Once upon a time, s.e. smith wrote a post called How Shall I Describe My Body?, in which one finds the following quote:
But I wouldn’t describe myself as “female bodied” because my body is not “female,” it is genderqueer. I have a genderqueer body. Describing it as “female” not only erases my gender identity, it conflates gender and sex, it reinforces a binary view of gender, and specifically it reinforces a cis binary view of gender.
I am a genderqueer person. I have occasionally described myself as “female-bodied”; I occasionally identify internally with having a “female” body. Maybe there’s better language than this. I’ve seen “female-typical body” used, but I imagine that’s problematic in its own right, as well as being unwieldy. However, my body is shaped (and behaves) like a body that tends to indicate its inhabitant is female. That doesn’t change the fact that I am not female. However, it also doesn’t change the fact that I share something with people who have the same type of body, no matter if they’re female, genderqueer, or male. It’s that camaraderie that I am identifying with when I say that I have a female-typical body. Female-bodied is a regrettable shorthand that I have previously used; I’m making an effort to change my own language.
And yet, a part of me can’t help but think that yeah, my body is female. I am genderqueer; it does not agree. This is why I also identify as trans: there is a disconnect between what I am and what my body is. I am other than my body. How is it conflating gender and sex to recognize that my body’s sex is other than my gender? If anything, it’s the opposite of that. (Neither my brain nor my thesaurus offers any antonyms) What better way to deconstruct the link most cis people make between sex and gender than to openly and blatantly say, “My sex is female; my body is female. My gender is genderqueer; I am transqueer”?
I don’t feel like I’m conflating gender and sex. I even more don’t feel like I’m reinforcing a binary view of gender. If I feel the need to emphasize that my body is female, instead of saying “I am female”, then someone will realize that there’s a reason for that. Even more importantly to this, I have never called myself female-bodied without also stating my gender. There are things that I do that reinforce a binary view of gender. This is not one of them.
Frequently (Or Not So Frequently) Asked Questions
Genderqueers, Gender Expression, and Gender Variance
The FONSFAQ project was started quite accidentally by dingsi; you can find more information about its history as well as a full list of subjects that have been covered at the topic masterlist. This particular list was started by pipisafoat, who decided to be productive with all the frustration ou was feeling about people’s general lack of awareness on genderqueer issues. The topic was expanded to be more inclusive, various people asked various questions, and some more people chimed in with answers. The GQ-FONSFAQ was born and continues to grow today. This post is a mirror of the original masterlist on Dreamwidth; most of the answers are hosted on DW as well.
What exactly is the topic of this FONSFAQ?
Genderqueer is a label that many people take as their primary gender identifier; it is also sometimes used as an umbrella term to include people who identify as genderfluid, bigender, transgender, agenda, third gender, etc. You may also see me use the term “GQMF” – this is just something that makes me giggle, and the term should not be taken too seriously. Gender expression is a blanket description of the things all people do that can reveal their gender identity. This includes the clothing/makeup/scents/shoes that people wear, the words that people use to refer to themselves and others, and the way people act. Even if you are not genderqueer, you express your views on gender constantly and probably not consciously. Gender variance, sometimes called gender nonconformity, is gender expression varies from and does not conform to the dominant gender norms – that is, the traditional binary genders of ‘male’ and ‘female’. Any questions or comments relating to these themes are welcome!
Answered Questions: A Link List
Genderqueer And Related Identities
- How do you know what gender you are? My question is referring to androgynous people, but also to everyone else on the spectrum: how do you know if the gender you were born with is ‘right’ or not? – answered by pip in an entry and lizcommotion in a comment
- What is the difference between being genderqueer and having an unusual but still binary gender presentation? Am I correct in thinking that being transgendered does not necessarily make one genderqueer? – answered by v_angelique in an entry and rhivolution in an entry
- How does genderqueer fit into the binary of cisgender and transgender? Is it separate and its own category? Is it possible to be genderqueer but okay with the world assuming you to be your assigned gender? – answered by pip in an entry
- Please discuss identity, presentation, and language as it concerns a genderqueer person within a plural group! – answered by haleskarth in an entry
- What are the words you use to describe yourself? How have those words changed, and/or what words have you used that you no longer use? – answered by pip in an entry and rabid_bookwyrm in an entry
- I’m asexual and genderqueer and I’d love to hear from somebody who’s had more experience with being both. But mostly I’m interested in learning how other people have separates sexual attraction, romantic attraction, and gender orientation? – answered by pip in an entry
- I’m good with my intellectual genderqueerness, but I’ve put very little effort into presenting it physically. For people who have been through this, where are some good places to start? – answered by pip in an entry and rabid_bookwyrm in an entry
- What sort of clothes/shoes do you like, as a genderqueer person, as those are very segregated in department stores? How do you feel about looking for clothes/shoes/other things to wear? Is there a particular style of dressing that you like and you feel adequately addresses your GQ-ness? If no, how do you reconcile this? – answered by pip in an entry
- How can presentation be shifted towards neutral while still embracing aspects of feminine and masculine clothing? For example, wanting to wear handmade earrings but still appear neutral or wanting to wear skirts. How can people with genderqueer identities present neutral while wearing gendered clothes and not just wear jeans and a t-shirt all the time? How can one be elegant and gender neutral? – answered by meloukhia in an entry
- Personal hygiene – do you prefer typically male or female products? – do you prefer typically male or female products? – answered by pip in an entry
- Pronouns: Aside from the endless hassle of “getting people to use the right one,” what other issues are there? How about any other gendered language? – answered by pip in an entry
Education and Interaction as/with a Genderqueer
- I was wondering if anyone here would share their thoughts on gender neutrality as a concept and ways to talk about gender with children. Perhaps there are things you wish your parents had known or thought about while raising you? Perhaps you know of children’s books or media that has positive portrayals of people who don’t fit gender norms? – answered by indywind with a list of links on the subject
- How do you deal with being genderqueer in relationships? Telling partners, losing partners because you don’t fit into a “traditional” gender role, etc. – answered by pip in an entry
- Do other genderqueer individuals have similar experiences in spaces devoted to their biological sex? i.e., the muddling of sex and gender, the assumptions that they are equivalent and binary, to a degree where it is alienating and painful? What is an appropriate response? Am I the one transgressing into a space I do not belong, or is there a problem with cissexism leaving genderqueer females (or males) out in the cold? – answered by v_angelique in an entry
Debunking Genderqueer Mythologies
- ‘Nonbinary people don’t experience dysphoria’ – answered by meloukhia in an entry
Related Links (Please share if you find more!)
All Questions Previously Asked
How To Ask And/Or Answer Questions
This project is an ongoing one for as long as I can hack it. It is absolutely encouraged that you share this list with anyone and everyone. All people are welcome to participate in any way they see fit!
- Have a question? Leave a comment with it! Please put “Prompt” in the subject line and limit yourself to one topic per comment, but feel free to leave as many prompts as you can think of!
- Have an answer? Reply to the prompt with “Taken” in the subject line. I encourage you to type an entry and post it to your individual journal/blog or the FONSFAQ community on DW, but if you would prefer to leave a comment for an answer – better than nothing, so go for it! Please remember to leave a link to your answer when you post it. There can be an infinite number of answers to a question – please feel free to throw in your views on something that someone else has already weighed in on!
- Have a topic you’d like to talk about that hasn’t been prompted yet? Leave a comment on this entry saying what it is and that you have taken it. Write your entry, post it, and leave us a link!
- There is only one rule: be respectful of everyone. Any topic is welcome; just do your best to present it without insulting anyone. (A lot can be forgiven, but making an effort goes a long way towards that forgiveness.)