So on Saturday, apparently I'm going to go eat pizza and drink and commiserate and plot with a bunch of very scared and upset queer/trans people. I'm friends with these particular people from a context in which being or not being a GSM was not relevant, so I'm welcome there on the basis that they know me and are fairly sure I am not going to somehow make things worse. I'm not particularly sure I'm not going to somehow make things worse, but there you go. We all apparently had too much faith in people this fall,

I'm not sure I belong there. It depends on whether you're talking physically or emotionally. There are people for whom anatomical configuration is not that important; I am unfortunately not one of them. I wouldn't rule out someday meeting a female-bodied person who is just so hot I decide it doesn't matter, but to date all the people I've crushed on are physically male, which means they're generally legally male, which means that all of the people who think this is for some reason at all fucking important to anyone other than me and the other person(s) in my bed would consider me "straight". I could marry one if I wanted, and even if I didn't, I probably wouldn't get rocks thrown at my head for dating them. The only thing I really ask is that you be reasonably comfortable owning and operating the male body you have, because I am so not qualified to deal with someone who hates being in their own skin in the context of a sexual relationship.

If you consider social gender expression to be a scale with Utterly Dude at 1 and Totally Dudette at 10, the people I go for are all in about the 3-6 range. Consistently. I wasn't very interested in "boys" as an adolescent, because there weren't any "boys" like this around me. The few who came close generally did because they were dealing with being extremely gay. That's no good; I'm actively squicked by the idea of having my grubby little paws all over someone who doesn't want them there. I'm not really "queer", because I don't share the experience of having to hide who I have all my prurient thoughts about; I can truthfully say I want men and just go 'eh, not my type' a lot. Nobody ever asks if I'd be fine with a partner that goes by 'they' instead of 'he', because once you seem normal nobody wants to dig.

I have no neat box to check on forms. "Genderqueer" was not a kind of person you could be, much less a kind of person you could be interested in, until pretty much just now. "Androgynous" is technically right, but the way it's used covers such a broad range that it might describe a fundamental identity and behavior, or it might describe a fashion trend. So far as I know, there is no official term for someone who is specifically attracted to genderqueer people, as opposed to someone who is attracted to a range of genders. If there's an unofficial one it's probably a slur. I don't fetishize people in my 'type' any more than someone who hits on me is automatically fetishizing 'women', but a lot of people do, and I don't want any part of that ickiness any more than the other half of the equation does.

I'm not a whole lot of help on what gender I am either. The way things have shaken out, I'm somewhere in 4-7 range on my grossly oversimplified scale, with the ability to temporarily pretend to be up to about 9 if I really want to and feel like exhausting myself. You could see it as wanting someone "opposite" from myself, since I'll take someone who's more (but not much more) masculine than me, or you could see it as wanting someone "the same" as I am, since the ranges overlap so much. I don't know how important anatomy is to outside observers. If I knew a lady dating a transwoman, even one that for reasons of intimate friendship (because, as John Oliver points out, it is really none of my fucking business unless she elects to tell me) I knew had not gone through a full surgical transition, I'd consider it a homosexual relationship; if the same transwoman were dating a man, I'd call the relationship heterosexual.

I generally feel more comfortable in queer-friendly places, because I do have the common experience of being an alien wherever I was. There is the specific matter that pretty much none of the media that's aimed at either 'straight ladies' or 'the female gaze' are actually aimed at me, and the general matter that for years I was treated like I was existing wrong, and I'd better keep that under wraps if I didn't want people to feel justified in making me the target of emotional and physical violence. And if I'm around a lot of other gender-nonconforming people, they don't keep expecting me to 'fit in', either, Being less stultifyingly uncomfortable in someone else's house doesn't make it your house, though, no matter how much the place other people tell you is your home is full of bees and missing stairs and Donald Trump and goddamn idiotic lists of 97 Can't Lose Weight-Loss Tips all the time.

Ultimately, I don't belong anywhere. I wouldn't move to join the group if you called for "straight people" or "women" because my brain would edit that out as 'not relevant to me'. It would take me a while to remember that other people think it is, and I'm generally deeply uncomfortable in spaces where those are the specific linking qualities everyone has in common. I wouldn't move to join the group if you called for "queer" or "genderqueer" people, because I'm acutely aware that I'd be considered an outsider trying to crash their space, and god knows the one thing no one there needs is another "straight" "cis" white person thundering around like some sort of well-meaning social justice elephant with peripheral neuropathy and extremely poor eyesight.

I'm used to not belonging anywhere, in the way you get used to things that you don't have the option of not getting used to. I didn't even belong to my own family growing up. (That sounds awful, but if you ever met them you'd agree it's better that way.) It's kind of like having a bum knee. There's just a lot of stuff in life you look at and quietly assess as 'probably a bad idea', walk around it as best you can, and go on with your day. I'm pretty well adapted to being a space alien; I just have no idea how not to make it worse for anyone else around me, and that bothers me no end.

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  1. Since I work in a place where there are a lot of people, this week we've all just become gentler when interacting. Mostly, if someone starts crying, we hold tissues up and ask questions in quiet voices of the nature of "do you need tissues? do you want me to go? we can talk about this later, okay?" When people feel this bad, there's a higher percentage of things you can do to make them feel better overall. Just showing up is more than enough.

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    1. I'm also bringing you anxiolytics. I know what it's like to be terrified for days at a stretch and not be able to get help for it fast enough, or to go for help and be told 'you're overreacting, just logic as hard as you can and it'll go away'. Sometimes, it does not go away, because sometimes, the world is legit fucking scary.

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