Well, late June and early July were certainly exciting times for anyone in the non-straight community. First there were those landmark Supreme Court decisions concerning same-sex marriage. Then Gay Pride Day. And, finally, Independence Day, a celebration of our freedom, which should have made the first two events unnecessary.
Yes, it seems that Americans have mostly come around to accepting your basic man-on-man and woman-on-woman alternative lifestyles. But what about all the alternative alternative lifestyles?
I speak, of course, about all the bigender, trigender, pangender, nongendered, agender, other-gendered, gender-fluid, and genderqueer people out there. These are folks who don’t have a parade, who are not represented in the LGBT Community because they don’t have a letter, and who don’t know what sort of bars they should frequent.
Like many people, I suppose, I did not know these types of humans existed. But while researching a recent post about gender-neutral pronouns, I came across a reference to the “transgender/genderqueer” community. I had never heard of the term “genderqueer,” so I looked it up in Dictionary.com, which defines it as “pertaining to or having a gender identity that is other than male or female or is on a continuum between the two genders”
This sounded like genderqueer people, when asked their sexual orientation, check “none of the above.” Or maybe “all of the above.” I thought there must be more to it than that, so I turned to Wikipedia, which, as it usually does, went into much greater detail, with many links, footnotes and disclaimers (which I am not including here):
People who identify as genderqueer may think of themselves as one or more of the following:
•having an overlap of, or blurred lines between, gender identity and sexual and romantic orientation.
•both man and woman (bigender, trigender, pangender);
•neither man nor woman (nongendered, genderless, agender);
•moving between genders (genderfluid);
•third gender or other-gendered; includes those who do not place a name to their gender
Yikes! If men are from Mars and women are from Venus, what planet are these people from? I was going to have to click on a lot of links to find out what all of these were. This is much more work than I’m accustomed to doing for these posts, but I figured if these people–and, no doubt, their psychologists–went through all the trouble to name all of these states of being, the least I could do was look them up.
So prepare to be educated, readers!
Let’s start with an easy one. Bigender is not the same as bisexual. Bisexuals know what gender they are, but just can’t make up their minds about which gender they prefer to have sex with. Bigender people themselves switch back and forth between genders which, I expect, can cause tremendous confusion for their lovers, who may unknowingly go from straight to gay (or vice versa) during a single encounter. And, by the way, I would suggest that, contrary to what appears to be the accepted spelling (“bigender”), bigender people begin using a hyphen (“bi-gender”), so that folks don’t think of them as big enders.
Okay, fine. So now you’re probably wondering what trigender is. You may be hoping that it’s a bigender person who enjoys riding tricycles, because otherwise everything you learned in high school biology will be compromised. I’m going to have to let Wikipedia handle this one:
Trigenderism is a non-binary gender identity in which one shifts between or among the stereotypical behaviors of male, female and a third gender (genderless, a mix of male and female, or any other variety of genderqueer identities). A trigender person may shift from one gender to another depending on the individual’s mood or situation. In contrast, someone who is gender fluid and identifies as trigender may mix two or more genders at a time. Trigender falls under the general category of genderqueer or androgyny, a gender identity that goes beyond the normal binary gender system (male and female) and tends to be a catch-all place for other gender identities.
Look, I’m a pretty tolerant person. As far as I’m concerned, you can practice any religion you want as long as you don’t annoy people trying to convert them, and you can be any race you want because, really, what choice do you have? You can even dress up as, act like, or have sex with any consenting adult you want, in any way you want, as long as I don’t have to watch.
But I really must insist that you choose a public bathroom and stick with it. I don’t care if you were born one gender and identify as the other, either sartorially or surgically. You’re a woman partway through a sex change? You’re welcome to use the men’s room and even stand at the next urinal (if you don’t mind me staring). You’re a man who rocks a pair of Jimmy Choo’s? Feel free to stand on line in the women’s room. But you don’t get to switch!
Also, when you start talking about a third gender and non-binary gender, it’s time to admit that you’re making stuff up. Read that definition again, particularly this part “…in which one shifts between or among the stereotypical behaviors of male, female and a third gender.” What in the world is the “stereotypical behavior” of a third gender? Nobody even knows what that is, so how can it have a stereotype?
The telling phrase in the definition is “depending on the individual’s mood or situation.” Look–I don’t get to “identify” as a two-year-old just because I throw a tantrum, and you don’t get to identify as Maureen instead of Maurice because you’re feeling girlish that day, or because it’s Ladies’ Night at your favorite bar. Either be Maurice all the time or Maureen all the time
Having said all that, it’s really none of my business, and you can identify yourself any way you like.
Just tell me which pronoun to use.
See you soon.