Who Even Are You?

Hi, I’m Sam. I realise many of you have known me as Geoffrey for a while—some as long as my entire life—but it’s time for a change.

Why change?

I’m genderfluid.

Wait, really?

Yes. Really.

I don’t understand?

I’m neither a man nor a woman; I’m non-binary.

But even that is really an oversimplification of how I experience my gender: it isn’t a fixed point in space; it fluctuates.

For those whom the concept of genderfluidity is new, Zanne Nilsson wrote a good introduction that might help explain things to some.

But what’s your gender right now?

“[It’s] not possible to live twenty-four hours a day soaked in the immediate awareness of one’s sex. Gendered self-consciousness has, mercifully, a flickering nature.” — Denise Riley

In short, at this specific point in time, my gender is likely undefined. Unless I have some specific need to define it, my gender is my gender; I don’t spend my time wondering about how exactly I identify: I just am.

What do I call you?

Sam, by name. They, by pronouns. gsnedders in many places online.

How are you still gsnedders?

My middle name starts with a ‘G’, obviously.

So what is your middle name?

Grace.

Can I keep calling you “Geoffrey”?

No.

But I’ve known you as that for most of my life!

Still no.

I’ll screw up!

Yeah, many people will. Screwing up, especially early on, isn’t surprising; what matters is how you respond to screwing up (or being told you have!), and whether you recognise the inappropriateness of calling me by a name that is no longer mine.

How long have you known?

I’ve known I wasn’t a man since I was a pre-teen. As was the case with my sexuality, I was very confused by the presumed binary nature for a long time; I started identifying as genderfluid while at university, and this is the cumulation of that. If you want the longer version, feel free to ask when you next see me—though I do reserve the right to be concise.

What should I call you when talking about your past?

Sam. In general, there’s a clear cultural trend that you should always use a person’s chosen name when referring to them, regardless of what name they were known by at the time.

Are you transitioning?

That is not currently the plan. My appearance may change over the coming years, especially in settings where my gender presentation has typically been more conservative.

Most obviously, it’s likely my facial hair will progressively disappear, and I’m likely to wear more androgynous clothing and wear more cosmetics.

This said, it is not implausible I will in the future; I have long felt more affinity with femininity than masculinity. The possibility has been there for a long time, so it certainly would not be the most surprising outcome.

Then what’s actually changing?

Not that much, really. I’m going by a name I’m much more comfortable with and I’m hiding how I want to present much less.