Tag Archives: neutrois

What am I willing to share?

1 Jun

A year or two ago, I got into a kick of reading primarily young adult literature over that written for adults. It’s not that I think one is better than the other, but YA lit has the tendency to do a lot more identity-exploring than adult lit, and I find that interesting.

I’m currently crawling through the beginning of writing a book I want to try to get published. This is something I have wanted to do since I was about three years old, so it’s a long time coming. It’s YA, and because I want to write in YA and I like reading there, I’ve started following a fair number of YA-focused blogs. A little for advice, but mostly for book reviews.

(Obligatory recs: Check out YA Highway for general news, reviews, and advice. Intergalactic Academy is awesome for sci-fi reviews. Seriously. Go read it now. Although their light-text-on-dark-background layout may make it easier to read in a feed like Google Reader.)

One of the blogs I follow is Malinda Lo’s, and she just wrote about YA Pride Month. Basically, taking the US’s general Pride Month of June and focusing on it through a lens of YA lit. The part I found most interesting in her post (and that makes it worth mentioning on this blog) is a footnote about how Lo will be interviewing authors writing YA novels with LGBT main characters. The book I am working on now has queer main characters so it caught my eye.

I decided that in my YA Pride series I wanted to mostly invite writers who identify as LGBT to be interviewed or guest post for my site. While I don’t believe one needs to identify as LGBT in order to write about LGBT people, I also feel that there is value in supporting LGBT writers. In the interests of full disclosure, I have had trouble finding transgender-identified YA writers to participate in this series, simply because there are so few of them. I haven’t finished my search for contributors yet, and I may still be able to find a trans YA writer to participate, but if I don’t, the reason is not because I didn’t attempt to find one; it’s because we need more of them.

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Shoulders

27 May

This might seem like a weird area of my body to focus on with regards to gender dysphoria, but recently I had to shop for clothing to attend a wedding in and I realized I have a thing about my shoulders and collarbone.

Bare shoulders and a bare collarbone are not neutral. Unlike other items of “women’s” clothing that happen to fit my body, I can’t find neutral/masculine details to tilt me away from an overall feeling of pretending to be a woman that I’m not. Exposing that part of my body in public is unabashedly feminine. Guys may go around with a couple of shirt buttons undone, but unless there’s exercise or sex involved, you don’t see dudes going into events with shirts that show their collarbone from shoulder to shoulder.

You might be wondering why I bothered looking at anything that would leave my shoulders bear. To be honest, I just don’t want to melt, and it was also the more economical option. The wedding is going to be on a hot summer night. Dresses expose skin in a socially appropriate way that also allow for greater cooling capability. Plus, I own no other formal clothes I can wear without a binder, and you would have to pay me a decent amount of money to wear a binder for an entire wedding on a hot Southern night. What can I say, I overheat easily. A dress was also going to be less expensive than finding an entire suit.

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Asexual and neutrois

30 Oct

Although there were about eight years between the time I started identifying as asexual and when I started identifying as neutrois, I don’t think I could separate my asexuality from my gender, now.

But first I have to talk about how being asexual tied into my identification as neutrois. And I can see this post getting rather sprawling, so I’m going to attempt to use headings. I’m also going to put a cut, because this is kind of a long post.

(Warning: I talk about physical sex and sex drive in here, though not in much detail.)

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Boxes

15 Oct

Lately I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my presentation, as it relates to my gender. My gender is neutrois, as I’ve talked about before, and I consider myself neutral-gendered. Masculine and feminine presentation don’t make me masculine or feminine, they’re just what I found striking while getting dressed. When I’m able, I want top surgery to make it possible for my body to be more neutral.

But there’s always going to be the issue of clothes. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to comfortably incorporate the feminine details I enjoy in clothes into my wardrobe. I’m in the awkward situation now of almost never being able to go to the store; if I buy clothes within the next year, it’s going to have to be online. (Look at the confidence I hold in my ability to learn how to drive!)

Some things would be easy to buy. T-shirts, which already comprise 85% of my closet. I either measure myself, probably already own a t-shirt from the company, or can measure a t-shirt that fits comfortably to figure out what size to buy. Unisex t-shirts are also easy to find with masculine, feminine, and neutral designs and details.

When I wear my binder, I can wear men’s shirts without them gapping in the front. But I don’t want to wear my binder every day. I worry about long-term binding and I don’t like to bind for more than five hours at a time, although that might be partly because my binder isn’t broken in yet.

So while I’m working and until I have surgery, I’ll need women’s shirts. I understand this. In some situations, I prefer the women’s shirt. (For example, the other day I wanted a warm long-sleeved shirt to wear around the house in the winter. I ruled out the men’s because they didn’t have the pink flannel I liked best.) The surgery will just give me more options, and I’ll be able to buy women’s shirts because I like the design, not because I need the cut.

Obligatory momentary pause while I go all starry-eyed imagining never buying a bra again.

But then there’s … dresses. And skirts. I don’t know how to feel about these.

I used to hate them. I haven’t bought a dress since middle school — my grandma made me wear one to my uncle’s wedding. I’ve donated all my old Sunday dresses. I can’t remember if I wore skirts as a child or not. In undergrad, I never bought them, but I rarely bought clothes at all, and I blanched at the idea that I was expected to wear them. Now that I’m more comfortable in my gender, and at asserting control over what I wear, I … don’t know. And since I don’t own any anymore, I can just try one on for a day and see how I am.

It’s been causing me a bit of anxiety lately, not having any idea of how to express myself in clothing. I don’t want to be stuck in the men’s section of the store any more than I want to be stuck in the women’s section. I like things people consider masculine and I like things people consider feminine.

At the end of posts I like to come to some kind of resolution, but I don’t have one here. I don’t know how to fix this feeling I have, this anxiety that I’m going to get trapped into another box that I don’t want to be stuck in.

I don’t identify with masculinity any more than I identify with femininity. I just pick and choose the things I like, and I’m not in a position now where I can go and things on. So I’m just stuck … wondering, and fretting. I don’t know what my wardrobe will look like over the years, or whether skirts or dresses would help me feel better, help me feel less boxed in. I don’t know how I’m going to pick out clothes or makeup or accessories that let me look the way I feel when I wake up not wanting to be very masculine or very feminine.

Probably, I’m lucky that overall I don’t really care about fashion: if I could wear sweatpants and unisex t-shirts every day I’d probably be fine. But I can’t do that. So I have to … I don’t know. I have to wait, and see. And waiting is hard.

But I know that I don’t want to be trapped in another box.

Adventures in Binding Pt. 2

10 Aug

While Girlfriend visited we went shopping, and in several stores we were shopping, in essence, for the invisible man. The sales people would ask us things like “What does this guy look like?” and “Do you think this is too wild for him?” and we would glance at each other and I would try not to burst out laughing, because, of course, we were shopping for me. (And yes, that tie was far too wild.)

Honestly I didn’t mind being the invisible man. Though I’m absolutely positive that not everybody identified me as straight, it was smoother to shop for somebody who wasn’t there than to tell them that tie was for me. (One guy was clearly thinking “Look at the baby gays!” when trying to get me to open a store credit card account, though.)

Read more. (For review, it’s an Underworks’ 998 XL in white)

Adventures in Binding

1 Aug

Note: If you’re interested in binding and haven’t read anything on it, I recommend Hudson’s Guide and this article from TransGuys as basic primers. They both describe binding options and where to buy or find binders.

Binding is something I’ve been thinking about, I guess, for around a year. Until now I’ve held off on it because I’m already pretty indecisive about buying clothes, and because I have a few assorted worries about it. I haven’t worn the binder much but since in my search for one I realized there are extremely few reviews from bigger people in the plus size range, I want to chronicle it in case someone needs the resource.

The reasons I held back were that I worry maybe excessively about hurting my ribs after all the reading I’ve done. Also, it’s hot where I live, and I don’t imagine heat making binding easier. It’s averaging 94 Fahrenheit (34.4 Celsius) during most of the day right now, about to crank up a few degrees this week, and typically it doesn’t cool down until October. Sometimes it’s still hot by Halloween. A couple of years ago I wore shorts on Christmas. You get the picture.

After a lot of discussion with Girlfriend (and being talked out of a last-minute reversal on the decision of getting one), I ordered a binder off Underworks a week or so ago. It took a lot of review-reading and deliberating but I settled on a 988 XL in white. A coupon saved me a few dollars (I Googled ‘Underworks coupon’). ETA: It cost $38.24 with shipping and the coupon, promo code under10, saved me $3.50.

Under the cut: description of the binder and its effects, and also some brief description of my size, which probably not everyone wants to read about.

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Transition Plans

3 Jun

I am neutrois, which means I don’t feel connected to male or female genders or androgyny, and that I also feel gender dysphoria. Medical science, having progressed past the barber slash surgeon stage, has a few options available to me to alleviate this dysphoria.

My plans are mostly dreams at this point. I don’t have anything concrete, because my entire future is a little uncertain at the moment. Among other things, I’m not sure where I’ll be living next month. It’s also hard to tell whether I’ll be able to keep up the full-time-student thing or whether I’ll drop a class and pick up a part-time job, the latter of which would push my graduation date. Then I don’t know how long it’ll take for me to actually move and settle into a new city and a new job in a new part of the country. I’ve come to believe that cross-country moves are not an easy endeavor.

So there’s a lot of things in the air, is what I’m saying. I do have some mental sketches for how my transition is going to progress, though. Graduate at the end of 2012, work for two years, move in with Girlfriend Drake, get top surgery sometime in 2015.

I don’t particularly want to put it off for four years, but I feel like that’s how long it’s going to take to save the money and have a comfortable place to recuperate in.

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