The other side of queerCommentary, Latest Issue, Queerly Forward Thursday, November 9th, 2017
Commentary: Queerly Forward
It has been a decade since I began pondering the queer nature of my sexuality, ten years that feel like a lifetime when I consider the person I’ve become since those “I kissed a girl and I liked it (way differently than she did)” days. Despite the depth of self-reflection around the queerness of my sexuality, it was only within the past two years that I allowed myself to bridge my introspection into the space of gender identity. I contribute this largely to the nature of our society, where the concept of queer sexuality, though still attacked, discredited and pathologized by some, is much more openly discussed and embraced than that of queer gender identity. It was witnessing the bravery of my husband’s transition that sparked me to reflect upon my own gender, embracing what my historical comments of “I’ll make someone a great husband one day” meant beyond a jovial jab at my non-existent domestic nature.
I now identify as genderqueer, a word I have embraced in response to my inherent ambivalence about my own gender and the unique manner in which I blend masculine, feminine and non-binary qualities into my persona on a daily basis. I would use the word “queer” as the descriptor in this space as well, but I found that other people frequently automatically attribute that word to sexuality, so I insert that telltale word “gender” at the beginning for the sake of those with whom I share this fact.
Despite identifying in this manner, I am generally feminine presenting from a physical standpoint, at least in the eyes of the general public. My physical presentation, which frequently include wearing makeup, dresses and other “purchased from the women’s section” clothing choices, would be deemed feminine by most passersby, those people who don’t know that I had to make my younger sister teach me to put on makeup when I was in college because I don’t have a single gene for understanding or appreciation of beauty products; those same people who don’t realize that my cute retro-style dress was selected so I wouldn’t have to match a shirt with a top and thus is my lazy day outfit go-to. (I learned that the hard way that grey sweatpants don’t match with every top.)
My looks are skewed even further feminine within a professional setting, due almost exclusively to my professional wardrobe having been around longer than my acceptance of my genderqueer identity. (I abhor shopping and require being accompanied by at least one assistant who can make sure I leave with socially passable outfits.) At my last job, the position I was in when I first embraced my gender identity, I fought with myself for months about allowing my gender presentation to bleed into the genderqueer and masculine realm within a professional setting. At my current job, I walked in wearing an outfit topped off with a tie without a second thought.
This comfort within my body and mind is more powerful than ever. I love my holistically queer nature and the ways I choose to outwardly express it. I have stopped tying gender markers to my appearance and simply started living in a way I feel most comfortable. Out in Hillcrest, you’ll find me in shorts, a V-neck, suspenders, and a pair of Mary Jane heels … or maybe skinny jeans with a button up, bowtie and high tops … or maybe a summer dress and strappy sandals. My hair may be styled into a swooped pixie look or piled on top of my head to show off the shaved sides. I may be the boisterous lead in the conversation, quietly observing as I sip my drink, or off dancing without a care. Some days I feel butch, some days I feel femme, but most days, I just am who I am.
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