You should refer to me as he; my body was at birth built as a stereotypical male, complete with penis and balls. Later in life I did not develop breasts. I do have a bald head, a beard and chest hair – and all those other nasty things men have. I am both emotionally and erotically attracted to women, most successfully to those who are attracted to stereotypical men. Still, I want an X in my passport in the gender-section. What is the fuss all about?
When talking about gender, I find the genderbread model a very useful tool. The four aspects of gender are presented as slides on a scale; none of them are binary, and in all of us those slides are, for different aspects, set slightly differently in each of us. When I see, hear and meet people that have their slides all jumbled somewhere in the middle (or, for example, one to the female end, and one to the male end), I become ever more grateful that my slides are all almost at the same end. I do not envy those that have to struggle with a non-stereotypical mix; that struggle is hard, real hard. It is not easy to find out who you really are when you fit in the stereotypical gender box – it is exponentially harder if you don’t. Especially in a world still tailored for stereotypicality.
That struggle, though not enviable, is not what I want to talk about here. What I wonder more and more often, is the relevance of gender, anno 2022. When I go to hospital, it’s relevant whether I have the body of a man, or the body of a woman – or whether I’ve had my physical gender changed – for we have different physical ailments and subsequent treatments. When having sex, it’s relevant whether I have the body of a man, or a woman – or whether I’ve had my physical gender changed – for it matters what hole gets plugged, and who gets pregnant. That still does. But I can not for the life of me think of any other place or moment in the world where it is relevant. I am human, that’s all that counts.
When crossing a border, it is relevant that I am human, and not an endangered species – not yet, at least. Anno 2022, we all should be equal, right? Laws apply equally to both men and women, and any other gender? When I enroll at school, gender should not be relevant. Boys and girls have to pass the same standardized tests to get a diploma. Students at university all have to perform at the same level, regardless of their gender. When I apply for a job, in general it should not matter whether I am a man or a woman (I understand that a male waiter at Hooters would be strange, but for most jobs it shouldn’t matter).
I am human. My gender is irrelevant in any official business.
I do not struggle with my gender – not with my identity, attraction, expression or sex. I do not envy those who do struggle with this; I am very grateful it is not my struggle. I wouldn‘t know where to go. Life is hard enough as it is. I do, however, want an X in my passport. I would like my employer to – by default – register new students as gender 3 (it isn’t important). I expect this, not as some misplaced victory by the woke or lgbtqia+ movement. I want this, because when it comes to official business, gender is irrelevant.
I want an X in my passport.