Contemplations on queerness, transness, and other Otherness.

Friday, April 6, 2012

a perfectly genderless being?

       While i was meditating last week i had a vision of myself as a perfectly genderless being. The vision had no image attached; it was simply an overwhelming feeling of myself made whole with my body. The vision matched the warmth of the rising sun on my face.  A flood of calm and acceptance washed over my consciousness. i sat and knew myself purely.

       The vision vanished as visions do, dissipating into the nethers of my mind. But the overwhelming sense of calm remained. When i stood i felt my feet more firmly than i have in a few weeks. i recognized that a lot of processing and growth had happened very quickly and i had been left feeling tired as a result.

       i had been feeling guilty for a few days for letting my productivity come to a standstill. How could i let myself rest with so much work to do? i acknowledged that rest was an important part of growth and forgave myself.

       But i’m left with a quandary, now that i’ve accepted this vision into my conscious mind. How do i reconcile my sense of being genderless with my knowledge of myself as trans*, as femme? How do i carry this genderless in a world that inscribes gender onto any and everything? Do i switch my pronouns again? (i’ve been thinking about this last one a lot and it warrants an independent post)

       Most acutely, i’m faced with the reality that things that are characterized as neutral in our society are actually perceived (semi-)covertly as masculinity. It is still incredibly important to me to not get read back into masculinity. Given the context of culture, anything that i do in regards to my presentation will inevitably be viewed through a gendered lens. And prior to this experience i had already learned to embrace a non-normative gender.

       Despite this increasing non-normativity i still see myself as femme. For a long time i’ve thought of femme in two distinct ways. The easiest to describe is femme presentation. This is easy for me to reconcile because i’ve already done the hard emotional work of breaking down my sense of femininity and recasting it as something that feels comfortable and good.

       The other place i locate femme is actually more of a social role than a form of gendered presentation. This social role, for me, relies on compassion, fierceness, community. These are things that i value both in relation to and independently of gender. Perhaps femme for me will weigh more heavily on this social definition, although at least for now the presentation fits too.

       i think that perhaps the best i can do, given that context, is to be more emboldened a gender-fucking, radically visible queerness. Maybe recognizing the impossibility of genderlessness in my life should lead me to interpret this meditation as a symbol of comfort in my non-normativity. A queerness that forces others to interpret me not necessarily as gender neutral, because true neutrality has been rendered implausible by culture, but as atypically gendered.

       So i’m coming back around to non-normativity with renewed strength and new perspective. i can be a site of resistance, of questioning, of pushing boundaries, of growth. My non-binary gender expression has started feeling affirming beyond its challenge to normative femininity. This moment was representative of yet another increasingly holistic and solid position in what feels like a progressive journey of deconstructing gendered categories and living more fluidly and comfortably.