A lot of words have been devoted to minimalism: minimizing your clothes, your books, your money, even your relationships. I decided to apply a minimalist approach to gender.
Why not, right? Transsexual and transgender people know how much junk we get handed at birth about sex and gender and sexual orientation and femininity and masculinity.
Even after twenty-plus years of living as a female to male transsexual, I still ball myself up with all kinds of crap questions. Questions about what is real masculinity. Which is kind of a lousy thing to do to myself, since in asking it I’m already assuming that I’m not a man, really.
I mean I get that many people don’t think I’m a man. But, really, why should I do it to myself? (Not nice, I know.)
Language plays a huge role in how I think about my gender and how people explain gender to me.
We possess certain body parts:
- I have toes.
- I have genitalia
- I have hands
- I have legs
But we, you and I, exist:
- I am a man
- I am human
- I am gendered
Gender is something that exists or happens. But I don’t possess it, per se.
In my minimalist approach I tried this:
- I have gender
- I do gender
Which then led to my minimalist approach to gender:
- Got gender?
- How do you do your gender?
You bet. I do my gender pretty awesomely, too.
And all those mean things I say to myself – Oh a female to male transsexual – Hah! You aren’t a real man – that’s part of the doing of gender. For me.
Transcendence and acceptance live in the mean-spirited thoughts, too. I will always say nasty words to myself. The do the job of getting in the way of me being present in my body as I do my transsexuality for today.
And there you have it. A minimalist guide to gender: you have gender or you do gender or probably both.