I’ve noticed that my blog has attracted a couple of followers, so I decided that it would be best to make an actually substantial post. I decided to tackle a subject that, while related to asexuality, tends to just be accepted and not analyzed a whole lot. That subject would be agendered people, androgyny and general genderqueerness.
I’ve been identifying as asexual for a whopping 2 months now, and one of the first things I noticed when I poked around the community was a lot of androgyny and agendered people. I’ve ended up learned about terms such as ze, zer, eir, it and them as they refer to someone, along with some cases of s/he and other such combinations. I’ve ended up learning a lot about genderqueerness on my own, by searching through wikipedia and talking to people. I’ve decided to put what I know into one resource that will hopefully help people. There are wiki articles and other resources, but I’ve noticed that they don’t have a whole lot of personal views in them, for obvious and useful reasons. I’ll start with what I have the least amount of experience on:
Agender is exactly what the prefix would imply: without gender. This is someone who does not identify as either male or female. They can sometimes be neutrois (where you get surgery or hormones to increase the genderless look) but they don’t have to be. I have seen a decent number of people who identify as agender, and they tend to use pronouns such as ze, hir, and they. These are all gender-neutral pronouns, and I didn’t even know about ze and hir until I looked into it on a journey through Wikipedia looking through random gender-related articles. From what I’ve seen, they tend to dress in a way that obscures or ambiguates their gender, though this might not always be the case, especially in cultures where being out of “the norm” in terms of gender is seen as a bad thing. You should always remember that it’s how someone feels, rather than how they dress, that determines what (lack of) gender they are.
Androgyny is where you feel kind of both male and female. It ranges from feeling like a man who likes girly things or a girl who likes manly things all the way to someone having a closet with equal amounts of “feminine” and “masculine” clothing. There are people who have a somewhat androgynous style but feel cisgender, and people who dress cisgender but feel androgynous. I fall under the latter category.
I dress mostly cisgender (I have picked up a couple of items that are kind of agender, though, as a kind of private pleasure) and that’s mostly out of necessity. I’m just not in a position to take the kind of flak I’d get for being more androgynous, and I’m not in the kind of society that would take well to a man walking around in cute shirts and colorful cardigans unless he was going for the hipster look. In my case, I don’t outright tell many people how I feel, though most people just accept without explanation that I’m not exactly a manly man.
Which brings to mind the subject of how I feel.
For anyone who hasn’t had a gender crisis, or has always been secure in their cisgendered life, there is a stereotype that says that all transexuals believe that they are “a woman trapped in a man’s body,” or “a man trapped in a woman’s body.” Some people may feel that way, but for most people I’ve met that’s simply not the case. It’s not so much a crisis of soul vs. body so much as a feeling of “I’m stuck in a society that defines gender by what’s under my pants or skirt, and by what’s under the neck of my blouse.” For me, it’s more of a feeling that I’m stuck in a society with overly strict ideals for what men do/wear and what women do/wear, and that we would all do better if we just hit a compromise about it. Lucky for me, metrosexuality was a big thing in the 90s, and androgyny is becoming somewhat chic now in the fashion and music world. ”gender norms” seem to be slackening or, in some areas of interest, disappearing all together with the advent of things like the stay-at-home dad and the business suit for ladies (as opposed to the dresses they used to have to wear).
For me, this means a feeling of being a little more rebellious in what I wear and what I do. While I mostly dress cisgender (in fact, I only recently realized and accepted the fact that I’m kind of androgynous), I make no bones about the fact that I love adorable things, disney movies and flowers. I also have about 7 or 8 pairs of shoes at the moment, and I’m thinking of saving my money and covertly buying a pair of those “toe socks for men.” Almost no one would notice what socks I’m wearing, and the feeling of secretly being a little less cis is kind of thrilling.
But what does this all have to do with asexuality?
To be honest, I’m not completely sure. I’ve noticed more of a tendency in the ace world for people to be androgynous or agender, though I still notice a lot of cisgendered asexuals. I’m not sure if the higher number of people outside the standard gender binary (really, can’t it just be a gradient?) is because of asexuality in and of itself, or if I’m just seeing it more because I’m looking more into people from a sexual minority (or is it an asexual minority? I shouldn’t play with semantics at 2 in the morning). I guess only time and research will tell if asexuals are more likely to fall outside the gender binary or if people outside the gender binary are more likely to identify as asexual, or if it’s all just a wonderful serendipity that my identification has opened my eyes to all kinds of gender possibilities.
But, for now, it is 2 AM and I have class at 8:30. I have spent far too long working on this post. Good night, everyone!
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