Gender, Sex, and Pronouns

Why Are You so Bothered by Someone Else’s Identity?

If you follow me on twitter, you may have noticed that I don’t include pronouns in my bio. I also don’t do the super TERFy thing of putting “adult human female,” or whatever it is they’re on about this week. So I would imagine that some people might not be so sure about me. And that’s fine. You get to define what you’re comfortable with particularly if you’re a member of an underserved population. Trans people get a lot of hate and so I do get why some of them may see the lack of pronouns in my bio and be a little concerned.

I would like to explain myself.

I am basically what you would call cisgender. I was born biologically female with no apparent anatomical or genetic features that make me intersex and my gender presentation is also woman. On top of that I am almost exclusively attracted to men. That would more or less make me cisgender straight.


Except — and mind you this almost definitely comes from a place of privilege — I don’t really think of myself as “she/her.” In my mind when I’m actually on the subject I think of myself either as “he/him,” or “they/them.” But those pronouns are actually too restrictive to talk about what I really consider myself. My gender is “Ari.” I don’t really completely identify as any gender at all, but I do definitely present as female and don’t mind presenting as female. So that does almost seem like it would make me non-binary, but I have talked to non-binary people and their understanding of themselves and their intentional gender presentation is very different from mine.

I look very feminine. So if people meet me they’ll usually assume my gender is female. But if they don’t know me and only see my writing or hear me referred to just as “Ari,” they will sometimes assume I’m male. This has happened on a few occasions and I feel odd “correcting,” it because I don’t really think it’s wrong. While I present as female I am entirely comfortable being referred to as male or non-binary. Sometimes I even think to myself that I should grow my beard out. Which is ridiculous … because I cannot grow a beard.

But my privilege here is that I do not care. At all. And because men often receive tons of perks in society when I can actually be assumed male I really have no reason to “correct,” it. They might be shocked when they meet me in person, but I’m not offended and sometimes I genuinely think of myself as more masculine than feminine.

So, what I’m describing would make me gender-fluid. Technically. Yup, you heard it here first. I’m coming out the closet. Except I’m still benefiting from all the social effects of being cisgender. So does it matter?

This is the sort of closet I imagine myself in and why it took me so long to come out. (Photo by Андрей Постовой on Unsplash)

But this is why I get so mad at TERFs. I’m actual living proof that their arguments are quite silly. Even assuming that I am actually properly gender-fluid and that guess what: I’m queer now, this doesn’t change anything about me and probably won’t change how people relate to me. Massive privilege for me. Massive. But according to them, the trans cabal should have snapped me up by now and started dosing me with testosterone. I look forward to my trans indoctrination. I sort of assume that the trans agenda is sort of like the feminist agenda in that on Tuesdays we eat tacos and such. I like tacos. Do we also cast spells on Wednesday? Because Wednesday is for witchcraft? No? Okay …

The thing is — why should anyone care? This is not a thing. If a person looks female but identifies as male then just call them by their preferred pronouns. If someone has no gender or is non-binary/gender-fluid then just use what they prefer. If someone corrects you then go with it. Again, my gender is “Ari.” I do not understand or care about my own gender and as — particularly for me — my gender is entirely unrelated to my sex. For me, if a trans person tells me “my gender is female,” I have absolutely no reason to dispute that and it’s just so weird to me that some people think they do.

Me having moments where I’m self-actualizing myself a beard has nothing to do with you. Hell, even in gaming when people hear my voice several of them have sort of implied that I’m male. My avatar is Skorpa the sword-Dane because I think he looks like me. He doesn’t, but in my mind he definitely does. Just the other day one of my teammates asked the zone if they’d “heard the good word of our lord and saviour, [my in-game name].” And to me that’s hilarious because lols I’m not only being compared to a god but being compared to one that for weird reasons people get really obsessive about in regards to race and gender, but is made even more hilarious by the fact that I chose my in-game name as a joke because it doesn’t describe me at all and it does actually describe an innocent, young, woman. This hurts no one. Until I’m burning in the sulphuric fires of hell, but that’s neither here nor there and later I may tell you about my theories on the Jinn.

See? Dead ringer. Betcha you’re not even sure which one’s Skorpa and which one’s me.

I appreciate that “gender critical,” people are super threatened by those in the trans community whose presentation doesn’t match their gender but I just cannot figure out why. Like, “oh no, that gorgeous woman was assigned male at birth!” Who cares? Genuinely. “Oh dearie me, Elliot Page did movies prior to his transition and would prefer not to be dead-named.” Why do you care? He’s super hot now.

Some people have tried to explain that Elliot Page becoming Elliot Page means ‘we’ve lost a lesbian,’ but … no. That’s not accurate. Elliot Page was always a straight man. He may have been misgendered or even possibly identified such that he was in the past understood to be a lesbian, but he’s not hurting anyone just by being a straight man so LEAVE ELLIOT ALONE.

Me re: how people treat Elliot Page.

I’ve explained in previous posts that both sex and gender are actually spectrums. There are quite a lot of small minded people on twitter who will tell you that intersex people either don’t exist or should be sorted into either male or female, but those people are dumb and you should laugh at them. Having a sex or gender binary is arbitrary and ridiculous. But even if it weren’t, why should you care. It’s super weird that people are concerned about what’s in Elliot’s pants in much the same way that it was super weird when there was a count-down to Natalie Portman’s eighteenth birthday.

Even if you’re actually dating someone who is gender-fluid, non-binary, or trans it’s even then still not your concern. If it’s actually too much for you you can just walk away. Gender is part of their identity so if that really doesn’t work for you then okay. I mean, not brilliant, but it is acceptable. But if you are dating them then you should like them for more reasons than just sex. Sex is usually a big part of a romantic relationship but it’s not the only part so if your partner is sexually attractive to you and romantically attractive to you their gender shouldn’t really be all that important.

And if it TRULY bothers you then you don’t have to date anyone who has a gender you’re not okay with. I mean, depending on how crazy you are about it you have to accept that that will probably mean a lot of people you would be okay with won’t want to date you, but whatevs.

So everyone, stop trying to be the underpants police. Why would you want to be the underpants police? That’s just weird. Stop.

Doctor of Palaeopathology, rage-prone optimist, stealth berserker, opera enthusiast, and insatiable consumer of academic journals.

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