My Gender: An Essay Without Gendered Words

I am a manic pixie dream geek. This week, I might be really passionate about getting my vimrc file just right, or I might spend a year obsessed with lambda calculus and functional programming. I go deep on whatever tech thing I’m into in this moment, and I’m so passionate about it that I sometimes spread it to others around me.

I am the song “Dre Day” by Dr. Dre and Snoop Dogg from 1992’s The Chronic. I am singing along to They Might Be Giants with your partner while going 120 km/h down the highway. I am Shirley Mansion from Garbage singing “Queer” in a smoke-filled room at mightnight. I am a Crass song made flesh. I am an Of Montreal concert, complete with pig masks, samurai swords, and odd sexual imagery.

I am Samus Aran from Metroid, pulling off my helmet and somehow surprising everyone just by being myself. I am Aeris Gainsborough from Final Fantasy 7 in a pink dress and giant hiking boots. I am the cold and distant pragmatism of Geralt the Witcher, and I want to be Commander Sheperd from Mass Effect when I grow up.

I am wearing sneakers, jeans, and a geeky t-shirt most of the time, but I am also wearing a dress and lipstick just enough to remind people. I am having long hair that’s almost always in a ponytail. I am wearing purple Chuck Taylors at your wedding. I am rubbing freshly shaved legs under the covers of my bed like a cricket.

My gender is the periodic table of the elements, unchanging regularity but with new discoveries as we advance our understanding.

After college, I had a purple Sailor Moon shirt that I imported from Japan. It had all the inner scouts, Luna, and Artemis on it. It is probably my favorite article of clothing I have ever owned. I wish yoga pants had been invented back when I wore it. Add a pair of Chuck Taylors to match and — BOOM — Whatever the fuck that is? That’s my gender.