I appreciate your respect; but please, if you do respect me, don’t call me “sir”; I am not and never have been a man.
I appreciate your solidarity; but please, if you do feel solidarity with me, don’t refer to me as your “brother”; solidarity is based on mutual respect, recognition, and truly seeing and appreciating another person’s existence, and if that does not include getting their gender correct, then it cannot be called true and actual solidarity.
I, P. Sufenas Virius Lupus, am a metagender person. This means that I am not of a conventional, binary gender–I’m third, or fifth, or ninth, or thirty-seventh gender; in the gender binary, I am a conscientious objector. I personally don’t believe that there are only two genders; in fact, humans have at least nine possible biological sexes, so why wouldn’t there be at least nine genders possible? But, nine is too little…
Metagender is not “androgynous” or some combinatory gender (though those are totally cool!); metagender is not “neuter” or “neutral,” nor is it “non-gendered/agendered” or a negation of gender either (though those options are also totally cool!).
As an option for understanding these matters in relation to being metagendered, and more as a kind of rebus of both gender and sexual orientation, metagender can mean “I never met-a-gender I didn’t like.” 😉
[I understand that one of the great advances of the last sixty years is the understanding that sexual orientation and gender identity are not the same thing–a gay man does not want to be a woman, a gay man is attracted to men. That is fine, and I do not question that. However, I do think it is possible, in certain cases, for gender and sexual orientation to be of-a-piece, and the metagender identity, for me, is certainly that way. I cannot conceive of my gender outside of my sexual orientation’s ability to connect with any and every possible other gender, or same gender, as myself, as long as my “same gender” is understood to be a non-binary, non-combinatory, non-negatory gender.]
One very important aspect of being metagender, though, is that it is a social gender that comes into play in a spiritual and religious context. It is something that is part of my role as a spiritual functionary, not only on behalf of the humans I assist in my spiritual communities, but also on behalf of the Deities to whom I am devoted in my religious practices. Many cultures have had a gender-variant spiritual role for shamans, priests, or other specific spiritual functionaries; but, in my current human incarnation, I am not a part of any of those cultures which still have such roles, nor am I a direct descendant of any such cultures which have had or still have such roles. Thus, metagender is one possibility for a non-culturally-appropriative identity that fulfills such a gender-variant spiritual functionary role. While my alternative gender identity may be debatable to some people in my wider social life (though I am doing what is possible and safe for me in that regard to make it more visible and actualized in my wider life), it is not debatable nor negotiable when I am serving the Deities and other Divine Beings, or my religious communities, in specifically spiritual contexts.
As a result, my pronouns are different than the usual ones one might be used to with more conventional, binary genders. I prefer the Old Spivak pronouns, which run as follows:
subject: e (e.g. “E is a metagender person”; “E wrote a blog post”)
object: em (e.g. “I gave the book to em”)
possessive adjective: eir (e.g. “This is eir book”)
possessive pronoun: eirs (e.g. “The book is eirs”)
reflexive: emself (e.g. “E muttered to emself”)
For some further reading on metagender matters on the current blog, see the following links:
Gods, Magic, Myth, and Modernity
Gender and Sexual Orientation: Rarely the Twain Doth Meet…?!?
Paganism and Privilege: Visible and Invisible Privileges Discussed
Physicality and Trans-Ness
The Politics of “Manliness”
PantheaCon and Gender Matters
PantheaCon 2012: Transgender Inclusion/Exclusion
Justin Vivian Bond: You Are Awesome!