I grew up in a house with two opposite sex parents. I like to state this because it is not by any means a given in life. My mother was and still is obsessed with femininity and my father has always been traditionally masculine. A pretty traditional upbringing in all senses of the word.
I was closer to my dad as a child. I don’t really know why. By the time I was 3 I could name every car on the road because he loved cars. He often took me to work with him at a car showroom and to various motor sport events which I loved.
My mum put me in dresses for a long time, but as soon as I could choose, I was in trousers and a t-shirt. They made me feel more comfortable. Not to say I didn’t enjoy spending time with my mum, because I did.
The first memory I have of knowing I was different was when I was 6 years old. My mum and my sister had taken me and my niece and nephew to an outdoor public paddling pool. It was a hot day and all the kids were running in and out of the water. My nephew threw his shirt off and ran into the pool with just shorts on. I took my shirt off and ran in after him. I was shouted at and told that girls must wear tops at all times. I protested, but I was really embarrassed. I had broken a social norm and all I ever wanted to do was please my family. It effected me so profoundly that I didn’t even consider what I felt like inside for almost 20 years.
Around the age of 14 I came out to my family as a lesbian. I had a girlfriend and it was becoming increasingly difficult to hide it. It was a relief but I suffered for it at school and in my personal life. To be honest this is quite irrelevant to my GQ story, other than a particular point I want to make:
Sexuality and gender and two different things.
- Sexuality is who you are attracted to.
- Gender is how you identify.
Like with the binary gender norms (male and female), sexuality is also enforced in a trinary (probably not a word.) Straight, gay or bisexual with the assumption you are straight unless you say otherwise.
As an adult I have come to realise both are on a spectrum, identifying as pansexual and GQ. (Being pansexual means you are attracted to the whole spectrum and reject the gender binary.)
Around about the age of 27 my partner of 3 years left me. We had a mortgage together, 3 cats and we had built a stable life. She left without warning and little explanation. My boss at the time was an unsympathetic homophobe who basically told me to get over it. I sat and cried at my desk everyday until HR eventually signed me off sick for a week. I drank a lot and had time to think about what she had potentially been suppressing in me. I started to explore my feelings about gender on Tumblr and Reddit. I started to connect with people who felt the same way about themselves as me. We didn’t fit in the gender binary. We didn’t identify as male or female. We were gender queer.
Now here is where it gets complicated so pay attention. There is a trans* umbrella. It encompasses lots of different identities such as gender fluid, bigender and agender as well as gender queer. I personally am fluid in my gender. Sometimes I feel more masculine or more feminine. However most of the time I’m entirely androgynous. I identify as gender queer because I don’t fit. I’m queer of the norm. If I want to actually pass as a cis male, then I will dress as one and do exactly that. I find it harder to pass as cis female for fucks sake and I have a damn vagina!
A lot of my gender queer friends have gone on to transition to become who they really are. For example having a female body and transitioning to that of a male. They are now transgendered people. Me on the other hand, I am already who I am and that is queer as bloody folk. 😉
So what is my life like on a daily basis? I get up and I think about how I’m feeling. Shall I wear tight jeans or shall I wear a baggy hoodie? Shall I leave the hairs on my lip or shall I pluck them? Suitably dressed for how I’m feeling I’ll go to the gym. Unfortunately at my local gym they do not have gender neutral changing rooms so I have to make a decision based on how I am presenting to the world. Sometimes this is made for me and I am ushered into the male changing rooms because even being androgynous means you are definitely male in the binary world. After the gym I’ll go to the supermarket to grab some shopping. I’ll need a wee because I’ll have drunk a lot post workout. Again there are no gender neutral facilities. I look at the door and the symbols don’t match who I am or how I feel. I have to yet again make a decision I’m not comfortable with. If I go into the female toilets I am often whispered about and sometimes even blatantly shouted out. If I go in the male toilets I could get beaten up. Ah I’m at home now. I’ll check Facebook and see what’s going on in the world. I’ll get misgendered as ‘she’ by strangers and even people I know when my profile clearly states my preferred pronouns are they and them. You know I’m really tired already and I haven’t even been to work yet. She this and she that all fucking night long. ARGH!!!!!!!
As you can see it’s difficult being a non-binary person in a binary world. Every action can be a stressful situation just waiting to open up and swallow you. Only around people who truly accept me can I be comfortable and sometimes even they make mistakes. It’s so hard to be unconditioned when your whole life you are told that the binary is the only thing there is.
Being gender queer certainly isn’t any form of attention seeking as I have been accused of in the past. It’s just me trying to express how I really feel inside on the outside.
I hope this little ramble has made things clearer for you. If you have any questions, please feel free to ask them below.
6 thoughts on “My Gender Queer Life”
Reblogged this on XCLUSIVX DIY fanzine collective. Hardcore. Veganism. Politics. and commented:
Great, first-hand, insight into the world of gender queerness. Thank you for this!
The more I read, hopefully the better I ll get to know you Emzy.Many of these genders were completely unknown to me.thank you for the insight. Keep holding your head high.x
I can’t love this post enough.
Beautifully written and informative.
I love this. Thank you for taking the time to help educate others on the vast, colorful and beautiful spectrum that is one’s identity as a person outside the binary we have all grown up with. I commend you for your courage and openness to share this, as well as your courage to go out into the world and face the challenges you face on a daily basis with someone so simple for most of us like going to a restroom. I have learned so much from you, and my heart and mind is continually opening as I hope others hearts and minds will open too, as well as they come to understand not everyone fits into the same molds, and not only is that okay, it’s wonderful and it’s beautiful. Individuality should not be shamed, it should be celebrated.
“Around about the age of 27 my partner of 3 years left me. We had a mortgage together, 3 cats and we had built a stable life”
your life was far from stable, you can Caz had screaming arguments ,you was aggressive and controlling.There was never any compromise from you either nor would you admit there was anything wrong.You was also terrible with money and even undercut her on the flat you owned together after the split, yet you continue to paint yourself as a victim and her a villain when the subject comes up.Caz was not emotionally abusive like you make out, she was reacting to your bad behavior.Caz took a long time to get over the unstable relationship before she moved on,there was no “affair”.
Hi Kate! Thanks for getting in touch.
I’d like to address some of the points you have made on my blog post from 2015, referencing a relationship with someone who you clearly know and publicly named, from 2009-2012. (I did not name them throughout my blog post and never had any intention of doing so.)
I feel like I need to be accountable for my past actions because this is how I am growing as a person in 2018 and beyond. I’m going to address each point you have made methodically and truthfully because I have nothing to hide or be ashamed of.
“your life was far from stable, you can Caz had screaming arguments”
My ex-partner and I enjoyed what I believed was a stable relationship. I could count on her to pay her way, look after me when I was ill and be a shoulder to cry on, at least in the beginning.
What you may not know about her and I is that we had been friends since we were 15 years old and I actually ended my relationship with someone else to be with her.
As the years went past, sure we argued but that turned into something more sinister.
“you was aggressive and controlling.”
As an autistic person I am often told that my tone or my method of communication is aggressive, when 99% of the time I am just communicating in a very precise and perhaps blunt way.
There are certain elements in my day that I need control over to function, for example I need to know where my keys are. I would always leave them in the same place and I would get very emotional and upset if my keys were not in that same place when I went to get them because she had been cleaning. These were elements that I’m sure had we known that I was autistic in 2009-2012 we could have worked on and prevented the inevitable meltdown. However we did not not know and I would like to apologise for any upset I caused anyone at that time, because I simply did not know what was upsetting me so much and why I was behaving in the way that I was.
However the true aggressiveness and controlling nature did not come from me in this relationship. It came from her. She would continually talk over me in social situations so my voice wasn’t heard and her’s was the loudest. She would scold me for talking like, “common scum” and coerce me to put on an upper middle class accent to impress her friends and family. She didn’t like that I didn’t go to university yet owned multiple properties, earnt more than her and at the time had a better relationship with my family. To counteract this she would embarrass me in discussions about History, a subject she had a degree in. “That’s a bit GCSE isn’t it?” When we got home she would tell me off for the way I had spoken to people, even if when questioned no one else had a problem at all.
I’ll never forget buying her an engagement ring and proposing on the shore of Loch Ness to be told that we had to go into town the next day and buy a more expensive ring because her family would know I’d spent less than £300 on this one. It was her demanding and expensive taste that lead me into financial difficulty.
As time went on this behaviour became more and more prevalent and people around me started to question if the relationship was emotionally abusive, including my family. I just thought they were jealous of our successful life together. Afterall we had new cars, good jobs and owned property.
“You was also terrible with money and even undercut her on the flat you owned together after the split, yet you continue to paint yourself as a victim and her a villain when the subject comes up.”
I’ve never been good with money, but having a girlfriend who wanted the world when we didn’t have the money and would become more controlling and abusive if I didn’t give her what she wanted, led to more problems.
Just before we went to Sardinia in 2012, she convinced me to take out a £6,000 loan so she could clear her debt and start a fresh. She left me four weeks later, saddled with that debt. (Part of her method of control was to have me financially dependent on her.)
After we had been separated for six days I received a letter in the post demanding that I buy her out of the flat we both owned together, which I thought was a little unfair at the time, but now I can see she only wanted what was legally hers. This all went through a solicitor. She asked for £16,000 and that is what I gave her within 28 days as legally agreed. Seeing as she paid a £30,000 deposit on the flat, half of what I owed her was actually £1,000 less but I just wanted her out of my life so gave in.
To be honest the subject doesn’t come up because I don’t live in Bedfordshire anymore and I don’t associate with anyone I knew back then who would also have contact with her. I wrote this blog three years ago and to my knowledge not only did I not name her because it could be detrimental to her career, I’ve never mentioned the full story to anyone, ever. Not even my best friends in the whole world, my husband and certainly not in any online forum.
“Caz was not emotionally abusive like you make out, she was reacting to your bad behavior.”
You did not see what was happening behind closed doors, the years of therapy I’ve had to endure and the constant struggle with trauma that I have to this day and why would you? No one is ever going to admit to being an abusive person, especially not to people who they care about and see on a regular basis. It makes a person look like a total monster.
Even if my behaviour was as bad as she has made out, (it wasn’t) her reaction to it as a professional in her particular field was disgraceful. With all her training and expertise, why would she react in such a controlling and manipulative way? I honestly worry about the people she comes into contact with in the future.
“Caz took a long time to get over the unstable relationship before she moved on,there was no “affair”.”
Again, how do you know what happened behind closed doors with regards to an affair? You only know what you have been told. You didn’t see and hear the things I did when her and her sister came into my flat to collect her belongings less than 24 hours after she left me. I’m an extremely observant person and my hearing is super keen. I was not mistaken.
As for it taking her a long time to get over a relationship with me, I’m sorry to hear that. I didn’t mean to cause her any pain, but believe you me, her whole goal in life was to inflict it on me.
All further comments and contact will be blocked and flagged as abuse.