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  • When I was younger, I really could not understand why people made a big deal of gender at all.

  • Why would anyone ever feel the need to point out that they were “A Man,” or “A Woman?”

  • I thought it silly and attention-seeking when anyone would call attention to their gender

  • in any way.

  • Profile names of the form [thing I like]+[gendered identifier] caused an instant dislike to well

  • up in me.

  • I assumed that gender mattered as little to other people as it did to me, and thus if

  • they made a fuss about, for example, being misgendered, it was a purely dramatic show

  • made in bad faith.

  • This made quite a puzzle out of the fact that apparently some people considered their gender

  • to be so strongly a part of their identity that, if it just so happened that they had

  • been assigned the wrong gender at birth, they'd go through all the trouble to transition.

  • I believed that humans are social animals who tend to take the path of least resistance

  • both physically and culturally, so if someone does something that's very difficult, there

  • had to be a good reason for it.

  • And being trans sounded like a lot of effort, hard to justify if gender doesn't really

  • matter after all.

  • And it was too long, not until I was in college, that any actual trans voices made it across

  • my radar, and I realized this was not just a theoretical curiosity from far away, but

  • something people actually do.

  • Real people go through all this trouble, and for what, gender?

  • The only conclusion that fit the facts was that indeed, gender is a thing.

  • Maybe it's culturally created, or maybe it's biological, or maybe it's something

  • else, but it's definitely real.

  • And if it's real when trans folk do it, maybe it's even real when cis folk do it.

  • In understanding that gender identity is a real thing, I also understood that I don't

  • have it.

  • I don't identify as being agender or bigender or any other number of genderqueer identities

  • either, I simply don't identify.

  • I have all the privilege of being fine with keeping the default I was born with, as well

  • as the privilege that when people use the supposedlywrongpronoun when they email

  • me or write an article regarding my work, I don't feel misgendered (although I might

  • feel tired of sexist assumptions).

  • I'm fine with other people deciding that I'm a cisgendered female or a genderfree genderqueer

  • or whatever else makes them happy, it all feels like a linguistic game to me.

  • I could jump in and start playing, but that doesn't seem right when I know that for many

  • other people it's not a game at all.

  • I feel like the more I learn about gender the less I understand it, but that's ok because

  • also the more I learn the happier and more thoughtful and hopefully better I become.

  • My condescending teenager attitude came from a false belief that other people are basically

  • like me.

  • I didn't care, therefore others don't really care, therefore if they act like they

  • care then it's just an act for attention, or drama, or because they're bored, because

  • I know that if I were acting like that, it would for those reasons.

  • I was suspicious of people who made statements like "I am a woman," because if I were to

  • say that, it wouldn't be genuine, it would feel weird and false, therefore anyone who

  • says it must have some alternate motive.

  • The same fallacy made me think that since I thought beer tasted terrible (before I lived

  • in Belgium and learned what beer is), everyone thinks beer tastes terrible, therefore if

  • they say they like it they're just pretending to be cool, just like I'd be doing.

  • And if they say they like a piece of music that I think is pretentious, of course they

  • secretly agree it's terrible but are just being pretentious themselves.

  • And if I have a bias that I pretend to be politically correct about, everyone secretly

  • agrees with me but is also just pretending to be politically correct, and why can't

  • we just all admit, as a culture, the truth about these people and their music and their

  • beer?

  • It turns out people are truly different from each other, and thankfully not every human

  • secretly harbors the same inner feelings, same tastes, same resentments, same biases,

  • as my idiot teenage self.

  • I managed to finally realize that when other people say “I am a Woman,” they actually

  • mean something by it, in a way I never will.

  • I wish I grew up knowing any of this were a thing, I probably would have been better

  • to others as well as to myself.

  • So the transgender community taught me a lot, and I am thankful for this, and I hope more

  • trans and genderqueer voices from more different backgrounds will have their voices heard even

  • where people are not looking for them, for their sake as well as for teenagers like who

  • I was, and anyone else trapped in the uncaring meat of their head who is finally being forced

  • to imagine that maybe the world is truly different from the stupid spiteful place they imagined

  • in their own image.

When I was younger, I really could not understand why people made a big deal of gender at all.

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ジェンダーについて (On Gender)

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    林宜悉 に公開 2021 年 01 月 14 日
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