In other words, what's your gender story and picture when it comes to your identity?
To give you an example, I'm someone assigned female sex at birth, and while I don't bristle at people deciding for me I'm a woman, I tend to have most often -- and do currently -- experienced my own gender as being more agender than anything else. Again, she/her isn't a set if pronouns I mind (and the same would be true of he/him), but when given a choice, they/them feels better to me. If I'd come of age with as much visibility of genderqueer identities as a lot of you have now (and the language! We didn't have any of these words, even), I'd probably have identified firmly this way very early on, and would probably be more intense about it now. Mostly, growing up, I was just happy to have visibly androgynous people like Patti Smith, Boy George, Annie Lennox, Grace Jones and David Bowie to look to, and given when I grew up and the countercultures I was part of, a lot of androgyny was around me full-stop. On the whole, that worked well enough for me.
(As it is, my experience as someone now middle-aged was that I just got comfortable figuring out how to be a woman that's who I am, which often doesn't match a lot of feminine roles or identities. I absolutely get, support and understand people my age or older transitioning only now -- be that people with trans or genderqueer identities -- but my own discomfort with the box I often have been put in just isn't that great, and my emotional energy is so spoken for already, that at this point in my life, it just seems like more trouble than it's worth for me.)
I get what a lot of people mean when they talk about things being masculine or feminine, and certainly am not unfamiliar with the cultural roles, behaviours and ways of presenting that tend to be assigned to one or the other of those groups. But personally, I've never had much intrinsic sense of what, if anything, that means for me. Like, those things, neither of them, save in fleeting moments, really, have ever felt like a sense I had inside of me that directed me, but only like things I understood as what they were based on other people who DO have that kind of inner feeling about them.
In other words, were I tasked with assigning what things are masculine or feminine in myself, I'd mostly be doing a lot of shrugging, because for the most part, nothing really strongly ever feels like one or either of those things to me.
That said, I keep my hair long, and while a lot of that is about the fact that I look like a busted Cabbage Patch Kid with it very short, it also has been something both masculine and feminine for me. I grew up around, and have most often also dated, more men with long hair than women, so more often than not, my mess of a mop feels like a masculine thing for me, were I asked to pick and assign a gender attribute. I'd probably butch it up a bit more with my dress if my body shape didn't make that very tricky and ask for a lot of custom tailoring. But my preferences in clothing tend to usually have a lot more to do with my general aesthetics and comfort than gender. Again, like pretty much everything for me, even things a lot of people think or say are about gender -- and that a lot of people experience as being about it for themselves -- for me, if and when those things are about anything, gender probably isn't it.But.
I for sure struggled a lot growing up (and sometimes still!) with being told that this, that or the other thing I was doing wasn't what women or girls were supposed to be doing to be those things. I was never bothered by any of that because I was invested in being a woman or a girl, but because the message I usually got was that a) I was a girl or woman, b) and since I couldn't (or someone thought I shouldn't) change that, then c) I should not be doing those things, and needed to change my behavior, interests, mannerisms or appearance. If all I got from those was the message my gender wasn't what they thought, I wouldn't have cared very much. It's the message that I couldn't be all of who I was and needed to change THAT to "match" the sex or gender I was "supposed" to be.
Too, it is a big pile of grr how often one does still have top pick only man/woman or male/female on so many things. There's a whole other level of suckiness when you want to pick the one that doesn't match your assigned sex (because, especially on legal documents, and certainly per most people's sensibilities and fears, that's taken as fraud), to be sure, but when neither is where you sit, an "other" and a "none" option would sure be swell.
So, what about you?