Trigger warnings: discussions of gender, sex, non-binary identification, and discrimination related to those, medical talk, and underage sex.
“When are you getting married?” my mum asked me, as we went to get fish and chips a month before my brother’s wedding.
“Do you think a man would get married to someone who doesn’t want sex?” I replied.
“Oh… no,” she said.
“Then I’m not getting married.”
“But you could marry a girl,” my brother said, when I told him about the conversation. Never mind that same sex marriage isn’t legal here.
“I’m not interested in girls either,” I said. My brother doesn’t believe me, because I wear purple, and apparently only lesbians wear purple.
I asked my speech therapist what he thought I was, and he said he didn’t know, but only after hesitating, as if he didn’t know what the right answer would be.
The truth is that I am asexual. I get a lot of the people who are like “but you just haven’t had it good enough yet”, because they think they’re technically brilliant enough to elicit a reaction that my brain isn’t actually equipped for. I also get a lot of the “but if I can’t make you come, then I’m a failure” kind of people. To them, not being interested is a thing so incomprehensible that they have to fit me into their little box. It gets offensive, after a while, when they insist that they want to try because they find me so attractive that they have to try, but if I’m not going to react in the way that they have me do in their head, it’s like I can’t consent, and they would feel bad.
I used to explain it like this: “my brain doesn’t register it, so it’s just boring to me”. I stopped trying to explain it at all when that was repetitively met with responses along the lines of “but your body reacted! You just need to be trained better.”
Going through six months of physically invasive testing and surgery, with random medical people going on about “you have such a lovely uterus” and “your ovaries are perfect, are you sure you have problems”, is hell to me. Worse is “you’re underweight, you don’t have periods, you know that if you ate more you would get periods and that would mean you’re healthy again! Just eat more!”
I have had a period for the last six weeks. I can feel it coming out, and I can’t stop crying, and everything else is worse for it. “Just email the doctor, you trusted her enough to operate on you!” Never mind that I was forcibly stripped, misgendered, and then assaulted, and not allowed to leave. Never mind they tried to force me into a pregnancy test, and told me I couldn’t have my surgery, then took me in without telling me what they would be doing. Never mind that I only agreed to try it because I was told it was the only way to get the pain to stop, that there was no way they’d just take the lot out, since I hadn’t had enough counselling for them to be sure it was the best thing for me, and in thirty years I might have brittle bones, maybe. And then, she told the GP who told me that I couldn’t be asexual because I might meet a nice man and change my mind, and is therefore no longer my GP, that she was performing this procedure to improve my fertility… after she spent five minutes telling me there was nothing wrong with it, completely unprovoked, and in obliviousness to my increasing discomfort and attempts to make her shut up.
I don’t want periods. I actively took steps to stop them. It is in no way in my best interest to improve fertility, restore periods, or have these decisions made for me, because I am not a girl. I am genderfluid. I am not female, I am not male; I exist somewhere in between, where sometimes I forget I don’t have a penis, where the bits inside me are causing so much pain that it only makes sense to feel like they’re doing that because they’re not mine. I wear a skirt and a corset and heels because they’re practical, and people who go on about how wearing a corset makes things worse (also unprovoked) are only met with glares and silence. I speak silence very well, now. But all together, in the package that I create, they are me, and they are not feminine.
These things don’t necessarily go together. I’m not genderfluid because I’m asexual, I’m not asexual because I’m genderfluid. I’m not asexual because I was groomed for sex at 15 and forced into a paedophile ring and then vilified for both getting out and speaking out. I’m not genderfluid because my Barbies played with Power Rangers and rode around on remote controlled trucks. They both exist in me because that’s who I am.
It’s hard to get anything done when people can’t see that, or can’t see past it.