Interview with LGBT+

An interview with an Agender person. 

Interviewer @pridematters1

First of all could you tell our followers how you identify yourself? 

I identify as Queer. I am agender and bisexual. In the new-fangled terminology I am actually more pansexual, but I came out at bi- thirty years ago. There wasn’t “pansexual” at that time and the term just doesn’t resonate with me. Queer is the only term I really resonate with. It was a political statement as well as an identity when I first came out and it still has a lot of meaning to me. 

Could you explain what exactly doesagender mean and what it means to you? 

I have never “felt” like I was a woman (I was assigned female at birth). I never saw myself like the other ‘girls’ I knew. When I played “house” growing up with the other girls in the neighborhood I was always the “dad” that went off to work or the doctor who delivered their babies. I knew I was different.

When I was in college I started to think I might be trans. I could pass as a guy (and did so on a lot of occasions) and I fit in with gay men way more than I ever did lesbians. So, I spent some time exploring if I wanted to transition.

I came down to the conclusion that I felt no more like a man than I did as a woman. For the most part, I see my secondary gender characteristics as just great props. Gender is dress up for me. I have no real connection to my gender and don’t really care if I read “male,” “female” or trans. I am kind of an atheist when it comes to gender.

I understand that many transgender folk discover they are transgender at a very young age. Growing up when and where you did, do you feel this was the same for you, or were you influenced by the environment of what is understood?

I was lucky my parents allowed me to be me. They never pressured me to be a “girl”. When my kindergarten teacher cast me as George Washington in the class play claiming there were not enough “girl” roles I knew she was ashamed that I would be a “boy.” She pulled me out of class and did this big explanation of why I had to be a boy (ultimately, it was to try and shame my parents- small, religious town and we were outsiders). I LOVED it. I wore my knickers and wig to school for week. 

I knew I was a little different from an early age and I am sure my folks did. When I saw Liberace on The Muppets at four years old, I asked for a fur coat and piano lessons so I could become his sidekick. I am a proficient pianist today because I really wanted to chill with Liberace.

All through school people would say, “There are men and women, gay and straight, then there is Bec.” I was in this undefined space, and people sensed it. I never cared about fitting in or being part of a gender. I learned not to care about what other people thought of my gender and sexuality at an early age. It was a real blessing.

Did you experience any negative response from people when you first came out?

Again, I was super lucky in this sense. I came out as queer at 14 (1988 for reference). I was the only out kid at my high school for the four years I was there. I knew all the other gay kids and was a beard for all my gay guy friends at dances. Nobody really bothered me. My sister got crap because I came out but I think people were generally afraid of me (I am tall, and have a ‘presence’ about me).

In college, I was very out and a big campus activist. The College Republicans targeted me with death threats and plans of a “fix-it” rape, but didn’t succeed on either account. I watched my back and called the police about the death threats, but I just considered it part of the college experience.

Doctors were a different situation. I am Bipolar. When I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I had a psychologist tell me that it was really just not being okay with being gay. She recommended what she called “an excellent coming out group” on campus and then handed me the number. I was the facilitator for the group. I was clear from then on that health professionals were just a bunch of bigots.

Did you experience any negative response from people when you first came out?

Again, I was super lucky in this sense. I came out as queer at 14 (1988 for reference). I was the only out kid at my high school for the four years I was there. I knew all the other gay kids and was a beard for all my gay guy friends at dances. Nobody really bothered me. My sister got crap because I came out but I think people were generally afraid of me (I am tall and have a ‘presence’ about me).

In college, I was very out and a big campus activist. The College Republicans targeted me with death threats and plans of a “fix-it” rape but didn’t succeed on either account. I watched my back and called the police about the death threats, but I just considered it part of the college experience.

Doctors were a different situation. I am Bipolar. When I was trying to figure out what was wrong, I had a psychologist tell me that it was really just not being okay with being gay. She recommended what she called “an excellent coming out group” on campus and then handed me the number. I was the facilitator for the group. I was clear from then on that health professionals were just a bunch of bigots.

Could you tell me how being agender affected (and affects) your relationships? 

My partners have never had a big issue with it mostly because I am out and open about it from the start. I choose people as partners because they are okay with who I am. Online dating sucked because a lot of guys see “bisexual” and think, “This is my chance for a threesome!” or you get men and women who think, “Agender, bisexual — this person will never be faithful to me!” and won’t date you.

I might have had more issues if this came up after I had been dating someone. Being open about who I am from day one kind of weeds out a lot of problem folks.

There is much negative feedback from people in the public eye, such as Pearce Morgan and Germeane Greer about transgender people, and issues in general. What message would you like to share with people with such sentiment? 

I don’t think most of the issues that come up in the media about trans folks are really about identity. I have been in a number of social media exchanges about trans people. The whole bathroom issue is about rape culture and not trans people at all. The claims by the right and bigots in general is that trans women want to use restrooms to have access to rape women. The reality is, trans women aren’t the threat. The fact that in America we protect rapists, and have a deeply ingrained pro-rape culture is the issue.

Some of the folks out there argue that people don’t have a right to define their own gender identity. There are people claiming that gender is a duality or that what you are assigned at birth is your “correct” gender. A lot of this hate comes from the desire for individuals to keep the power they have in society. They like the status quo. They like the idea that the government and other people have the right to control bodies of queer folks, women, and people of color. These are the same people who have issue with individuals getting food stamps, health care, birth control and other benefits. The root issue is that people in power don’t want things to change because they would lose power. Challenging ideas of gender is just one of many ways to say, “Your world definition doesn’t work. Lets try something new.” It is scary to people who love the status quo.

If someone feels that they are agender what advice would you give them? 

Take some time to explore those feelings. We live in a time where you are expected to have a firm answer to “who are you?” People in general are uncomfortable with uncertainty. The thing is, your identity is a journey. It takes time to figure out who you are.

It is fine to say, “I’m figuring it out”. I was lucky in the sense that the Internet and social media weren’t a thing when I was coming out. It gave me a bit of privacy and time to try and figure out what gender meant to me. Today, with all the sites people are on, it is hard to say, “I am unsure of who I am. I think it might be this or that, give me some time”. Time is critical. It’s okay to have an evolving idea of who you are. 

What positive message would you like to share about being agender?

There are a lot of us who came before you. We have fought for the right to identify as we want, and for the right to be who we are. We are still fighting for you. You have a big comuinity who will support and fight for you. 

My social media is as follows:

@AuntieVice on Twitter and Instagram

http://www.loveletterstoaunicorn.com/

Www.AuntieBsKitchen.com


Facebook.com/Auntievice

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