Ok. So, I wrote this post for the start of LGBT* History Month but was hesitant to actually post it for a few reasons:
A while back I decided to search my feelings on gender. In particular, my gender. I have never been able to identify with binary gender, despite being housed in this singular male form. I have found this to be the best way to describe my relationship with my body, I am 'housed' within this male body and have grown to accept that. At times I still feel uncomfortable with it.
A lot of the time I forget it is that, a male body, and am sometimes starkly reminded by others with "You're a man."
Over my 23 years there have been many crises of my gender and my masculinity. Not just by me, but by family, friends and boyfriends (That is not to say all of my friends have had this. I have a wonderful, loving and supportive circle of friends that I am honoured to have in my life. Sorry, I'll stop the soppy gushing now.) I have tried to explore this over time and continue to do so every day.
One of the biggest periods of exploration was a few years ago, attend the Queer Eye workshops run by Leeds Art Gallery and Cast-off Drama. Since deciding it was the artist's life for me, I have found it much easier to engage with large topics, such as gender, through art. Through this I gained more confidence to explore and figure out my thoughts and feeling on gender and my gender in particular.
I felt I needed to search for the box where I keep my gender in a bid to understand it at last. After some 'soul searching' I found my box and it was unsurprisingly empty. It was something I think I had known all along.
I do not feel I identify with gender. I do not feel I have a gender. The nearest term I have found to describe how I feel is 'Agender'. This is a term used as a non-binary phrase for someone who feels they don't identify with other gender identities, that they perhaps don't have a gender or are gender neutral.
The acceptance of this has allowed me to feel more at ease with myself and also with how others may identify. Gender is a complex and ever-changing issue with more ways of identifying your gender than I think could ever really be quantified.
In terms of pronouns, I personally don't mind how I am referred to so long as it is without negative or hate speech. I do however feel an affinity for the 'Mx' gender-neutral title as opposed to my usual 'Mr'. I have considered changing to the usage of it and would very much still like to.
I will add that how I verbally identify depends on my situation at the time - I prefer to say that I am Agender or Queer. However sometimes it can be easier just to describe myself as a gay man, I am in a male body and I am attracted to men, it can save a lot of time and energy when I do have those days where I can't face going through explanations of queer and gender politics (Yes I'm guilty of having days where I can just about manage to face other humans, we all have them at some point).
I suppose this post was, in part, written for myself as an open acceptance of my gender identity and what could be more open than putting it on the internet for everyone to see. Here I have been able to write and articulate my thoughts and feelings in a positive way and make this another step on my life-long journey of being queer, an artist and a human being.
I have 3 new things to announce!
First of which is that I will be taking part in the Awkwoods Rural Retreat at Live Art Bisrto, between 6th and 8th March. A workshop about awkward audience participatory performance run by Daniel Oliver.
More information on it and him can be found here.
The second announcement is that I will be performing my new piece 'A Queen's Speech' at Ketchup Cabaret, a queer and alternative cabaret night, on 19th March at Live Art Bistro. A Facebook event can be found here and tickets can be purchased here.
Keep an eye out for me in these fantastic projects! Come and see me perform and help make my 2016 another brilliant year!
Here is where I write about art and about life.