This post has been a long time coming.
TW: gender dysphoria, misgendering, trans*misogyny
The theatre department at my university is very small and intimate. Everyone knows each other, and we work very closely with one another. This semester, I’m doing sound for the mainstage prodution (!!!!!!!!!!), and will be spending every Saturday as well as literally ALL of my time for two weeks in March at the theatre. I get along really well with most of the people in the program, and although they all definitely think I’m a radical, obnoxious weirdo, I think I’m fairly well liked as well- if for no other reason than the fact that I have a solid work ethic.
I’ve gone to school with/worked on productions with these people for the last three years, yet I’ve never come out to them about my gender identity. They look at me, and they see a queer woman. I have cis passing privilege, which is awesome in a lot of ways, but it also means that I get midgendered- a lot. I try to tell myself it’s not a big deal. They’re not trying to be hateful, they’re just ignorant. If I told (most) of these folks that I’m genderqueer and prefer they/them pronouns, I don’t think many of them would understand what I was saying. I would have to explain it to them, answer their questions, correct their pronoun useage, answer questions about why I “look like a girl”.
It’s weird. Yesterday, I was in my theory of theatre class, and I answered a question about standpoints in relation to how theatre is a means of expressing cultural values, inscribed with privileges and the voices and stories of those who have been oppressed. As an example, I identified myself as a “white, queer person”. My professor seems really awesome. However, when we went on to elaborate on my point to the class (which he did a great job of!) he repeated my example, referring to me as a “white, queer…woman”. He paused, as though as he was saying it, he realized that I had not, in fact identified myself as a woman. However, when he looked at me, he saw a woman. That’s how they all see me.
Part of me doesn’t want to make a big thing of it it because
a) I don’t have the energy to explain to 100+ people about gender.
b) I’m a minor, not a major in the program, so I already feel a little excluded. I don’t want to have to deal with them thinking I’m even more of a weirdo than they already do.
c) Is it really my place, as a DFAB, cis-passing trans* person to make a big deal about this?
But it fucking hurts whenever someone refers to me as a lady, or a woman, or a girl. The pronouns aren’t a HUGE deal to me…I recognize that gender neutral pronouns aren’t a part of most peoples’ vocabularies, and it’s hard to get used to using them. It isn’t triggering for me when people use feminine pronouns, it’s just weird, because I’m not a she/her. When people use my preferred pronouns though- my heart fucking sings. I’m not a ladywomangirl. I’m a hard femme. I’m a person. I’m a grrrl, by my own definition. I’m a dude. I’m a slutrockerbitch. But that seems hard for people to comprehend.