Language is my current point of struggle with my gender. I cannot articulate my “self” because there are no words for us, and without words I cannot conceive of myself clearly. My mental image of myself is foggy, my gender is a gaseous cloud, an amorphous blob. I want it to congeal, solidify. I want to be able to tell you who I am, what my gender is, what it feels like, but I don’t even know. There aren’t any words for people like me.
I’m wondering if I’ll ever be able to move past this point, if the language will come with time. Looking back, I’ve come a long way from where I was a year ago in terms of how I think abut and the ways in which I’m struggling with me gender. And all the times that I felt “stuck” like I couldn’t move forward in my exploration of my gender eventually passed. I found something, thought something, or read something that helped me move on. So part of me knows that with time and introspection* I will find ways** or language to express what my personal gender is (rather than what its not), but struggling towards that feels so frustrating and futile. I have no idea how to go about it (hence the struggling) and I don’t even know where to look to for ideas, because within the context of this culture, the dominant culture of western civilization, the only one that is mine to inherit, we (non-binary folks) are new. For people like me who have no other culture to inherit than this toxic, brutal, genocidal one there is no history of people like ourselves to look to, we have to make it. and thats hard.
I think that there may be ways we can look to other cultures, ones that do have histories of people like us, for insight and understanding, for clarity, but I’m hesitant to do that or encourage other white people do that because, ya know, appropriation is kind of a thing white people are good at. White people have stolen away the meanings and the sacredness of so many things from so many cultures and I don’t really want to risk being a part of that as a non-binary person.
For perspective, I try to remember how far “Trans” has come as a whole since Harry Benjamin first began his work with “transsexuals” in 1948. Trans people’s collective ideas about gender identity, transness and their sense of themselves has evolved pretty rapidly in the past 65 years.
Non-binary trans folks are really really new in western culture and given time we’ll grow and evolve too, I know this, I know that our theory and perspective and sense of ourselves will change and expand in good ways and that that will take time, its just so hard for me to be patient.
In the mean time, I’m trying to learn to find the positives in being undefineable.
* and solitude, I’ve found being alone to be very helpful, but more on that another time
** I’m looking into art as means of exploring and communicating about my gender without relying on language