I don’t know what gender is anymore.
I say this not to invalidate people who feel gender deeply. I believe you when you say “I know I am a woman” or “It hurts me when you use female pronouns for me.” But I don’t understand, and I so deeply want to. I want to know why we care, why we are so obsessed with words that point to arbitrarily assigned characteristics.
I know a lot of things that gender isn’t. Gender isn’t our body parts. It isn’t our behavior. It isn’t our appearance, whether how our bodies look or what we choose to wear. Gender is not what you think or what you believe. Gender is not prescriptive, a set of rules that you HAVE to follow or a role you have to take. Gender is not binary, gender is not set, gender changes and grows all the time. But if it isn’t bodies or thoughts or appearances or behaviors or beliefs or rules or even feelings, then what the hell is it?
I don’t know what gender IS.
How can I know what my gender is, if I don’t know what gender is?
On Coming Out Day this year, I said that I was “less cis than originally advertised.” I don’t know what that means. Perhaps gender is the collection of attributes that are most important to you; your defining characteristics. Your core identity. Why have a word for it, if not your name? Gender Olivia?
Here is what I do know.
I am glitter and baggy sweatshirts, dresses with no structure because tight on my waist is sensory hell. I am COLOR.
I am buzzed hair and peacock hair, elaborate coifs and not washing for days because depression.
I am keeping up with the boys because fuck sexism, and the constant recognition that your testosterone makes you stronger than I am.
I am tattoos growing all over my skin, up and down my body, tying me in, keeping me here, protecting me from razor blades that would sap out the ink.
I am an Octopus Queen.
I am rhythm, constant, music in my head, the tip tap of fingers on a keyboard, the way the world sings, the buzz of electronics, the endless sounds sounds sounds.
I am deep pressure and crazy cat lady and cat eye glasses.
I am NO FUCK OFF.
I am autism.
I am depression.
I am starvation.
I am that tickle of desire that won’t leave that tells me testosterone would be an option because it would help me gain muscle and remove this endless fat.
My gender is that I hate this post and I don’t know the answer anymore. It’s shit and my gender is not a collection of behaviors and appearances and desires and needs, because isn’t that just me and what’s the point of having a word for it anyway?
My gender is 404 not found.
My gender is
My gender is that I am a writer and I don’t have the words. Help me.