Sunday, June 5, 2011

That Little Space Between

I've been having a problem lately. And I'm not sure how to approach it.

It's no secret that I question gender roles. Or that I'd actually prefer greatly to do without them. And yet I know that society only accepts the two. I live in an "either/or" world, and what I'd prefer is an "either, or, both, neither, all of the above, and none of the above," all on the same day. And yet this "either/or" mentality seems to be shoved into my face more and more frequently, in completely innocent ways.
My brother and his wife had a baby close to a year ago. Do you know how difficult it is to find gender-neutral wrapping paper for a baby gift? Everything screams "It's a Boy," or "It's a Girl," and for some reason I'm completely offended by that.

Friends of ours are about to have a baby. We went to buy them baby socks before the baby was born, and were looking at socks for the first few years of Baby's life. Again- do you know how difficult it is to find gender-neutral multi-packs of baby socks? And it wasn't that we were specifically trying to avoid gender-fying the baby, it's that it hadn't been born yet and so we just don't know.

When asked if they knew yet if it was a boy or a girl, their response is "No, but it's a 50/50 chance, right?"

Wrong. Intersex children happen far more frequently than society likes to admit. And do you know what happens? Most often Dr's will decide the baby needs cosmetic surgery to "normalize" the baby's genetalia because the appearance is offensive. But that's an entirely different rant, and not my life. This isn't some big confession that I'm intersexed, although those brave enough to have shared their stories publicly have inspired me with their courage, while at the same time I'm angered and saddened by what they endured as children.

Besides the biology, there are also those of us who don't fit into the body we were born with. Some are lucky enough that they can switch sides and feel more comfortable after surgery and hormone treatment. I say lucky, but I in no way shape or form wish to diminish their struggle. This, again, is not my life. While I know with 100% certainty that I do not fit with the biology I was born with, I also know that a complete switch to the other accepted gender wouldn't fit me any better.

So what do I do? I stay as I am, with my queerness invisible. There are no accepted pronouns for the inbetween and others (sure, there is a movement to adopt some, but quite frankly I don't feel up to constantly explaining to those around me what the hell "ze/zir" means). Medical science accepts a shift from one to the other- in support of continuing the "either/or" world, and yet I would love to change some aspects of my body while leaving others in tact. Unfortunately medical professions think if you don't want to take a Gender Transition all the way, don't start it at all.

I live with frustration, feeling betrayed by my body daily. I live feeling uncomfortable with being invited to things such as "girl's nights" and baby showers and using public washrooms, as I feel a fraud, as though I'm accepting that I'm actually a girl. And yet, if I wasn't invited, I'd feel hurt and betrayed, as though my friends are pulling away from me, because let's face it, I'm a girl SOMETIMES. Really I'd just prefer if everything were inclusive events, instead of exclusive.

THIS BLOG ENTRY is one of the best I've ever come across. It's inspiring for me to read more from others who feel the way I do. His other articles, particularly this one are also quite thought provoking.

There is also Genderfork, with it's regularly encouraging tid-bits and thoughts, reminding me I'm not the only one to feel this way.

There is no solution. There is no magic quick fix. There simply is learning and living daily.

I began this blog as an outlet for my 365 project, as a way to explore aspects of my personality as well as document my life with a photo a day for a year. When I began, I had all of these ideas for gender questioning photos. And yet as I continue with the project, I find I don't question my gender. I'm not confused by it. Sure, I'm frustrated by being pigeon holed into it, but I know who I am. And so my photos are simply me, being me, doing what I do and trying to make interesting pictures out of the random thoughts in my brain. I'm continuing with the project, and I don't expect any solutions from this one rant- this was simply a way to get a few things off of my binder-encased chest.

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