Do you feel more female or male?
Sitting there at a table in front of half a dozen cameras, each registering every motion, every word and syllable I produce, it's a familiar question I get asked by yet another TV host. Generally the answer I produce at those times is a relaxed 'it's all relative', mentioning how my brothers are worse at technical things than me, and that few - if any - gender-based stereotypes are actually true.
In reality, it's a far more torturous question than one could imagine. For the average person there's no need to question 'gender' and they can happily embark on all the standard jokes about their own and the opposite gender. Even for the average person who doesn't feel comfortable with the gender they're born into it's a simple matter. Just swap their gender and they're happy as can be. The infamous gender binary at its finest.
For a person like me, who biologically speaking is both sexes, there's no easy answer. There are only deep, tortured questions and the inevitable conclusion that there's nothing where this 'gender' thing should be at. While 'male' and 'female' make sense to me in a biological fashion - and I most decidedly feel the need to reinforce for myself over and over again that I do in fact have a primarily female body despite countless earlier confirmations - there nevertheless is not this final conclusion that I am something specific.
I guess that makes sense considering what is meant with a chimera: an ambiguous collection of distinct species or sexes. That's me in a nutshell. And much like my body it has thrown my mind for a loop. How should I interpret things I feel and desire? The easy answer is that I'm just me and that any further ponderings are meaningless. Yet it doesn't satisfy this massive black hole inside of my chest where should go the resounding answer to the question of who and what I am.
For me intellectual pursuits are easy. I'm just a smart brain there. There's no real distinction between genders and sexes or any relevance to doing so when I'm on a technical forum or IRC chatting about technology and science. Intellect has always been a safe haven for me, a place where I can truly be myself. Everything beyond that is a scary, uncertain place.
In general social contact it's to be brutally honest pretty darn scary and tiring to have to deal with the socially enforced reality of having to be what is demanded. While I can feel little to no resonance from inside my heart upon hearing these things, I have been able to establish through inquiries and the like that I'm in appearance a fairly attractive female-looking individual. When looking at myself in the mirror while wearing clothes which accentuate my figure I find that I have to agree. And yet it doesn't answer my question.
Is it just trauma which is blocking the answers I'm looking for? Unprocessed memories and pain from over two decades worth of existing and attempting to live in an increasingly more confusing and hostile world? This might very well be true. It doesn't take me much burrowing inside my heart to uncover enough hurt and relentless agony to last at least a hundred lifetimes. From my own country denying me the right to exist, to physicians and psychologists apparently going so far as to fabricate evidence to deny me the truth, to the carefree attitude of my environment as I underwent and still undergo a kind of psychological torture poisoning the very roots of my existence.
Enough trauma and drama, that's for sure. Having had to fight the Dutch systems to even gain the right to get the gender indication in my passport which best fits my physical appearance, it is for me downright incomprehensible why my attempts to merely exist are so brutally and savagely cut down at every opportunity. Beyond the Dutch legal system there is little in this country which even has the semblance of civilization. Not in the medical system, nor in the political system.
I just know that getting mistaken for a guy on the phone is like getting stabbed in the chest, even if such mistakes are common even for regular women. I can not laugh it away. Not yet.
I desperately want to be seen and regarded as 'female', it seems. I dress like one, behave like one and I would feel little joy in life if my wish to have my existing female reproductive side restored got denied forever. Yet I do not want to get rid of the other reproductive side which would classify me as biologically 'male'. It makes sense to me on one level, and is absolute madness and insanity on another. Heck, my very existence rarely makes a lot of sense to me. Do I even belong?
An area where things turn from mere barking mad insanity into something far more disturbing and vile is that of sexuality. True, I am sensitive to the sight of an attractive person regardless of gender. Yet beyond this thin veil of normality lies something which makes sense to no one. A place where a woman can not have a relationship with a man as men only mean harm. A place which demonizes men. A place where a pregnant woman is the victim of a horrible crime, brainwashed into believing it's something wonderful. Where women who seek out sex are vile beings. Where even a relationship is something sickening and sexual actions disgusting and repulsive.
Recent experiences haven't helped with this all one bit. I also do not know what is needed for me to normalize on these points and maybe reach a point where I can decide about what all of it truly means to me. I know that I need to get those answers, and that I need help to reach them.
Maybe then when asked that one question everyone asks me again I can finally feel that it is the one true answer when I reply to it.