I went out for lunch with my sister, cousin and aunt today and had a great time. After I’d tried bits of everyone else’s meals, my aunt commented on how much I’d eaten, to which I replied “I’m a growing lad!” prompting laughter. My cousin then said “hey, why lad? Why not just a growing human being?” and I agreed that that would have been the better phrase to use. As my cousin asked my aunt to pass the soy sauce, my sister turned to me.
“Are you actually a boy haha?”
“Haha, I didn’t think so”
So now we were on the topic of gender. My cousin started talking about one of her friends (who is known to lie for attention). Their most recent tale is one of being a boy, no agender, no- a boy, actually…girl. Wait, boy. Non-binary. Boy. With this comes constant name changing (they’ve ‘changed their mind’ 3 times in the last 2 weeks).
“She’s just trying to be something she’s not and its just sad”
I’m not sure what to say about this, other than I was trying not to say anything because I was really uncomfortable– I change my mind on how I identify pretty regularly, the only difference is that I don’t tell anyone.
So I’m sat there listening to my cousin talking about her friend and trying to filter the bias from what she’s telling me, when she mentions how their friend plans ahead on which days they’re going to be male. I mean, I’m pretty new to the whole gender-questioning game, but I’m pretty sure it doesn’t work like that. It seems to me like predicting on which days you’re going to be in a good mood- its not something you can control in advance. At this point, my aunt joins the conversation with:
“I don’t know why people have to make such a big deal about their gender or sexuality, like, nobody cares. You don’t have to throw it about all over the place and tell everyone”
and laughs with my sister. My cousin and I laugh along but make that kind of eye contact where you’re going to pretend to agree because you’re not in the mood to get into this right now (she’s bi, I’m ace). Its the type of comment that comes from a place of privilege, she doesn’t know what its like to be surrounded by heteronormativity and that not applying to you. It’s not that you want to go around announcing yourself as different, its that its assumed that you’re the same as everybody else which puts you in a lose-lose situation. You have two options:
- Be out and get criticised for trying to be a special snowflake
- Stay in the closet and move through society with ease, but be constantly putting on an act
This is the main reason I haven’t told anyone (except a couple of close friends) about my ace-ness and gender confusion. I’d much rather do little things that make me feel more comfortable without being explicitly ‘out’ than be out and face all that comes with that. In that respect, I think being AFAB puts me in a pretty good place- having short hair and wearing traditionally masculine clothing is generally more accepted than an AMAB person dressing in a more feminine manner. My family don’t even give my men’s tshirts a second glance seeing as I’ve always worn pretty neutral clothes, so coming out to them just seems an unnecessary hassle for now.
All in all, it was a good day. Wagamama was excellent (as always), queer conversation with my family left much to be desired (as always).