, and that encompasses the trans* umbrella and more.
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