thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (Default)

And further to the theme of Coming Out Day, a loud slam poem about self defining and roles.

“Is it just assuming a role?” she asks

Why yes, but for heaven’s sake

Not just gender but all identity’s performative

And I’m sick of being forced

Into being faux (or assumed) heternormative

Normative at all in fact, I don’t want

Unbroken skin, brown hair, or not

To have my mother in a whirl

Because you say it’s a role,

But all of me is, is many

And always will be, my own silent soliloquy,

For when there are no words,

When a fuck you, or an identity, gives me

Hope, or purpose or just something to be

Something to feel I am, for others

So that I can be there, to be loved

Or hated, or ignored, but without that

All the lies and rumours and hostility

Is true, and not in the way that I want

So this, all this, the style, the actions, the loves

Are all just me, roles, but what I want

And should, and need to be, complete

Imperfect, changing, and essential

thefairymelusine: Knight in Circle (knight circle green)
Today, I think, is Coming Out Day, and the Outer Alliance have asked people to write about their coming out stories. I remember being dragged to a discussion group once which was discussing the fact that in terms of mainstream literature, quite often gay people only seem to exist in terms of coming out, and the emphasis that is put on that as a single action.

I can't speak for everyone, or indeed anyone other than me, but for me coming out has never been cut and dried. Being twelve and confessing to friends and my mother that I might be attracted to girls (and being told that it was a phase) went on for about four years, until I was finally comfortable enough to just be open about my sexual orientation in a way that made me feel I didn't still need to come out, although in certain circumstances I still did. Then, a while later, I started my first serious relationship, which happened to be with a man, and had to negotiate a strange sort of re-coming out, or trying to reinforce my queerness while acknowledging this relationship. And later still various other comings out, as bisexual-queer, as polyamorous which would be irrelevant were it not included in this coming out again as attracted to and having relationships with women

I will probably always have some people to whom I have to come out as queer, and that frustrates me. There are some ways I will probably never come out fully, for example I can't imagine coming out as polyamorous in certain circumstances. And the response has switched slowly from "is it just a phase" to "do you really want to put that label on yourself", and most of the time I do, because of the echoes I have of being sixteen and at summer camp and able to be myself, able to make jokes about my take on the world.

And I am aware I'm privileged. I am aware of all the areas in which I can come out, in which I am safe and unthreatening, in which I am in environments which are at worst unwelcoming, but not threatening, and that possibly my comings out don't matter.

And finally, I should use this day to say something, about my current coming out, and exploration of gender, and I have come over just as coy as I always do in these matters. I am starting to identify as genderqueer, and to present as male some of the time, and realise that I don't really think of myself as female, although I don't have a problem with female presentation, I just don't want it to be the only option. And I don't know whether I think of myself as male either, I just know that throughout my teens I thought of myself as a courtly lover, and still kind of do (which brings it's own bundle of problems with gender roles and sexism) And telling you this is probably self indulgent, and unimportant, but I thought I should. Because coming out is always about being allowed to show an aspect of yourself, to be more yourself, and it is mostly coming out about identifying as me, not a woman or girl or even courtly lover.
thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (knight)
Okay, this is personal and trying to stop projecting/egotism.

In secondary school, from my mid teens onwards, I was very queer. I did what I would term "quasi cross dressing" (wearing masculine womens clothes i.e. shirt, tie, mannish suit- i.e. Annie Hall) or cravats or having mad spinster hair because I had long hair. It wasn't much, but it helped with identity, and was healthier than some of the other ways in which I was lesbian identified (I was for a while a woman hating feminist lesbian. I am still deeply ashamed to say this- i.e. I appropriated a lot of unthinking popular straight male attitudes to women, and was very bitter. All of this got tangled up with mental health issues, and I am over that now.) I never used the female pronoun with reference to myself when writing in the third person, and disliked other people using it, preferring they, and my friends thought this was silly, because apart from the clothes, I looked femme.

Then I started a relationship with a man. I was still queer identified, self-defining as a lesbian-with-a-boyfriend. And over time I stopped dressing in a faux butch way, because of silly comments my parents and boyfriend made, which probably (almost certainly in his case) weren't meant. Over time I dropped the they from blog posts and internet comments, because I was sick of friends telling me it was silly. I became more comfortable with the idea of being/appearing conventionally female, partially because I had bigger things to worry about, partially the teenage misogyny wearing off, and because people thought it was odd. And then people stopped remembering I was queer, which is fair enough really as I was/am in a relationship with a man, and know that I'm priviledged in that respect and that I don't have to deal with prejudice regarding my sexuality every day, or get shouted at in the street for reasons other than having green hair. And because of this it seemed churlish or odd to append to a mention of my boyfriend that I identified as lesbian/queer (given as my identity became more queer) given that the response often was anything from "surely you mean bisexual" to that it was a teenage phase. And these came from many sources, an unaware teenager, my parents, my psychologist, the many doctors I saw over those two years.

And recently, as I got sick of this, and more aware, I started to want to present as queer more, both in being politically out again (or still but being louder) and in terms of playing with presentation, especially gender presentation. I miss the fun I got out of it, the confidence of going out looking like yourself but yourself being able to constantly change. And my partner and I are a lot more open now, and better at discussing things, and it turns out he didn't have a problem with it, and I'm no longer at home and that helps.

But alongside this there is the fact that this came after our relationship was established, and we'd become negotiated poly, and knew each other a lot better and around the time that I had my first successful sexual-romantic relationship with a woman. 

So the question is, and I am genuinely very interested in the answers, how have your sexual-romantic relationships and their presentation and your sexuality affected your gender presentation? Have they at all? And what else has? (n.b. anonymous comments are on, comments are screened unless you ask me to unscreen it)

Major thanks to [personal profile] garlicandsapphires, (amagiclantern over at LJ), and the fine LJ folk james_is_sorry and secondterminal for listening to the draft stages of this when it was much more vague, and secondterminal especially for telling me to post.

And please do reply, this was originally just going to be a survey

EDIT: Widened to include how your mental health/societal pressures have affected gender presentation. This is hideously vague, sorry.


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