Friday, August 14, 2015

Gender: MU

Remember my gender confusion? I think I've figured it out. First, a parable. 


She woke in the final year of her girlhood and realized a woman she would never be, though she live to be one hundred and eight. Much distressed, she asked, "But what gender am I?"

A lizard scurrying by stopped and flicked its tongue out at her. "Follow the river and ask the wise one in the mountain, for they know much."

"Thank you, kind lizard," said the girl. She went to the river and followed it awhile along the bank closest to her village. But the boys laughed at her and the girls worried too much about her, so she forded the river at a narrow point and crossed to the far bank. But here, too, the way was filled with thorns and sharp stones. 

Aggrieved, the girl stood at the bank, her toes curling into the sand, wondering how ever she would reach the mountain. Then a mighty fish darted by and said, "Why are you ill at heart, my child?"

"I cannot follow along either bank, and so I will never know who or what I am," she said.

"Catch hold of my fin, and I will swim with you up the mountain," said the mighty fish. So the girl thanked the fish and they swam together up the river, toward the mountain. 

They reached a mountain lake and the girl continued on foot along the path. The way was steep and kept switching back and forth sharply. Though exhausted, the girl kept climbing. 

Finally she reached the height of the mountain, and smelled sweet smoke issuing from the mouth of a cave. The girl hurried forth. 

Within sat an old wise person, shrouded in years and a gray robe. Their eyes twinkled when they saw the girl. 

"Have you a question, my child?" they asked. 

"Yes, wise one," said the child. "What gender am I?"

And the wise one said:


Then they supped together, and had refreshing tea and delightful conversation. Then the young human went down the mountain again under the light of the stars and the dark of the void, and they were happy and content. 


I am asexual and agender and atheist. This makes me feel powerful, all these negations. especially the newest one, agender, because it is a negative meaning. I don't identify with being a woman. I don't identify with being a man. I don't identify with being a third gender. I identify with lacking a gender. When you ask me what gender I am, I can utter, like a Zen master, or a cow, a mighty MU. I don't even really need a closet; I can hide in plain sight. 

"If you ask a true master a sensitive question, they will only smile."

This is why I am okay with female pronouns. I would be okay with male pronouns. I would be okay with they/them pronouns. (They does sound a little weird because I haven't grown up hearing they/them in the singular, but I could get used to it pretty quick.) It's all the same to me. 

Do people actually strongly identify with their genders? I suppose they must, but the idea is new to me. In hindsight it should be obvious. 

One of the best parts of figuring out my gender and sexuality is knowing that my identity isn't built upon internalized misogyny. Some is there of course, and I have to fight it, but not feeling like a girl and not wanting to be attractive the way a girl is "supposed" to be attractive are part of who I am, not the shell society has crafted and in which society demands I live. 


The lateness of my ace/agender revelations suggests to me that I am worse at empathy than I thought. My lived experience differs greatly, apparently, from most people's, and if I've never noticed it's because I never asked or paid attention. Note to self: work on that. 

1 comment:

  1. Great job on coming to this realization! It seems (to me) that you really did go on a quest to come to this conclusion. The Bean that returns from Indonesia will be wiser than the Bean that left for Indonesia.