When I say I hate labels, and I prefer not to wear them, most people have a tendency to turn up their nose. I have never truly understood why my not needing to identify as ‘something’ makes me an outcast. The only thing I truly identify as is genderqueer, but not as a label, more as an explanation of my life living outside the typical gender binaries.
Many people seem to confuse genderqueer with transgendered. I get asked a lot if I am FTM (female to male). My answer is simply, ‘no’. Both communities are very small and seem to get lumped together a lot. I am acutely in tune with the transgender community because I understand it, I get it. I know what it’s like to not fit your body and people’s perception of who you are or who you should be. I empathize with the lack of education, understanding, and resources. I would even be a liar if I hadn’t thought about transition more than once.
Genderqueer, to me, is about being something other than male or female. It is a completely separate gender. Being conditioned to understand gender within the two binaries, I can only explain it as being both and neither. I tend to say that a lot. There is no accurate way to explain what the gender is, since it doesn’t exist in general terms. There are many things about my female body I do not like, however if I was to transition to a male body there would be many things about that one I didn’t like as well. If I was to transition to a male I would certainly have regret, something people try not to acknowledge occurs.
I read several blogs and articles recently on transition regret. It was heartbreaking really. It made me wonder if those unfortunate people were really genderqueer all along. I would love to change my body. I want smaller undefined breasts, something a little less feminine. It would suit who I am. But I don’t want to change genders; I like my gender, even if it doesn’t fit into the rest of the world’s categories. Perhaps the people with transition regret were never afforded the resources to understand themselves better.
Genderqueer is not about sexuality or being queer in a sexual way. It is about having a minority gender identity. And as with any minority, education, resources, outreach and community are essential. Misinformation can cause someone to follow a path that may not be right for them. Grouping someone with a gender outside the typical binaries with people that are born into the wrong gendered body is dangerous. The internet is full of ‘information’ stating that genderqueer falls into a transgender category. It is easy to see how a young person, researching their destiny, can be misinformed and ultimately make a decision they may regret.
I am genderqueer, I am not transgendered. I am a female and a male and yet neither. Surgery to make me fit what I feel is not a viable option. Changing genders physically would leave me as incomplete as I am now. I am something other than what the world understands. I cannot be lumped, as a sub category, with another category, into a larger one. I am not a label, I cannot wear one, I don’t want to.
Echo resides in northern New Jersey with her wife and the two youngest of their five children. You can visit her blog at dysphoricallyspeaking.blogspot.com