Some gendered spaces and how I interact with them
1. Bathrooms, obviously. I have to use one or the other. I have heard that transmasculine people should not use the women’s room because they have male privilege and may make women uncomfortable. Which is BS; people should use whatever they feel comfortable with, and everyone else can deal with it. I also hate choosing in front of people who I suspect are trying to fit me into the binary and will conclude that I am “really” whatever gender I choose, because obviously a REAL NB will go in both simultaneously, by quantum superposition. I use whichever feels easier, which has recently usually been the women’s, for a bunch of reasons that I just go with and don’t overthink anymore (I’m still on break from overanalysing my gender feelings).
2. Sports. I used to do judo competitively, and have not in several years. I’ve been wanting to go back, but the septum ring is inconvenient, and also the gender thing. It makes sense for me to compete with other estrogen-based people, but I did not think I could do that and still expect my gender to be respected. Reading about Harrison Browne, an openly transgender man competing in women’s hockey, was very encouraging and made me realise I don’t necessarily have to choose between competing and my gender. (I know people who would say “you can’t have it both ways”, but fuck that trans-erasure noise.) The other good news is that sports at non-competitive levels is much less gendered. I am looking into joining an MMA gym casually, most of which seem to be mixed-gender. I also rock climb casually.
3. Affirmative action (?). Improv tends to be male-dominated. Some improvisers in my city decided to start an all female team in order to combat that, which was annoying. Like… there are other gender minorities whose voices also need amplification? I mean, if you want to have an all female team, sure, but then you don’t get to market it as “combating male domination” imo. Their branding has indeed shifted away from that over time though, so it is less problematic now. People who don’t even consider nonbinary people when discussing gender diversity really annoy me though. I also occasionally get invited to “women in engineering” events and to apply for Google’s women’s scholarships, neither of which are things I feel comfortable doing. idk.
4. Single gender schools. I actually went to a girls’ school a few years before even realising I might not be a girl. Being away from boys who were constantly assumed to be better at certain things did wonders for my confidence and gave me space to excel in those things. Other than a bit of gender policing and compulsory femininity (“we’re teaching you to be cultured young ladies”), it was great. This is why I am hesitant when people suggest that we should get rid of gender segregation altogether. I think what we actually need is better categories, more permeable borders, and to let people choose and move between categories.