It seems as time goes on more and more labels are created to continue to express different types of expression. I don’t know that more labels is the answer but it at least means that we are paying attention to the differences. We all seem to express our gender in a variety of ways, including cisgender people.
Of course there is the masculine and feminine expressions – which is often left with a very black and white perspective leaving us with a binary culture that forces many people into roles they don’t care for. Then there are gender activists of all kinds that challenge these roles and seem to land somewhere in the middle. Some gender variant folks would even say they just don’t get gender.
The labels typically used in my world are boy/man – girl/woman – transgender – transman – transwoman – genderqueer – gender variant – gender neutral. I was amused by one of those quizzes on facebook about “What is your Gender Identity”. Of course I took the quiz and the label I was given intrigued me. The label I was given was “Pan Gender” which was described as someone who fully embraces all genders. It was possible that this label was presented because of my activities as a drag king but either way I wouldn’t deny the description. Here is a link to my results and the quiz and I copied and pasted the description/picture.
“You are a Pangender! It’s not that you don’t identify with being a male or a female, you actually identify with both… maybe even more so than the average person. You like to challenge the idea of the usual gender roles, and you definitely fit the mold of non-conformity in this realm of labels and their associated identities. The word “Pan” itself actually means “every”, making you all inclusive in the method in which you express your gender identity through behavior and physical attributes. Why do you have to be one or the other? You don’t- and that’s what your happy with!”
Notice the Resemblence in Gender Expression
I totally agree with the description. I even at times identify as a transman because I am on the last parts of my natural transition, although I do not want to take hormones or have top surgery – and there is no intention of doing it in the future. I do also identify transgender because it implies that there is something about my gender identity that is likely different. Then Gender variant simply because of my gender activism. But mostly GenderQueer for reasons more deeply rooted in who I am.
GenderQueer communicates that something is “Queer” about my gender. The word “Queer” implies odd or strange, which is certainly true. But it also communicates and identifies with the LGBTQ culture which is also part of my identification, specifically I still identify as a butch lesbian. If I were to be inclusive I would call myself a Transman, GenderQueer, Butch, Lesbian – and now PanGender.
So my gender expression is inclusive but certainly Queer still stands out. I try to simplify it and with friends I often just use GenderQueer but allow for those that would rather see me as Butch Lesbian. But when I among like minded Gender Benders I will often use my full gender expression as a Transman Genderqueer butch lesbian – but now where shall I fit in PanGender?
I am hoping the extensive labels will lead us all to explore gender and the roles that the binary brings to our culture. Maybe we will all get sick of a long list and we will just begin to realize how much it does NOT matter. Gender has no role in our culture.