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I am Gender Fluid

October 29, 2020

I keep writing blogs about this topic and not publishing or deleting once published, for what I like to think of as a variety of reasons, but ultimately it’s just one.  Fear.  I made very tentative steps early in the pandemic which resulted in a  loss of friends, although it blew up so quickly I didn’t get a chance to define “gender struggles” and they don’t know the true impact of their words.  I am sure if they ever read this blog it would be a shock to them.

You cannot tell gender from a person’s presentation
[image description – photo of a crowd of people of all shapes, abilities and sizes, all silhouettes ]
[image description: a picture of an umbrella labelled “transgender” with block text sections describing the gender identities included and excluded – full glossary in a link at the end of the blog]

Then there is also my personal experience of advocating for my friends under transgender umbrella (which is inclusive of non-binary, gender fluid, non-conforming, agender and many more identities).  It has met with prejudice and ignorance from people I know to be loving.  My fear of rejection grew.  I could fight for others but could not even recognise let alone fight for myself.

I was also fighting my own ingrained transphobia, which we all carry with us, no matter who we are.  I thought transition might be necessary, until I read further and experienced testimonials from others that I realised it was about my own identity, not the identity which is imposed on me.

[image description: left-author Alice Wong who is Asian-American and has short black hair, is wearing a blue multi-coloured shirt and has an oxygen mask on. Right: cover image of the book Disability Visibility: First Person Stories from the 21st Century]

It was only when I read the wonderful book “Disability Visibility” curated by Alice Wong that the thunderbolt hit me and my truth was confirmed to me.  I stopped doubting myself; I have had dysphoria for years since developing epilepsy age 12 almost to the day that I also started puberty.  The two were entwined from the outset, and as I have got older I have had more diagnoses of different conditions which create a disabling effect with regard to enabling me to engage fully in society.  That’s the difference, as far as I am concerned.  Some are disabled by society, some are enabled.  There is no abled.

I have always identified myself as cisgender as I am AFAB (assigned female at birth) and I assumed the entirety of my body dysmorphia was due to my myriad chronic and disabling conditions.  However, looking back, I see my history.  I first identified as gender non-conforming on Facebook about seven years ago but changed it back not long after as I did not want to be seen as appropriating a term; I was still confused. I joined groups, I researched, I’ve been an intersectional feminist for as long as I have been an activist, so I did this at first as an attempt to be an ally.  The more I understood the more I enlightened myself and the more I realised that, actually, this is me.  My cisgender identity was something I thought I was because I didn’t know myself well enough yet.

When I admitted that truth to myself all I felt was a tremendous sense of relief.  A burden of performative womanhood was lifted, a burden I didn’t even realise I was carrying.  I held up so many barriers to my true self – it’s my disabling/chronic conditions, it’s my shame of self, it’s my rejection of my body, I’m too old, I’m appropriating, I’m an identical twin, I’ve spent years fighting to be accepted as a woman on equal terms (despite never believing in the gender binary), I’m a tomboy, I just prefer trousers, and even then I was still conforming to the gender role I believed I inhabited.

Through joining groups and talking to people I’ve learned my experience is not uncommon.  So many older people are struggling with this, with the years of indoctrination which hid their identity from themselves. 

So now I do know, I am gender fluid.  Sometimes I feel masculine, sometimes feminine.  Sometimes I am not a woman, but I am not a man.  I am AFAB but I am not cisgender.  I’ve lived nearly half (hopefully) of my life performing a role so strongly that I didn’t even realise I was doing it.

This is not something I come to lightly.  It has been years in the realisation.  I’ve been wanting to open up for many months and have not felt able to, but now feels the right time.  All that changes is my own identity, and my pronouns are now she/they.  I would prefer they (for everyone) but am okay with she, as it is a big change for all who know me.  This is not about how I am defined by others, which let to my cisgender definition.  This is about how I define myself.  I am gender fluid, I am she/they, and I am still the same person you have always known.

To all my readers (both of you) please be kind if commenting; this blog has been a long time coming. Years, in hindsight.  I am still fearful but I am finally living my truth and that feels very good.  This is me.  I know it, and that is really all that matters.

More information:

UK

Home

https://genderkit.org.uk/organisations/

https://www.beaumontsociety.org.uk/transgender-organisations.html

https://www.nhs.uk/live-well/healthy-body/how-to-find-an-nhs-gender-identity-clinic/

USA

https://transstudent.org/

https://www.glaad.org/transgender/resources

Global

https://globalresourcesreport.org/

https://www.verywellmind.com/best-online-transgender-support-groups-4800840

Glossary of Gender and Sexuality terminology:

http://thepbhscloset.weebly.com/a-list-of-genders–sexualities-and-their-definitions.html

From → Autobiography

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