Why I use the word “queer,” and, no, I’m not transgender (sorry?)

(Quick sidenote, I schedule posts for almost everyday. I imagine this is going to be a very active blog — at least for a while — so if you don’t want email spam, you probably shouldn’t follow this blog. I can live without a mailing list.)

I am what transpeople would refer to as “cisgender.”

For people who are scratching their heads, a cisgender woman is someone whose gender is the same both biologically and mentally. So, a cisgender woman has the body of a woman and the brain of a woman.

It basically means “not transgender.”

I felt the burning need to announce this because I don’t want to accidentally take someone else’s voice. I don’t want people mistaking me for someone else or thinking that I’m pretending to be someone else. I’m not. I wear a dragon mask to protect myself from various forms of prejudice but facing discrimination as a non-binary person is not my experience.

Sorry to disappoint you, I’m just a lowly cisgender woman. My gender is female, my sex is female. I write about non-binary people simply because I want to. There’s no agenda behind it. They’re people too, so I write about them. And because I write lots of aliens, I imagine a lot of aliens would be viewed as non-binary by humans simply because they are so biologically and culturally different. I.e. Morganith from The Thieves of Nottica: her entire race is intersex but I doubt she sees herself as “non-binary.”

As I mentioned in an interview, the zonbiri (amphibious aliens) from The Prince of Qorlec have women who all have penises because they’re like seahorses. And yet, because zonbiri women have penises and still claim to be female (neither sex has breasts because — amphibious), humans would view them as non-binary — when on their planet, women having penises is considered binary. See what I did there?

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(If you’re on goodreads or amazon, you’re missing the meme here)

I enjoy exploring culture and gender, sexuality and perception because I’ve always been fascinated by people. I even majored in anthropology for a while in college and I enjoyed studying culture for a few years . . . until my college courses kept forcing me into the company of racist, elitist professors.

The point is, I’m not trans or intersex. I call myself “queer” because stating you’re anything beyond gay or lesbian means opening yourself up to prejudice from both straight people and gay people, who are always so quick to invalidate your feelings or tell you your sexuality doesn’t even exist. I enjoy using “queer” to just let people know I’m not straight so I can get the fuck on with my life.

So yeah. I’m not a lesbian. But I’m not straight either. And that’s the only way I’m non-binary. Because I don’t fall into one or the other.

I enjoy the word “queer” because it allows me to say who I am without saying who I am. Thus, I can avoid unwanted questions and unwanted conversations and unwanted prejudice. For a lot of people, the word just means “not-straight.” Yes, it used to be a slur, and now we have reclaimed it.

Of course, the downside of using the word “queer” means that if people can’t find a label for you, they will force one on you and call you whatever they want. Also, they think that using the word “queer” means “questioning” and that using it means you are open to hearing about their sexual confusion and experiences . . . sigh. 

For some people, the word “queer” does mean “questioning” but not for all people. And using the word “queer” does not mean I want to hear about how you think you might be gay. I really, really don’t give a fuck.

Unfortunately for me, I mentioned in passing (over on Goodreads) that I was queer because people assumed I wrote Tales of Talithia with an agenda and not because I — gasp! — fucking wanted to. One user decided that using the word “queer” meant I was “bisexual” and that I was willing to listen to her rambling about how she thought she was bi. Yeah. It was really awkward.

If someone uses the word “queer,” it does not mean that 1) you are allowed to foist your sexual experiences on them. (Being queer doesn’t mean I want to talk about it or hear about your experiences. Sorry. ) and 2) you should never define someone’s sexuality for them when they say they’re queer. If I say I’m “queer,” do not then turn around and call me bisexual/a lesbian/whatever. My identity is mine, not yours to decide.

Long story short, I’m not transgender or intersexual and I am not claiming a voice or an experience that isn’t mine. I know what it’s like to have some moron on the internet claim your voice and use your experiences with oppression to benefit themselves all with the claim that they were “trying to help” when in reality, they were only trying to help themselves feel good.

I know what it’s like to have someone steal your voice. I would never do that.

I don’t write about non-binary people to steal their voice or because I have a fetish or because I’m pretending to be one.

I write about non-binary people because I simply want to. Because they are people who exist and I can’t imagine not writing about them.

You can always tell who a writer subconsciously/consciously dislikes/hates/discriminates against in real life based on who they don’t write about more than who they do.