“Where Gender & Animality Meet” (5/29/2018 & 2/3/2021)
I periodically get times of trying to figure out what to call my gender and how to explain it well. Of the established terms, demifemale maybe the closest one I’ve found. Recently I came across the term “xenogender” and noticed it can be used in relating, for example, animals to gender, and thought that maybe it was close to my experience/identity, but after looking further into it, the term and concept doesn’t fit me, as it’s more so about symbolic or sensory explanations for gender or utilizes nounself-genders—which just isn’t fitting to me.
Another issue I have with using xenogender for myself is that my gender still feels like it is “binary” in the sense of feeling like and identifying as “female”. However, it is on a nonhuman spectrum of gender without being symbolic—more of a literal kind of nonhuman gender, in contrast to how xenogender tends to be used. The definition, though, seems mostly fitting of my gender if taken in that literal sense and if it wasn’t restricted to nonbinary genders. I guess I could be considered adjacent to or overlapping with xenogender.
Demifemale still feels not quite right but is closer than others I’ve come across so far because I do see myself as partially feminine (specifically just feminine leaning), no (human) masculinity in my identity, and not a blend of feminine and masculine (like androgynous would be). I’m comfortable referring to myself as she/her and female, though I tend to think that what *I* mean by female for myself is rather different than what is generally meant by human society as female. If anything, I’d call it something like “neuter-female”, but that still doesn’t get into the depth of what the hell I am gender-wise.
Now granted, maybe I shouldn’t even be caring much about a term to fit my gender identity, especially with so many terms and definitions already and with more being coined as time goes on. I know I don’t need a term for it, let alone some perfectly-fitting one. However, at least thinking about the terminology and exposing myself to some of these terms helps in my introspection and toward better understanding myself, including in relation to and in contrast to other people. It also lets me understand the extent of my personal animality and how it permeates through into so much of who and what I am on a non-physical level. Over time, in part through considering these gender identity terms, I’ve developed a better concept and understanding of just what gender means to me and how or where I fall along the vast diversity of gender identity.
If anything, I kind of like the term “feragender”, which I came up with only to follow that with a web search and finding someone last year had coined it online. Though their definition still kind of fits, just without the specification of *wild* animal because I don’t see mine as specific to being a *wild* creature. Sure, “fera-“ denotes wild, but honestly so many other terms I thought of were already coined and weren’t fitting (e.g., aliagender, zoogender (granted, I don’t like the sound or look of that one—just personal preference), allogender). And zoanthgender sounds okay, but too specific-sounding, even though this is ultimately meant for *me*–I’m just weird and like it broader than that **shrugs**. I suppose feragender, neuter-female is about as specific and fitting I have currently.
So aside from all this terminology stuff, what even *is* my gender identity like? Well, from what I’ve figured out so far, I see myself as *female*, but not human-female. It’s essentially a different construct and spectrum from that of human-specific gender. I, beyond gender, identify as both, intrinsically, human and nonhuman—humanoid and non-humanoid. And that runs through into my gender, it turns out (I’m not surprised, honestly). At my core, I am a shapeshifting (to a restricted number of forms/creatures) humanoid who happens to live a mundane human life in a human body, and that pervades into the whole of what is *me*.
My understanding of my gender deals with concepts derived from the sexual, genital, and sex hormonal aspects and influences of a creature that doesn’t exist. I’ve realized there’s basically a concept my mind identifies as fitting my gender that happens to be based on some kind of shapeshifting humanoid creature, which has therefore previously made extra difficulty in me understanding, let alone explaining and naming, my personal gender.
About these humanoid creatures: they still have males, females, and in-betweens/others in regards to sexes (let alone genders), but they have distinct differences from that of human sexes. They are sexually dimorphic, but only mildly (less than humans). All sexes have minimal body and facial hair (their hair is mainly on scalp, eyelashes, and eyebrows, with thin, fine, and light-colored hair over the rest of their bodies, including armpits and pubic area). Females have permanent breasts like humans, but their vulva is minor (only a slit or hole); they are more “curvaceous” like human females tend to be. Males have no external genitalia (only an external slit or hole as the opening) and have a human-like androgynous appearance to their bodies. They don’t have much in the way of femininity or masculinity in the sense of how it is often conceived for humans in general. Actually, I don’t know if that’s really just an attribute of those creatures or if it’s mainly a “me” thing from me seeing myself as basically a “neutered” nonhuman creature/humanoid.
In my case, for my gender identity, I would be like one of those females although a “neutered” one (post development of secondary sex characteristics)—retaining a sexuality and sex drive (based out of pleasure, not for reproduction or from sex hormone influence), and identify as sterile. I also sometimes when my libido and arousal are strong experience an erect phantom humanoid penis (I don’t have a good concept of its form, but it’s without testicles), though so far I don’t consider that part of my gender identity—I feel it is just something strange I experience for whatever reason. Though perhaps it’s a humanoid internal penis that I only feel when it is erect and “unsheathed” in an external position—I really don’t know yet. Also, at times I have the desire to do binding of my breasts (though I’ve never journeyed into actually trying it), including feeling sometimes (not always) more aesthetic and sensory-based satisfaction when my breasts feel relatively flatter due to wearing certain kinds of shirts. So I feel like I primarily identify as a female gender of that strange humanoid species, while also, less often feel myself fluctuate toward the male (more androgynous and not masculine) part of the species’ spectrum.
It’s all very strange (having a “nonhuman gender”, so to speak) and I haven’t yet found someone who experiences this sort of thing, but then again, it’s a difficult thing to figure out (has taken me several years to nail down this much), is outside the human ‘normal’ spectrum of gender and sex, and is probably something that very relatively few people experience. It would be tricky to ‘transition’ to feel more comfortable with myself and body, but I’ve taken some steps—I did get sterilized a few years ago, so that’s at least something closer to the whole “neutered” aspect (to be fully ‘neutered’ I’d have to have my ovaries and uterus removed and that would have its own set of health issues following it), and I keep my legs and armpits shaved close most of the time (to me it’s not a “female-specific” thing, as I noted above regarding the appearances of that humanoid species). I haven’t worn makeup in a long time—lack of motivation is part of the reason (I’m content with my face looking how it does, sans things like plucking my eyebrows or reducing my acne), but I will note that initially in high school when I started wearing makeup, it was largely inspired by *men* wearing similar styles of makeup that I went with, as also the same men influencing my hairstyles back then sometimes; I see makeup as a gender-neutral thing, even if it isn’t treated that way in a lot of our societies. Beyond that, I’ll never have my genitals transitioned to be more like I feel they should be.
While I’m at it, I’ll throw some in here about my sexuality. For years I’ve identified as gray-asexual, more specifically now as demisexual, which I feel is fitting enough for me, along with polysexual, though confirming the polysexuality is tricky giving that I’m demisexual and have only been sexually attracted to I think two people in my life (one a transman and the other a transwoman). When I’m outside of one of those romantic relationships (and before I developed a genuine romantic attraction to either person), I have been devoid of sexual attraction and even lacking a sex drive. For the past several years I’ve been in a stable romantic relationship and it started off with some level of sexual attraction (already romantically attracted to this person and been with them previous times) and maybe a low to moderate sex drive. But for the past few years the sexual attraction and, especially sex drive, have been high. Personally, I think it relates to my chronic depression, as some fucked up way to balance out the fact that around the same time as the sex drive went up, my ability to feel pleasure during sex dropped (sexual anhedonia) and so did my ability to orgasm. So it feels weird to be a demisexual person with such a high libido and high sexual attraction (albeit, all directed at either one human person or, alternatively, fictional humanoid creatures), and on top of that being anorgasmic and having sexual anhedonia. My body and mind are just odd when it comes to this stuff.
Addendum: My Gender November 6, 2021
Upon further, gradual reflection on and off for months, I’ve come to understand more about my gender. More accurately, the concept I align my gender with is the same as what I had previously written (in my “Where Gender and Animality Meet” essay), but my understanding of it as nonhuman has changed. It’s kind of confusing in that it’s sort of a liminal concept between human and nonhuman given that it doesn’t align with any known human/hominid or primate that I’m aware of, even though it most closely resembles Homo sapiens, so hence my confusion in labeling it previously. I’ve taken to now terming it “paranthrogender”, or basically “a gender that is near and beyond human but not actually human as we know it (i.e., Homo genus or other real hominid)”.
My description given in that previous writing still stands, but I’ve come to realize this concept is essentially my “ideal” version of humans–what my mind idealistically conceives humans, including myself, should physically and sexually be like. All body hair is short, fine, and lighter in appearance, facial hair is the same and never long or thick like masculine H. sapiens facial hair, and even eyebrows are thin to moderate in thickness. Males are androgynous looking and have internal genitals with only a thin slit or hole (urogenital opening), as females also have this same external appearance to their urogenital opening, with vulva being vastly reduced compared to H. sapiens. There are also other sexes/intersex individuals, though externally their differences are less obvious than in H. sapiens. Females do have breasts but they generally don’t get particularly large (e.g., probably not bigger than a C-cup). I do wonder sometimes if this concept has any relation to my blutpir ‘kintype, but I haven’t reached a more definitive answer on that yet. However, at least the genital part might relate to three of my theriotypes (cat, mongoose, and theropod–probably mostly cat) in that they have internal genitals with a reduced vulva, so there might be a nonhuman aspect to this gender concept anyway.
So I just understand this as being a highly conceptual body type that I feel my own body should align with even though it doesn’t (at least, not fully, though it helps that I’m AFAB because if I was AMAB I would probably have more dysmorphia or outright regular dysphoria about my body’s gender appearance and ‘sex’). I feel fortunate that my main dysmorphia about it is having a large (normal for H. sapiens) vulva rather than the ‘reduced’ kind that various animals have, hair that I regularly shave to appear smoother in my armpits and on my legs, along with the appearance of my pubic hair, and possibly not feeling “right” about having nipples and areolas (more so areolas, as I think I might be okay with the nipples themselves; kind of ambivalent about it). I therefore feel kind of bad to have believed that my gender was basically “nonhuman”–and have thought that for a few years at least–including taking part in posts/discussions about having nonhuman gender types, only for it to turn out to be “human, but another, fictional concept of human”. However, I understand that such is just a part of introspection and learning more about myself, including through trial-and-error, so I’m not beating myself up about it really–just feeling kind of off about seemingly (not intentionally, though) ‘misleading’ people about my gender. I do, though, believe my gender is still connected to or a part of my alterhumanity (not the otherkin parts).