So, this is a blog post.
It’s a tough blog post, for me.
I mean, it doesn’t have to be, right?
Let’s give it a try:
Hey everybody, there are a few changes going up on the blog today. I’ve changed my domain to bexshea.com. This is because I am now using the name Bex.
Uh, ’kay, you might be thinking. But Becca—I mean, uh, Bex—doesn’t it cost money to buy a new domain? And isn’t it kind of a pain in the ass to move all your files? Not to mention coordinating a name change across all those social media platforms. Why bother?
This means a lot more to me than just a new nickname. I am changing the name I use because I am genderqueer.
Some people in my life already know this, though not everyone—certainly not everyone I would like to have know before making such an impersonal blog announcement, but this is life in the digital age, right?
If you aren’t familiar with the term “genderqueer,” Google is your friend. But, basically….
Let’s say we have two boxes. Everybody gets sorted into one of the two boxes when they’re born. Many people are totally fine with their box—it’s comfy and makes them happy. Others were put in the wrong box and want to move to the box that suits them better.
*stage whisper* the boxes are a metaphor
they are genders
it is a male box and a female box
ha ha, “male box”
The folks in the first category, who are happy with their box, are cisgender; the folks in the second are transgender. Trans visibility has increased to the point that many people are already familiar with this conversation, although we still have a very long way to go. But that’s not the end of the boxes.
There’s another group of people who don’t fit in either one box or the other. Maybe they have found a third box—a new way to express a third gender identity. Some people switch back and forth between the boxes, or inhabit both at once—genderfluid and bigender identities, respectively. (The boxes need not be discrete, by the way—many consider them a spectrum.) Still others don’t really want anything to do with the boxes.
And on, and on—there are many gender identities, both on and off the gender binary. At its simplest, genderqueer includes anyone who feels their experience with gender has been queer.
Me? My gender identity is nope.
If that sounds flippant, that’s not because I haven’t spent a lot of time thinking about it.
I was wrestling with gender before I ever realized it. Even as a kid, I was always bouncing around from tomboy to girly to androgynous fashion disaster. One minute I was one of the guys, the next I would only hang out with girls.
But neither extreme was right—neither felt like me. It was like trying on a costume: fun for a little while, but increasingly uncomfortable and ridiculous the longer I stayed in it.
So… I’m taking off the costume.
I might put it back on sometimes. Or I might wear The Opposite costume, or some amalgam of the two. But neither is really who I am.
Why am I telling you this?
Well, mostly for two reasons.
The first basically comes down to getting it out of the way.
I’m still fairly early in my writing career, whatever becomes of it—let’s be honest, here, not a ton of people read this thing! Thanks very much if you do! I really do appreciate it. But, the point is, I wanted to change my domain name and social media handles as soon as possible because it’s hard enough to find an audience without any complications.
The second is, pretty much, because I can.
And because I can, I should.
I’m very lucky to have an accepting family and circle of friends—well, I think so. Who knows, maybe somebody will surprise me! But, where I stand right now, coming out as genderqueer does not pose a threat to either my crucial relationships or my livelihood. Maybe someday this will change, and I’ll regret writing this blog post. I choose to be hopeful.
Visibility is incredibly important.
I spent ten years in the closet as a bisexual because I wasn’t aware of any bi individuals in my life and the only bi characters I’d seen portrayed in the media were sleazy stereotypes.
I don’t want to do that again for my gender identity. I don’t want anybody else to have to do that for any part of their identity.
Despite never quite fitting my assigned gender, I wasn’t aware that genderqueer was even A Thing That Exists until within the last year or so. Be honest—how many genderqueer people do you know? Friends? Celebrities? Fictional characters? I bet you could count them on one hand. Maybe two.
And, sure, it is a gender minority. Not everyone is just sitting there waiting to have a gender epiphany. But if talking about it helps anybody understand themselves or their loved ones better, then this halting strugglebus of a blog post is totally worth it.
I chose the name Bex because it wasn’t even a choice. It’s what my family called me when I was a child. I wanted to get away from the gendered version of my name and Bex seemed more gender-neutral—spelled with an x because it’s an ungendered letter. Because it’s such a recognizable symbol for NO.
Agh, enough rambling. Enough explanations.
This is really all that I want to say:
My name is Bex, and my pronouns are they/them.
Below are my new web handles and a brief list of gender-neutral terms I use.
And hey, you. Yeah, that’s right. You. … Thanks for reading.
genderqueer: anyone whose experience of gender is queer
pronouns: used to refer to someone in lieu of their name; examples include he, she, and they. These are important in a queer context because many trans and genderqueer people are labeled incorrectly and assert their identity by stating what pronouns they use.
they/them**: the singular ‘they’ pronoun which is used to refer to someone whose gender is unknown or not on the gender binary. I don’t want to hear about how it’s “grammatically incorrect.” Your face is grammatically incorrect.
**NOTE: they/them pronouns are not the only gender-neutral pronouns in use. Others include sie/hir, xe/xem, ey/em, and many, many more.
What are your pronouns? A polite way to ask someone how to address them!
pibling: your parent’s sibling—my preferred gender-neutral alternative to aunt/uncle, sometimes shortened to pibby
chibling: the child of your sibling—my preferred gender-neutral alternative to niece/nephew, sometimes shortened to chibby
cousin: hey, this one’s already gender-neutral! Thanks, English.
Mx. and Misc.: gender-neutral titles—alternatives to Ms., Mrs., and Mr.
when in doubt: ask! We are all still learning, including me.