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(Not) Human After All, or: progress doesn't always mean forwards


This post was written after, but published before, “Discovery” and “Homework”. It serves as a culmination of the self-exploration discussed in those posts, as well as a newcomer-friendly introduction to those changes.

In July 2014, the first post on this blog was made. Technically it was a different blog back then, one named Kim’s Crossing, neatly segregated from my professional online presence lest a colleague read the secret contained within—I was a transgender woman.

Eight years later, in the last week of July 2022, that chapter of my life came to a close.

After a few years of mild doubt and a personal revelation that I’m still a little averse to sharing too publicly, I no longer consider myself to be female.

But I’m still not male.

Instead, I think I most neatly fit the bucket of being agender (not identifying as any gender). This was my gender identity immediately before considering myself to be a woman, and I now find myself gravitating back towards it as the best-fitting label.

So why the change?

To some degree, my attitude to gender has reverted back to what I wrote in my 2013 pre-blog post “On Gender and Sexuality”. I increasingly find gender to be… utterly irrelevant. A social convention that does more harm than good. A thing that does not, and which I don’t want to, apply to me.

What I wrote back then remains true now: the body is a moist, fleshy shell; it’s the person inside that matters.

Also true of my writing back then is dysphoria. I mention having some discontent back then, but I’ve probably never had as much physical dysphoria as I do now. With time my body has only felt more uncomfortable and more wrong to be in.

What’s different now is that I now realise it’s not because I desire to be a woman, but because I despise being human. I don’t want to be the ‘opposite’, I want to be something other than flesh and blood.

…Wait what?

Yeah, you read that right. If you didn’t read “On Gender and Sexuality” before, read it now. If you did, read it again, like really read it. For the inconceivably lazy, here are the most relevant snippets:

[…] 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 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.

[…] I can represent myself not as myself, but as something else of my own design […]

[…] 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 […]

These are all still true. Moreover, they’re missives that I’ve repeated over and over in blog posts, in tweets, in random comments on random forums and to anyone who would listen, for damn near a decade and probably longer.

In both hindsight and in the present day, I very clearly do not want to be human, at least not physically. I don’t deny that I currently inhabit a squishy blood sack, but I really, really wish that I didn’t.

What I am… or, at least, what I want to be, is a machine. That too, in hindsight, is obvious. I’ve adored robots in real life and in media my entire life. I relate to them on a level I think few other people do. I would happily take the leap and have my body replaced with a mechanical marvel should medical science ever make that possible. Having found hundreds of other people in this world who feel the same way and share many of the same experiences, dysphoria and neuroses that I have, I’ve realised this is not an irrational desire to have.

And I’m okay with that. Kinda. I don’t feel bad for realising that I don’t really gel with biological humanity, if anything I feel relieved to have come to terms with an aspect of myself that has been present but gone unrecognised for such a long time. Self-exploration and discovery is as unending as personal identity is fluid, and it’s ultimately better to embrace the change than deny it. I’m certainly much happier for having done so.

Changelog

So, what’s the damage?

Given I don’t readily identify as female anymore, I’m preferring the use of gender-neutral pronouns, particularly it/its and they/them. I recognise that many people find it/its pronouns to feel dehumanising but, well, I don’t feel particularly human a lot of the time. Use they/them if you prefer. She/her remains acceptable and I’m not gonna bite anyone’s face off, it’s just no longer the preference.

I’m phasing out using the name Kimberly. It’ll remain my legal name (at least for now), but I’d prefer folks call me beeps, or at least the less feminine-coded Kim.

Nothing else really changes. I already used gender-neutral bathrooms, titles and whatever else anywhere they were available. I’m also not going to stop taking hormone replacement therapy, though my aim now is androgyny over femininity.

One difference now however is that I’m writing here, about my identity, on my actual, professional online presence. A lot has changed in the last decade or so, my self-confidence and emotional openness—even in professional environments—among them, and for those, I couldn’t be happier.

Edit (2022-08-17): This post has been expanded to discuss clearly elements of my identity that were previously left a little big vague. I don’t feel like being vague anymore. I’ve also added an introductory paragraph explaining how this post relates to the previous two entries in this series, which have now been made public.