I feel like I need to talk about my gender presentation because I don’t what I’m really doing here. I pass as female more often then not, as counteracting that has proven difficult. I never present as femme, I’m mostly in t-shirts and jeans, but having boobs, no matter what you wear or what your hair looks like automatically puts you in the “female” category in most people’s minds, unless you’re simultaneously sporting facial hair.The thing is, I don’t want to pass as male in order to not pass as female. I don’t want to pass as anything. Right now I pass as a girl some days and a boy other days, but I feel like I’m just swinging back and forth between two binaries instead of finding a presentation that’s more in line with my identity (which I haven’t entirely worked out either).
The only problem is that “gender neutral” usually means a somewhat masculine aesthetic amongst genderqueers and non-binaries. I’m not male and I don’t want to be perceived as such or have to present as somewhat masculine to be perceived as “gender neutral”, but obviously, as I stated above, I don’t want to present or be perceived as female either. I hate how binary gender is so pervasive and dominant in our culture that there isn’t room for anything to exist without being influenced by it.
In some ways I feel like I’m contributing to that “masculine as gender neutral” aesthetic by binding, but there’s not really much that can be done about that, you either have boobs or you don’t, there isn’t really an in between option there. So for lack of a better option I just switch back and forth. Sometimes I bind and sometimes I don’t, because really I like having boobs and having a flat chest equally much.
For me, being flat chested is nice because it makes me feel like a kid, which makes me feel genderless (as that’s how I experienced most of my childhood). Feeling genderless makes me feel freer and more… I don’t know… empowered? I don’t know, its this weird feeling like suddenly because of my chest being flat I can go anywhere and do anything, as if, for some reason, I couldn’t before. Which makes no sense to me because having boobs doesn’t make me feel limited or dysphoric at all, in fact I’m rather fond of them. Perhaps the sense of lightness and empowerment comes from feeling like people aren’t going to misgender me as much.
This is why I think the visible binder is so awesome and revolutionary, because it creates a space for explicitly not passing, it allows you to be insistently neither male nor female. It provides that elusive in between option and moves away from the “masculine as gender neutral” aesthetic. It creates a space for a gender expression that is truly and explicitly non-binary without relying on binary terms or expression to define itself.