Gender (and lack thereof) 2007-03-17, ed. 2013-11-14

I'm not sure I quite get the whole idea of gender as something salient. For most people it seems like a background guide for normativity - more explicitly so for guys trying to be 'masculine' and thus choosing whether to do something because it is or isn't 'masculine'; I haven't heard many girls say something equivalent to 'that's not something real guys do'.

Genderfuck folk are somewhat confusing to me in more or less the same way; they do have a salient gender they want to be more like (which perhaps doesn't happen to be the one they're born into), or maybe vacillate, or construct a new one from components of each, or aim for something specifically off spectrum. I don't know how much of this is for self and how much is impression management; probably always both to some extent because gender is so strongly influenced by how one is treated, so if one is treated as an X then it's nice if X is what one identifies as also.

I don't particularly find it confusing that someone would have an identity that's not what they're born to (I have several trans friends, and I see nothing odd about that), nor that someone would find things dissonant if their identity, treatment, body, and/or behavior don't match. That's totally understandable.


I just don't grok why one would want a strong mental genderedness in the first place.

As for myself… I'm pretty definitely physically male, and have never wanted to be different. (It's a lot simpler, for one… poor uterus-bearers, getting kicked in the stomach a couple days a month just for having the option to then go through childbirth.) To the extent that I'm not completely dysmorphic*, I like my body. But nothing on the masculinity / femininity / genderfuck plane has an attraction for me. I don't think of myself as 'neuter' either, just… whatever-I-am, I suppose. It's not something that particularly affects me except when I extrospect like this.

I'm not sure how I compare to any of the usual genders; close friends have described me as being some gender of my own. I find it rather hard to do that comparison myself for some reason. I've been told that the sort of stillness I have is a more masculine one, for being center-outward — but that if I am arrogant, it's an odd sort that doesn't seem to play the usual dominance / posturing games. For that matter, I don't seem to have an automatic monitoring sense of that meta-communication (which has been occasionally problematic); I mostly just try towards truth and understanding, not to have some effect on an audience. (This is probably something I should change, as it's rather maladaptive socially.)

* And I am sometimes very body-dysmorphic; it can feel like a very very strange shell with which to interact with the world, by which to be perceived, etc. I have never really felt comfortable with my reflection; it doesn't look like 'me', but then I have no good concept of what 'me' would look like either, so I can't say why it doesn't…

Generally I seem to be drifting more towards neutrality over time, with one exception: that simple-complex thing I refer to as "calm brilliance". That is something I very strongly identify with, feel dissonance when / inasmuch as I don't match it, and very intentionally try hard to shape myself towards. I suppose that's a lot like gender, ne? And it's a sweeping enough identity to be of the same scope as gender. This is far more central to my self-concept than anything else I can think of and so it's hard to overstate how important it is; perhaps that's why I often feel like I can't get others to understand "me". It's an unusual thing to identify by, and a hard one to explain or understand except through gnosis. And it doesn't fit it any gender category I've ever heard of. (My lack of gender, however, is a thing.)

It seems likely to me that my view of gender (or lack thereof?) is what "makes me" bi/pansexual skoliosexual. Like most people, I generally am attracted to people who are similar-complementary to me (or who fit my self-concept at least). Gender is one aspect of that. I've always gone mostly for androgynous/agendered folk of one sort or another, people who aren't strongly gendered in any particular direction. Where they are gendered, I find it curious in about the same way as I would any other aspect of them I didn't identify with myself (like an interest in some hobby I don't share): something to learn from and about, and neutral to attractiveness.