Genderqueer Challenge: Round-Up

I just realised that having the numbers as the titles for all my GQC posts is not very conducive to being able to actually go back and find topics so I can elaborate on them or just look back at stuff. So I’m doing a little round-up pretty much entirely for my own benefit.

  1. Do you use other terms to define or explain your gender?
    In this post, I admit that I don’t actually use ‘genderqueer’ and explain my use of the terms nonbinary and quoigender.
  2. How did you grow up with your gender?
    With a caveat about how bad my memory is, I describe my gender stuff up to the age of 17.
  3. What’s your favourite ways of upsetting gender roles/genderbending/genderfucking?
    Mainly my answer is ‘I don’t’ but more long-winded.
  4. Name some queer heroes, influences, or crushes.
    Does what it says on the tin.
  5. Dysphoria and how you manage it.
    I explain how I currently deal with social dysphoria.
  6. When did you realise you were genderqueer?
    A follow-on from question 2 about how I started questioning my gender and where it’s led me to up to this point.
  7. What are your favourite physical features of yourself?
    Does what it says on the tin (I don’t really have any, that was possibly the shortest post I ever wrote).
  8. An unpopular or unsure opinion about the GSM community.
    I talk about over-sexualised queer communities.
  9. What have you done or plan to do to socially transition?
    A quick rundown of who and how I’ve come out to, with very few concrete plans to do anything else.
  10. Are you taking any steps to physically transition?
    Basically, no.
  11. Your first experience with a GSM organisation or event.
    I talk about Leeds Pride.
  12. Discuss your relationship with the term transgender.
    It’s weirdly similar to my relationship with religion. Make of that what you will.
  13. How has your family taken it or might take it?
    I was wrong earlier, this is the shortest blog post ever. They’d probably be alright with it.
  14. Are you part of the GSM community?
    I’m in lots of different communities.
  15. How do you deal with gendered things?
    I hate forms, don’t really care about bathrooms, like men’s shirts and dislike some NB ‘inclusive’ feminist spaces.
  16. Name some media you connect with queerly.
    All of it? But mainly fandom.
  17. How do you, or would you, deal with being misgendered?
    I’m awkward and anxious so I don’t and it sucks.
  18. How does your gender factor into your future plans?
    I talk about career paths, activism (which I am now slightly doing!) and marriage.
  19. What terms in the community are problematic?
    I rant about my favourite thing to rant about, gender-based attraction and its enforcement of cissexism/exorsexism.
  20. Have you faced any problems or gone through any changes regarding religion?
    Basically, no.
  21. How has your relationship with yourself been affected since you realised you were genderqueer?
    Too much stuff has happened in the last few years for me to know.
  22. What are your sexual and romantic orientations? Are they affected by your gender?
    I talk about how I used to think maybe my gender was affected by my asexuality.
  23. Do you feel comfortable answering questions about your gender to people?
    I talk about all the different ways I talk about (or avoid talking about) gender with people.
  24. How has your relationship with the cisgender people in your life changed?
    Another short post — basically, they haven’t.
  25. Your first queer crush or relationship.
    I talk about my maths teacher, an ex, and my boyfriend.
  26. Discuss how your clothes do or don’t reflect your gender.
    Ramblings about how they sort of do but also sort of don’t, with a side of ‘what clothes do I even wear anyway’.
  27. Write a poem about being genderqueer.
    I manage to write seemingly the least gender-related poem ever.
  28. Who are some people in your life who make it better?
    I have really great friends, a cute boyfriend and a hilarious grandma.
  29. Some positive genderqueer experiences.
    My very existence is apparently positive and whimsical.
  30. What does genderqueer mean to you?
    I side-step and talk about being nonbinary and what it means.
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GQ Challenge: Day 30

The Genderqueer Challenge is here.

30. What does genderqueer mean to you?

It seems odd to have this as the last question — maybe it should have been at the start! Since I don’t really use genderqueer to describe myself, it seems disingenuous to say what it means to me, so I think I’ll answer this question for ‘nonbinary’ instead.

Nonbinary, to me, means ‘not part of the gender binary; neither wholly male or wholly female, and not necessarily in between the two’. I’ve seen a lot of people use the ‘neither wholly male or wholly female’ description, but I like to add ‘not necessarily in between the two’ because I think a lot of binary folk often miss that bit. Not on purpose, of course, or even knowingly; I think that, because we have so little language that is outside of the binary, it is difficult for a lot of people to get their heads round anything that isn’t either male, female, or in between. It’s less of an imaginative leap to get that there are people who feel like they are in between male and female, because we already have words for people who are a mix of binary gender traits, eg ‘tomboy’. It’s easy to see a continuum, but less easy to see something totally separate from that binary — even as someone who’s outside the binary myself, it can be difficult. So I like to make it clear so that it gets into people’s minds a bit.

From a more wishy-washy PoV, however, because I feel like the question implies a bit of whimsy, nonbinary means seeing the world from a slight angle. It means confusion (for yourself and the people around you), distance from your own lived experience, words that don’t click right, innovation of concepts and terms and ways of living, differences seeming clearer than similarities, community and, most importantly, queerness.

GQ Challenge: Day 29

The Genderqueer Challenge is here.

Well, it looks like I fell at the last two hurdles! In my defense, I’d simultaneously forgotten how far I’d scheduled to (apparently one day short of the end of a residential on a farm in the middle of nowhere [where I came out to a couple of friends as nonbinary in the most scary and also besides-the-point way ever]), and then had my friends be well-organised enough to plan an event literally just after living on a farm for three days with each other. Plus it was my birthday a few days after that, so I figure I can be at least slightly forgiven for disappearing, although it might not forgive how rusty I am at blogging now. But anyway, on with the post:

29. Some positive genderqueer experiences.

I suppose it depends what is meant by ‘positive genderqueer experiences’? I’ve had positive experiences with coming out (such as my friends last week barely batting an eyelid and also letting me rant a little about my pet subject, gender-based attraction), but I feel like ‘genderqueer experiences’ implies experiences of being genderqueer, rather than experiences related to being genderqueer, if that makes sense?

I think the most positive experience of being genderqueer or nonbinary I’ve had is simply having people respect my gender. I think gender euphoria is probably the best form of positive nonbinary experience. The first time someone uses the right pronouns for you, or refers to you as a ‘person’ instead of a girl or woman or guy or whatever, is so awesome.

Another experience that is positive, I think, is just existing as a nonbinary person at all. Obviously sometimes it really sucks, but every now and again, relating to the world as a nonbinary person feels… special, I guess? I don’t mean that in a ‘special snowflake’ type way so much as that it feels really good to me able to connect to myself fully while I’m also connecting to the world. So, rather than feeling like there’s a gap between who I am and the way I act in the world and so on, everything feels like it matches up and it gives me a real sense of calm. Usually this happens when there’s nobody else around, or when I read fanfiction that (believably, because sometimes it’s very wish-fulfilment-y) has queer characters, especially nonbinary characters, acting in the world as themselves. It always makes me feel really happy to feel this way, because I’m so used to having a very compartmentalised sense of self (ver 1.0: shy person, ver 1.1: shy poet, ver 2.0: angry activist, ver 2.1: queer person, and so on), so it’s nice to feel as if the version of myself that I hide from the most people (ver 2.1) is getting some air time.

GQ Challenge: Day 28

The Genderqueer Challenge is here.

28. Who are some people in your life, on or offline, who make your life better? Your relationship doesn’t have to be related to queerness.

I think the short answer to this is just my friends. I have quite a few different little pockets of people (so for example, there’s my college friends who I can laugh about university with and hopefully get along with well enough to live with from mid September(!!!), then there’s my school friends who I talk fandoms with, ace friends who I talk ace stuff with, lefty friends who I do lefty things with, writing friends who I write and philosophise and joke with, and so on), which I’m really lucky with because it means that no matter what I need or what I want to do, I can always find a friend or friends who can help me out. I honestly can’t say how much I love and respect all my friends — they’re all such amazing people, and somehow, despite being such diverse groups of people, they all manage to have the same or a similar sense of humour to me, which is great.

However, the person that makes my life better more than any of my awesome friends is my boyfriend. (This is going to get soppy by the way). Despite having known pretty much nothing about asexuality, aromanticism or nonbinary genders when we met, he has still managed to be one of the most understanding, accepting, and lovely people ever. He always supports me, not just in words but with small actions that mean the world to me (queer-related examples are when he did his own research on asexuality to understand me better without me asking him to, and saying he’d help me do some NB awareness stuff at college if that was something I wanted to do).

Non-queer related (but maybe slightly queer-adjacent?) is that he makes my life better by making my mental health better. He often knows what to do to help me even when I don’t, which is good because one of the main problems I have is that I don’t know what would help. I honestly have never met anyone as kind and selfless and understanding as he is.

Also, he’s good at cuddles. That makes my life a lot better.

Oh, and, just as an addendum because I missed somebody: my grandma makes my life better. While she might not be great on trans issues (thankfully it hasn’t really come up as of yet), she is the kindest member of my family and also really funny. Often the thing that’s funny is at her own expense, but she’s happy to laugh about it all the same and I really admire that about her.