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On gender and sexuality

This is a mini-essay I wrote (I estimate) sometime around April 2013. To my memory it was the first public statement that I was genderqueer, amongst many other things.

It was actually pretty well received—my mother even said she wanted it printed out and framed. (I thought she was crazy and that was a really bad idea.) As the original host of this post has since gone offline, it is reprinted here verbatim for the annals of history.

In the last few weeks I have found myself enveloped in a different manner of seeing oneself, I have become friends with people who consider themselves to be born in the wrong body; in previous months people whom I know and care about have “come out” as having similar issues with themselves; and the issue has also seen some broad media coverage in the suicide of schoolteacher Lucy Meadows, a trans woman who found herself the subject of a distasteful opinion column in the Daily Mail (a right-wing British tabloid newspaper) just before Christmas.

This frankly sudden exposure to the existence of gender dysphoria and non-binary gender identification has had me thinking about my own self identification – my gender, my sexuality, and my spirituality.

For those not in the know, I identify as a panromantic asexual. Effectively, while I do find myself having romantic attraction to individuals of any gender, I do not – and never have – had the desire for a sexually active relationship.

Spiritually, I consider myself a loose Buddhist – I meditate, I follow the eight-fold path, I eat meat and don’t believe in reincarnation. I am no believer in organised religion, and feel that people should not have to abide by the strict teaching of any religious group or denomination. You decide what you believe in, not the church.

So how does this affect my view on gender? Well, here’s the tl;dr for you, I don’t care.

Nope, I don’t care at all.

I have never had any affiliation to any particular gender, nor even any particular species. To me, the body is but a vessel for the mind, and it is the mind that defines who you are – not the composite mix of chromosomes that creates your body.

Excusing my desire to have a goatee (because Robert Downey Jr made them totally sexy), I am not a heavily masculine person. Excusing my love for My Little Pony, I am not a feminine person. I am neither a sportsman nor a fashionista. Often I am somewhere in the middle.

Just as I find nationalism to be stupid when you don’t choose what country you are born or raised in, or racial pride when you do not decide what race you are, I find no reason to be proud or loathing of the particular flawed vessel that I have had my mind buried inside. It is the mind, the essence and personality of the person within, which makes you beautiful.

This is why I am panromantic – the beauty of the mind is what I care about, not the configuration of the body.

So why does the body not bother me? Admittedly, I too have some degree of physical dysphoria, in that I have rarely identified as human. When I was younger I thought myself a robot or a cyborg, other times I have thought myself an alien or something not-quite human.

I am approaching 22 years on this earth, and yet I still find the human body intriguing and weird. I still look at my hands as though they’re a new development that I didn’t have yesterday, some nights I stare at my feet in wonder at my ability to wiggle toes, I find many aspects of the human body absolutely creepy and horrific.

This, I would say, is a pushing force for my long involvement in the furry and pony fandoms – I can represent myself not as myself, but as something else of my own design – a liberation that I imagine would be compatible to those who undergo sexual reassignment surgery, to be who you feel comfortable as and not what you are obliged to be.

This is why I am asexual – I honestly can’t imagine making love to something I find so strange and so alien to me, the very concept of doing so terrifies me.

So, I don’t care. I have no strong affiliation to male or female, I have even less of an affiliation to being human. Call me male or female, call me mammal or machine, I honestly don’t care – because I’m Grey.