I’ve always had a pretty decent understanding of what the “inert nothingness” feels like within the context of myself; it’s just finding words to describe that experience that’s always been sucky. It’s made engaging with trans* spaces sucky.
But a word caught my eye the other day (two, actually, from different places, and they are related in a way): epicene. You can google it to get the jist of how it’s generally used. But it has this quality to it that really interests me. For one, it doesn’t have the word “gender” or “sexual” in it. And that is a HUGE bonus, seeing as how I’ve recently referred to myself as being not quite transgender, not quite transsexual, and not quite cis; over the course of about a month those words suddenly ceased to have any meaning for me, like a house of cards come tumbling quietly down. It wasn’t an identity crisis at all; I’d just become allergic to that sort of language almost overnight without having gone through anaphylactic shock. It was time for me to move on.
I’ve been on anti-depressants for about 6 months now, and it’s had this curious effect on how I identify. I’ve read some trans* folks confess to being hesitant to go on medication that they need because they’re worried about it affecting their gender. I can safely say that the intersection between queerness, the concept of transition, and depression is a messy one that I don’t really want to get into, suffice to say that yes, SSRIs have changed how I perceive myself and my place in society. That makes it sound much grander than it really is, but that’s the best I can really explain it. It was like being covered in layers of old, chipping paint, dirt, grime, and then having it stripped away to reveal the bare material underneath so I could have a fresh start.
The medication helped me to realize that deliberate, blanket androgyny–commonly perceived by the LGBTQ+ community as being basically short-haired, baby-faced, soft butch–wasn’t going to save me. It gave me room to breathe and ask what it was that I was rejecting, exactly, and what I was trying to get away from. How did I feel that I was lacking?
Honestly, I could have told you 6 months ago, but I can’t fathom what my logic was now. I can’t remember. All I know is that binding is more trouble than it’s worth for me anymore.
Funnily enough, though, my hair has gotten shorter since then, and the makeup still sits unused the vast majority of the time. It’s just that, when I do put makeup on now, I don’t feel the acute anxiety of betraying some prescribed ideal I thought I was trying to live up to.
Even agender feels too political and too aggressive for me now. My identity is inertness; not a vacuum, but dead air. Elemental gold.
Both, neither, whatever, who cares?
I don’t aim to satisfy anything right now, other than my own whims and fancy. No identity, no politic, no stereotype, no gender expression. I feel no anxiety putting on a dress or butching it up, sitting with my legs open because that’s what’s comfortable right then. I find that I’m starting to project both “naive child” and “old woman” in how I dress and carry myself. And that’s satisfying; after all, I’ve stopped dyeing my hair so that I could cultivate my grays.
The second word I’ve learned recently is colpocleisis. It’s a surgical procedure that closes up most of the vaginal opening in response to pelvic prolapse. It’s simple, and perhaps most importantly, western doctors are happy to perform it under conditions they consider suitable. And it’s a surgery I want.
Genital nullification surgery is, it seems, extremely difficult for any surgeon to perform on a female genital configuration, and outright impossible to seek out without pursuing some seriously shady medical practitioners. It’s a depressing picture for those of us who are interested in attaining sexless bodies, and it previously seemed to me that even taking the smallest step is fraught with impenetrable roadblocks if you’re AFAB. I guess I could just go the rest of my life pretending that I had no vagina? Obviously, it’s far from an ideal scenario.
Fortunately for me, I plan on getting a hysterectomy this year. And until I’d heard about the above procedure, I’d grudgingly accepted the reality of a partial hysto because dramatically increasing my risk of pelvic prolapse from removing the cervix was not something that I wanted to risk at all. But if this is the fix that I can get should that happen? Sign me up. Bring on the prolapse.
Surgery consultation is booked for May 7th, so wish me luck in playing up the endometriosis card (and by California law I’m allowed to be voluntarily sterilized for whatever reason anyway). I’ll update then!
Her first shift as a salaried NERV employee. Definitely not in the engineering department anymore. [M/f, GT, sex, fearkink, vore]
(This story takes place very much in an alternate universe where Evas are giant humans who don’t use pilots, and Nerv is located in an English-speaking country, hurr)
Sounds like the title of some extremely disappointed feminist article reacting to a misogynistic commercial or something.
Buuut… it’s actually a kink of mine. This artist in particular:
I wouldn’t say that it’s a kink so much as I love this art because it’s some of the closest I’ve gotten to seeing an image that reflects how my body actually feels to me.
Once again, cue the feminist hate, right?
I know, it sounds terrible: “I identify with small plastic action figure dolls come to life, complete with just enough hint of breasts and a vulva to have sexuality imposed on them.”
But the reality is much more like this: “I identify with small, “feminine”-appearing, though decidedly sexless beings with no penetrable orifices beyond a mouth. They can emote, gesticulate, and speak to express themselves, they can dress up but can never get “naked” in the way that a human would understand. They experience an ambiguous level of congruence with their plastic bodies, and their limbs can be detached and reattached without pain or emotional upset. They have no hormones. No reproductive ability. Despite appearing human in shape and mannerisms, they cannot identify with the organic, fully holistic and embodied experience of being human. To someone like that, sex is gratuitous fun on occasion (or perhaps boring and unintelligible), not an expression of some intrinsic way of being and relating to others.”
Nothing speaks to me quite in the same way as that of a doll with a detached limb on the ground next to them while they look frustratedly or apathetically at it. That’s me practically every morning. Sometimes I play a game of “where are my arms and legs” as I lay in bed, and the only way to find out if I won or not is to move and recalibrate my proprioception through friction. “Aha, that’s where they were!”
I’m becoming less and less dysphoric about my secondary sex characteristics for the most part as well. I’ve discovered soft bras–bras that have no underwire or padding, so it makes it easy for me to forget it–and my chest–is there. It creates for a low-profile that I really like. And last, they don’t feel like female-coded garments. Anyways, I’m becoming less dysphoric, and it’s making me a bit more OK with being read “female”, and OK with identifying with female-coded figures like the above, especially if I can understand my anatomical trappings to be fake in some way.
Their crotch area is something that really fascinates me,though. There’s a bulge there, a hint of “something” that a human would recognize, it’s but ultimately nothing. There is no “underneath” their garment, because there is no garment. That featureless bulge is part of their anatomy. It’s what they have to work with, it’s what they can flaunt, it’s a part of them they can learn to love and enjoy. Along with my disappearing dysphoria has come a disappearing interest in anything but oral (and on special occasions, anal) penetration. I’ve really become enamored with the idea of wearing underwear (or, when I can fork over the dough, a catsuit with no crotch opening) during sex to signal to my husband that I have no genitals, that I want him to see my crotch as something like the above. That I want him to see me as a pretty, expensive, well-designed, plastic doll.
Growing up my macrophilia tended to manifest itself in fantasies where I was some giant’s secret friend and playmate. I was usually a fairy or a tiny dragon or something similarly toy-like, and our interactions would fall along the lighthearted end of the Indian In the Cupboard spectrum. I might live in a little house in their room or elsewhere on their property and I’d be cherished and protected and played with.
It wasn’t until after puberty that my musings turned much more sinister. At the height of my indulgence I was reading the occasional snuff story, but I discovered Transformers and my fantasies quickly dialed back the violence. I developed a thing for apple-pie good guys with a controlling streak. Sex and sexual power exchange dominated my brain for about 10 years, but I’ve found myself returning even more to my pre-pubescent style of interest in the fetish. That is, de-sexualized, with much more of a pet/owner dynamic. Of course my attraction to sadistic types hadn’t gone away either, so mind games, humiliation, and pain are par for the course too.
But that’s what the toy-body represents best to me– it’s shorthand for “cute, sexless plaything”.
I dunno. I keep coming back to an episode of Taboo that featured a queer BDSM couple whose relationship was pretty strictly that of puppy and owner. I don’t think there was sex there, but there was a lot of control, and a lot of love, and it really opened my eyes and presented me with both language and images with which I could use to translate my own needs and desires. That’s the relationship I was trying to imagine as a teenager when the only words I knew was “sex” “kiss” and “fondle”. How would a plastic, sexless doll go about trying to find a boyfriend and then relate to said boyfriend? Exactly.
So yeah. I love that artist. I get a lot of feels looking at it and maybe hopefully I’ll find someone who feels similarly to me.
(Thank god the hubs is very on board with being the owner of a plastic catgirl toy? And yeah, “catgirl” sounds a lot better than “catenby”.)
It’s only been like, 2 years since discovering that I might be trans*, and already I feel myself drifting away from the label.
Maybe it’s because I can’t seem to be able to tolerate very many transgender people when I get to know them even the tiniest bit. Maybe it’s because the trans* movement is white-washed and racist as shit. Maybe because nobody talks about what I want to talk about. Maybe because I’m not supposed to be using the asterisk anymore.
Those are all reasons, but the main one is that my experience of embodiment is very different than most it seems, and the result is that I’m alienated from pretty much all trans* narratives, solutions, activisms, and coping mechanisms. That’s what the asterisk represented for me, and the more that I think about the hubub surrounding it, the more useless I realize it was in the first place. The asterisk is by and large claimed by AFAB nonbinary people seeking a more masculine presentation and way of living. That’s… not me at all either, and I don’t want to be read that way by other transgender people.
Truth be told, ever since I started anti-depressants my dysphoria and dysmorphia have slowly fizzled away, leaving a pleasant sort of nothingness. Not “nothingness” as in something akin to the feeling of being cis, a lack of being trans*, but a nothingness where my physicality should be. It’s different than presentation, it’s different than sex/genital configuration, it’s different than hormone profiles, it’s different than assignment, it’s different than what my internal sense of gender is– it’s literally how I experience my own physical self. My sense of embodiment. How I occupy both my body and the space my body is situated in.
So I’m exploring labels that swap the “gender” prefix and suffix for “body/bodied” instead.
This is definitely an “other” category way off in the boonies. This is something that is giving a name to my experiences of disembodiment, OBEs, and BIID. I don’t expect this to catch on at all, except maybe among a few in the BIID community. If I ever go to a gender conference, I guess I could make up informational pamphlets to hand out, though.
Anyways, this is where my thoughts are headed, I think. For now, I may start calling myself a cis agender person since I’m becoming less and less dysphoric by the day. (Or I may stop caring about what label I identify as altogether since the whole construct is meaningless to me anyways.) But the body thing… I might have more to say on that.
Originally posted on Neutrois Nonsense:
Letters From Our Partners
Transgress Press is preparing its latest anthology, by and for significant others. Please share widely, and prod your partner to submit a piece.
DetailsDeadline: April 1, 2014
Word Limit: 2500
Publisher: Transgress Press
Letters From Our Partners, inspired by the 2011 Lambda Literary Finalist Letters for My Brothers is an anthology of letters written by partners/spouses of trans* people to their trans* partner(s). We are looking for personal stories from partners who are or have been in a relationship with trans men, trans women, and/or non-binary trans* people.
What To Write
We are interested in stories related to but not limited to:
- Personal Identity: How is or has your identity been challenged or supported by your partner(s)’s identity? What gender roles and expressions have evolved through these relationships? Has your self perception of your own gender or identity evolved or changed?…
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My first meditation on this can be found here.
Since writing that previous post, I’ve learned more about the desire to see the asterisk after “trans” disappear. And I get it. But I still disagree.
For one, the main argument seems to be that the asterisk was put in place to distance AFAB trans* people from trans women, and that “trans” means everything that “trans*” is suppose to mean. Now, don’t get me wrong. I would love to see trans women inform the vast majority of the discourse and activism out there (they already constitute most of the latter as it is already). I want Janet Mock and Laverne Cox and Cece McDonald to be the face of the transgender community. I want them and people like them to direct the conversations that it has and heavily influence where it goes next.
But at the end of the day, I have as much in common with them as I do cis people. Doesn’t that mean something? Moreover, how is it that they are allowed to dictate how I identify? Trans sans * is not something I have ever been interested in calling myself. It feels just as wrong and uncomfortable as would calling myself cis. Do not tell me to use that word if that is how I feel about it. They says “trans*” degenders and desexualizes. That’s interesting because I want to be degendered and desexualized. As someone firmly on the ace and aro spectrums, I cannot identify with a term so fundamentally intertwined with sex and romance and very particular narratives about what embodiment is and what it means.
And in that way, “trans*” is still an insufficient term, but it’s currently the best I’ve come across. It’s certainly better than “trans”. Trans people already preemptively hate me for being “‘”trans-abled””” (basically a word that people who are suspicious of BIID sufferers made up). They aren’t even remotely equipped to understand that my BIID, my out of body experiences, my fucked up body map, all have influenced my gender identity and orientation.
For two, “trans” implies that the problems that fall under its jurisdiction can inevitably be fixed with either enough surgery, enough medication, enough clothes and makeup, enough love, enough sex, or enough activism. For me, none of that is true. There is literally nothing I can do that will fix this, that will make me feel balanced within myself. There exists no ideal body for me to attain, whether possible or the stuff of fantasy. All the trans women and AMAB trans* people that I’ve interacted with have a really, really hard time grasping this. Some are outright hostile. And the rest, as I mentioned above, are preemptively hostile because I exist to them only in theory. And theoretically, I’m a transmysoginistic appropriative scumbag.
And last but not least, trans sans * creates a dichotomy: either you’re trans or you’re cis, end of. I’ve been seeing this sort of rhetoric bandied about on tumblr a lot more recently, and it’s kind of upsetting to me to be honest. Again, trans* is insufficient also, but at least it hints at a hope of there being more than a binary out there. And that is really, really important to some of us.