I decided to write this article more as a cathartic outlet for a situation that happened yesterday where I was kicked out of a writers’ Facebook group for my gender identifier and not for who I was as a character and person. It was the first time I had ever felt discriminated against based on my queer status and maybe that makes me lucky because at 50 years old, I think I managed to avoid it pretty darn well.
So apparently, I was invited to join a writing Facebook group by a friend and because I was MIA for a week due to my full-time job, I didn’t even know. This is a group for a genre I don’t write and honestly, didn’t even know about until I read some in another critique group. I am not opposed to writing it but I say never say never. Yesterday, I get a message from the owner of the group that I have been removed from it because I identify as a male and it is a female-only group. I met the owner online via another Romance Writers Group about a month earlier and had been in several zooms with her. So, it wasn’t like I was a stranger to her world that joined up to invade their “female space”.
During our messaging yesterday, this is when I found out about the group and my supposed invitation. While I mentioned to her that I was fine to not be in the group because of the content, I took the discrimination quite hard. When I asked why a “writing community” was being singled out as female-only, I was told that previous MALES in the group harassed the females. Similar to racial profiling, now we have gender profiling?
I don’t have to get into how horrible that made me feel that I am lumped into a group because of a few internet trolls looking to harass people, especially when the owner of the group knew me. Are we back to segregation? I was kicked out of a group before I did anything wrong because of my identifier.
Now… here comes the cathartic-ness of my post. Back in my teens (remember, I am 50), my sister and I told each other our darkest secrets. She wanted to hook up with someone to have a baby. I wanted a sex change. I was 12-13 years old when I knew my head didn’t match my body. BUT… I also grew up to believe science knows better and everything inside of me (all my parts, minus my brain) was a female. So, I am a female in all senses of the word and I spent the majority of my life being a lesbian with my wife and still never feeling quite right.
There was still a part of me that needed that “male” outlet. For as long as I could remember, I was a storyteller. As a youth, I used imaginary friends to be my male alter ego. Growing up, I daydreamed my way into finding solace in my conflicting world. Then I took to journaling and then writing books. I evoked the spirit of my characters and gave me an outlet for the male persona I always longed to be.
Two years ago, I came out to my wife and friends that I was trans… but trans to what I don’t know and honestly still do not know. I don’t feel like a woman and I surely don’t feel like a male. I am more CAT than anything. I don’t like being called ma’am and I don’t like being called sir. And I have been wearing boys’ clothes since I was five. I love women with my male brain, yet I love my wife as me… whatever that is. I have called myself a lesbian but don’t feel that is all correct because the only two women I wanted to be with as a woman was my wife and ex-girlfriend.
I also love men. I find guys attractive or not… just like women. They are attractive or not. With men, I either want to be them… or I want to be a gay boy. I’ve looked into HRT and transitioning to a male, but the side effects outweigh the benefits for me. And that’s for me, not discarding it for others. My wife said during all of this, why do I have to choose? Why do I have to identify as something or anything? Because people NEED labels.
I write so I can have a safe outlet to be both. So when I am feeling extra manly, I can write a hetero-romance. And when I want to feel the softer sides of me, I write Sapphic fiction because I love a good girl-on-girl flirty sex scene. This is why I created two different writing personas. So I don’t have to choose what I identify with because I don’t use my gender to define me. Hence why I felt discriminated against when I was kicked out of a Facebook group because I have to CHOOSE to be a man or a woman when the ONLY thing I need to choose is if I am a writer.
I thought that the writing community would be a safe place because we write for the love of words and stories. True writers don’t troll the Facebook groups for people to harass. They are too busy creating awesomeness and learning from others to be worried about internet trolls. Police the fake accounts, not the real accounts that want to learn about writing and genres. Like I said earlier, the group wasn’t a genre I normally write but that doesn’t mean I might not want to after learning about it. I have written romance, erotica, BDSM, supernatural, sports, and crime. Why not something else too.
What the group did was tell me I am not wanted because of a few bad male apples. This is the same as stating All Blacks are not allowed because of a handful of thugs. All Mexicans are not wanted because of drug cartels. As a writer, I am offended. As a confused trans-something, I am even more offended. Because instead of having a conversation with me as a PERSON and as a WRITER, I was discounted as a potential quality member of a community based on the personal dysphoria I have over my body and gender, which has NOTHING to do with my writing and contributing abilities. Remember, they chose to kick me out BEFORE talking to me.
This is the end of my rant. Now… I have some awesome stories to write and maybe a little reverse harem to dig the knife wound even deeper.