*In this post, terms I am making up mostly for ironic effect will be pink*
So this post is going to be a little different from the older ones. I hope to do more All Artist's Albums reviews in the future but if that's more what you're here for this might not be your speed. I was inspired to write something like this partially by the wonderful blog DAVID (content warning: pretty explicit stuff) so it'll probably veer towards some personal stuff. If that's not stuff you wanna know, you can leave. Last chance. No? You're staying?
I learned a lot about myself in 2020. Sure, I learned I was trans in 2019, but since then I've learned I was nonbinary (again) and straight, then gay (again), and then bisexual (again).
But let's look at the bisexual part again: a big criticism of bisexual as a label is that bi- prefix, meaning two. Some say it implies the existence of only two genders. Some say in response: "No! there ARE more than two genders! But there are only TWO that I'm attracted to!" This is hyperbolic and uncommon, but it's an idea I've thought a lot about, and more so lately: am I only attracted to two genders?
Of course not, I tell myself. If I see a real cutie and then learn somewhere they're nonbinary, that doesn't affect my attraction to them at all! If anything I just think they're neat! But there's still that lingering doubt in my mind... because I feel like I have this persistent problem of getting crushes on binary people, and more specifically, cis and straight ones. And it doesn't usually work out.
Now, there are many perfectly reasonable explanations for this. I'm newly out, and still interact mostly with cis, straight people IRL. There are also so many people like that, even in Seattle, that they can hardly be avoided! Even if I find my own little queer community after the CoVid pandemic, I'm sure I'll still interact with plenty of 'em. So I can't help but crush on a few.
But one explanation is more menacing to me. It's that I'm always going to be attracted to more cis, gender-conforming people because I was raised to. The patriarchy has trained my brain to see anyone who doesn't conform well enough to a supposed gender binary as imperfect, and less desirable. I try to fight this; kill the cop in my head who enforces this binary, and embrace the culture of t4t supremacy which cultivates on certain parts of the internet. That work is an ongoing process which is never finished. So it's great and all, but what about my worrying cisamorous (this link kinda sucks, kids- but I'll let those who use the transamorous label define it themselves) fixation?
In 2020, when the pandemic hit, I was shacked up with my boyfriend at the time. My first one ever, as it happens. A boyfriend was something I had thought about for a long time (what, ten years? Twelve?) and after coming out as a (supposedly straight) trans girl, seemed like a necessity. So in late 2019 I started the search. At the time I didn't think I was seeking out a cis guy specifically, I was mostly just thinking about how affirming a boyfriend would be to the whole straight + trans thing. And it was.
Thing is, I don't think the guy I found was interested in affirming my heteronormative self-infantilizing bullshit. First off, he had the audacity to not identify as straight- something I quietly seethed at silently for the first month- can't exactly be queerphobic to your own partner, can you? Not a good look.
I still felt more valid with him as my partner. His cisness somehow legitimized my transness, made it normal and, apparently (to him at least) even desirable. Since then I've dated someone who is also trans, and being out in public, just two trans people, can be terrifying. I feel like I'm wrong and different, they're wrong and different, and our love is wrong and different. I want to hold on to them tightly, brace against this wave of potential judgement. But I'm scared it would make me more of a target. With my cis ex, I felt safe.
That part had more to do with public perception. Which is actually more important to a relationship than some like to admit. But my cisamory had permutations beyond that. I loved his lack of dysphoria. Everyone has times when they're uncomfortable in their head or in their body, but hardly any of his was gender-based. It felt so nice to look at him and see none of my own dysphoria reflected back at me. That aspect of cis people also means they'll never really understand the particularities of how that dysphoria feels, though empathy can go a long way. Mutual dysphoric trauma can be a harsh but beautiful point of connection for some t4t couples. But it's hard to deal with sometimes. Just pray it's something you can both handle, I guess. Dating a cis person grants me the privilege of only having to think about other people's dysphoria when I want to.
There are a lot of privileges to dating a cis person. I find myself seeking them out still, rarely conscious that I'm doing so. Sure, I'd like a trans boyfriend. But what am I doing to seek one out? There's one guy I've snapchatted a handful of times, but that's it. As for my sapphic t4t explorations, it's a messy tapestry we don't have time to get into here. Suffice to say it might be fueling my cisamory at this point in time, rather than providing a desirable alternative (though i am by no means implying I have ANYTHING against the dolls! you are all very beautiful and i am very gay) So right now I'm dwelling in it, and boy does actually experiencing a made-up parody of transamory (which is itself kind of a silly term) in my REAL LIFE kinda suck.
Things can be better though! Step one is to stop dwelling on things that don't matter! Stop coming up with terms like cisamory and then writing long personal blog posts about them! Sure, I still have no idea if I'm really bisexual or gay or nonbinary or whatever, and even if I accept that it doesn't matter, I'll probably still question those things from time to time. My brain categorizes things, it's a brain that draws graphs and charts and such for fun. What it doesn't need to do is focus so intently on The Cis™ and whether they think I'm cute. Maybe I could stand to do some more t4t reeducation. Maybe it won't turn out to be necessary. Maybe I'll meet the man/woman/person of my dreams tomorrow. Maybe.
I'm gonna end this here and leave it with this: if you're trans, if you're queer, and even if you're not, question your assumptions. Question your assumptions about men and women and those who aren't either. Question your assumption that someone is cis, or that they aren't. Question if this matters. Because I really don't know. But, if any of this resonates with you, and I hope to God it doesn't, question your cisamory.