Friday, October 28, 2011


At the moment I can't cope with any of my feminine-coded clothes or accessories. I can't even carry a purse. I can't hack anything coded feminine. Everything I wear, I have to question whether it's coded feminine. Everything I carry, I have to question whether it's coded feminine. My slouch as I walk down the street, my stance as I stand on the BART platform, my body position as I sit watching movies beside a friend: is it coded feminine?

All the time – all the time – I am thinking this, and it's doing my head in. I'm worried that it's a manifestation of internalized misogyny that's making me reject “girl stuff”. I'm frustrated that all the subtle coding in the world won't stop me from being read on first sight as female (until I can get my hands on a binder, anyway). I'm despairing at the knowledge that one big bearded guy wearing a skirt is doing more to shatter the patriarchy than I'm doing with every aspect of this obsession that's consuming my waking life, because “person read as male choosing things that are coded feminine” is a billion times more transgressive than “person read as female choosing things that are coded masculine”.

I hate that gender performativity has us being read as one of two options, when I want to be read as something else. I hate that I can't stop thinking about it, no matter what I'm doing. I hate that “male” and “female” are still seen as important categorical distinctions, even as I find them increasingly arbitrary and irrelevant.


I can't stop overthinking my new friendships. When somebody says or does a certain thing, I find myself thinking: This is what a friend does, right? This person is doing friend stuff with me and considers me a friend. How long until I say something so irreparably stupid that I ruin it forever? Or have I finally got this friendship thing figured out?

Without wanting to speak too soon, I think I have a couple of pretty great new friendships going here in California. I've been here just over two months, and there are definitely a few people who seem to regard me as a full-blown friend. It's weird, though, that, at a time when I'm doing better than I've ever done at the friendship game, my tics and stims and awkwardness in casual interactions have gotten significantly worse.

Like, I went to a burger place where I'd never been before. That should be a simple interaction if ever there was one: you order your food, the cashier tells you how much it costs, you pay, the cashier hands you your food. And yet it was excruciatingly awkward. I just couldn't seem to do it right. When faced with conversational awkwardness, some people start babbling, but I BSOD – just freeze right up and forget how to make words with my mouth.

Like, the other night (we'd been drinking), one of my new friends asked me, “What do you think will happen if you let go of your collar? Do you think you're going to float away?” Like, I was getting funny looks on BART yesterday because I couldn't stop stimming. Like, the other day someone unfamiliar with the guide to not touching jokingly grabbed me by the shirt, and thinking about it still gives me the heebie-jeebies.


Shit, I wish I could just switch off sometimes.


  1. Tell me when you figure out the gender thing. Actually, let me know when you change the world, because I want to live there. I'm a boy, but I like a lot of "girl" things, especially clothes but, like you said, that causes more of a stir, and I'm afraid of the stir. I still like a lot of "guy" things too, so society couldn't fit me neatly into a category if I stopped hiding. I guess I feel like a "tomboy", if that makes sense, but I still wish I was a woman. JESUS, I think I just figured out who I am!

    I'm not clear. Do you want to be considered one gender or the other? I'd say try to relax about the whole thing. Don't let the patriarchy stop you from being who you are and enjoying that. If you want to be "masculine", great. If you want to be "feminine" that's cool too. You know you are choosing it, not being forced to do it. If you want to be a mixture of both, go for it.

    Please pray for me, that I will find a place where I can be myself.

  2. Thanks for the support, Crayons. I'm not sure what I want, except maybe "more options". Hacking my Facebook account to have gender-neutral pronouns made me happy, and I'm considering asking my friends to try using them for a while. Figuring this stuff out is a helluva thing, but I'm lucky enough to be in one of the most queer-affirming communities on the planet, so maybe I'll get it sorted.

    I'll pray for you, and for this messed-up world... Sometimes I wonder if maybe most people are a lot more queer than they let on.