Passing Thoughts

| Sep 25, 2017

Hello everyone,
This post will be about the same topic as my last one, but in a different setting. I recently started at a new school. It is a therapeutic day school, as opposed to my old school which was a private boarding school. It is very different to go into a situation without everyone knowing anything about my past. I came out when I was at my old school, so everyone there was aware of the fact that I’m trans and that my assigned gender was male. Things are pretty different since I’m now going into a new situation as my true self.

Passing at school is very different from passing at work because at school I see the same people every day as opposed to work where I only see people when they want food. My school accepts students in middle school and high school. I am a senior, so this will be my last year of school. On the first day of school, classes were short classes where we talked about what we’ll be doing throughout the year. During each of these classes, I came out as “gender-whatever” to everyone in my classes. I told everyone that my personal pronouns are they/them, and I asked them to try to use my pronouns. No one has intentionally not used my pronouns, but not many people use they/them for me. I understand this because my pronouns are not the “norm” in our society. However, this has led to an interesting situation in which people are very split on what my gender assigned at birth was.

The majority of students believe that I was assigned female at birth. This is an incorrect assumption. Because of this assumption, the majority of students will refer to me with he/him pronouns. I would guess that this is because they think that it’s more respectful to not refer to me as what they think is my assigned gender. This assumption has gotten to the point where people are surprised when I tell them that I was assigned male. I think that this happened because on the first day of school, I dressed very masculine but still showed some femininity. My classmates must have interpreted this as an attempt to look like a boy, or at least an attempt to not look like a girl. The teachers on the other hand, have used she/her pronouns for me from the beginning. A lot of the teachers have been attempting to use they/them pronouns for me, and that makes me very happy. They are doing their best to respect me, and I greatly appreciate that. I understand that people aren’t perfect. No one is perfect, especially with things outside of the societal norm. Many people will either pick a binary set of pronouns for me, or they will switch between the two binaries. It doesn’t bother me that much anymore. I don’t like binary pronouns, but they’re something that I have to deal with until our society lets go of the gender binary.

Using non-binary pronouns gives me a chance to educate people. I’m glad that I’m able to help people understand how trans people feel. A lot of the students at my school have never met an openly trans person. I say openly because everyone has met a trans person; they just don’t realize it. Because of this, on my most masculine days I’m often mistaken for either a tomboy or a trans man. I understand that cashiers don’t have the time to ask me about my gender, but when I’ve told people whom I see on a daily basis what my pronouns are, it would be nice to have people to try and use my pronouns. I even wore a button that said ‘They’ for the first few weeks of school. It’s not that people don’t care, it’s just that our society trains us to gender each other. When someone sees a person with long hair, they assume that this person is a girl. Because of this societal norm, no one sees me for who I am.

Society as a whole is obsessed with the binary for some reason. Even on the internet, a lot of websites will make the user pick between male or female. Occasionally there is an other button, but I think that putting other on the list is more offensive than not having a third option. What is other supposed to mean? I am not an other. I am a person. I am genderqueer. I am non-binary. I’m not an other. It should not be this hard for me to tell the world how I identify. My gender is no less valid than a man’s or woman’s gender. Our society engraves the gender binary into us when we are young. They tell us that women have long hair and men have short hair. They tell us that women like pink and men like blue. They tell us things that we don’t even think about. For example, what gender is related to sports? Boys of course. Even though there are many groups for women’s sports, we still think of sports as a masculine thing.

One thing that a lot of people don’t like to admit is that there are many cultures that have accepted trans and non-binary people from the beginning. For example, some Native American tribes had two-spirits, and most tribes recognized four genders, the four being masculine men, feminine men, feminine women, and masculine women. In South Asia, hijras are recognized as a gender. They are trans women, and they have been around for a long time. Some parts of the area will allow people to legally identify as a hijra as opposed to male or female. Trans people have always been here. Non-binary people have always been here. We should not accept something as a fact without thinking about it. I encourage you to go out and think for yourself. Question things that are considered “normal” by our society. The lack of logic might surprise you.

I know that I’m criticizing an idea that might be important to some people, but I feel that this is the only way to start a conversation about non-binary people and their pronouns. So I want to know, what do you think? Do you believe that the gender binary is necessary, or do you believe that we don’t need it? Do you think it’s an important thing that helps trans people? Or do you think that it’s harmful to them? Please let me know. I’m really interested in seeing how the TGForum community feels about this subject.
Blessed be,

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Category: Body & Soul, Opinion

About the Author ()

M is an 18-year-old agender person who lives in Pennsylvania. They about to enter senior year of high school. Their preferred pronouns are they/them. Their favorite things are music, poetry, and dogs. M is an aspiring writer, activist, and psychologist. They look forward to being a part of the TG Forum community, and would love to share their perspective of the world.

Comments (1)

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  1. tammiesmith1369 says:

    I feel ya, M. I still wrestle with my gender ID a bit, so I go with gender queer or non-binary, even though I prefer being female. I’m thinking about just going with binary female and get it over with. Confusing, right? I prefer female pronouns. I pass as female when I put my full girl on. When I’m in a hurry and out running a quick errand and present as non-binary, I sometimes get ‘sir’ and sometimes I get ‘ma’am. I HATE being called ‘sir’, but outside the trans world people don’t use neutral pronouns. I was getting a sub Tuesday, and at first the guy addressed me as ma’am. Once he got a better look at me in a loose fitting shirt without a bra on, my boobs are small, and no eye makeup or lipstick, he changed it to sir. Or, maybe I didn’t do a good job with my female voice. I was ready to correct him that it was ma’am, which I’m sure would have blown his mind! If he called me sir one more time I was going to, but he didn’t. As other trans people have told me, don’t stress out over labels. Your point is 100% valid, though.