Uncomfy Thoughts

My blog tends to be a combination of sounding board and journal.

Today is more of a journal type post, and even though, yes, I do journal (on paper even!) privately… I’m sharing this here because others may be feeling it too.

I talked about why I changed my pronouns here…Why Pronouns.

Today I ran into the first bit of… well, call a duck a duck… discrimination based on my chosen pronouns.

And… you know, I don’t think it was MEANT as discrimination? But it still hurt. It’s still with me several hours later. Which means I need to write about it.

My pronouns, xie/xem/xyr fit me so well that even after that smack in the face sensation of earlier today, I can’t regret choosing them.

Until now, it’s been an unalloyed JOY to claim them.

Problem I ran into today was that someone implied, didn’t say, but implied that I’m no longer a woman, (that I didn’t belong in a place for women)

I guess… by pronoun usage, I’m not?

Except I still have E/F sized boobs that I have to spend tons of money on bras for, I still have to get mammograms, I’m still called ‘Mom’. There is no way on the face of the earth anyone is ever going to mistake me for masculine.

I still refer to myself as ‘female’ when speaking of my sex even if I use the term non-binary because my sex is unequivocally, female. I don’t seek to change my sex. Not yet, maybe not ever. I’m not (to my knowledge because it can be hidden until it’s found in a surgical procedure) intersex. (If I were intersex it would explain a lot, but I don’t KNOW that I am.)

I still prefer the term enby/non-binary. Which is a GENDER definition. (It can apply to intersex individuals as well as others. It can apply to anyone who wants to claim it.)

Now, maybe it’s a confusion of concepts that caused this? It’s pretty common to conflate a couple of different things with regard to the topic.

From the Human Rights Campaign website: 

Gender identity

One’s innermost concept of self as male, female, a blend of both or neither – how individuals perceive themselves and what they call themselves. One’s gender identity can be the same or different from their sex assigned at birth.

Gender expression

External appearance of one’s gender identity, usually expressed through behavior, clothing, haircut or voice, and which may or may not conform to socially defined behaviors and characteristics typically associated with being either masculine or feminine.

From various sources:


This is the parts one is born/lives with. Very often we’re Assigned Female At Birth or Assigned Male At Birth based on an innie or an outie, but there are more sexes than just two, there are intersex people as well as trans people and many varieties of human expression.

I’m A.F.A.B. As far as all medical care is concerned, I’m female, as far as all external perception of me goes… there too, I’m a woman.

I studied both Sex and Gender in my course-work as an Anthropologist, and for me, they have both, always been extremely separate IF POTENTIALLY RELATED things.

My Gender Identity is enby/non-binary/NB

My Gender Expression, too, is enby/non-binary/NB

My Sex is female/woman/AFAB.

Do I no longer belong in women’s spaces? If I’d know I’d be excluded from women’s spaces based on my pronouns, would I have chosen to claim them? I think that yes, I still would have, but I may have been more prepared for this hurt.

I don’t know how to answer that question, whether I belong in women’s spaces or not, even for myself. Part of me wants to stand by and say well… if I claim NB/enby/non-binary, then, of course, I can’t claim female/woman too. But my gut instinct is to say that is part of the binary thought process which injures so many people, just like me.

That part of me says hell no at the idea of my daughter, even if she chooses to use non-binary definitions and pronouns being excluded from women’s spaces if she wants to be there.

It’s the same part of me that insists that if a person identifies as a woman in any way or form they are welcome in women’s spaces.

That part of me says it’s nowhere near as simple as a binary. That you can’t break these extremely complex ideas down to things as simple as lists and labels and spaces and things like that.

I think, as I sit with this, I’m going to lean towards the latter because you really CAN’T make things like this ‘simple’. I can be both woman and NB, I even say it on my profile. A.F.A.B./NB. (That could change in future, you know? Because sexuality and gender is FLUID.)

They aren’t simple. Having a gender identity & expression which is different from your sex already makes things complicated.

That’s sort of the space that enbys take up, I think. One of the complicated ones.

I’m still hurt by this, and I don’t actually know how to dig out any more words about it.

So I’ll sit, and think some more.


Why pronouns?

I’ve been having thinky thoughts about my gender lately.

I’ve always been ‘okay’ with using she/her, but lately (For the past year really, I take my time with decisions, part of my autistic nature) I’ve been wondering why that’s been the case?

I think it’s because I’ve always been called she/her/girl.

I think it’s also part of a mid-life re-evaluation of myself that has been going on for me.

Ms and Miss and Mrs have always irritated the living fuck out of me. I have hated those terms applied to me like one would hate being forced to wear a hair shirt.

When I was around four or five, I asked my mom when I’d get a penis, because I wanted one. She laughed at me so hard I never asked again.

I’ve always loathed pink, like… with a freaking passion, it’s only as an adult that I’ve learned to like a few shades of it. It’s not likely to ever be a favorite color for me.

Dresses and heels, can we talk about those? Um. Yeah, they aren’t for me. I like broomstick skirts cause they’re cool in the heat and I have curves so shorts never look good on me, but just to buy a dress to wear because I like dresses? Erm. I can’t think of a time when I’ve ever done that.

I almost have to twist my own arm to go buy a fancy dress for something that requires me to wear one, (like a wedding).

I love being a mom, but I’ve never felt like a girl. A lot of my hobbies are decidedly ‘male gendered’.

I looooove muscle cars, as in utterly adore them. I’d own one if I could. I love motorcycles too, (I’m a Harley person in case you’re curious).

I dress very androgynously, my favorite outfits are beaten up jeans that fit, flip flops or combat boots and a loose fitting shirt or a muscle shirt.

Decidedly non-feminine.

Except that I love getting mani-pedis and I wear my hair long. (Undercut at the back and sides, but long on top) I love make-up, even though I’m horribly unskilled in its application.

I loathe the trend of shaving/waxing for females as a matter of course, but I like to shave my legs in the summer, not for looks, but because I like the way it feels.

If I were to wear what I *want* to wear as a dress up? It’d be a suit vest, well tailored slacks and a dress shirt. Not sure about a tie, I’ve never tried one, so I don’t know if it works for me.

So… gender. I’ve decided to give myself permission to claim the terms AFAB (assigned female at birth, cause yeah, technically I have girl parts and there is no way on earth I’m ever going to be mistaken for male, not with my curves) and NB, non-binary. These things fit me so well I’m kind of sitting here wondering why it took me so long to realize their veracity. I’ve used the term genderqueer for over a decade, so I guess the leap isn’t that large of one.

I’ve decided that it’s okay for me to use the XIE/XEM/XYR pronouns, because they fit the real me better than she/her.

I doubt I’ll correct anyone who misgenders me in real life, it, like a lot of ways that I pass, are just too much of a fight for me most days. I don’t have the spoons to fight being white-coded, or passing as non-autistic, I doubt I’ll have the spoons to fight being misgendered either.

Online though? Yeah, I need it to be clear that I want my pronouns respected every bit as much as I try my best to respect others.

It’s absolutely amazing to me how free this decision has made me feel. I can’t even find words (and me a writer!) to express the depth of emotion claiming these terms and pronouns for myself makes me.

The closest I can come to is Joy.