Made up Genders and The Origin of Our Labels
Once in awhile I see youtube videos or facebook comments about “all the damn made up genders,” and it kind of bothered me. So I decided to go have a look. Which genders were “made up,” or who started them? I was curious as to how exactly made up they were.
Then I realize technically everything was made up at some point, and I shouldn’t give those comments much thought because they are obviously coming from someone who has no intention of respecting you or your choices.
Of course, that doesn’t stop me from delving deeper into the mysteries. Who decides these things? What makes a gender or sexual orientation more legitimate than another? Most of what I’ve found seems to be in the eyes of the commenter.
I think a lot of this is based on visibility and an adherence to a binary. People can understand what they see. People can understand binary implications of gender. They’ll understand transgender, because they view the world as having two genders, and a person switching. They don’t understand nonbinary, because there’s not a clear line of demarcation, as its nomenclature dictates.
First, let us take a look at Lithromantic. The link leads to a wiki page, whose sources are all from tumblr. This is one of the common complaints is that “Oh all these come from kids on tumblr!”
Perhaps, but that doesn’t make them any less real. People are identifying as them and using them. That makes it real.
Then we have something like demisexuality. This wiki page lists no sources, but this is a commonly accepted sexuality. It isn’t properly understood. Many demisexuals get responses like, “Oh, everyone likes to get to know someone first.” When they don’t realize that the person is otherwise asexual, lacking in any sexual attraction. This is mostly because people don’t understand asexuality or how someone can just ‘not feel sexual attraction.’ When a person is wired to feel a certain way, they may have a hard time empathizing with why you don’t have something that is so innate to them.
Then let’s take a look at cobblogender. This one also has no sources, but is widely criticized as being made up. Cobblogines are, essentially, people who are demigirls or demiboys that do not fulfill the gender role assigned at birth. They are often called “transtrenders.” They are “kinda” male, but do not fit the roles associated with being male.
So what’s the point of all these examples? They either have no sources or their sources are from tumblr. Some are considered legitimate and less so. The point is that it doesn’t matter who comes up with it or where it came from. If we choose our labels to help us connect with who we are, I don’t see a problem in using one created from tumblr or for a forum. These aren’t for you, they are for the people using them. They choose to use labels as a way to help connect with others.
I get told my sexual orientation is made up all the time. I am a lesbian gray asexual aromantic. That means I typically don’t feel sexual attraction, but sometimes might engage in sexual activities. If I do engage in sexual activities, they are generally with women, and since I identify as a woman that makes me a lesbian. I feel no romantic attraction, so I am aromantic. I don’t really have the proper terminology for “I don’t feel sexual attraction but I do stuff with women sometimes and hate romance.” That’s really all it is.
But apparently it’s made up.
Because it is. Everything is made up. But it’s still valid, and still something I choose to use to help people understand who I am and connect with me.