I’ve just found a cool new non-binary genderqueer forum to play in called Transyada. I’ve been enjoying further wrangles with terminology and identity, and I came up with a (for me) new label this morning, which I’m foisting on you: trandrogyne.
What’s the point of this? Good question. I know.
Well… there was some discussion about a couple of terms I hadn’t really come across before: transfeminine, transmasculine. The general consensus seems to be that these terms are used by trans people who don’t want to describe themselves as women/men, but also don’t want to describe themselves as trans women/trans men – but who identify in some way as more female/male respectively than not. As with any terms, google them and you’ll find (as I just did) a broad probability cloud of definitions, so I’m inevitably doing some people an injustice with this stab at a brief definition.
I’m not comfortable with these terms. Well, there’s no reason why I need to be, since it’s a matter of choice whether I use either of them myself. But there seems to me to be a built-in assumption that femininity/masculinity is inherent in femaleness/maleness. I encounter this often enough, even in the (mostly binary) trans world, to find myself more and more reluctant to want to just call myself a woman or trans woman – because there’s such a strong pull in people towards assuming that being a woman/trans woman means I want to present as feminine.
I quite like having trans in my personal label of choice, since I’m in mid-transition, and it’s a significant aspect of me. I like womandrogyne a great deal as a label, but when I came up with trandrogyne, it too has a very nice fit. The trouble is, I want a label that’s somewhere between the two (and yet still catchy as hell), because I don’t fully identify as either woman or androgyne.
Hmm, let’s see. Transwomandrogyne is pretty much the most accurate, and least catchy, label I could possibly come up with. So, no.
This is the trouble with labels. They’re small, don’t tell you enough about the product, and they either fall off too easily or are hard to get off when you want them to. I wouldn’t want the label transfeminine, because it would leave a sticky residue.
Skipping across metaphors… a label is basically a very short story. Being so short, it has to leave a lot to the imagination.
Once upon a time, there was a person who was born with a body at odds with their genderself. They didn’t fit neatly into the genderslots their world was offering as options, so nobody was sure what to call them, and they were unsure what to call themselves. They longed for a Name of Power that would reveal their true nature to all.
But the Power of Names becomes diluted, as more people hear them. This is the way of things.
Or something. So… The Trandrogyne Womandrogyne hath a ring to it, don’t you think? But its Power is mainly to make people go “huh?”
The point being, I both want and don’t want a distinct identity and a label to go with that. I want the convenience without the stultification. I want the security without the prescription/proscription. I want to know who I am, and say who I am – but I don’t want to fix who I am. I like this paradox, this dilemma, this tension-that-isn’t.
[the images are the twin states of “Tension Thing” by Judith Fegerl – ceramic sphere, human hair, cables, high voltage generator]