Feminine Sexuality,  Gender

Unlearning Gender Identity

February is my blog anniversary month. Although it was not intentional, as a black woman blogging about sex, February is the perfect month to celebrate a blog anniversary.

This year, 2020, makes three years that I’ve been blogging about sex and what not. The most amazing thing about this journey of exploring sexuality and writing about it has definitely been all the things I’ve learned about myself. I find myself to be a very interesting person. That’s mostly because I know more about myself than anything else yet I realize there is so much for me to learn. With that being what it is, it is myself with whom I have the greatest liberty of exploring. I mean, if there are any restrictions, they are only the ones I place upon myself.

I am a mystery to myself. I am often intrigued about the motivations behind my decisions and behaviors, a curiosity fueled by a desire to know me better and filled by my interest in sexuality (and spirituality) although sometimes seemingly unrelated.

Sometimes I have some difficulty being transparent when it comes to talking about spiritual taboos and even some sexual taboos; Not very many though. I’m still growing in this art and it’s still very messy. A beautiful fucking mess. Here is where I am now, but let me take you all back for a moment.

Back to a time before sex was a thing I was very aware of…a time before puberty and boobs and lots and lots of male attention… Back when I might have been considered ummm tomboyish.

Back when I did cartwheels and flips off of benches, climbed trees, and ran wild and barefoot in the yard. Back when I belched like, hit like, and dressed like a boy. Back when my uncle would brag that I looked just like my dad. “You could have been a boy,” he’d say. I never wanted to be a boy. I also was not offended by the thought of being a boy. I enjoyed being me and didn’t really care whether I was “like a boy” or “like a girl”.

The importance of pronouns

I am a person with female organs, assigned female at birth, who identifies using she, her pronouns. I also identify as bisexual and femme. However, lately I’ve been considering whether these identities truly represent who I am and how I prefer to be recognized.

I was recently asked during a conversation if I had ever dated a woman. “As a matter of fact, I have,” I responded. “Well, glad to see you’re back where you belong,” was the reply I received. Exsqueeze me!?

“And what is that supposed to mean?” I questioned. “I’m referring  to the pronouns of the person you’re currently dating,” they continued. I went on to explain that whom I choose to date has nothing to do with their pronouns. To insinuate that is does sounds deeply ignorant.

Before that moment, I didn’t really recognize how true that is. Separating the folks I’m attracted to or choosing to date by gender is not something I do. I like who I like and that’s that. The entire conversation had me thinking about my own gender identity. That plus this article on this very cool Twitter thread addressing “biological sex” which resonated as something I can relate to. http://geekxgirls.com/article.php?ID=12697&fbclid=IwAR0_96euK8ir8db7QQel4Pw6aAb7rMo5auK7CCU5N7MQfh3fC3yW7A66xFs

Let me start by saying I am proud to identify as a woman. The doctors don’t always get it right, but I believe they came very close to being accurate with me. I love this curvy, feminine body. I love that I have the miraculous ability to carry and birth a human person; and all the other magical mechanics of the human female chemistry and biological anatomy. Yes, I love my menses, too! PERIOD. I also enjoy being femme: femme culture, femme fashion, feminine sexuality. I love being a feminine woman.

As much as this seems like a natural thing. It’s not so much. Being feminine is very much a choice. I choose to be feminine in the same way I choose to be a mom. It’s not something that happens just because you are assigned female at birth. Things like DNA, hormones, and environment come into play. There are many things on the “being femme” social agenda that I don’t subscribe to or agree with.

What it feels like to be feminine

In all honesty, I don’t “feel” feminine. I don’t feel different or separate from other people which is sort of what I feel like the masc/fem duality presents. In truth, I see some aspects of myself in many (if not all) of the people I meet. If you asked me to explain what it means to be feminine, I don’t think I could. Even though I identify as feminine, that’s primarily based on social cues and things I’ve learned in books and not necessarily something I personally agree with. Femininity is something I can observe within myself and notice in others, it just isn’t something I can describe beyond feminine. That may not always be true. I asked a friend what it means to be masculine. He answered, “Having more testosterone.” Is he wrong? 

I feel like me, and I don’t know what it’s like to not feel like this. I don’t really view that as being feminine or masculine regardless of what it looks like to other folks.

Although I don’t know what it’s like to be or feel male/masculine, at no point in my life have I not had someone tell me I think or respond in the way that a guy would while acknowledging that I am a very feminine woman. I rarely relate to those “Women in relationships be like…” memes. I don’t always relate to girl stuff or behaviors framed as girl behavior. It isn’t smart to define and categorize people based on a set of exclusive behaviors. I can relate to the feelings that men have just as well as I can relate to the feelings of women. I’ve often been labeled as weird or different and if you’re the type to define people by their pronouns and gender assignment, that observation could be quite true. 

I cannot say that I agree or disagree on whether I am much different from other people. I don’t spend much time in that thought anymore, I don’t really view folks thoughts, actions, or behaviors as necessarily masculine or feminine. Women (cis or trans) and nonbinary folk are just as attracted to me was men. I’m just as attracted to them as well. 

I was surprisingly offended by the belief that there was any particular side on which I belonged when it comes to my gender, my sexuality, and whom I choose as a partner. I’m not even sure when that shift happened. I hadn’t given it much deliberate thought before this point. 

I think genders should be erraticated from society altogether. That could be seen as an extreme personal position, but what is the purpose of gender identity? In many cases, it’s irrelevant. Identifying as femme and such seems to only represent how we might present. Notice I said might. Although we believe they are, pronouns are not even a good indicator of gender. Like right in this moment, I am deciding that I prefer to identify as nonbinary and I’ll still use she, her pronouns.

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