Down the rabbit hole
“Fabulousness” is a fantastic word, isn’t it? Right up there with everyone’s all-time favorite frontend term “CSS selector specificity”. In case you haven’t noticed, I really like to dig into languages. Etymology is an interesting topic aswell, but that’s content for some future blog posts. Let’s get back to queerness.
First, my pronouns were he/him. I guess that’s the default someone with the male sex (according to one’s ID card) puts in their Twitter bio. You know, straight by default and nobody tells you something else might be possible.
Then I changed my pronouns to he/they. I have no idea why I did this. There was a sudden urge to see how this looks. Maybe I wanted to promote and normalize the usage of a neutral pronoun? I strongly believe we should start using they by default until we definitely know how someone wants to be addressed.
Finally (for now at least) I switched the pronoun order to they/he. This doesn’t look like a big change, but for me it has been the realization that I’m non-binary first and male second. My sex may be male and I’m fine with that, but my gender is non-binary. I don’t identify with “maleness”. Here’s how I came to this conclusion.
I never strived to behave “male-like”. I’m not a “big, strong guy”. I don’t like to “boss others around”. I don’t want to be insert male cliché here. That’s intrisic to my self and in part due to me being an introvert. And yet there’s more to the story, feelings I started to discover and explore in the last few years. Feelings I couldn’t explain because of a knowledge gap. Then the following started to occur more often…
Every time someone calls me “Mr. Becker” or writes me an email or letter starting with “Dear Mr. Becker” I flinch inside. I want to respond “Please, I’m just Fynn. I’m not Mr. Becker.” But until recently I didn’t know one could exist outside the binary spectrum of female and male. I didn’t know sex and gender are different things. I tolerated “Mr. Becker” and have to for the foreseeable future, because – you guessed it – Germany isn’t ready for non-binary people.
The German language doesn’t even have different terms for sex and gender. They can be created by prefixing adjectives: biological gender and social gender. But that’s not the whole problem. Next is the missing neutral pronoun. Even if I wanted to, I can’t be addressed neutrally hence the he has to stick for now. And then there is the law. Oh my! Welcome to conservative-town.
Germany’s transgender law is four decades old and desperately needs overhauling. The Federal Constitutional Court – Germany’s supreme court – declared many regulations unconstitutional. Attempts by left-wing opposition parties to adopt a new law were blocked by the ruling parties; one of which is right-wing (CDU), the other one was once a strong labor party (SPD) but is now basically non-existing and deteriorated into a CDU partner in crime.
Something as benign as changing the gender on an ID card is ridiculously complex and inhumane. One has to write a request to a court. Two independent specialists review this request and write an advisory opinion. The person itself needs to appear in court personally. And as if that weren’t enough, the whole process costs about 2,000 €. It’s literally easier to marry someone, which only sets one back around 50 € plus a bit for documents and certificates. Straight by default as usual – at least homosexual marriages are possible in Germany since October 2017, so much progress, such wow.
Putting the snark aside, my ID card may tell I’m a male. No official “diverse” gender for me, I guess. But the ID card is not my true identity, it’s an arbitrary document required and issued by the federal government.
I would be happy, if you refer to me as they. And for all German-speaking people out there: there’s no alternative to he, but please remember, I’m non-binary.