quarridors: Not high on sugar (September 2010)
I just wrote a variation of the following for a closed Facebook group, then decided it's a shame it wasn't public...

I'm Nat and I live in Nottingham, UK. I run http://PracticalAndrogyny.com/ and http://Nonbinary.org/ - I've been openly nonbinary and genderqueer since 2001 and involved in online genderqueer communities for a year or two before that, but I've recently ramped up my visibility by putting my face and legal name against my nonbinary visibility and education activism.

As for my gender, "it's complicated", but if pushed I tell people I'm gender neutral, which is my pronoun preference too, and tell people that I'm a person, not a gender. I don't attempt to 'pass' as anything but in practice I seem to be either highly androgynous or assumed to be a teenage boy, despite being 32. I'm interested in creating resources about the practical side of being 'ambiguous' to the gender binary.

I have a transsexual medical history, passing through the private system in the late 1990s. Despite having legally detransitioned in 2004 in protest over the Gender Recognition Act not recognising my gender (and for other practical reasons), I've just had the experience of successfully getting a change of meds and a transgender surgery funded by the local NHS Gender Clinic (my surgery's actually coming up on Thursday) while being completely open about my nonbinary gender. I'm interested in advocating for others who're trying to access transgender healthcare (of any kind) and I have my hands on those 'incriminating' G3 Gender Clinic group minutes you may have read about.

I'm heavily involved in my local mixed trans* group here in Nottingham, one of three nonbinary people on the committee and several nonbinary, genderqueer and gender nonconforming members. We run weekly meetings in the city centre, we have a 'Trans Zone' at this year's Pride and we're currently trying to overturn the decision of Nottingham PCT to 'red list' all gender dysphoria medications.

I believe in keeping transgender spaces welcoming to ALL people who transgress or transcend society's concepts of gender. A lot of my activism is focused on making sure other trans activists remember nonbinary people exist and that we don't all follow the same neat narratives of 'passing', 'transition' or even gender dysphoria. I recently advised META Magazine on nonbinary and genderqueer inclusivity and I'm happy with the results.

And now I should go pack my bag ready for that surgery...
quarridors: Not high on sugar (September 2010)

Practical Androgyny is a new site I've created devoted to the practicalities of ambiguous gender presentation within a binary gendered society.

The binary gender system classifies all people into either female or male, woman or man. However not everyone fits neatly into these categories. Some people have non-binary gender identities, and so do not feel comfortable when assigned a traditional gender. Whether owing to choice or chance, many of these people are not readily gendered by others. This state of binary gender ambiguity can be described as androgyny.

Practical Androgyny is a resource for both those who are comfortably androgynous but struggle with the pressures of the binary gender system, and for those who are gender dysphoric and wish to explore the possibilities of gender ambiguity. The site does not focus on the details of gender identity but on the practical aspects of living with, or obtaining, an appearance that defies gender classification.

Why ‘Practical Androgyny’?

Most websites and discussion communities about genderqueer and non-binary gender tend to focus on identity. The discussions tend to be mainly theoretical, deconstructing society’s concepts of gender and exploring the diversity of gender identities and expressions possible for those of us that slip through the gaps in the binary gender system. The most commonly asked questions are ‘What is gender?’ or ‘What is my gender?’. These are hugely important questions and it’s a good idea for everyone to be asking them, not just those who feel gender dysphoria or feel out of place in a binary gender system. However for those of us who already asked and answered those questions for ourselves, it’s difficult to find resources about the practicalities of living as something other than female or male.

‘Practical Androgyny’ is also descriptive rather than prescriptive. Resource sites that non-binary identifying people may find useful are often tied to a particular identity, with the assumption that the reader will hold that identity or the implication that you must take on that identity label if you relate to what’s described. Practical Androgyny recognises that gender identity is highly personal and that there can be as many gender identities as there are people. Practical Androgyny recognises that more than just non-binary gendered people will find androgynous living resources useful, and everyone will pick and choose from the resources this site provides. Plenty of genderqueer or non-binary identified people choose to live within the gender binary to some degree and even highly androgynous people need to blend in under some circumstances. These are the sorts of practical choices this site supports. Equally, there are circumstances under which binary identified people may find information on living with gender ambiguity of use. The resources that will be presented on the site are provided with no implication that all genderqueer or non-binary gendered people will find them useful, or that everyone who finds them useful must be transgender, genderqueer or non-binary identified.

What To Expect From The Site

Right now Practical Androgyny is more of a mission statement than a website. I’m planning to gradually post articles about different aspects of androgynous living that will eventually form a comprehensive guide to living outside the gender binary.

In addition to this, I will be keeping a blog of my personal observations and experiences of living with an ambiguous gender presentation. I would love to also host observations from other people who live androgynously, especially those who are androgynous for different reasons or who have differing experiences to mine. If you’re interested in contributing resources or blogging here as a columnist, please get in touch!

Subjects To Cover

Right now I'm blogging about my experiences of living with an ambiguous gender presentation and posting articles about pressing issues. Below is the list of subjects I'm planning to cover soon, I hope others will contribute their own suggestions for other subjects that should be covered.

  • Gendered Spaces
    • Changing Rooms
    • Employment
    • Formal Occasions
    • Public Toilets
    • Swimming Pools

  • Identity and Documentation
    • Campaigning for Change
    • Forms
    • Legal Gender and ID
    • Websites and Social Networks

  • Language and Pronouns
    • Gender Neutral Language
    • Names
    • Pronouns
    • Titles and Salutations

  • Physical Changes
    • Hair Gain
    • Hair Removal
    • Hormone Therapy
    • Surgery

  • Presentation
    • Binding and Tucking
    • Body Language
    • Clothing
    • Hair
    • Packing and Padding
    • Voice and Speech

Visit Practical Androgyny

December 2016

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