Shifting Identities

I have roughly four major identities. I am autistic. I am mentally ill. I am asexual. I am genderqueer. The first three identities, I have known about for a while. They’re concrete. My autism won’t go away tomorrow. Neither will my mental illness. I won’t suddenly wake up with the desire to fuck people. Yet, being genderqueer is different. I might go to bed agonizing over one identity, yet it’s gone in the morning, replaced by a different identity.

However, the one identity I never wake up as is the one I was assigned at birth. I never wake up feeling like a woman. I do not recall one instance in my life where I have felt like a woman. Even as a kid, I was a “tomboy”. Tomboy was my first gender identity. Even back before my autistic identity was “autistic” rather than “different”, and before I learned I wasn’t straight, tomboy was my identity.

Eventually, tomboy grew up into “androgyne”. It was no longer my only gender identity. “Neutrois”, “male”, “non-binary” and everything in between and outside those categories got added to my list of possible gender identities. I’ve identified as everything except “female”.

Even my level of dysphoria varies greatly. Sometimes, I want my breasts. Sometimes, I don’t. At times, I think nothing of having a female reproductive system. At other times, I believe I would be happy if I just ripped the entire thing out of my body and sewed my vagina shut. Even as a man, though, I never desire a penis. I do not believe I need a penis to be a man. I can simply never picture myself with anything between my legs, not even the vagina I already have.

Despite never identifying as female, I feel feminine at times. I also feel masculine at times. And both at the same time. Or neither. This varies independently of my gender identity, so I can feel feminine even as a man.

The only person in my life who knows any of this is my therapist. I’ve discussed it with her during one session. During that session, we both agreed that I don’t need to come out to my family. How would I come out to them, anyhow? It’s hard enough explaining being transgender, let alone genderfluid. And my family consists mostly of right-wing Fox News fans. Unlike my coming out to my therapist, coming out to them would be dramatic and life-changing. Coming out to them would not make me happy. I’m content to just let them think I’m a tomboy and occasionally put on the femme for formal ocassions. Plenty of cismen are drag queens, so why not be one myself?

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