A hesitant digression about gender variability and fluidity
Gender roles and conventions have annoyed me all my life, especially since I have never clearly known what my gender was and is. I’m serious; I more or less assumed a sexual identity (I’m physically a male and this fact was acceptable to me, with some reserves and many peculiarities and deviations), but I deeply ignored my gender until I understood –or perhaps decided– I had none and, thus, I was agender. Anyway, this was still wrong…
Being physically masculine in the essential bits, and with a general look somewhat more masculine than anything else, I tended to adopt publicly a gender expression which was more masculine than feminine, neutral or whatever it could be. (I won’t talk about my sexual orientation(s) because I do not need to within the scope of this post.)
Anyway, my surroundings were peculiar and puzzling to say the least. My younger sister (not much younger) had come out as a girl during childhood, around her eleven or twelve years of age; she was then transgender: clearly and blatantly feminine in her identity and public expression –her only doubts being with respect to her genitals–; and she was not much different from me, in many aspects, prior to her hormonal adjustment and replacement (OK, she was skinnier, she was blonde and had luckily inherited our mom’s good looks; so, she was prettier; but we were rather similar). Moreover, from mid teenage onwards, my sister’s best friend –and, soon, sentimental partner– was also a transgender girl… and she came to live at home with us. Our circle of friends and acquaintances became frankly biased toward LGTQ+ individuals… And my own questioning never really ceased in spite of my inner decision of not ever choosing between two unwanted alternatives and keeping myself off the gender binary. My peers did not really help much, since they sustained different points of view about me; my sister –the closest and dearest of them all– considered me as androgynous, but tended to treat me as a man (unconsciously she was clearly much more needed of my manly side, and I –consciously– always did my best with relation to this understandable need); her mate always tried to be more neutral or equanimous, but used masculine words and inflections when talking to me and about me. Some friends said I was queer (but I disliked the word); the majority said I was a boy, maybe gay or pan, but a boy. I was mainly dating a girl then; I could dress a bit weird or ’twixt sometimes, but I behaved more manly than otherwise, since it was much easier for me and for everybody else –especially outside home.
My story follows and twists much from here on, and it would not be short to tell… so, I will jump to the present time to keep this post affordable.
All my life I have heartily assumed the role of an older brother with Ari (and sometimes, when required, even of a father of sorts…). However, she passed away nine months ago; my own daughter is already a young adult, and I am single and living alone nowadays… High time to fully recover my essence and change to more genuine looks and ways –as hesitant as they may still be… Aside of continuing to grow my hair, as I do since 2015, and regularly shaving my body, as almost always –with the exception of a moustache, of which I have got rid now as well–, I am dressing very differently. I began to wear my sister’s shoes – mainly flats, loafers and sandals; very comfortable! – when she was still here, living with me. Then, I tried her shorts, stockings and leggings; later on, her tank tops, some of her skirts and her panties…; many of her accessories too.
As for footwear, I am presently buying my own, since she used a size under mine and some of her rigid shoes squeeze my toes. I feel more content and high-spirited wearing woman’s shoes. I guess I missed the bright colours, the lighter and gentler forms, the ornaments and cute details… In fact, I had seldom worn ballerinas, heeled sandals and boots since my teenage (I accompanied my sister to parties, back then, clad from head to toe with her clothes: that is, like a girl; not just playing, but because I liked the feeling and, more than anything else, the freedom to break rules and follow my whims. I must add that it was a truly thrilling game to play; and immensely satisfactory to pass all right –as I did more often than not, with the help from my sister’s expertise in make-up and hairdressing).
All in all, I stare a lot at my feet now, like any child (or should I say better: a little girl?…). I cannot help recalling the terrible tale by Hans Christian Andersen: The Red Shoes —”Every eye was turned toward her red shoes…” But as, aside of being cruel and dreadful, it is a beautiful tale, the remembrance contributes to my feeling childlike and excited. Wealthy too, since my poor little sis left me a treasure of nice shoes of any possible kind.
She –her memory– has surely helped to my feeling growingly feminine now; at least, more than in any previous period of my life. And so, returning to the beginning of this post, I was not ever agender, but bi-gender or, better said: pangender. And quite fluid from one to another. The tendency inside me, right now, is toward the feminine end of the spectrum, quite beyond androgyny. Strictly speaking, this is transgenderism, and thus I could be regarded as a transgender woman. Even though I am not losing contact or identification with the other side, nor with the central, androgynous, part of it. I am superposing genders more than shifting them or drifting across them. Seen this way, I would not be a transperson. Just polygendered or multigendered, and any change or shift occurs only in the way I feel like expressing myself in a given time. Not a weird person; not singular; not quirky; but perfectly normal, for I am convinced that everybody is alike in potency. Aren’t we all alike in essence? …
From my old doubt to my first assumption of agenderness, to androgyny, to manliness, to new and deeper hesitations, to womanliness, to polygenderism… there has been no mutation, perhaps no evolution, either. Just a broader awareness. I am the same.
I end here this odd post a little surprised of how far a cute pair of low-heeled red shoes have driven me… But this often happens when one writes without a clear plan, just opening the heart and searching in it. According to Arthur Schopenhauer, the world is my representation; also, once I am well aware of this, the world is also the expression of my will; it may change –it does change– by my own will. (*)
*[From “Die Welt als Wille und Vorstellung”: »Die Welt ist meine Vorstellung:« – dies ist eine Wahrheit, welche in Beziehung auf jedes lebende und erkennende Wesen gilt. — Und so weiter… Es fährt für etwa 700 Seiten fort.]
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