6/14/02: Hello, kids. Figured I'd introduce myself, after having searched around the messages a bit.

Anyway. My name's Jeremy. I'm 20, an English student from Missouri, US. I found this place through Gayle's site, after I found it through my pal Morgan. Erm, I think that's how I found it... anyway, Gayle added me as a friend to her livejournal after I linked from there, and so, having come that marginally circuitous route, here I am.

Um... am I queer by choice? Unequivocally, I am. I decided to be queer as a political decision, and as one of simple practicality—if I want love, why would I cut off some half the population before even knowing them? I simply found it... well, whatever I found it, it wasn't the right way for me to go. Males, females, and everything in between or outside them: I'll give them all a chance.

I guess that covers my queerness in terms of my sexual orientation, or rather, as I suppose some could say, lack thereof ("Try the Unitarian ice cream, Lisa." "There's nothing there!" "Exactly."). My gender identity is a bit thornier an issue, as it's less clear cut about what I chose, what I sort of lucked into, and what I guess I might have had a predisposition to.

Now, by that, don't misunderstand me—I think sociobiology is about the stupidest thing I can think of, and don't subscribe to it at all. What I mean by predisposition is the same as what one means when you talk about a person with a talent for singing, or woodworking, or who likes peaches, or who is left-handed. Certainly, none of those things are genetic or biologically determined (unless you want to believe there's a left-handed gene or a lawyer gene or an i-like-pizza gene); they just are. They're influenced by environment in that whether they are nurtured or squelched determines how such proclivities might develop. However, as Houdini proved, anyone can become ambidextrous if they work at it hard enough. ;)

Continuing after that little parenthetical (get used to this; I'm wordy, especially when discussing myself), I identify in terms of gender as, well, a nothing. That is, I find gender to be a completely optional concept, and I have opted out, for the most part. I'll still employ the various burlesques that genders of whatever stripe like to insist are rigidly theirs and totally non-malleable, but it's not so. My genitals, in case you wanted to ask, are outie-style, and my glands produce spermatozoa (regretfully; they won't give me a vasectomy yet), but gender is a mixed bag. If you wanted to call me anything, you could call me a quasi-femme, um, human. Yeah, human I'll go with; I'll wait to socially deconstruct that label until we have aliens with whom to compare.

Oh, but that's not all! Did I *choose* to be a nothing? And why do I still sometimes use "boy" to refer to myself, if I'm a gender-nothing quasi-femme (what does *that* mean?) human (maybe)?

First, yes, I did choose to be a nothing. But whereas I used to be heterosexual and then decided to become pansexual (though bisexual was the best term I knew for what I was at the time, being unaware that there are more genders and sexes than just the two), moving from mainstream sexual identity directly into a radicalised one, not so with gender. Baby steps with that one, kids. Oh yes.

See, I began consciousness (we're skipping babyhood and all that Piaget stuff so stay with me) with the social imperative of masculinity, because, as I mentioned, I'm an outie. What can you do? I remember once when I was five, and I fell down some steps, and started crying—this is what five year olds do when they're hurt, right? Typically. But my father comes up and sneers at me and goes, "Boy, you're following in your mother's footsteps."


What five year old American male wants to hear *that* from his father? We're still not quite past all of the moral development stuff, my being five, so I'm still in that like-goes-with-like phase (don't engage me on why we do that; I don't know, I just know it's not universal. Unfortunately, it applied to me), what Freud thought was the resolution of the Oedipus complex: time to be like dad. So, I quit crying, in short. Thus began in earnest my epically doomed effort to be masculine. We're talking Vietnam-style doomed. Challenger doomed. Nazis invading the Soviet Union in the winter doomed. It's amazing I lasted as long as I did... but not really. There are a lot of social rewards to help a person along, lots of insidious little mental implants to keep you in line, and lots of fun deterrents should you dissent. But you already knew that; who am I talking to here!

So this lasted for years, as I suppressed my natural disposition, which was to be quiet, and passive, and grow my fingernails long. I was girly from the start! Oh, but I forced it down well on a steady diet of GI Joe and He-Man, until I was about 14.

Now, I didn't have religion with which to contend, as I was an atheist by age 10 or so, and my father, with whom I lived, was one too (I've never been close to my mother and really know rather little about her, and what I do know, I'm not too impressed with. C'est la vie). He never encouraged me to be one, but he did always encourage me to question the status quo—I have much more than he has, as can be seen. I owe him that, even if he has not made it as far yet. There are certain things he's too scared to question... but carrying on. I was lucky not to think god would smite me for liking She-Ra better than He-Man.

It's worth noting here that until I was about 14 or 15, I was pretty much a homophobe. Region, grandparental rhetoric, culture in general—it all conspired to make me fear and disrespect gays... but eh, I was pro-life, too. I got better, I swear.

So okay. By this time, I'm reading about anarchism on the internet. And socialism. Oh my, I think. This is good stuff! Could it be that communism isn't the bogeyman Reagan said it was? Bust my buttons, yes! And then, my friends, the BIG eye-opener: feminism. Yes, feminism, bane of conservative pundits and thorn in the ass of armchairs liberals alike! Take-no-prisoners, women-are-human, elect-a-female-president FEMINISM. And things started exploding like a-bombs from there. I love you, internet. <3

So I'm an avowed anarchist at this point, ready to rip the system. But what is the system? Well, I have the answer to that, too: the system is global capitalist-patriarchal hegemony, that's what, with some militarism, racism, imperialism, and enforced poverty tossed in for kicks. Feminism was the end of my pro-life-iness, and the genesis of my interest in Wicca, and in myself. Examining myself, I concluded that masculinity wasn't for me. I didn't enjoy it, and I definitely didn't enjoy being part of the class that has, pretty much since humanity's inception, kept women in a very unhappy place, and continues to do so across the globe. Looking back on all my girly urges, I seized upon a rudimentary solution—transsexuality! I must be a girl, for real! Yes, that's it. So I became a transsexual. Now, note that I didn't really do anything about it, having no money for anything from clothes to makeup to hormone therapy, and I was a minor. Eep! Buzzkill.

So I am learning more and more about gender theory as time passes. Opposing views—am I a girl in a boy's body? What *are* boys and girls? What is my body? What should it be? What does it matter? All I want to know is how to dress in the morning and whether I stand or sit to pee! Argh! It is during this phase that I reject binary seuxal orientation, and definitely reject stodgy old heterosexuality. Fully recruited, my sponsor got the fabled toaster oven from Out Magazine. Apparently, I was worth thirty points or so.

Then, as I'm talking to more people and learning more stuff, I decide that maybe I'll just be a non-op transsexual. Divested of its social meaning as a warclub (insofar as this can be done; still working on it), I sorta like my outie. I don't have to hurt folks with it, and there's lots of stuff I can do with it that doesn't even involve the almighty penetration if such is not what's on mine and my partner's minds at the moment, though it sometimes was. Amazing discoveries! Mutual sexual fulfillment! Non-penetrative sex! Wowsers! The possibilities are endless. My partner at the time, who was also my first sexual partner, had an innie, and I guess it was just as well.

But. Pass more time. Religiously, I've decided that Wicca's not for me, and nothing really is. I've backed off from anarchism into a more comfy democratic socialism. And I've decided that if I'm not going to let my sexuality be corraled into one of two, why should my gender be? I've already altered it, why not again? And, since a non-op transsexual is still something, I preferred to be a nothing, and just take gender attributes on and off like the props they are. So that's me today—happily nothing, and a democratic socialist radical feminist humanist. Hurrah!

That was question one. This is getting out of hand! :D

Question two was, if you've forgotten after this lengthy screed, why is it that I sometimes call myself a "boy"?

Easy, and answered in... three parts. Part one is that I am socially recognised by those not in the know as male. I don't "pass" as a female; have no desire to. I may be an exceptionally fruity male, but male nonetheless. Makes it easier on folks. Part two is that it's an alternative to "man," a term I loathe in application to myself. It's so loaded with patriarchal significance that I can't stand it, and I have no interest in its reclamation—besides, to reclaim something implies that it was ever worth a damn in the first place. No thank you. Part three is that I do so to distinguish myself from woman, girl, female. Why would I want to do that? Well, it's not that I especially have an objection to being called a girl in itself, but rather than that as an oppressed class, they have experiences I can't guess at. I'm not a part of that, and won't play at the idea that I am. However, assuming the role "boy" rather than "man" lets me show solidarity in that I am repudiating membership in the oppressor caste as much as I can.

And that's it! That's me! I hope I haven't bored you, and I hope someone actually reads this. I know I wouldn't. And one more thing—I didn't post this to start a debate. So if you're pro-life, good on you; I'm not. If you want to tell me that it's not capitalism that is wrong with the world, but rather X, save it for later. This was just an explanation of how I got where I am, and that's all, not an incitement to riot. Thank you, and goodnight. I'm happy to be here.

jeremy :)

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