I find being agender weird. Most days, really about 98 percent of the time, I could care less about my gender. I am a feminist for political reasons and not because I am deeply attached to some notion of my “womanhood.” But there are moments, those days when my body is in conflict with everything I feel I am and the dysphoria is horrible.
Now, I have never “liked” my body. I generally see it as an asshole I have to live with (literally and figuratively, of course). It has a horrible sense of humor. Now, it has also totally betrayed me. I developed lupus (sle) a few years ago, which means my own immune system thinks my regular cells are the enemy and attacks them.
While I never liked my body, I tolerated it. I used it. Decorated it, clothed it, took it out for runs. Most days, I remain indifferent to its parts. It doesn’t really matter that there is a vag instead of a penis, breasts instead of a broad manly chest. I see it as the card I was dealt and just make the best of it.
However, there are times where I really am not comfortable in my own body. The first time I noticed this, I was in my late-teens, early 20s. My body did not reflect how I felt at all inside. I did a lot of personal work to decide if I was trans (a nearly invisible population 20 years ago). Ultimately, I came to understand that while I may not always enjoy having female parts, I didn’t want male parts any more than female parts.
So, for the next twenty years, I went along generally not caring about my gender, passing on occasion as male, most of the time as female, and sometimes just confusingly androgynous to the world. I was fine with that.
In the last six months I have become exceedingly ill with lupus which continues to remain untreated as I languish on a waiting list for a rheumatology appointment which I have begun to believe will never actually materialize. I am sure there is some link between that and not wanting to be in a female body. More and more I want to just set my bits that represent gender on a shelf somewhere and not have to deal with them. I don’t want replacement parts, I just fantasize about having my parts gone. Dream of becoming something like a Ken and Barbie doll merging into androgynous Marg.
I write this here because gender is becoming a bigger and bigger issue for folks. We are moving beyond the cis-/trans discussion to touch on folks who identify as genderqueer and gender fluid. Occasionally you will see agender mention, but other than a few articles, nobody is talking about what it means to be live without a gender identity.
I don’t identify as genderqueer or gender fluid. The folks I know with those identities still feel a connection to gender. Gender still means something to them and is part of their identity. They use the singular “they.” It is as if they encompass multiple genders and their genders combine to become some super-gender. I feel more like an “it” or an “zie.” It is an absences of gender, a disconnect from the concept, a gray space I inhabit. where genderqueer/genderfluid folks can become bigger, grander than just male and female, I shrink back into some hole where gender is simply non-existant as an identity.
Gender as a concept to attach an identity too is foreign to me. Being stuck in a body with the parts society declares as “female” is occasionally disorienting and upsetting. I don’t feel or move in the world as a woman on some days. I don’t expect other people to read me as agender. Most folks still stumble over trans folks identities and people who care about gender. I inhabit a space they cannot imagine.
For those times when the conflict between the body I inhabit and how I see myself rear its ugly head, there is no support as far as I can tell. I am not trans and would not claim to understand striving to have my gender match my body- being agender there is no body that matches. There isn’t a place to turn to deal with the disappointment, the frustration and the pain of just not being able to be who you are if you are agender.
I am not narcissistic enough to believe my journey is unique. I am not sure how big the agender community is. Nobody is talking. So, Hello World. Here is your chance to begin to chat.