Not Queer Enough

I’m going to start this off by saying I’ve never fit into the typical queer community. I am an outsider and I always have been. I’ve been told I’m not queer enough. I’ve been told that because if I wanted us to, my family could pass for a ‘normal’ cis one, so I can’t call myself queer. I honestly have a hard time ‘passing’ either way. I never quite fit into a box. And for those reasons I have been told by other members of the queer community I don’t get to call myself queer. I’ve made my peace with those aspects of my life.

I’m genderqueer, and trans, and pansexual, and queer. Queer is my label. I am queer enough. I spent so much of my childhood and early twenties feeling like I was the only one who felt like I did. I had no idea there were other people like me. When I found the word genderqueer is was like being home for the first time. Yet I’m stuck in between. Not enough of a man for a lot of people, and not what society wants to force me to be. So I sit in this awkward space not quite accepted in any crowd.

Today I feel like I am no more than my genitals and I feel like people will never see me for who I am. I have been reduced to tissue and my worth is measured by it. I’m sure I look like a butch lesbian most days, which doesn’t bother me. Being a butch lesbian isn’t a bad thing, it’s not who I am, but I’m a realist. I know how my voice sounds. I know people look at me twice and misgender me. None of these things bother me. What hurts more is when people who know me misgender me. Yes, I am all about effort. I’m not mad when I get misgendered by friends. I’m hurt. Because it feels like these people I love and who I know support me still see me as female. Every single female pronoun makes me feel like nothing I can do will ever change how I’m perceived. This isn’t people who knew me before either as I always allow more of a free pass for those. This is people who have always known me with male pronouns. Even deeply passionate allies and if those people can’t even see the real me where am I? It feels like an endless uphill battle I will never win.

It’s honestly exhausting to the point I think it is part of what makes me an introvert. I spend so much time getting questioned and having my being challenged I need to maintain this thick skin and when it wears thin I have to pull back and build it back up. This life is a hard life. People like me will go most of their life with only a handful of people who understand what it’s like to be reduced to body parts. Every human is weighed and judged daily because of this small percentage of their body, just the bit that sits between their legs, and yet its brought up all day, every day. It’s in our face. Immersed in language, and bathrooms, from sun rise to sun set it’s every direction we turn. And I don’t think people even realize how much sex and gender play into our daily lives. Most people are immune to it, so desensitized they have no idea how hurtful they are. They feel like the gender they were given, and it’s never a second thought.

There are days I feel too much, and others not enough. I’ve had to make myself numb to a lot of it to survive. We all have.

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And yet I have to be thankful. Because I do have some of the best friends who have never once fucked up a pronoun. Not to my face or behind my back. I know they see me and I could not be more grateful to have those people in my life. These few give me hope for the future, a future where people are more than their genitals. I hope this blog inspires you to put some thought into how you see the trans people in your life. How do you think of them in your mind? Because how you think of them is going to come out in a slip. It always does. I can assure you putting people in those boxes should not have anything to do with genitals or looks. Those things fade. We are so much more than the vessel that carries us.

J.R. Gray writes queer contemporary romance. You can find his work here. 

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2 thoughts on “Not Queer Enough

  1. Thanks for this post. So happy that you have the love and support of your partner. My 19 year old is genderqueer so I understand some of what you are dealing with. I do try to use the correct pronouns (but it’s pretty hit and miss) but I definitely don’t refer to them as my daughter or a girl any more – to me that does sound wrong. I try and be supportive – which they know and appreciate. My hubby doesn’t really get it – or thinks they might outgrow it I guess. But their sister is their biggest supporter. Both have friends who are also genderqueer – but most seem reluctant to try and explain it to their families or else their families just won’t even try to understand. Anyway, thanks so much for sharing some of your personal and family life. And you’ve encouraged me to work harder of how I think of them in my mind (that might really help with getting the pronouns right).

    1. I’m honestly so glad your child had you to accept them. A lot of people thought I would grow out of it too, and I didn’t have a word for it. Things can evolve and you get to know yourself better as you get older, but its really not a feeling you can grow out of. Hopefully he comes around and is as supportive as you are. Thank you for commenting.

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