Submitted by rot in Queer

This past week I was for whatever reason thinking about gender and how it is or isn't a solid easily defined thing. At least for me gender was something assigned a label I never had to think about because it never seemed important, never caused any issues, never had any problems with masculinity...

I've always been a man cause its easy and it's what i was told i was. now im wondering if i should reject that label or if that somehow invalidates "real" enbies who are at odds with their gender v.s. me, a guy who's fine being "male" but likes the idea of using neutral pronouns and doesnt give a shit what gender he's/they're labeled as.

basically gender binary is fake and i have no attachment to mine. should i just ditch it? how do you know you're nonbinary? what does it mean to come out as nb?



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Ennui wrote

Part of me rejects any and all gender and another part of me feels the contrast between wanting to be feminine, sexual, and daring and masculine, solitary, and intellectual. But then I think on my limitations as someone who is not a woman but also not manly in any sense, and realize that, were I a traditional male or female figure, my conception of my masculine and feminine sides would be drastically different. I can’t call myself either binary gender given that I really don’t know what they are, having not experienced them. Further, the fact that I am biologically a male but don’t know what it means to be male tells me that it’s all socially dogmatic nonsense.


rot OP wrote

kinda like how i feel. i'm very masc looking and dont reject that category but i feel like it's not a part of me in any way.


Ennui wrote (edited )

For me the whole thing is tied up in how I look. I want to look like the bit of both worlds that I appreciate, knowing that, actually, those aesthetics aren’t representative of either side. Like, I’d have trouble calling myself she or her since I’ve no clue the struggle it entails to be regarded as female.

Edit: But I certainly like it when someone calls me she/her.


Tequilx_Wolf wrote

I think in the case of men it's easier to think it feels like nothing, because it's the majoritised position. Like how white people often don't think of themselves as racialised.

There's no simple answer imo. What I usually do instead is just suggest you explore inhabiting different headspaces/being/expressions and see how you feel. It can take years, and you may never know anything. Gender's total bullshit after all.

Basically the praxis is to do whatever opens up more possibilities for you, feel them out, deal with internalised queerphobia along the way, and keep going.


rot OP wrote

that's why i have doubts like, being a man is treated as the default so it's hard to see myself as anything other than. being white is a weirdly good comparison. I don't have to think about my gender but when i do i rethink my relationship to the concept or being male not really any "manliness"


Tequilx_Wolf wrote

Unfortunately, impostor syndrome is part of it for (probably most) people, in some way or other. This is why I say there's no easy answer, and suggest exploring relevant stuff. Take it easy on yourself and figure it out with time. Whatever you figure out, at least then your gender will be your own instead of merely inherited.


catachresis wrote

It seems like you’ve made up your mind. Do it!

When I learned that I could use they/them pronouns for myself something clicked and it felt right.

I think it is our duty as anarchists to reject the label holding us into the ruling class, work on unlearning any negative characteristics of being raised into that class, and explore our own genders freely and without critique.

If I may recommend baedan: journal of queer nihilism. Taken from the first page: “for those of us whose queerness means the refusal of society and not any negotiation with or within it.”

I don’t have any attachment to the term non-binary, but I prefer genderqueer. My phones about to die or else I would say more.


CivilizationsEnd wrote

As a non-binary person, all I can say is, people comfortable with their assigned gender don’t even think about this. So take that as you will.

It took me about twenty years from thinking “yeah I don’t identify with men” to “ahhh I am not cis”. So don’t worry if you don’t have it all figured out yet.


rot OP wrote

my own gender is not something i think about but when other people bring it up i start to get introspective. The first time some one asked my pronouns instead of assuming he/him made me pause


edmund_the_destroyer wrote

people comfortable with their assigned gender don’t even think about this

I'm comfortable being assigned male.

However, I reject the idea that masculinity implies focus on one set of virtues and femininity implies focus on another set. All those distinctions shouldn't exist, and as long as they do exist I think we should all be non-binary.

So I've thought about being non-binary for that reason. So far I haven't. One of my kids has, and my wife and I support them.


gVpqL2 wrote (edited )

Non-binary being here and I'd like to share my experience if you're interested. I've been told by other members of the LGBTQ+ community that my thoughts on gender may be controversial to some, but I think you may relate. I've switched from using they/them to he/them, and now to a more apathetic "any" approach to pronouns. It is my belief that everyone is born non-binary and that gender is a social construct. I do not mean this to invalidate gender identities, but rather to respect and validate any and all gender identities. I have been told that my gender nihilism can be misinterpreted as the opposite however. I hope my experience with identity can give a better understand of my perspective though.

I was assigned male at birth and forced into masculinity. Never liked the roles. Hated many aspects of masculinity, and had to repress my own sexuality and inclinations. I had to blend in. Live a lie. As much as I tried to hide, it slipped through. People would refer to me as "metrosexual" back when that was a thing. I insisted I was a straight cis male, even believed it. I didn't understand sexuality/gender the time. And the idea of coming out as anything other than straight/cis was really not a safe thing for me to do.

Aside from my natural feminine inclinations and disgust with masculinity, my first real exposure and introspection into gender fluidity was through the band Throbbing Gristle. Genesis P-Orridge was the vocalist and very publicly non-binary. The concepts they spoke of really resonated with me. Started looking into gender more / asking questions and found answers. I even remember taking online gender tests that give you a percentage of masc/femme, haha. It just really made sense to me that I was non-binary and started identifying as such. I started using they/them pronouns. Outwardly, you probably wouldn't notice though. I still looked masculine. I didn't wear much femme clothing. I was muscular. I was a hairy monster. And through my experiences I developed a firm shield of masculinity. It was, like you said, easier. I lived on the streets for a period of time and being a masc-presenting individual granted me a level of safety/security I wouldn't have had otherwise. I was never taken advantage of or fucked with. I didn't have to constantly explain my identity to people either. People viewed me as a straight man and that was that. It was just something I didn't talk about much.

It wasn't until I had housing/job security that I started experimenting more with my gender presentation. I outright rejected all the roles/expectations people had of me. I started wearing dresses, shaving, and just all around being gay as fuck. It was fun. Unfortunately, I started getting a lot of anxiety. I could feel the judgment from others. I constantly had to explain/correct my identity. People treated me different. It was a very apparent downgrade in the social hierarchy (fuck social hierarchies). I became less assertive and people constantly tried to take advantage of/abuse me. It takes so much strength to be open about your LGBTQ+ identity. Every single day is a struggle. Even in the most progressive places, you will face this uncertainty and invalidation. Even dating became more difficult. I was single for many years. It was hard.

The amount of anxiety from being so outwardly queer pushed me back into my shield of masculinity. I started using he/him again (he/them) tho I maintained my non-binary fluidity. In this, I actually started to embrace and understand my masculinity more. After all, being non-binary is not the rejection of masculinity necessarily. This outward shield truly is the root of masculinity, and can be very useful. It was around this time of being masc-presenting non-binary that fellow leftists started antagonizing my identity, ironically. My identity really wasn't taken seriously. I even had "woke" leftists call me a straight cis male to my face immediately after I told them im non-binary. I wasn't non-binary enough. Because apparently gender identity is based entirely on appearance to some leftists. Looking back, I believe these people to be radfem terf types posturing as leftists, but nonetheless it effected me.

And now enter gender apathy. After such a horrible experience from all sides in embracing my non-binary identity, I've receded to apathy. I maintain my non-binary identity until I fucking die, but I don't have the energy to add another struggle to my already complicated life. I just don't deal with it anymore. I take the easy road.The truth is, being a straight cis male is a lot easier than being queer. Those close to me will see my true identity, but my shield will remain up in public. I just want to go grocery shopping without having a panic attack.

My advice to you is do whatever you want. If you want to explore gender, do it. Embrace fluidity. If you're apathetic towards the binary and don't have a pronoun preference, then so be it. First and foremost your identity and pronoun preference is supposed to be for YOUR comfort. Unfortunately, it often becomes about making others comfortable with your identity instead of addressing why your identity makes them uncomfortable. As a "real" enby let me tell you... you are not the one invalidating us. You are us. I would even argue that you invalidate my identity by not exploring your identity. I kid. I kid. The only people invalidating my identity are the ones invalidating it. The fake woke crypto-terfs who make you retreat into your masculinity out of fear of rejection. They are the ones perpetuating this patriarchal binary world, not you. Apologies for the rant.


rot OP wrote

thanks. your experience matches mine a lot. I got so comfortable being gendered but am probably more agender than anything.


BorrowingBrov wrote

not nb but gnc. I had been thinking about it for years. i thought maybe genderfluid for a while but nah. idk I just am not a guy or a girl. just here lol. i don't mind any pronouns, and was afab so people usually call me she/her anyway. i think you should try having your friends call you by they/them pronouns for a while (if they're chill) and see if it makes you feel a certain way. sometimes saying it out loud helps too (i.e. i am a girl. i am a boy. i am neither)