Gender Identity: The KinkMage Perspective
The Short Story: I'm currently exploring my gender, and working to find the terms that describe me best. Currently, I would call myself bi-gender or genderfluid, though I may be more of an androgyne as I often find myself falling somewhere in the middle of the gender spectrum.
The Long Story (written 5/3 - 5/19/11):
So here I sit, in my men’s jeans and t-shirt with my binder and frilly knickers underneath, my hair very long and very red (a lovely raspberry shade, to be precise), feeling decidedly “male,” but not very “manly.” I’m not particularly bothered, though, because this is already a big step.
Not long ago, I couldn’t even have told you how I felt. I would have just said I had “the blahs.” I probably wouldn’t have bothered getting dressed because my usual feminine attire would have seemed unappealing and fussy. I would have lounged around on the couch in my pajamas all day feeling vaguely discontent and having no idea why. I’d have been having a “man day.” Only until recently, I didn’t know that such a thing was possible.
I grew up in a place where sexuality was not something to be questioned, let alone gender. It was all black and white. You were either male or female, depending on the parts you were born with, and you were straight. If you were gay, it wasn’t something you told people. It was a secret you did your best to keep. It was something people whispered behind your back.
It wasn’t until I met the woman of my dreams that it even occurred to me to seriously consider that I might be something other than straight. Once I did think about it, it was pretty obvious. And it wasn’t long before I was moving in with my lovely lady and living happily ever after.
I’ve always been the “man” in our relationship. Hardly a day has gone by when Miss K. didn’t make some casual observation of one of my masculine traits – some of which I didn’t even realize I possessed until she pointed them out. And once she did, I began to notice them myself. I began cataloging them, in a way, and as I did, I saw this “other me” beginning to develop.
I need to take a bit of a detour here into territory that may not seem particularly relevant, but I promise the trip will be worthwhile. I just don’t think I can explain my feelings completely without explaining some other things…
I’ve been an avid writer of fanfiction for many years. I love exploring other people’s characters. It’s like… creative psychology. Eventually, a friend introduced me to roleplaying (the online, written sort, not the fetish sort) which I enjoyed even more. It’s all the fun of writing fanfic with an added element of surprise as you’re collaborating with another person. It really allows you to step into the shoes of the character you’re portraying. It also happens to be how I met Miss K.
I started off playing a female character from my favorite anime/manga series, and had great fun, but there was another character I found even more compelling. I was a bit reluctant to try writing him as I wasn’t sure I really had a handle on him. But when I finally gave in, it quickly became clear that I had truly found my muse.
It started as simply exploring a pre-existing character, but as I wrote more and dug deeper, he began to deviate from the original character and become more like my own unique character. Together, Miss K. and I toyed with dozens of variations of both our characters, placing them in different time periods and geographical locations, putting them in all sorts of intriguing situations. Often times, Isaak bore little resemblance to his original incarnation, aside from his name and physical appearance. He had truly taken on a life of his own – and not just in writing.
Sometimes I would say something or do something or even dress in a way that was distinctly different, and Miss K. would look at me and grin and say, “Isaak must be awake.” And she was always right. I always felt at those times a certain… otherness. It seemed that, while I was obviously still me, I was a different me.
Basically, my theory is that my inner male latched onto this character I was exploring, and used him as a sort of vehicle to make its presence known. It was because of Isaak and my interest in costuming that I began to experiment with cross-dressing. I bought a binder solely for costuming purposes, and found myself wearing it at other times too, just because I enjoyed it and felt so comfortable in it.
I would probably never have recognized or felt comfortable enough to explore my masculinity if it hadn’t been for Isaak acting as a sort of bridge. Putting myself in the shoes of a fictional male allowed me to explore and become comfortable enough with the concept to eventually recognize and acknowledge the reality.
What is that reality? Well, I’m still working on figuring that out. There are several terms I’ve come across that seem to describe me: genderqueer, androgyne, bigender, and genderfluid.
I definitely don’t feel like I fit into just one gender, and I never really have. Whenever I had to check the gender box on a form, I checked “female” as that’s what I am biologically, but I always wanted to write in “mostly.” I never felt like that single box fully described me. I didn’t feel like I was just female. But I never really wanted to be fully male either.
It never occurred to me until very recently (literally, a week or so ago) that I could be both. Or neither. Like most people, I thought that gender was binary – that you had to be either male or female. I was researching transgenderism when I came across the term “genderqueer” and the idea of gender as a spectrum rather than a binary system, and suddenly something clicked. That made so much more sense to me. My view of the world is that nothing is black and white, everything is shades of grey. Why wouldn’t gender be the same?
Now that I’ve made this discovery, I’m having fun exploring it. I’ve started doing things to acknowledge my male side. I’ve begun compiling a wardrobe of men’s clothing, and wearing it whenever I feel compelled – which has been quite often lately. I’ve become something of an Axe addict. And I soon plan to purchase a packer, which I’m very excited about.
I’m getting used to considering and identifying my gender on a daily basis. I’ve discovered that there are a lot of days when I don’t feel distinctly male or female. And I’m okay with that. I’ve realized that I don’t have to force myself into any one role.
I certainly don’t have all the answers yet. I don’t always feel so certain or so comfortable. There are days when it’s all just confusing, and I doubt myself, and I question. But questions are good. Asking questions is the best way to learn. So I’m going to keep asking and keep exploring. I am going to play. And most importantly, I’m going to have fun.