Update: Since writing this post, my pronouns have changed to they/them. However, what I wrote here is important, and was the start of my ~gender journey~
“I don’t really get this,” my amazing & talented editor commented on a sentence in my NYTC Shilo review. She continued “But maybe that’s because I’m really cis.” That was a turning point. A realization that I’m not really cis. I have inklings of gender feelings in January 2016 by introducing myself in a queer-positive, seemingly inclusionary space and electing to use no pronouns (rather than implementing the usual she/her, he/him, they/them, etc.). I am fine with she/her so those are what folks use. It is in that hoped-for inclusionary space that I am painfully denied the identity of femme… it feels like I have to be cis to be femme+AFAB,1assigned female at birth and, if I want to be anything else, I have to let go of my own femme-ininity. I try to switch back and forth between this newly established binary. It feels wrong. As much as everything else feels wrong.
Fast forward a little bit. I follow reviewers like Formidable Femme and Artemesia Femmecock, whose posts reassure me that femme can be queer. I feel nonbinary but not quite trans. And then Caitlin makes this seemingly small comment on my review and, for once, I feel joy. Do my feelings in this scenario make me trans? I like to think so. I like to be part of the trans-spectrum/community.2though trans does not equal nonbinary and nonbinary does not equal trans But I still don’t feel a hundred percent correct.
I start writing reviews on this website. When writing my Svakom Mini Emma review, I feel more trans than I ever have in my life, realizing how deeply I wish I was born with a cock instead of a clit. I make a post to a facebook group,
u kno ur trans when you remember that not every single girl wishes she had a dick to jerk off with instead of a clit.
Other members in the group chew me out because some cis-women have the same desire. They say that I should not to force people into a category. In telling me this, they make me feel like I can’t possibly trans. Something I so strongly identify with at this point in my life – something that seems remarkably different from where I’ve been until now – has become something that still makes me cis. How can that be possible?
I really like certain parts of my AFAB body. I get along with other parts of it and there are some parts I don’t really care for at all. Part of this stems from body policing and politics that affect most AFAB folks but I can’t really count the days that I wish I was born a boy. I long, more than anything, to embody Harry Styles circa 2016; long shabby hair, silky drapey “women’s” clothes, and attracting people of all genders. I have several friends who recently had top surgery and, for them, surgery was the right choice. Some days, I wish it were the right choice for me, but I worry about changing my mind and missing my breasts, despite strongly disliking them at this time in my life. But I don’t want to transition into another body-form and lose the feminine aspects that it has taken me so long to love. I’m more than my physical body but this is the body I inhabit and all of it is part of me.
I don’t know who or what I am or in what context I want to define myself with others. And then a trans friend shares a meme with me about Star Trek TNG’s Natasha Yar being nonbinary with she/her pronouns. Wait… can she do that? It’s such a small thing, but I keep thinking about it. It’s been said a million times that that representation matters and, while I personally don’t interpret Tasha Yar as nonbinary she/her, I see how that post acknowledges the identity that I am discovering for myself.
Trans representation has come incredibly far in the past few years, but, instead of seeing a binary, I now see a trinary but without anyone like me. No longer just she/her and he/him, they/them is also a valid choice. Other pronouns, like ze/zey, tend to fall under they/them. But none of them are me. She/her has always felt right. She/her acknowledges my femininity but doesn’t define it. But I only see nonbinary and trans folks using these other labels instead of continuing to use their assigned/perceived pronouns3Which is not to say they are not valid, or that folks like me do not exist… until Natasha Yar and Deanna Troi tell me it is okay.
During this time, I start watching the CrashPad Series. Beyond being Good, Wholesome (and feminist, and ethical, and I could go on and on…) porn, it’s a place I can find myself. I see bodies that look like mine but, perhaps more importantly, I see genders that look & feel like mine. In fact, in the most recent episode, Calico is a ‘tomboy femme.’ Yessssss! Previously I really liked the term demi-boi but it neglects the feminine aspects of me. Things that I love about myself, like having long hair and wearing dresses and skirts. It also validates some feelings of invisibility facing me that go along with being cis-straight-passing. Having labels that feel right makes me more confident when it comes to people’s assumptions and perceptions.
Gender is a spectrum in flux. It has taken me a long time to find identifiers that I like and that I, well, identify with. Right now I definitely feel nonbinary, definitely she/her, and probably trans. That may (and probably will) change in my future. Right now, it affects how I look at myself in the mirror, how I review toys, how I interact with intimate partners. I’m not “out” to most people who know me. I’ve never made a “gender-nonconforming coming out” post on facebook or anything like that because I simply don’t feel the need to. When questioned in college about my sexuality, I usually shrugged and answered “apathetic.” Unless I was hooking up with someone, it was none of their business. If I was hooking up with them, I’d usually let them know.
Coming to terms with terms makes me feel comfortable enough to share my gender feelings here. If there are other nonbinary (and trans, if it fits you) femme she/hers, I’d like to chat or at the very least help you feel validated in your identity. Even if others don’t necessarily see it. Be you and boldly go.
Footnotes [ + ]
|1.||↑||assigned female at birth|
|2.||↑||though trans does not equal nonbinary and nonbinary does not equal trans|
|3.||↑||Which is not to say they are not valid, or that folks like me do not exist|