I am living in the closet again. I want to burst out shouting hello world! Here I am! I am neither male or female, but I have tried to be both. When I was a teenager just on the cusp of… I don’t even know what to call my gender but I tell people I am female, the cusp of quadruple closethood I guess? I tried to cut my breasts off and to cut my vagina into a proper penis. At that point I had just learned about being transsexual, which isn’t the right sticky label for what closet I am in. This closet feels like a void of identity. Oh I know who I am but the lack of words for this space between male and female, when it shifts on you daily like a constant earth quake? All I know is, if I go outside and tell the world I am a dead person. That’s the thing, I am a person.
I am pansexual. I am human. I am woman. I am male. I am intersexed. My gender flips about like a fish out of water, or it just feels suffocating really because the gender non normative closet is as painful as the sexuality closet. I long to feel that relief I felt the first time I told someone, my first love. I long to feel so free because I can be myself. I cannot present as either male or female, my body isn’t. I am one of those “girls” that is born and looks normal at first but as they grow up you start noticing things. I am a “man” with a Christina Hendrix figure, I am built for me, but being myself is deadly. Why? It makes absolutely no sense.
I started exploring this publically once, I even started a blog just about my gender “issues”. The thing is, my fear of being caught and murdered if someone looked at the way I write and then came across my speculative fiction was too high. People read what I write daily, in many forms. They hear my words sometimes on their TV, their radios, they hear my voice. My voice which is considered sultry and the ultra femme because it is a rich and rather deep voice for a woman. Of course I used to sing a perfect and clear soprano. Except that so do most boys who are on that hard line of grunting males with bulging muscles.
I was thinking about murder tonight, yes, being in the closet makes me depressed. If you can imagine, I live somewhere that leads to murder constantly. Children get murdered here for being too feminine, too masculine. My parents certainly tried to gender norm me to death. If I cut my hair short, because of course I had to be a girl, it meant a beating even if I asked for the hair cut. This didn’t cure my confusion over this sensation that I am not either gender. I am not nongender, I am going to someday name it myself. Mixed gender feels close to right. Maybe it’s my fear that stops me from picking one. If I name my gender, the closet will be more suffocating. The more suffocating it is, the more likely I am to let slip in this neighborhood where a landlord stabbed someone to death because the tennant had a family dinner and had his brother who wasn’t on the lease over for a single evening. If people die over that, and my local news often makes a mockery of women as if it’s the previous eras of sexism, I will die.
I cannot see a way out of this closet where I can live. I’ve written public figures who are also midgendered, I have been surprised that each one responded with honesty and condolensces that I am in the closet but utter comprehension of why. To step out is the most dangerous thing in the world. I am afraid in, I am afraid out. I want to move somewhere accepting but that place doesn’t exist except in my closet and my dreams. Yet just as my pansexuality is obvious to most people when I think it is well hidden, I stopped trying there, my midgender status is also obvious. See, I just named my gender, I am a dead person if this keeps up, this eeking closer and closer to a mild reveal that causes a cataclysm.
In my closet you will find fedoras with dresses, you will find men’s shirts and pants with a scarf. I am told this is being fashionable. It’s a fashion statement. Yes, I dress for whichever gender I feel. No one seems to consider that the “girl with the gams” is really sometimes “the guy with the gams”. Yet I get a five o’ clock shadow to go with my supposedly acceptably just right plus size figure. I shave twice a day. I can’t grow a full on beard, but I would pass off for a bearded lady. I have a broken endocrine system, my doctors say. Yet I also have testicles wrapped around my ovaries. So of course my hormones aren’t the way they want.
I also don’t approach sex as a woman in my head. I just am me. When I read about the way other women experience sex, it is not even CLOSE to my sensations, my feelings, my existence sexually. Most women need to build over a day for sex. It isn’t this driving need to grab someone, throw them on the bed and just fuck that springs up until you orgasm and you’re good. I am told that’s very manly of me. Sure, I can go again right off, and usually want to but I don’t need to be wood. I am fine with a glimpse of something I like then there’s the tingling in my body, and voila. Of course sex causes me pain but I don’t talk about the differences in the pain much. My doctors know. My doctor’s don’t seem very responsive in any way about anything except that they can give me a hysterectomy and remove all my sex organs and ” be done with it”. Except that I am midgendered, mix gendered, between, and that won’t go away just because you cut it out and when my testicles try to shoot sperm it hurts. There’s no where for it to go. My doctors don’t even know if I produce sperm. Likely not, but I am curious.
I don’t know if I had more of a penis and my clit was chopped down to look more normal, it’s unlikely. If I didn’t gender perform on the outside at birth my mother and father would’ve staged an accident, or I just would have disappeared, one of the many children in my area smothered and dumped. It’s a big thing here. It’s huge to murder your children for not being who you want them to be the moment they are born.
Even knowing that I am going to ask Renee to publish this scares me, because I am doing this under my real name and I am asking for anonymity. There is very little that I hide from the world but this is one of my big secrets. The biggest. There is no safe space for gender discussion, though some valiant people try. There is no safe space between the genders, in fact the safe space for men and women is gone if it ever existed. I think it never did, we merely romanticise utter hatred and long for the good old days because we hate ourselves in an almost reflexive fashion. Our parents all failed us there, by denying children gender agency. “No Bobby, boys don’t wear make up” or “No Glenda girls can’t be construction workers, astronauts, we belong in the kitchen”. Of course we tell ourselves and our children we don’t teach them these lies anymore. Of course we also are told here in the US that we’re the best country, strongest, brightest, fastest, pretties, and post racial too.
I am… I am a person. I exist. I deserve space. I exist. There is no safe place for me. Each conversation that turns into yet another battle of the sexes erases me. I tire of this. I tire of hearing how “those people” who happen to be like me are awful. I tire of hearing how everyone with breasts is a woman. I tire of hearing about balls dropping and the grunts of manhood. I tire of seeing a world in sorrow and pain, frankly. Just because I am the one peering out at the world from my gender closet, afraid to pair my corset dress with a beard and fedora while being labelled female, doesn’t mean that I or people who are also stuffed in this closet like sardines are the only ones suffering. Cisfolks, you suffer just as much as we do. These rigid gender boxes you have set up for yourselves, that you demand you function with in cut out a huge swath of creativity. “Oh that makes me look like a homo. Oh god I look like a tranny. Oh heavens am I womanly enough”… you know them well. You think them out of training. That self hatred hurts. I accept my being midgendered, I in fact feel a little flicker of burning glee over this chosen gender. My preferred pronounces are them, you, and person. Person is my favorite. I am a Person.
Performing for gender narrowly… believing one sex is smarter, better, faster than the “other”… that there are only two ways of being, this hurts you “normal” people as much as a “freak” like me. Think about getting up and feeling fat. Men and women now must be a specifically narrow body type or their world seems to end. No one is good enough. No one is perfect. No one is beautiful. Except that we all are. There is something freeing about being in my home and not having to fake being a girl… in fact admitting to myself that my desire to not be boygirled as a child was real before I was sent off to the mental hospital and forced to conform via drugs and torture such as beatings, genital mutilation, electrocution mostly of said genitals, rape, lots of rape, i could go on there, it was real. I am not a woman. I am not a man. Hell I think the gender name woman is actually insulting in some ways. Woah man. Wuh man. Man. Man Man. I am midperson. Midgender. I float between the poles like a lotus in a current. I just am.
By accepting this for myself, I accept you are just you. I stopped seeing ugly people around me. I am not always sexually attracted to anyone, but no one is ugly to me. Everyone is gorgeous. Everyone. All races, body types, genders. I find everyone beautiful. This is the most painful part of the closet system, I cannot share this with the world except anonymously. I cannot publish this piece on my own space, and I know it needs to be heard. I haven’t seen an ugly person in three years. In the mirror, I am always the most beautiful person in the world.
I also want it clear I live in the United States of America. The most bigoted place on earth. I am not a patriot because my country reviles me for not conforming to their 1950s housewife desires. I was raised to believe that any difference meant illness or evil. I don’t. I had trouble accepting it then. So my name is… Human and I am not cisgendered. Stop your bullshit, stop forcing me to choose between being murdered and being myself.
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