In which I revisit the whole label discussion and end up with fewer answers, and why that’s not a bad thing.
Up front: If for some ungodly reason you need to refer to me, I’m asking you to use they/them pronouns. I’m a faceless pile of words on the internet whom you don’t actually know. So why not just do it.
In real life, sure, it’s more complicated. There’s the financial reality of needing to stay employed. There’s the physical reality I inhabit. There are the expectations of the people around me, and the need to keep from isolating myself entirely.
But the more I continue to read about and around the concept of gender, the more it’s important to me to reconsider basing my sense of myself on what the people around me see and think. Because while I always have one eye on the fact that I’m a lifelong drama queen and unreliable narrator, it’s also increasingly important to me to remember the larger context. I want space to be made for people who don’t fit the nonbinary mold. Even if that isn’t me, saying “well, I’m not a shaved-headed sylph in a waistcoat so I don’t count” is shitty to the legitimately nonbinary people who don’t fit that mold. Because they matter. And I want to stop indirectly negating them in the process of trying to describe myself. I’m sorry that I have done that.
I don’t know what the fuck I am, and increasingly over time, my path has been to care less. People have their ideas about who and what I am. That’s not my identity. I have a history, in which things unfolded in a certain way. That’s not my identity. There are a lot of things I could be, and a lot of ways to cherry-pick my history and personality to fit a narrative. I’ve been trying to do exactly that for a few years now, and every time, I find that I’m able to fit the facts into any hypothesis. I could, and have, written myself an essay “proving” that I’m any one of four or five different identities. So I’m going to stop doing that, because it isn’t helping.
Becoming more comfortable with ambiguity has brought me some peace. Rules-lawyering and arguing about minutiae are some of my depression’s favorite tools, and when I take those toys away, it tends to shut up more often. (So far.) And it fits into my overall belief that the socially accepted system of locking people into tiny boxes deserves to be questioned at every turn.
(Which is not the same thing as saying that no one should have a gender. If you have one, and it makes you happy, that’s awesome. I will defend your right to that. It’s like how I feel about cars: I don’t want one, I’ll use one if I have to, and I want our society to be constructed in such a way that people can decide to use them or not. I’m not taking anyone else’s away. If you love yours, I love that for you. But I believe they shouldn’t be required to live.)
tldr: let people live. Fuck TERFs; singular they is not difficult, that’s just an excuse, get over yourself; and if you see someone labeling themselves in a way you don’t understand or agree with, mind your own business. Thank you and goodnight.