Did my first ever Spoken Word type thing on Thursday night at a local writer’s group. A collection of short pieces on the theme of gender, one of which was mine. As it’s Sunday and I’m intrinsically lazy, here it is instead of the usual blog….
Neither One Thing, Nor The Other
I’m going to let you in on one of the perhaps worst kept secrets in the G42 area, I am not necessarily as advertised. Not that it’s actually held me back in any regard. But it would be fair to say that, in most rooms, I have had a singularly different experience of gender than the majority of it’s occupants.
Gender has always been a curious thing in my life. It’s been a battleground, a safe haven and even a resolution. Sometimes simultaneously. But it has always been inescapable to me. There just wasn’t a small enough corner of the world in which I could ever hide from it. Although it took an awful lot of running in the opposite direction to come to that conclusion.
I have no words which could ever adequately explain to you what it feels like to question your own sex. Similarly, no answers were ever easily available to me. I suppose Incongruous is probably the only single word that even comes close. Although it still falls short by a country mile. But to know with utter certainty that you are not as you were intended to be is a very fearful thing. As is just knowing that it would not be wise to broadcast this knowledge. To Anyone. Surely that would only ever end in the lighting of torches and the taking up of pitchforks as you were ran out of town.
Oddly enough, the opposite turned out to be true, acceptance was ultimately one of the areas where the Male and Female genders largely converged. People are often just inordinately good. Capable of rising above race, colour, creed and to my great surprise, even gender. Despite my constant worry. And all those torches that had seemed to loom so heavily on my horizon. Ultimately though, my decision to transition was mostly only ever a storm in a D cup.
Chances are though, that you might already have correctly guessed that not everyone boarded the train at the same stop. And the very notion of Gender can be a polarising thing in itself. To ask someone to accept that it can change might just be too tall an order for some. I remain too much He for some and not enough She for others. And that’s a difficult thing to swallow. The idea that you can be rejected at your core by a stranger who has no frame of reference for who or what you are, and doesn’t really want to either, is entirely disheartening. But to also be entirely fair to those people, they do have a point. Here I sit, neither one thing nor the other really. The difference between us is that I’m entirely OK with that.
I already told you that gender had once been a battleground. Well, my war is over now. I am what I am. Take it or leave it. To somehow manage to land there is hugely satisfying. Because to have kept flitting backwards and forwards between genders was too exhausting. And all consuming. And I’m done with it.
It’s actually just delicious to waken to a world where you don’t and couldn’t care any less about how people perceive your gender. It doesn’t define me. Any more than it does you. It’s a lazy shorthand label that tries to fit you in a neat little box. And we’re more than that. Male, Female and anywhere in between. We are so very much more than swinging bricks or delicate little flowers. And unfortunately Gender is sometimes just a divisive little device that we still cling to while protecting whatever privileges we associate with it.
Having had a foot in both camps, so to speak, I’ve come to one conclusion about gender. Men and Women are far more similar than they care to admit. Although sometimes it’s maybe the same tribe, speaking very different languages. Maybe I’ve gotten the best of both worlds then. Straddling a divide, armed with the knowledge that a male life gave me, while trying to become fluent in Oestrogen a bit more every day. I probably have no more profound answers about gender than you do though. Although I can tell you one thing for definite, it takes more balls than you’d ever think to actually be a Woman.