The Ministry of Fools, and the Pity With Which Mr. T Regards Them

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On Gender
A friend's recent post got me thinking about something.

I've never identified with a gender. I don't consider myself to be female, nor do I wish to be male. I've never felt comfortable even thinking about it, frankly. This isn't to say that I don't recognize everyone else's gender, I have just never been concerned with my own. I love people who dress up. I love women that are all about dressing to the nines, and I'm all about men in a well-tailored suit. I also love seeing a man dressed "as a woman," and vice versa. I don't personally dress up very often, and when I do, I think it's relatively unisex. But I respect everyone's right to dress the way they please, and I wish others would do the same for me without assuming things about me that should not be assumed.

I've spent most of my life having others assume that I'm a lesbian. I don't know if it's the short hair, the way I dress, the way I talk, my build, or all of the above. I don't wear makeup. I don't believe in heals. I love wearing skirts, but I have a feeling that even wearing women's clothing, I probably look a bit like a man in drag. I spend more time explaining to people that I'm straight than you'd believe. This explanation is often met with surprise, and sometimes disbelief.

I don't think gender identity has anything at all to do with sexual orientation. And I'm curious as to why everyone else does. On a grander level, I'm curious as to why people are even concerned with sexual orientation at all (unless you're on the prowl, of course), but I recognize that I'd be foolish to hope for that to go away anytime soon. Unless you're trying to take me home, why does it matter what category I fall into? Do we need to all fit into tidy little compartments?

I'm not saying that people are even rude about it. It's often a casual comment, not even judgmental (I think). But it happens to me on a weekly basis. Does everyone feel like they need to explain their gender/orientation that often?

I could frankly care less if you're a man or a woman, straight or gay, proud or not of your orientation or gender, and I could care less what you think of of my own identity. I guess I'm just tired of talking about it, because when I talk about it, I have to be aware of it. There are plenty of things that I do identify with. There are plenty of neat compartments that I'm more than happy to put myself in, with or without your help. Gender just happens to not be one of them.

(edit to add)

I suppose the way I dress is "the way that a lesbian would dress," whatever that means. Does that mean that if I were to dress like batman, I would be a superhero?

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I've always identified you as "awesome". I never really put much thought into it after that.

I'm pretty sure you're already a superhero. <3
Especially now that you've written this out. I've always felt that yes, I am physically a female, but it's nothing more than that. My being (or others being) either female or male means so, so little to me. We are who we are. I am who I want to be, and mentally, that just happens to be something in-between the two genders. A nice, comfy mix of both. A mix that is slowly getting more and more comfortable to me. Hurrah!

I like it :) Now to work on the comfortable part for me... I think it would honestly be easier if I didn't constantly feel like I had to explain it. Do you find yourself in that situation often?

Well, I think the fact that I have some considerable self-esteem issues that require me to wear gobs of makeup tends to be helpful in other people's assumptions of me (whether they are true or not, whatevs). So nobody seems to care or never at least they don't care enough to bring it up. Plus, I never see anyone outside of work, home or Katalist.

Why do you feel like you have to explain anything? Are these people that are asking straight up, or do you just feel like you have to lay it out there so they know BEFORE they ask anything?

They are typically people that ask me straight up. A lot of the time, it's folks from within the GLBT community who say things like "you know what it's like," and I have to be like, well, not really. It's bizarre, honestly.

Strangely enough, I don't really have self-esteem issues about my appearance. Frankly, if I didn't like it, I'd change it. I just hate that it makes me feel like I'm breaking some kind of societal rule, where I'm displaying that I'm something that I'm not, if that makes any sense. I don't really know how to word it.

I think we need a couple of new genders: "superhero" and "supervillain."

Great, now you've given me another conundrum. Which would I be? Yikes.

Now I can't remember who it was who argued that Lex Luthor's sexual orientation is "KILL SUPERMAN".

With me it's that, for reasons that were partly political and partly just born of social anxiety, I never became comfortable with the kind of performative heterosexuality that straight guys use as a means of bonding, the whole "WHOA LOOK AT THAT BABE DID YOU NOTICE I AM TOTALLY NOT GAY" act. And it really bothered some people in my young single days because they couldn't figure out what my sexuality was. Some people assumed I was either an extremely closeted gay dude or asexual, which I wasn't, but I'm not sure why it would have mattered if I were.

I completely relate to that as well. You'd think with all the John Hughes movies out there, people would be more forgiving of all our differences. Ha. But seriously, when we were supposed to discuss which boys were dreamy, I'd do a lot of nodding and smiling.

Heh, glad I got you thinking, well maybe not :P I agree though, it's hard dealing with other people defining you by something that in the end is very trivial and honestly not a remotely good indicator of who you are. Some day you and I should have a discussion about this, compare notes and all. I'm sure it would be really interesting. But I think it would be way to long of a conversation to do in comments.

I've always defined you as Mez, which in my book equals tons of things Great friend, awesome person, talented artist to name a few.

Chase, I'd love to have that conversation :) I find this stuff fascinating, even if I find aspects of it more than annoying. The strangest part of it to me, is that I'm sure many people are in this boat, but chose to "play along" in order to play it safe. I wonder what we'd all look and act like if no one gave a flying fuck what others thought?

With regard to gender identity, I suspect it's much easier for a man to not worry about it too much, because of the tendency our society still has to regard maleness as generic: a man is just a person but a woman is a person with femininity. It's one kind of male privilege.

The other side of the coin is that little boys are under much more pressure to avoid girlish things than the reverse. I do remember resenting that a little, though I had no objection to identifying as male.

I'm kind of a "manly girl" if that's really even a thing. Part of it is my size--I'm 6 feet tall and a nice healthy weight, so I don't have that girly demeanor. I've never really felt like the tiny girls I see, decked out in makeup and cute little miniskirts and stuff. But I've always been ok with's just who I am, and I'm comfortable in my own skin.

I have so much I want to say about this, but I'm not sure I could ever get any of it across in an LJ comment. I will say that I really empathize with this. Sexual orientation does not equal gender. Gender does not equal sex. And so on. And I will never really understand why any of those things are so important to people. It's as bizarre to me as equating someone with what sort of car they drive. I am not my Mazda. Nor am I my orientation. And I am certainly not my sex. And my gender? Well, I think those that know me at all pick up on the fact that I'm not a girly girl pretty damn quick.

You may find this interesting. Don't let them fool ya. We aren't binary. I know I'm not. And somehow, from what you've said, I don't think you are either.

And off topic: I'm so glad to see you happy these days. You seem to have really found yourself and your path. It's inspiring and a joy to watch. As always, I send you much love.

Known you for a while......

and never even thought about it. I met you as Mez, and had a ton of fun wondering what color your hair was going to be each time I saw you.

I don't ask anyone about orientation due to one reason: I don't care. It doesn't concern me, unless it concerns the person who I'm speaking with, and if it does concern that person, I'm sure he/she will bring it up soon enough.

Very interesting "article" you write, it's one I haven't read before. I wish you didn't have to put up with ignorant people, but we all do. Some are ignorant about non-important issues, others are just rude about it.

Keep being Mez, though, as you have some really good friends who just don't give a shit about immaterial items such as the above. I'm just happy to call you my friend, even though you were so damn selfish to move away. jk :)

Dear Mez,

Every time I think you could not rock harder, you prove me wrong.

Love, Chip.

Jesser- It is me!

I dress like a homeless lesbian - so I think it is genetic. I think the world is dumb for not understanding scales. levels. whatever.

I agree and we totally should chat. When do you leave?

You rock because you are cool and then you are my tattoo artist...But while addressing gender you mention LGB and T. LGB are really about WHO you are banging. Too many people feel they have to dress like they are gay or a lesbian when LGB are about WHOM you Fuck At night (or day). I had a great lesbian boss with short hair who HATED being called sir.
(Bi doesn't really count because you are being singled out and labeled because of your gay or lesbian tendencies not your hetero ones)
So we come to T. Its about who you are. If you are a girl with some five o'clock shadow or a boy with 38D's and a goatie and no bulging crotch you are still judged by (from what I have determined) on someone eventually fucking you. Why else would you holler "That's a man" or "Crossdressing dyke bitch" at someone minding their own business on the train or waiting for a bus?

I hate when people say dumb shit to me and make me want to sew their ass to their face... when I would never walk up and make someone even think about anything.

Loves ya,


I totally respect and understand what you're saying. I think the only reason that it's easy to see it all lumped together is that there is a strength in community that some GLBT find, in that that support system isn't easily found elsewhere. I completely agree that it's not the same, (GLB vs T) and I recognize that the entire point of my post to was point out that we should refrain from putting these kinds of identifiers on individuals, since each are unique.

That being said, I'm a huge supporter of the GLBT community. I know it's imperfect and filled with flaws, and that in a lot of ways, it's lumping too many groups together. But I want to believe that it's for solidarity and a common purpose.

Absolutely hope that I didn't offend :)

That being said, I've been scolded for being a "dyke bitch" and for being a man wearing a skirt, even though, technically, I am not either of these things. Ignorance and hatred are everywhere, and the worst is when they coincide. The best we can try to do is come together, no matter our similarities or differences, and try to prove a point that no matter our background and no matter who we are, we are individuals, and that we don't need to be judged by what we appear to be or what we are attracted to.

If you're wondering where this comes from, personally I think it all goes back to power relations. There was a time when men owned everything, women were legally something very close to a type of property, and people were supposed to end up in heterosexual marriages in which men were in control. That system of power relations was, publicly, what gender was about, and homosexuality threatened them, so it was seen as some sort of dysfunction of gender identity.

You can still see this in the attitudes of religious-traditionalist types concerning homosexuality; they'll argue that same-sex marriage makes no sense essentially because it's impossible to tell which person is in charge. They'll also identify super-butch male behavior with heterosexuality, and give all sorts of consequently unintentionally hilarious advice about how to keep your son from turning gay. (Take him down to the fire station and having him hang out with all the firemen!)

I love this. This is much more eloquent than points I've tried to make.

There are unfortunate residual side effects for most of us that have either given up religion, or at least chosen to step away from entirely traditional family value type situations. As much as I'd love to say that I'm above this, I know I'm guilty of prejudice when it frankly doesn't matter. It may not have to do with my own pet causes (gender, orientation, race) but I can be quick to judge about class, caste, and religion. I know that I shouldn't, but I still find myself doing it all the time. I have no right being mad at someone for driving by in a sports car, yet It's pretty easy to hate before thinking.

Anyway, I think we are probably all guilty of lumping people together. I hate that it's true, but it is.

Mez, I loved your post.
I just assumed I'm perpetually confused and I'm not interested in clarifying anything. People don't usually ask me straight up, the times I was not assumed as straight female, I was either called lipstick lesbian and automatically assigned a partner (which, at that time turned out to be just a very good friend from college) or in some other occasions all I heard were rumors that came back to me at some point. I decided I would not confirm or deny.

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