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Gender Questing


I want to talk about gender questing as a bit of a follow-on from my recent post about using "identifies as" with respect to gender.

When I was younger, much younger, the Internet was just becoming a thing for people and online communities were really starting to expand. This was the era of Geocities and there was the "West Hollywood" neighbourhood for LGBT+ people. There were other online forums, of course, as well as the ever popular IRC world. All of these were the burgeoning sources of information for those of us gender questing.

To me, back then, I was really trying to get the language to understand who I was. I knew I fit under the larger trans umbrella, but I didn't know how I fit. Back then, there seemed to me to be very clear lines of demarcation for us and, foolish me, I believed them for a long time. This is why gender questing is so important!

So, what do I mean by gender questing? I guess I try to think of it as challenging and questioning all of our assumptions about gender, the binary concepts, and more. I retreated into a shell back then, patching the cracks as best I could with alcohol, but others continued to push on this and I am grateful. Today our language to describe gender is much richer and more robust than it has been for ages and I think, for that, we can thank those who continued to quest.

When we think about gender today, we can talk about male, female, nonbinary, genderfluid, gender non-conforming and so much more. Some of these weren't even things we talked about in the 90s. We have that language now because people questing and trying to understand who they were and then talking about it. What an immense treasure they created for us!

How does that apply to my post the other day? Well, my blog is titled "Gender is Mutable" for a reason! The reason I don't find I like "identifies as" isn't to ignore or downplay the importance of gender exploration or the fluidity of gender, but that I think it's okay to actually say who you are unequivocally even if the answer is "I don't know yet, I am figuring it out." 

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