So, I’m nonbinary, and I just can’t help but judge other nonbinary people who present as their assigned gender, make no effort to make themselves look ambiguous or have any indicator of being nonbinary at all, and then get mad when strangers gender them. I mean obviously it’s bad if people who know them repeatedly misgender them, but I just don’t understand how a stranger is supposed to know that an overtly feminine or masculine looking person identifies as nonbinary?
I’d really like to change my opinion on this but I haven’t really seen any reason to yet, and I’d like another nb person’s opinion.
Okay, I’m gonna be honest, this is really hard for me to keep my cool while answering.
1. It is very hard for most people to successfully make people confused about their gender. My metamour is amab and agender. They usually present in a way most people would take as masculine. But you know what? If they were to dress more feminine, people would still fucking take them as masculine. They are 40 years old, amab, and living in the southern U.S. They have a low raspy voice, they have a thin neck and a very noticeable “adam’s apple”. They could shave, wear makeup, wear feminine clothes and try to talk more “feminine”, but you know what that would get them? Not they pronouns, that’s for damn sure. It would get them assumptions that they are a cis gay man or a trans woman, in a place were being either of those is very dangerous. It would be damn near impossible for them to successfully create a look that you would deem acceptably neutral. I am fat and afab. even when I bind, i don’t always look completely flat. I have a high pitched voice, speaking low is hard for me,it doesn’t fool anyone. I have large hips that I can’t hide. I have a face people read as feminine no matter how the rest of me looks. Even when I try, I do not look androgynous. It’s not easy for everyone, it’s not attainable for everyone.
2. Safety. Not everyone is safe presenting androgynously. Most amab people are gonna be in more danger going out dressed femininely, and if they don’t feel comfortable with that they shouldn’t have to. And in general, being actively noticeably trans/nb/gnc is usually not something most people are going to take well. They’re not going to suddenly assume they pronouns for you because you dressed differently, they will likely get mad because they are confused.
3. who is defining androgynous here? who decides if we are androgynous enough? it sure as hell aint us, because most people would say I look like a girl and I would not. People often completely ignore/forget about amab nb people here. What for them is androgynous enough for you? Because that masculine clothing is not very radical and appearance changing for them. It’s also more dangerous for them to present more femininely if they don’t pass as 100% female, as I mentioned before. gender roles and expectations are harmful, and that doesn’t exclude expectations for nb people. We deserve the right to be ourselves regardless of what people expect because of our gender as much as anyone else. what exactly is “feminine” or “masculine”? these aren’t factual categories, these are societal categories that mean jack shit, okay. the same goes for neutral or androgynous. especially considering our society hardly even acknowledges this category, it’s not like theres a third list of neutral things that if you stick to those everyone will assume you’re agender or something. It doesn’t work that way. society sucks, and people are going to assume a gender of you 90% of the time. present with the intent of being ambiguous as much as you want and i support you entirely with that, especially if it makes you happy or comfortable. but the fact is that even when you do that, it doesn’t just make people assume you are nonbinary.
4. everyone is different. just like some girls are happy and comfortable choosing to look as “masculine” as possible, and some boys are happy and comfortable choosing to look as “feminine” as possible, nb people may like either of those as well. it doesn’t change how any of them identify and who they are. if you wouldn’t judge a cis guy for wearing a lot of makeup and still expecting to be respected as a dude and called a dude, why would you judge an nb person for being just as frustrated as you when being misgendered while appearing in a way you see as one gender or another.
5. You know when you try really fucking hard to look ambiguous and some asshole still assumes a gender for you and you want to scream? if misgendering doesn’t feel good that feeling doesn’t go away because you’re not trying to show people your gender. whether I am straight up masculine and people are actually assuming i’m a dude, or I’m wearing a dress and people are assuming I’m a girl, or i’m trying to be confusing and people are going either way, it still fucking sucks. your appearance doesn’t change your feelings.
6. Most of us don’t want people to somehow magically know our exact gender. We want people not to assume, get it wrong, and hurt us. People should not assume a stranger’s gender. It’s that simple. I want a stranger to call me they the same as I want them to call anyone else they don’t know they, because they don’t fuckin’ know. I try to do this myself as best as I can. If i see someone wearing a dress, I try to still use they. If i see someone with a beard, I try to still use they. Until I am told otherwise. It’s not that when someone misgenders me I go “HOW DARE YOU NOT KNOW I AM MAVERIQUE AND USE THEY OR IT PRONOUNS ONLY,” I go, “Man. I’m not a girl, and it feels shitty being called one. I wish people wouldn’t assume gender, so I didn’t have to deal with this.”
7. This shit adds up. Yeah, I have long hair and I rarely bind and I like wearing dresses and sometimes I wear makeup, and yeah I get upset when I’m misgendered, and yeah sometimes I vent about it because just like anyone else hearing the wrong pronouns all fucking day sucks and adds up and I shouldn’t have to change myself and pretend to enjoy something if I don’t and wear things that put me in pain due to my weight and sensory issues just so that you don’t judge me when I’m upset that people are STILL MISGENDERING ME, because it happens either way.
Hope that was enough reason.