It’s funny to me that I had told myself I wouldn’t write a post in April and this is now my third. I feel like stories have been pouring out of me honestly. I went January through most of April without being able to write anything. Then suddenly, I was able to finish Baby, Goodbye and started a play late last night Meet Me that’s a prequel to Baby, Goodbye. I think it might be a trilogy.
Anyway, with that aside out of the way, I want to talk about something that has nothing to do with playwriting and everything to do with playwriting: my gender identity.
I want to say that I’m not going to have perfect language about this and I am only speaking from my own perspective. Please don’t go to your TGNC friends and show them this and talk about how they’re somehow wrong for having a different experience.
As the award gets more and more attention, I’ve been getting more and more annoyed with seeing “she.” “She has been produced xxx.” “She is based xxxx.” “She writes xxx.” There’s a part of me that feels like I can’t really get that annoyed though because my writing style has been written off as very feminine and I do intentionally write about messy women.
But…I’m just not sure that I am one. I know I’m messy, super messy, but I don’t know that I’m a woman.
There’s this kind of gray area space I think some of us live in. I know I’m definitely not a man. I joke that one of the reasons I don’t want to transition is because I’d be a shitty guy and the only reason people don’t fully write me off now is because I’m not a guy. But I also don’t always feel very connected to being a woman either. I frequently refer to myself as “f*ckboi” but I also refer to myself as my cat’s “mom.” Like I’ve always kind of felt like I was a bit of both.
Growing up, I wanted to live in both worlds. I really, really liked wearing sweats and basketball shirts and baggy clothes. I got called a “tomboy” a lot. I would play with all of the boys and we’d play rough and I’d get hurt but I hated it when they went easy on me. And I wasn’t playing with them because I liked them. I did not. I wanted to be them.
But on the flip side, I also really liked dressing up, straightening my hair, wearing heels, and putting make up on and kind of shocking everyone. People got so used to seeing me in baggy clothes and my hair all over the place that when I did dress up, I lived for the surprise in people’s eyes. Hearing “you clean up nice” was like an adrenaline rush.
It still is. I still look disheveled most days and wear a lot of baggy clothes so when I dress up, people still have that “Is that Rachel?” look in their eyes.
Personality-wise, I’m a total, total bro. Like will drink you under the table, reads a ton of books, totally pretentious bro. I joke that I’m that guy in the back of your grad English course who knows all the right answers, quotes the same writers when giving feedback, and everyone else assumes is gay but really he’s slept with the whole class and that’s why he’s in the back to avoid all of the angry glares. That’s me.
You know in Mean Girls when they’re in the gym going over all the cliques? And there’s a table that’s “unfriendly black hotties”? That’s also me. I feel super connected to being a black woman specifically and the legacy that comes with that. I believe my ancestors carry me forward and are still guiding me and my femininity is what connects me to them.
I’m still learning about bigender and I don’t know if that fits right either. Even looking at my chart, I’m just a bunch of contradictions: water and fire, all the way through. And that’s true about my gender too. Constantly at odds while also being at peace.
So, back to my pronouns on articles, my pronouns are she/her or they/them. So they’re not wrong to use “she/her” but I’d like to get a place where we as a collective were more comfortable with they/them. Even when Elliot Page came out, everyone immediately started using he/him. It’s like the only way many will use they/them is if there’s no other option. There seems to be this determination that yes your gender can change but it still has to be this definite thing.
My gender is not one definite thing.
The reason why my pronouns are interchangeable is because my gender is constantly in flux. There are some days where I definitely feel a lot more feminine and refer to myself as a woman. But there are other days where I definitely feel more like a guy and use masculine ways of referencing myself.
In the same way that I really love being both a Cancer and an Aries, I really love being both masculine and feminine, even when they’re at odds with each other.
I’ve been working on changing my bio so that both “she” and “they” pronouns are present. I’ve also noticed theatre companies taking that out as if it’s a typo. It isn’t. Give people room to be more than one.
What is the point of sharing our pronouns if you’re always going to default to the one that’s easiest for you?
For the record, I don’t like when people use they/them exclusively either. I’ve been a walking contradiction since I was born and I’m definitely not the only one. We cannot pretend to care about inclusion while also still forcing us into the boxes of having only one set of pronouns.
My gender, my sexuality, my sanity is constantly in flux and I won’t really ever feel safe until there’s room for me to be who I am day to day as it changes without having to be married to the pronouns I said on the first day and then was never asked again.
Now enjoy this adorable picture of Luna 🙂