Tag Archives: gender binary

Son of a gun

“Is that your son?” a woman asks W at the family reunion.

She’s talking about me. I am sitting next to W at a long table. I am wearing a pair of tan cargo shorts and a navy blue T-shirt.

“No, that’s my partner,” W says.

I brush it off like a crumb.

Later that night, I ask W how it made her feel.

“Old,” she says.

“Old that you have a 47-year-old son?”

We both laugh at the ridiculousness of that statement.  A 43-year-old woman with a 47-year-old son.

W doesn’t look old.

She has a few streaks of gray that look silver in the light.

I think her grays make her look sexy.

Sometimes when she tilts her head just the right way in the sunlight, I remember that she is the most beautiful woman in the world.

*  * *

Has this ever happened to you?  What is your partner’s typical response? 

Advertisements

Gender failures … aren’t we all?

No, 200

Greetings Flannel Files followers. If you haven’t been keeping track at home, this is the 200th post of your all-time favorite blog.  With the word “flannel” in the title.  C’mon, you know it’s true.

I’ve been racking my freshly sheared noggin trying to figure out what to write about for the big 200.

And then it hit me square in the head.

Gender.

It was like I had been slocked (struck by a sock containing a lock).  (Who’s been watching too much Orange Is the New Black?  This butch.)

This butch says buy this book.

This butch says buy this book.

I just finished up Gender Failure by Ivan Coyote and Rae Spoon.  Read the whole thing over the course of two days.  This is what I thought when I first started reading: Wow, someone has actually written a book just for me.  The book will make you laugh and cry and think and, if you’ve ever been mystified or conflicted about your own gender, it will make you feel not so alone.  The moral of the story is that gender comes in more than two sizes.  Butch is the Big Gulp of all genders, if you ask me.

Ultimately, Rae Spoon decides to retire from gender.  I have pondered this idea about retiring from gender.  Do you get a pocket watch or a wall clock?  Is there cake?  Because if I’m going to retire from gender, I want cake.

xx

Pick one.

Mostly, I wonder how a person can retire from gender when the world revolves around a dual gender system.  Clothes are purchased in the men’s department or the women’s department.  We check a box marked M or a box marked F when filling out forms.

I must say though that there is something appealing and freeing about not giving a damn.

On being a butch, Ivan writes:

“Older butch sightings in airports make me feel like I am part of an army.  A quiet, button-down, peacekeeping brigade that nods instead of saluting.  Silver hair and eye wrinkles are earned instead of stripes or medals.”

Ivan Coyote might be one of the most beautiful people in the world.

So, yeah, read the book if you haven’t already.  Read it if you are gender queer or if your partner is or if you know someone who identifies outside the gender binary.  Or read it because you’re a human being and open to seeing the world through someone else’s eyes.

* * *

Have you read Gender Failure or any other books by Ivan Coyote or Rae Spoon?  Thoughts?