on the subject of identity and my gender

Some of you may have noticed I have edited my ‘about me’
page a bit in the last couple days.

This may come as a shock to some of you who have only seen
my carefully cropped photos of myself online, and know that I use he/him

I don’t pass as a male.

I don’t pass at all.

I may dress in a stereotypically masculine way. I may speak
in a stereotypically masculine way. I act in what is often considered to be a
stereotypically masculine way. But none of that matters.

I’m short, I’m very fat, I have a high voice, and I have
extremely large breasts. Even when I’m wearing a binder, I have visible, obvious

In my every day, irl meatspace interactions, I am perceived and
interacted with, and related to as, a short, fat woman.

Not only that but I am almost constantly in the company of
my delightful longtime, visibly feminine girlfriend/fiancée.

So, in my everyday life, out and about I am used to
consistently being read as, and related to as a lesbian. As the kind of short,
fat, plaid wearing, kind of ugly looking lesbian that’s the butt of homophobic
jokes about lesbians.

My fiancée and I are read as and related to as lesbians in
every social setting. And I’m pretty comfortable with that, despite the fact
that it very honestly sometimes puts us in social or physical peril. Hell, my
girlfriend identifies as a lesbian.

So imagine my shock, when I, a person who lives their life perceived
as a lesbian, and describes themselves publicly online as nonbinary
trans-masculine, am called out and given shit for describing myself as ‘butch’.

This is just bizarre to me as a writer because ‘butch’ just
seems like the natural adjective to describe someone like me. Someone short,
with a buzz cut, plaid shirt, combat boots, and obvious breasts.

But that adjective is, I was told, only for lesbians and some
people took issue with a bisexual identified, masculine nonbinary person in a
relationship with a lesbian, using that term.

So I stopped using it. I’m not looking to offend people or
get into fights. I’m getting too old for that.

But here’s the thing. While my gender identity has broadly
speaking been fairly stable, that is a consistent-to-me experience, since I was
a kid, it is very hard to describe to people in concrete language terms, and I
go back and forth about how to describe and understand it even for myself. For
a while I thought about living as a man. Then I discovered genderqueer and that
seemed right for a while.

Listen, if I was 16 right now, instead of 31, I would
probably have a gender six words long and a set of neo-pronouns. But I have too little
energy, and maybe sadly am too set in my ways by now for that.

But I’ve been thinking about that. I’ve been thinking about
what labels are important to me, and how I relate to myself, and how I want to
describe myself.

Lets run down the facts.

  • I have a body with many stereotypically female physical traits
    such as breasts and a vagina, and I relate to them personally as female body
  • I was raised in a very misogynistic environment which
    impacted my view of women in ways I’m still processing and getting over.
  • I have pretty severe PCOS, which some would argue puts me on
    the intersex spectrum.
  • Due to PCOS I have a beard and elevated testosterone levels
  • I have continual, severe body dysphoria

Some of that dysphoria is almost certainly related to my
kintypes, given that I remember having a human ‘male’ body as Ken, an alien ‘intersex’
biology as Vriska, and no physical sex as Pearl. So… yeah.

No lie, if I got my Christmas wish body from Santa it would
involve breasts, a vagina, and some kind of penis. Possibly non human standard.
But nobody’s running around with penis giving rays, so that’s a pipe dream.

So that’s what’s been swirling around in my head all these
months, and I’ve been trying to make sense of it. All in all, I don’t feel like
I identify as male. I identify more as a masculine-traited female. Which I
suppose, comes back to non-binary. I identify as a manly woman. Perhaps the
pokemon evolved form of a tomboy.  My
gender could be described as ‘a middle-aged Peppermint Patty working in a
mechanic shop’.

When it comes to labels, man and male just don’t describe me
the way I identify, or the way I am seen and want to be seen. Butch does,
though. So yeah.

So that’s where I am right now. I’m not going to be referring
to myself as a trans man, or trans masculine for the foreseeable future. I don’t
know what pronouns I’m going to be using. You can just use whatever for me for
right now until I get that sorted out. 

Anyone who has any advice on that, or
any of this, I’d be happy to hear from by ask or private message. I’m really useless at this kind of thing, as I think this whole damn post shows.

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