Tuesday, 22 March 2011

Asexuality and Gender; Teenager's Redux

Last week, I found myself educating a schoolfriend on the trans* spectrum (blame the yadas). She'd been following the FtM arc on Hollyoaks and was lovely and just so willing to correct her misconceptions, so that was fun. But as I was earnestly talking to her about cisness and trans*ness** as we walked round a field, she (well-meaningly) turns to me and says, "so are you cis?"
I wasn't really prepared to explain anything to her, nor was it important, so I sorted of shrugged it off with a "I suppose. Haven't really thought about it." Now, this understandably confused her. She 'hadn't thought about it' either, and yet when I told her about the concept of cisness, she was quick to go "Yep, that's me!". And when she voiced this, I felt pressured to think about a little more.

If we go by stereotypes, straight ladies are girly and sweet. They flutter their eyelashes to attract their boyfriends and watch chick flicks. Likewise, straight dudes have 'Lad's Nights' and work out at gyms, blah blah ad infinitum. If we get even further into harmful stereotypes, we have camp gay guys who have little purses falling out of their mouths and who like musicals, and butch gay girls who rode motorbikes and are part of the police force.

So, uh, where does that leave people who are (sexually or romantically) attracted to less or more than one gender? An asexual is sexually attracted to no gender, so where's their stereotype?

I myself am panromantic, so going by this I am even more lacking for a box to fit myself into (woooo). I can't define my gender presentation as a "___ who likes ___" in my form, really? Does this contribute to my yadaness? Eh, I don't know. But I think I've found a (personally) satisfying-yet-simple explanation for the next teenager who comes to me (the schools' ~*~Resident Queer~*~, yay) wanting to know about sexuality or gender after watching Hollyoaks or Skins.

Speaking of which, the fact people have been asking me stuff like this because of these shows is freaking awesome. Yay visibility!

**talking to someone who doesn't know anything about trans* individuals until now except that they previously thought of them as extreme crossdressers who 'wanted to be men/women [for a laugh]' is quite fun. For example, being a true Yada I took it one step further and told her about the binary, fluidity, neutrons people et al. Weirdest lunchtime snippet:
"So, there's actually more than two genders."
"Woah, Woah! What?"
"How many, then?"
*flounders* "A million! Sort of."

- Posted using BlogPress from my iPhone.

1 comment:

  1. Interesting thoughts. I identify as panromanitc as well, but I still feel that I align myself with gender categories and stereotypes. I'm not a girl who wears make up, but I do a lot of grooming when it comes to my eyebrows and hair. I can't stand for two seconds in any kind of heel, but I love nice blouses. I know when most people see me on the street they assume I'm a heterosexual woman and this bothers me because I hate people flirting with me based on my physical appearance and the assumptions they make about my sexuality because of it.

    Then thing is I don't mind presenting myself as girly or female because I know as soon as I open my mouth I'll be able to say a lot more about me than my appearance, usually truing those guys who thought they wanted me because of my looks to want to get the hell away because they think I'm some crazy feminist or bleeding liberal.

    Not sure where I'm going with this. I guess until reading this I hadn't thought about my gender presentation in reference to my asexuality for a while. It doesn't effect how I see myself, and I'm definitely not trying to 'pass' for heterosexual or anything, but it has a big effect on how people respond to me and that bothers me a lot. They see pretty female and not asexual female. I don't want to be seen as either of those things I just want to be me, but that's why I speak my mind 24/7, just so there's no chance they get it confused.