Richard O’Brien, the glitter-gaunt madman that gave us the Rocky Horror Picture Show, never quite knew where he stood on the spectrum of gender and sexuality. He knew he was different than many, but not different enough to change his form in any permanent way. His attractions, too, are not set in stone, because no one should limit themselves or their capacity to love.
Throughout my life, Richard O’Brien has been my hero. Perhaps I’ve not expressed it in a meaningful way, but his forward-thinking and boundary-pushing ideas made me accept that I’m a wibbly-wobbly mess of a person.
My name is Jasmine, or Maleficent, or whatever you want to call me, and I am genderqueer. In my head, I am a man. Alright, in my head I am a suit-wearing, flowery writer with a passion for tall (usually silent or artistic) men, who cannot save himself from the chaotic tides of his opinions. I’m brash, I’m flamboyant, I’m well-educated, but I cannot stop my words from crashing down on others (or slowly eroding my reputation).
In my head, I’m not much different from the opinionated “girl” you know. I simply don’t see myself as female.
If I could have anything I wanted, I would live in a bizarre future-world where fashion reverts to amazing suits and hats while pushing forward with equality for everyone. My mind is a special place where I can wear three-piece suits, drink wine, and lust after musicians and philosophers without anyone batting an eye.
In reality, I married a tall musician/artist/philosopher with grand and idealistic passions who I love very much. I drink wine (a bit too much), and I’d like to think I’m interesting (or interesting to know). The only trouble with this reality is that I cannot wear three-piece suits (or grow a Tony Stark beard) without glances, whispers, and the notion that I started this life with the name Jasmine.
Jasmine is a confusing prospect. She tries to wear dresses, but always feels weird in them. She tries to dress a bit more “butchly” but always feels weird in those clothes as well. She keeps her hair short, largely because she can’t be arsed to curl, straighten, otherwise style the forests of her hair, and she doesn’t wear makeup often because it is equally exhausting.
I want to be pretty, but I want to be pretty like a romanticized Grecian youth. I want to trap that perfect, pointed prettiness that men have for a fleeting moment. I don’t want curves, I want elegant collar bones and legs long enough to let me wear long jackets.
This Jasmine person isn’t any of those things, and spent much of its life desperately hoping it would wake up and be the sort of person Yves St Laurent would make clothes for.
I would very much like for that to be me, but even if I did wake up with all the physical components of “maleness,” I am never going to be tall. I’m never going to be the wispy vision in my head.
That person does live in my mind, and is as much me as the chubby female-shaped thing babbling on about personhood on this page. It took many years for me to decide that I can be the man in my head, though accept the limitations of the body I have.
The man in my head is a gay, slightly lecherous, fashion-minded individual who can’t quite settle on a career. The peson I am in life is a queer, slightly lecherous, fashion-minded, but fashion-useless individual who can’t quite settle on a career. I am the person in my head, though I’m not tall, or particularly thin.
The person I am is a gay man. Thinking of myself in this way has been incredibly freeing, though confusing to people who can’t quite wrap their minds around the idea that I am not a straight girl. It is different, and if I had any hope in hell of becoming the ideal man in my head, I would transition, and you’d come up with a very crude way to describe what I’ve become. No, we can just accept that I am, in fact, already very gay and very male without going down that road.
Why not transition? Because I’ve come to terms with the feelings in my head and can admit that I am hopeless at identifying with the body I have, but I feel I’d be hopeless identifying with the person I’d transition into as well. I enjoy an idyllic mind-self more than a semi-correct tangible-self.
For some people, transitioning is the right path to happiness, and I wish them all the luck and peace in the world. They deserve it. The path to happiness is a complete bitch, and it will unmake you many times over before you get it right. Sometimes the unmaking must be physical, other times metaphysical, but generally it is always complicated, icky, and painful.
I can be who I am in the body I have because changing things isn’t what needs to be done. I know who I am, and while I’m very confusing to explain, all the jumbled up bits make sense to me. Few people have it as easy I have. Their path to happiness is particularly bitchy, and demands much more of them.
The outward signs of my mind-self manifest in gender-neutral clothing most of the time. I wore a dress to my wedding, though I nearly didn’t, but most of the time I’m in gender-neutral shoes, wearing cardigans, t-shirts, and jeans. That look feels right to me. It expresses my utter lack of interest in fancy “female” things while flirting with the concept that I would like to wear masculine clothes all the time.
I respond easily enough to female pronouns, but delight when someone slips up and says “sir” or “that guy over there.” It does happen, and when it does my heart soars, as if they caught a glimpse of the real me, even though they quickly apologize and call me “ma’am” and try to forget their moment of clarity.
Some people require their pronouns be set apart, but much like my hair and makeup, I really can’t be bothered. It is very confusing, and I won’t ask my sweet grandmother to accept that I am something very strange because it’s needlessly complicated for some people. And for those people, I am polite, I am Jasmine. To the people I know can understand, I am the man in my head.
I don’t require special pronouns, I don’t require you believe me when I explain myself. All I require is that you think about the bizarre state of me and undertand that we’re all a bit messy. Like Richard O’Brien, I don’t require definition or to alter myself to have that definition. I am who I am, and I have real hopes and dreams without conforming to one image or another.
But, if I have to conform to one, it is that I am genderqueer, or something other than male or female at once. I have the unique advantage of being either thing whenever I want, and it is freeing.
Oh, dear…. I’ve left you horribly confused, haven’t I? You don’t have to treat me differently, I simply wanted to express the person I am, in the hopes you’ll understand other people a bit more.