Gender is something I have only begun to think about very recently, and I still have work to do in order to understand better where I stand in relation to it. But, even though I have only been exploring my own gender identity for about three months, I had known for a while longer that it is quite a complex matter.
The first thing to know is the difference between sex and gender. While sex is a biological fact, gender is an identity; it is about how one perceives oneself. For a long time, I did not know about gender; this is not a widely known concept in mainstream France (recently, someone I know wrote a survey with a question about “gender”. She told me her professors had said it was the politically correct word to use for questions about biological sex.). I knew about transsexual people, but I only knew about them as “people who feel they were born in the wrong body and need to change their biological sex”. As to myself, my being a girl was just a fact, like my height or my birth date – a fact about me I had no control about, and which meant even less to me than my height or my birthdate do – and I could not imagine it mattering at all.
I eventually discovered the concept of gender, and came to understand it, but for a long time, I did not think much about my own gender. I knew I was not transgender or neutrois, and until recently I was not aware that there were other possible gender identities. More important, I was not aware that gender is something that does matter to most people. But lately I have been spending more time on the gender subforum on AVEN, and reading the threads there made me realize how much some people care about their gender identity – how important it is to them to be perceived as their real gender, and not as their biological sex. Some of the things I read there made me realize that it might be a good idea to explore my own gender identity. I am still working on it, as I have not had as much time as I wished to think about such matters lately, but so far I have understood that my biological sex means nothing to me. I do not feel male or wish to be male, but I do not feel particularly female either, even though my biological sex is female. In my head, I am neither male nor female – I cannot relate to either identity. But I wish I could adapt my gender expression to the circumstances – play a female part one day, and a male part another, and be just myself – and not be perceived as female by others, but as neither male nor female – most of the time. I doubt such a thing is possible, though, so as it does not distress me to be perceived as female, I have not yet tried to change anything (I do enjoy it when someone addresses me as though I were male, though, simply because it is not the obvious assumption).
I cannot write much more on the topic yet, as I have only began to explore it myself. I hope to be able to gain a better understanding of my gender identity in the months to come, since I should now have the time to think about it. I will certainly keep you posted.
This is the last post in the series, tomorrow’s post I’ll be putting some of Sgyreju’s conclusions on questioning week as well as my own. I’ll even have a talk with her if any of her views have changed. Stay tuned for that and check out her blog