For a while, I've been resistant to the label "genderqueer." There are a couple of reasons for this. One, I've had several people assume I identify as genderqueer. I'm contrarian enough not to like other people assuming I'm anything, which is a silly reason to resist a label, but nonetheless, it makes me resist it.
The second reason, though, is that to embrace the term "genderqueer," don't we first have to embrace the idea that gender--and the gender binary--exists out there as a thing? After all, if it didn't, there wouldn't be anything to "queer" in the first place, would there?
The first online definition of "genderqueer" I found is roughly consistent with the way I usually hear the term defined: denoting or relating to a person who does not subscribe to conventional gender distinctions but identifies with neither, both, or a combination of male and female genders.
I'm not sure if I fall into that category. True, I don't subscribe to conventional gender distinctions. I think they're silly social constructs. But do I identify with both male and female genders? Not really. I identify with the female "gender," I guess--I feel more comfortable with female pronouns, for example. But as I see it, my definition of the "female gender" basically encompasses anything I do, wear, think, or feel, because my sex is female and I'm fine with that. If I say that my aesthetic is "genderqueer," aren't I accepting the idea that there IS a female-gendered aesthetic, and setting myself apart from it? Saying that I'm not really female because my aesthetic isn't the mainstream female aesthetic?
So maybe this is the deal: maybe I'm just not down with gender as a concept. Maybe I think it's silly and I reject it for myself. But that doesn't mean I'm "agender," really. Because if I was, then I think I'd prefer gender-neutral pronouns, or at least, would be equally (un)comfortable with male and female pronouns. But I'm not. Female pronouns totally work for me. To be honest, I think it's stupid to have gendered pronouns at all, but since we do have them, I prefer female ones (not that I get bent out of shape if people screw up my pronouns). I recently met with a group of about 20 other people in a work context, and we had to go around and say our "preferred pronouns." I was one of the last ones to go, and I told people that I use female pronouns, but that I don't care if they're "sloppy with [their] pronouns." Because, seriously, what is the point of gendered pronouns, anyway?
Which is not to say that masculinity and femininity seem like useless concepts. In the reality of our everyday lives, they are nice cultural shorthands to have available. But I don't like them tied to people's gender, because for way too long, people's gender has been tied to people's sex. Heck, I don't even like the idea of people having gender. Why should people have a gender at all? Can't people just have a sex? Can we divorce the idea of gender from lived beings?
I suspect I'm in the minority on this. I don't like how the gender binary ends up being rarefied and underscored and reaffirmed by people's attempts to mess with it. Maybe I am genderqueer. Or maybe I'm just a gender humbug.
Gear I Like