Words we use to describe ourselvesPosted: August 12, 2014
I recently mentioned an article called “A Gender Not Listed Here: Genderqueers, Gender Rebels, and OtherWise,” which is based on findings from a survey conducted in 2008. One of the most intriguing points to come from that (in my opinion) was all of the unique words and phrases respondents came up with to describe their gender. Some of those were: “jest-me,” “twidget,” “best of both,” “gender blur,” “cyborg,” and “genderqueer wombat fantastica.”
I also mentioned I had a list somewhere, where I had jotted down other terms. I found that list! So, to expand upon what respondents said:
- a variation of nature
- and my favorite so far, “freemale.”
- limp-wristed butch
- Alien Space Prince
- kinda like an old, beaten-in sneaker
This language is so important. Even if this is only how you see yourself internally, and you’d never actually use these words when you talk about yourself to others, the personal meaning behind it is rich with feelings of who we are, at our core.
As we try to sort out our identities, it is an amazing gift to have these options, all these creative bursts of self-expression, on hand for inspiration. Looking back roughly 12 years ago, when I was first considering the nuances of gender identitiy, I started to learn of the terms “butch,” “transgender,” “genderqueer,” and not a whole lot more. I remember someone referring to me as a “baby dyke” (because I’m so not butch), and that seemed maybe about right, but actually, no not really at all. At the time, I thought I felt like neither gender, like there was a void where there should be gender. I’ve come across dozens of ways to describe this experience lately, but at the time, I struggled with describing what that was, even if just to myself.
These days, I do not feel devoid of gender. The way I replied to Micah’s survey was, “A kaleidoscope of all genders.” That feels exactly right. It feels like a rich mixture, flowing through my being, and constantly shifting internally, but held together by a relatively stagnant vessel (my body). I mean, my body is in motion, but it’s not changing as much as many people who are trans. Nor does my gender expression shift much. It’s an internal feeling.
I wanna recommend this blog post, from a mother’s perspective. She showed her son Micah’s question about how you describe your gender and they talked about some of people’s responses. And it really seemed to open something up for him. This is the kind of stuff we need!
Got descriptive words to add? Join the conversation!