I didn't really understand or like or have any interest in clothes until I realised that I wasn't female.
I've got very clear memories of my siblings - both male-identified, as far as I know - saying they were going to be women when they grew up; I don't remember saying anything similar myself. (I also remember a family friend saying something similar. She was right.)
But I didn't know that was a thing that could be true
until my early teens. I already knew I was queer; I started playing with the idea that maybe I was a dude. I definitely had days where I felt
a lot like a dude, but they weren't common, and in general, that felt wrong, too.
In sixth form, a friend said - on my having dressed up a bit - "... no, but you see, there is masculine, and there is feminine, and then there is [you], and it's REALLY DISTURBING when you cross over into either," which... was way
more accurate than I realised at the time; I mean, I was just pretty chuffed.
Somewhere in there, I found out that non-binary was a term and genderqueer folk exist, and I started thinking really hard
about myself. Almost exactly five years ago, I started binding regularly. Four years ago, I decided was genderqueer but couldn't face social transition; but I started thinking about handles, and changed my name online from something derived from my given name to... well, something still derived from my wallet name, but derived in a way of my choosing, without gender (and in fact in the German it's nodding to is neuter). Three years ago, I took a very deep breath and decided I was going to change my wallet name, and I asked people to change what they called me, and then, oh then
, I began to realise that actually, I like clothes and I like dressing up and I like presenting femme and I like cufflinks and I like jewelry and perfume and make-up and drag, and it was glorious
Which is a very bare-bones accounting: for all that it says that genderqueer felt right
, that's oversimplified and doesn't explain what wrong
So: progesterone makes me really obviously really ill. Really, really
ill. When I was nine I stood and stared at myself in the mirror and thought, I need to remember what this looks like because soon I won't be flat-chested any more
. And my chest -- well, okay, look, I am seriously a dead ringer for Botticelli's Birth of Venus
, like, partners have been really weirded out
by how easily that could be a painting of me. (Occasionally I will turn a particular way when getting dressed around That One Lady, and she will darkly mutter down to the
.) So: a body type considered objectively attractive and praiseworthy, and one I am eminently capable of finding attractive, it just doesn't belong on me
. My proprioception is wrong for it - there are some things I can't do, or can do only with revulsion, because of how they cause parts of my body that Shouldn't Be to move. The physical dysphoria is, for me, a pervasive low-level unease, a something is wrong
: my body is in the uncanny valley relative to my bone-deep sense of what it should be, and it is only
my chest that causes this, not any of the disability or whatever. (Well, and sometimes my face and my voice, but those I am learning to make peace with in a way that I am not so much with my chest, because anything else would be more wrong.)
There's social stuff too, of course - the delicate duality whereby misogyny is wrong, evidently and clearly, but there is additional grating unease when I experience it arising from you're treating me in a way congruent with your perceiving me as a woman
, distinct from the way you are treating me is wrong because politics and humanity
Somehow, though, I appear to have muddled through. As I say above, "genderqueer" isn't actually quite right, but it's the best term I've got so far: and so perhaps in time it's home to strength I'll come
By all means ask me questions - I am happy to educate in this specific instance, for people I already know - but be aware that this doesn't necessarily mean I'll answer all
questions about my life, because - personal, and so on.