Interrupting Womanhood

I’ve been struggling with putting some of my thoughts to words lately about gender and sexuality, but I have to say being at NYU around people who are unapologetic about both queer theory and identity, I’ve finally been able to experience a wee bit of clarity.

Sexuality first:

When I first came out I identified as bisexual (7th grade), lesbian (freshman year of college), and now queer (junior year of college). The main reason I began identifying as queer is because…(get ready for a GRAND epiphany)…it simply felt right. I knew that there were other genders out there aside from “man” and “woman” and while I can say that my track record is mostly lesbian women, who’s to say that I can never be with a person who identifies outside of the gender binary? Queer just fits for me!

And now gender:

Through my feminism, I learned that the constricting roles of manhood and womanhood are the root of a lot of injustices, violence, and inequalities in this world. And certainly people can continue to redefine womanhood as they see fit, and that is great, but for me I’d rather not. I want to interrupt “woman.” For a while now I’ve identified as queer to acknowledge the fact that I’m attracted to people outside the binary, while ignoring that I was struggling with the fact that I myself had the same inclinations. I’m not talking about transitioning. I am who I am. I dress how I dress. I sometimes where dresses. I don’t shave my legs. I sometimes let my mustache grow in. I look how I look. I am a female-bodied person, and that’s fine. But I don’t feel like I’ll ever be a “woman”…and I never really have. Genderqueer just feels right!

But still I struggled. Most, but definitely not all, genderqueer people I’ve met are more androgynous. And once again that’s fine for them, but I will probably always be perceived as a woman. How can I call myself genderqueer if I don’t look the part? Well, none of this came about because I didn’t like the way I looked. It was always about how I felt and what I was expected to be. I identify as queer, yet almost everyone I meet thinks I’m straight…and this doesn’t strike me as odd, it’s just heterosexist norming. This doesn’t keep me from being queer. So why should I stop myself from identifying as genderqueer just because everyone I meet would classify me as a woman?

Sexuality is fluid. Gender is fluid. And so am I…

I may navigate this world and experience some privilege as a cisgendered, heterosexual woman (because that’s what I look like)…but I’m a queer genderqueer. Just thought you may want to know…

Cross posted at Not Your Average Feminist.

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2 Comments

  1. Posted November 9, 2010 at 3:40 pm | Permalink

    Thank you for writing this.

  2. Posted November 10, 2010 at 12:16 am | Permalink

    Thanks for this. Sexuality seems to be better understood than gender (though of course there is room for improvement). Gender is fascinating to me because it’s so hard to tell what exactly it IS in the first place. I identify as a woman because I’ve never been uncomfortable in my female body, and I actually even tend to take on roles that are traditionally seen as female roles – I am a nanny and I’m training to be a nurse. I’m also pretty comfortable with my female-body, which might also be due to the fact that it happens to fit nicely with what female bodies are “supposed” to look like and do. So for me it is interesting to think about how and why other people’s experiences are different to mine, and how much of my identity is genuinely feminine because i was born cis female, and how much is feminine because that’s what I know and am used to. If I had been brought up with a male body and as a male, but with everything else the same, how would I have been different? I think it’s useful to think about, because it makes you wonder about how you’ve been affected by stereotypes and gendered treatment by others, but also because it makes me think about what it might be like for a trans person

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