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26 March 2011 @ 08:03 pm
Gender bending  
My parents never spoke about homosexuality. I have no idea how they felt about it. I have said before that my parents might have thought I was gay, because I was kind of effeminate as a little kid. Along with my trucks, Legos, and action figures, I liked stuffed animals, dollhouses, and kitchen sets. When I was little, most of my friends were girls. Then I went into theater.

Theater was where I first encountered homosexuality. I found gay people to be "fun" felt I knew why they were called "gay." I read about sex when I was a kid (my parents were pretty open about it), and knew what homosexuality was, and I knew it was joked about on Benny Hill, Monty Python, and Dr. Demento. But me being IN theater, and loving it from age 12 to 15, might have raised their eyebrows. Then my friend Neal got me into musicals, and I love me some good musicals. When I left theater, I went right into fandom where homosexuality was as normal as it was in theater. I mostly hung out with girls, my best friend was a girl, and I never dated. My taste in music was a lot of new wave, which had a lot of sexually ambiguous people.

When I was 15 or 16, my parents got me a nudie calendar. This stuck me as odd and awkward. I never put it up, because it was a little embarrassing. But now that I look back on it, it may have been a test. I probably failed. My mother never saw me get married or have a child. She may have died thinking she had a gay son. Eh. I doubt she would have cared if I was gay and came out of the closet screaming showtunes in a pastel dress shirt tied at the stomach. She would have probably tried to turn me onto Julio Iglesias.

Truth was, I never dated because I didn't feel like I could bring a girl home, and my life was FAR too complicated and tragic to date. I felt dating or being in a physical relationship was a vulnerability that could be exploited, so I didn't bother. I had a few opportunities, but never followed up on them. But I was heterosexual like nothing else. I did question my sexuality from time to time, and I still don't know what girls see in guys: they are bumpy, hairy, sloppy, and icky. Blecch.

When I was about 17, a "friend" tried to "pull a prank," buy telling people at Disclave I was not only gay, I was also looking to get laid. I got hit on by several guys before I got clued in on what happened. Luckily, all of the gay people were really good about it, although one poor fellow acted like I was going to beat him, he was so apologetic. This pretty much cemented my idea that gays were cool. Flaming gays, despite the drama, are pretty awesome on my list of favorite personality types. I got married, had a kid, and the only hangover from my effeminate ways was the desire to have a daughter after my son, but I ended up "adopting" two of my friend's daughters, so that worked, too.

In fandom over the years, I got to know quite a lot of gay people. I don't know how many, because I suspect that many are gay but it never comes up until they start dating someone of the opposite sex. It's just never been that big of a deal until recently, and I think it comes from being in the anime community more than the old sci-fi community. The issue is that homosexuality has always been a little blurred. I know some people who have tried bisexuality, only to end up in straight relationships. I have known some who started straight, and then got a third of the same sex involved. I know many who don't care what sex they have a relationship with, and don't identify with "orientation." "I'm not gay, but I'll sleep with someone of the same sex if they are attractive enough." No big deal. But the recent problem I have started to encounter is gender roles. But not for the "eeeughh!" factor some people think.

I just want to know what pronoun you prefer. That's all. He or she? Sadly, despite several attempts by others to change this in the English language, there is no generally accepted proper set of pronouns for "neither he or she," except the generic "they" or the obscure-to-the-point-of-confusing, "co."

Like for instance, if you are a girl, who wants to be called "he," but wears girl's clothing and is girlish... I don't want to offend you by calling you she. But I'm going to forget. Also, when introducing you, I hate having to say, "This is Julie, he's a girl, but you must call him he/him because that's what he wants, even though he's bisexual and wears huge hoop skirts, makeup, long hair, and carries a cherry blossom parasol." I mean, once I learn your preference, I'm fine with it. I have known trans-gendered people for years, but that doesn't mean everyone has.

I have to say, I smile inside when I see a lot of teens doing this at anime cons. Despite the initial confusion, it's almost like gender in a role is really starting to become unimportant. People rarely care about hair color, for instance, like "nobody told me you were a blond... ew!" But this next generation of Internet savvy kids are really shaking the pillars of culture, and I welcome it.

Still... I apologize if I call you the wrong pronoun. I am 42, and a little out of date.
 
 
 
feyandstrange on March 27th, 2011 05:06 am (UTC)
Remembering the right pronoun can be tricky! I've had to ask a few times, as politely as I could. (And don't even ask about the copyediting on some people's pronouns.) Some folks I know like "zie/zir", But I find them confusing.

Worse, I grew up speaking other languages, where pronouns can get even weirder because all nouns have a pronoun - in French, there is no "it" because everything is "he" or "she", and in German, there's he/she/it, but they're pretty random - fork, knife, and spoon have three different gender pronouns. Personally, I have no problem with "it" if I don't know something's gender or sex, like unborn babies or cats or even kids, but so many people find that offensive that I have tried to stop. In my brain, "it" doesn't mean "object", but most people think it does.
kaiotte on March 29th, 2011 05:10 am (UTC)
If it helps, I don't care what gender pronoun is used for me :) (I'm "genderqueer" which just means I feel somewhere between.)

If there was a non-gendered third pronoun in English, I'd go for that. But I agree that nothing is common enough in English language besides "he" and "she" to be used in general conversation. That and the weird pronouns are weird.