Friday, January 15, 2010


"I don't see gender as the most significant fact of human existence." -Jim Harrison
"I'm not convinced that what are traditionally considered to be male energies or qualities or female energies or qualities really have as much to do with gender as many people think they do." -Andrew Cohen

I am a transsexual Neutrois.

Transsexual means I intend to medically alter my body to match my gender. Neutrois means that I feel my gender is neither male nor female, and not some mix of the two.

I've had people ask me why I don't just say androgyne- and the simple answer is that it's not right for me. Androgynes are people who identify as a mix of male and female, while I seek to get rid of gender signifiers they seek to combine them. Saying a neutrois is an androgyne is a bit like saying an asexual is a bisexual- yes, they're both more or less equally attracted to both sexes, but in very different ways. Which makes it very amusing when asexuals tell me I should just identify as an androgyne.

Obviously all transgendered people have problems, all people in general have problems. But being non-binary (identifying outside of the man/woman binary) adds a delightful spin to all of the problems.

First of all- the transgendered community doesn't get it. Most of them don't know what to do with me. For a lot of the transsexual community, stealth is the goal. They want to be known as a Woman or a Man, with no trans- attached. The idea of identifying as something that doesn't allow for stealth confuses the hell out of them. I've been dismissed with "Good luck passing as that" a lot.

I also apparently risk their precious acceptance for being even weirder than everyone else. I've had trans forum moderators tell me that I should get back in the closet so that the normal transgendered people can get acceptance and the right to live as who they are. Yeah, people honestly expect me to give up the right to be who I am just so they have an easier time. Can you see the problem here? Actually- the problem is that they were also saying this to people searching for their gender who were trying to find terms to describe themselves, only to get attacked for it.

Second- The medical community ignores us. The Standards of Care for transsexuals completely ignores non-binaries. It's strictly for men and women, and saying that you don't identify as the opposite sex gets the plug pulled on transitioning immediately. I've also had a lot of pressure to transition all the way if I want to transition at all. For non-binary (and some binary) transsexuals, transitioning all the way could be just as much of a problem as not transitioning. If I were to take testosterone, I'd have to deal with facial hair and clitoral growth- both of which would make me very uncomfortable in my body and basically put me right back where I started. Not only that, but there are health risks involved with testosterone and it's fairly expensive and not covered by most insurance plans (not that I have insurance), so trying to elbow someone into taking it is a very bad idea.

To people who don't know a lot about transgendered issues- the reason for medically transitioning is to handle gender dysphoria, or a feeling of discontent with your birth sex, that can be extremely painful and make it impossible to live. A lot of transgendered people have a history of drug or alcohol abuse, self harm, etc to try and handle the pain that dysphoria caused and the shame of being transgendered. Although I don't think transition should be forced, it definitely should not be withheld from people who need it. Transitioning genuinely can be the difference between life and death.

Third- We only acknowledge 2 sexes socially and legally. Socially I may be able to explain it to close friends and more or less be accepted, but legally is another story. There are very few legal IDs that don't show your sex, and it is strictly a two-party system. Even your social security number has a gender marker attached, you just don't see it on the card. I have to decide if I'd rather be a man or a woman legally, and that's still a very difficult decision to make. There's nothing wrong with being a man or a woman, but I'm simply not either.

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