If you know me on social media you know that I finally unceremoniously changed my pronouns from they to he, and made a stealthy 3am post of a version of these first few paragraphs on November 14th. I have been coasting on people gradually noting the pronoun change since only a small percentage of folks saw the initial posts, by design, and avoiding making a huge proclamation.
A few days after that a mutual twitter friend and occasional real life larping compatriot TheAzrai released his coming out video to youtube. That same day Noelle Stephenson shared her story about Top Surgery. And as most of the world knows at this point, Elliot Page came out this week. With such role models out there, I am ready to stop the half measures and sneaky posts. It’s screaming to the void time.
TLDR: It is no longer really accurate to say that I am agender. And I have been enjoying using masculine pronouns and honorifics for myself.
The timeline of my transition has been messy, and slow, and confusing to many in my personal life. I changed my pronouns to they/them in 2018, one of the “rare 30something non binary folks” (because come on, we didn’t have the terms when I was in my 20s), revealed my new name in 2019, and started fundraising for Top Surgery this summer. I was never quiet about my gender exploration, but I was never clear about what was going on in my head, or where I was going to end up. I repeated the phrase “It’s fine, I am just not done cooking” so much it became almost a shield to avoid actually doing the “cooking.”
I clung to the idea that I was Agender, empty, nothing, being nothing isn’t scary. I committed to nothing. *
A lot of my fear meant that it felt safer, more comfortable, to spend the past few years in something akin to a middle ground. After years of extremely performative femininity, it seemed like jumping into another binary was probably a mistake, an overcompensation?
And of course, things in the American political landscape were growing scarier by the day. To the point that just over a month ago I was preparing to go stealth, go back to my old name, I was going to pretend it never happened, just keep it all inside. A nagging feeling had been preventing me from changing my legal name and gender markers, I did not feel like it was the safe and prudent thing to do. I told my partner that the idea of pretending I was a girl made me feel dead inside, but that the fear and anxiety were beginning to overwhelm me.
But… things changed.
And while they are obviously still up in the air, and ultimately only a small change and the fight rages on, my brain has allowed me to feel a small twinge of hope that maybe it’s safe to come out into the sun, instead of lurking in the shadows of what I want, being too scared to fully commit.
I abandoned my stealthing plans, and slowly I gathered the strength to fight for what I want, what I need. Allowing my brain to start to explore the question I refused to let myself voice: “Am I really Agender, is this where I want to be? Or is this just the safest thing I can be that gets me closer to the truth?”
Was I settling by staying somewhere away from Gender? Somewhere imperceivable and hopefully invisible (please don’t anyone notice how *wrong* I am!) was I clinging to that spot out of fear that I couldn’t take it all back and hide if I transitioned *too far*.
And then there is the little voice… you will never pass…
I think have the tools to fight that little voice. And the time has come to admit that I do want to explore if being a man is the right fit. Because while one little voice is telling me I am going to fail, be laughed at, and make an ugly guy… There is another voice in there telling me, who cares, you will be YOU.
And so… I am.
And a He.
I am going to leave you all with a brief story of a moment of Euphoria I experienced last winter. So many of our stories are about moments of pain spurring us on, and I wanted to end with a moment of joy.
I was sitting down to dinner at a Victorian Era Live Action Roleplaying event, I was wearing a three piece suit and a top hat, playing my first male live action character. This was the very first night of the event, and not only was I terrified I would get laughed at for not even remotely passing as male, I only had a few people there that I had met before, in a sea of strangers.
I was wandering around the ballroom looking for a place to eat, as the few people I knew were absent or at tables that were already full. I spotted a table with an empty chair and made my way over. I rather demurely asked permission to sit. In that moment, I had already forgotten I was a male character and was resting on expected femme deference. The three men looked up and welcomed me to the table.
I sat down with a hunched back and crossed legs, pushing my chair in as much as possible, don’t take up space, Wren. I have always hunched, the better to diminish ones chest size, and my binder was already doing the best it could do that night.
I was greeted by the men in a jovial manner, asking me how I came to be in New Orleans, and punctuated with “Good Chap.”
Something snapped. Why was I making myself small? (Why does being born female mean you have to tiptoe through life to not trouble the men in any event?) I uncrossed my legs, pushed my chair out, sat up straight. Let myself take up space. DareISay, I manspread. We had a good laugh about the topics of the day and shared some drinks, four men having a pleasant night. And in that moment… I knew, I was as I said earlier, Not Done Cooking.
* I want to express my deep love and respect for my Agender friends. It might still be true for me, I don’t know. And I sincerely hope this doesn’t read as abandoning you, or demeaning what it means to be Agender. I understand the struggles are different and both extremely painful. I love you all with all my… maybe a boy, maybe still a genderless blob, heart.