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"I'm A Queer Girl Except When I'm a Straight Boy": A History

So insofar as I recalled I was asked by Distant_Horizon a week ago on that Angry Queer article to jot something down regarding my experiences identifying as genderqueer. This is in no way representative of all genderqueers' experiences or society's reaction to them, since I told very, very few people about my struggles with my gender identity.

Since I was a little kidthing, I knew I was different. I didn't really identify with the breasts I started growing in the second grade (and God knows they haven't stopped growing since, the beasts.) I kind of viewed everything south of the waist as a sort of distant country until I made the decision to become sexually active; I now view the lowlands, on good days, as a literal part of me, and, on bad days, a sort of disembodied cranky-as-all-fuck entity with her own identity, one entirely separate from mine.

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I have been taken for a cis male and actually enjoyed the pronoun "he" being applied to me. In high school I would pack "boy's clothes" in my bag, change in a public bathroom, then go out in a public area dressed purposefully in a more androgynous manner, hiding my mane of long hair under a beanie and cloaking my massive bosom under two sports bras and a thick coat. I wanted to see if I could evoke the reaction a cis male would. Frankly, I think I left people more confused than anything - I once heard a child ask "Mommy, is that a boy or a girl?" while pointing to me.

Rather than being offended, I was kind of thrilled. That reflected a question I'd been asking myself when I looked in the mirror for a long, long time.

I never felt totally a man, mind you - even though, among a select circle of very queer friends, I have been jokingly referred to as the only "gentleman" of the group (and didn't mind the distinction). As I grew, I managed to appreciate and identify with my sizeable tits - at least some of the time - and found myself somewhat able to appreciate these fucking weird curves my genetics granted me, at least in an aesthetic way. But I found myself referring to myself, in my thoughts, as a "unisex" form of my birth name. I didn't identify completely - or even mostly - with my (very stereotypically "feminine") body, or with many of the gender roles assigned me, or with even being female. On the flip side, I didn't feel that I should have a male body any more than I felt I ought to have a female one; I didn't feel any more male than female; "male" gender roles might have fit me better, in some cases, but I certainly didn't identify with them all; "maleness" didn't appeal to me any more than "femaleness" did. I felt split down the middle - or, more correctly, all mixed together, a weird shade of purple when everyone else seemed to lean more pink or blue. Let's not even start with the feelings regarding my genitals, guys. I felt like south of the waist, rather than a penis or a vagina, I ought to have a giant-ass question mark - and I actually visualized it as such for some time.

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Like this, but with the question mark significantly closer to my center of gravity.

And then one day I was Tumblring (as one does) and I stumbled upon it.

Genderqueer.

You can't imagine how stunned I was to realized that was recognized as A Thing That Exists. I wish I could find the words to explain this better - one person assured me I was just a "tomboy", the other that I was simply "confused." Fuck yeah, I was confused, I had just been exposed to the fact that a binary Western civilization is built on doesn't fucking work for everyone and I was one of those people. I explained it to a third friend as follows: "Garters, I'm a queer girl. Except when I'm a straight boy. Or both. Or neither. Which is... almost all of the time."

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So that's my odyssey into my self-identification as genderqueer. My odyssey out is a story just as convoluted, but it comes down to this: I came to a point where the label itself didn't feel... right. I wasn't using zie/hir pronouns. I used the label "lesbian" to describe my sexuality, rather than saying I as a Nebulously Gendered Gentlequeer preferred "female or female-leaning persons," because "lesbian" just felt right and was easier to say. I wasn't coming out to my family or the rest of my friends. I wasn't doing any of the things that someone as a Good Nonbinary Queer was supposed to do, and in the online spaces I lurked in (not saying this is true of all spaces, but it was of the ones I frequented), I felt a pervasive general attitude of "You can't sit with us." I was just a confused dyke with a serious case of special snowflake syndrome, as far as many of the "real" genderqueer people I interacted with were concerned.

And I couldn't decide what kind of genderqueer I was. Was I genderfluid? Was I agender? Was I nonbinary? Was I both sides of the binary? It depended on the fucking hour. Sometimes, in the dark of the night when I am slaving over the last few sentences of an outline, I can admit in the glow of my monitor that it honestly still does.

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However, I currently identify as female, mainly for the sake of convenience - which makes me feel like a traitor to the idea of queerdom, to be honest... but it got to the point where that "genderqueer" label was just as stressful to me as the other two (even though one was mainly worn in private and the other was my public mask). If I have my hair hidden and my tits are put away, I can still be mistaken as an awkward boy. I still awkwardly enjoy it - except when I don't. I wear suits and boots and ties and lipstick. I have absolutely no idea what I'm doing, and that's okay, because for me, right now, it works.

This has been Fishnets Awkwardly Talking About Awkward Experiences.

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