Wednesday, January 26, 2011

Gender is Overrated

It hadn't come up in a while but I recently received a communication from somebody who seemed very eager to peg as a woman in a man's body. It actually caused me to realize that I don't think I've ever directly addressed the issue of gender identity here. The closest I came was in my entry about labels, but since my point was how I didn't really fit into most labels used to describe dressers it didn't really address this question of gender.

Man, woman... why should I have to choose?

So what am I? Am I a man who dresses as a woman? Am I a woman who was born as a man? Am I something that is neither one gender or the other? Ugh... gives a headache just trying to nail this stuff down. This was the sort of question that actually really haunted me for quite a while. I just feel that those who have a certain amount of gender ambiguity have even less guidance than those with questions about their sexual preference (though I suspect I'm going to tackle that in another post.) There was a time when I honestly thought that I might be a transexual and that I might need SRS (sexual reassignment surgery.) Thankfully with a little support from a few very close people I came to realize that wasn't what I was or what I needed. But I thought it might be because it seemed like the only logical conclusion based of the very limited information I had at the time. It seemed to me that a guy who dresses as a woman and isn't doing it for sexual kicks must want to be fully transformed into a woman. It didn't occur to me that there was middle ground. Society has to a certain extent come to terms with people who have full on sex changes, however there's so little said or acknowledged about all the gray area in between living as your gender of birth and getting a sex change.

Well I know I'm not androgynous. While I actually tend to be in a bit of awe of people who pull this off I know it's not me, when I'm dressed as a woman I'm quite feminine and when I'm dressed as a guy I'm more masculine (though I hesitate to say manly.) The two don't really bleed over into each other, there's a pretty clear distinction. What's more I seem to be one of the few dressers I've met who's equally at home as either gender. I feel that I have both a feminine and masculine side that are each defined enough that they have their own personality. It's not literally a split personality but I know that being dressed as a woman brings out aspects of myself that are dormant otherwise (flirtiness, extroversion, etc.) I don't feel any more or less "me" as a man or woman, it's just a change of emphasis.

I feel this has gotten a little bit ramblish so I'm going to wrap it up for the day and end by sharing a video. This is a performance I did that is one of my own personal favorites because it plays with the notions of gender much more than anything else I've done. Enjoy and be true to yourselves, whatever that means for you.

1 comment:

  1. It just seem easier to be one or the other. Just as you mention - the fact that everything isn't always black or white, and that people (see your wife, fans, friends, etc) accept you for who you are.

    I think that has been my greatest fear. To show people who I really am in fear of scaring them away. It seemed safer to stick with the predefined identities. Though I am slowly realizing that who I am isn't always what others expect, and that what I do should be my choice. If I can be myself, and people like me for who I am - then that's better than being someone I'm not.

    You can't run away from yourself, so why not try to embrace it? Allow it to take a hold of you for a while and perhaps realize that - it's better that way than living in denial?

    To sum it up: "Be whoever you want to be - and don't let anyone tell you what you should be like. Don't be afraid to experiment, break some chains and redefine yourself. Even in that process the people who really love you, will stay with you."