I made plans to meet friends in FOTA animal park this morning. I wanted to get going really early so that the whole day wouldn’t be eaten up by the visit – there are other, pretty mundane, but important to me things that I want to get done today. So I set the expectation that we might meet between 10:30 and 11. Now, with my choice to have a cup of coffee and write words here, I know we won’t even leave the house until 11.

I know I could have left the words and written them later, but it’s not the same and I know that I’m likely to not bother if I don’t get it done in the morning, so I decided to be a little selfish. For the cost of about 20 minutes this morning, I will feel more human and more solidly placed in my day. I know that there will be 20 minutes many times over spent faffing in the animal park, paid back a thousand-fold by me for my friend and her family.

Anyway, it turns out she was grateful for the extra preparation time too.

***

I’ve been thinking a lot about gender over the past year. I haven’t really written here much about it, for all that I’ve discussed societal expectations of me because of my assigned and perceived gender as a woman, a middle-aged woman, and a parent to boot. But I have thoughts about the whole thing.

It sort of started with my reading a comic called Robot Hugs and then segueing from there to reading about the concepts of Gender Fluid and Gender Neutral and Gender Non-Binary and all those sorts of things. It wasn’t quite an “It Me!” moment or anything like that, more an “It me? Is it? What me anyway?” moment.

The notions of Trans Gender in the “traditional” senses of Male-to-Female and Female-to-Male and “transitioning” and “passing” and all that stuff has been in the common consciousness for as long as I can remember. It’s true that it might not be well understood and certainly doesn’t seem to be super well-accepted, but it’s existed. A person who doesn’t really identify as either male or female? Or a person who changes between them? Or – and here’s where I think I might be lying in this vast wilderness of self-defined gender: A person who mostly has difficulty identifying as human, let alone a particular flavour of human, but who sometimes likes to wear the skin of certain combinations and ratios of gender-conceptions: like maybe a 2:1 F:M gender-day or a 10:1, or a 5:2.

Am I making sense?

I don’t know what I am, but I know that all of my life I’ve felt very uncomfortable with the notion of being a girl or a woman. It’s just felt “wrong” to me. Maybe society is to blame for that. Maybe it’s because I’ve been “hard” science leaning academically (but then I have an artistic bent too) and the areas where I’ve worked (prior to teaching) have been heavily biased towards men. Men have the power, I want the power, therefore …

When playing in tabletop RPGs, I’ve a preference for playing male characters. I found it hard to put my finger on why, and I’ve previously described feeling that – whatever the setting – male characters feel more likely to have more agency. There’s maybe a little more to it than that. I just like to play male characters. It feels more comfortable for me.

It’s tough because I don’t have the certainty of binary transdom. I don’t even think I could apply a word like “trans” to myself, though apparently that’s the word for non-binary folk. I’ve changed my gender on any profiles I’ve access to to “Gender Neutral”. That’s kind of the only available third option in general (hahah, first off I typed “in genderal”), when a third option is even available. If there are just two, I’ll select female, because even though it’s a slight lie, it’s a lie that I’m comfortable with, one that I’ve been used to for my whole life; the lie of male feels odd and uncomfortable – it feels nearly as bad as referring to myself as a girl or a woman.

So, what am I? I don’t know. I’m just me. I’m just “E”. I like the Robot Hugs comic a lot, I like that the author refers to themselves as a “robot” because that feels way more right to me than all the other available options so far. Meanwhile, if you’re interested, I prefer gender-neutral pronouns, and I prefer the title Mx.

Beyond that I’m not really sure of anything.

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