In my last article, I talked about dysphoria, and particularly the axes I experience. Thinking about it, the part I continue to find difficult to work with is my gender identity. Because, being trans-feminine aside, I actually largely don’t have one. My pronouns are she/her because that’s more comfortable for me than they/them, and he/him just plain doesn’t fit.
I’m autistic and ADHD, which means I’m more inclined to see how my observations of others apply to myself. And, well… I was male for most of my life because the single biggest sources of feminine identity in my life, growing up, were my sisters, my parent (who turned out to be trans-masc), my stepmother, my grandmother, and my aunts. If I wasn’t like any of them (except my parent), then I couldn’t possibly be female, right? And… I don’t think I ever met any agender people when I was growing up. Nor nonbinary. Nor genderfluid. But I’ve known trans people literally my entire life, even if it’s in retrospect, and certainly since I was a teenager if we discount my parent.
But I wasn’t very masculine, either. I don’t like sports, I’m incredibly ignorant about cars (I know how an internal combustion engine works, but I didn’t know how to fuel a car until literally 9 years ago and I’m still incredibly awkward at the pump), I hate body hair and, especially, facial hair, I don’t like peeing standing up,… The list goes on. And while I did do ‘male’ things like Boy Scouts and soccer (football to the rest of the world) and keeping my hair short, that felt in retrospect more like trying to fit in with ‘the boys’ than anything else.
Part of what got me to think about this is that a friend of mine I’ve known for over a decade read my dysphoria article and was like, “huh, that’s interesting, and how I know I’m not trans.” Because for her, gender identity is just a costume she puts on. She usually wears female, but sometimes she likes to wear male. In other words, she’s entirely agender to my ‘mostly’.
It wasn’t until I seriously started to interrogate my dysphoria that I was able to get a better handle on my gender identity, and so here we are, six months after I started HRT.