Mar 052011

JoelOne of the many things I love about my relationship with Joel is the way we banter with each other. It’s like a running comedy routine when we’re feeling good. He’s so outrageous. And he loves to play up my reputation as a sex maven. It’s fun. And silly.

But the other night he was giving me shit for calling myself a grrrl. He says it’s pretentious. Yeah, I kinda get that, but it’s how I tend to identify – either as a grrrl or as a boi. “What’s wrong with just being a girl or a boy?” he says, “Why do you have to make it complicated? I’m a traditionalist, you are either a girl or a boy. That’s it.” Again, I see where he’s coming from, but I disagree.

And isn’t this the same man who used to cross-dress? Oh yes, still either a boy or a girl, no in-between, right?

I try to explain to him about finding myself between genders, outside of society’s gender conventions. I’m a grrrl most of the time. I love my femme aspects, my female body parts, but I don’t buy into the “rules” about how a girl should behave or who she can be. For me grrrl is like girl, but minus the guilt and add some kick-ass. It makes me happy. Then sometimes, I am a boi. I don’t give up my femme attributes, but I take on masculine mannerisms, energy, and thought processes. I’m gender queer.

EvoëI am very clearly physically female, but I get to define my gender. Other people may use the same terms to mean something else or different terms to describe the same thing. I’m not trying to be pretentious. I am claiming my right to express my identity in just the right way for me.

So Joel says, “What, I can just make up a word for when I’m a boy that feels more like a girl? Fine. Then I’m a birl!” Yes, exactly. He starts to laugh, “Then I can be burly! That adds new meaning.” I tell him to spell it B-I-R-L-Y. It’s a great new word for me, although I’m sure people already use it.

I’m highly amused. I’m a grrrl and my partners are a boi and a birl. I get the absurdity even while feeling strongly about gender identity. I don’t expect other people to use my terms, they are just for me. But I think everyone should shape language to help them define themselves. Who are you?

  • Raven Shelly Lyon

    I am so glad that you have humor and flexibility around what noun or pronoun is being used to refer to you. My rule of thumb is I call people by the noun or pronoun indicated by how they are dressed or presenting. I get very tired of trying to guess who everyone is and how they are identifying on any given day.
    As a ex educator I have more pressure than most to be gender p.c.
    There is no gender neutral vocabulary and I have been taken to task for the very few times I have guessed wrong.
    The “You are using sexist language”, or stereotyping response to my attempt to connect and say hello does not exactly foster fond feelings and the desire to interact with more queers.
    So thank you Evoe for making your queerness an aspect of you that you share with love rather than a new game of what Mistress Matisse calls politically correct gotcha.