A Neutrois Introduction to Society

A tale of separation, sorrow, and sighs

Being neutrois, it’s hard to naviagte uncharted seas. And society is one of them deep oceans. Luckily I’ve come to several important conclusions already.

The Distinction

Physically

After top surgery, I finally have the body I want. (I do, sans the six pack, but I’m working on that, right after I’m done with this recovery.)

Being neutrois, or neutral gendered, I wish my body to be as neutral as possible – to be devoid of any primary and secondary sex characteristics. Being female-bodied is quite fortunate in my opinion, since I don’t have to deal with things like facial hair, balding, a deep baritone voice, hairy legs, hairy chest, hair everywhere else under the sun and under the shade, and of course, the inconvenient eeny-weenie. But being a female means I was granted not one, but TWO small-medium sizeish round thingies where my chest should be. This has been effectively remedied.

And of course there are those things which I cannot change, like my height, unless I try out one of these.

Then there are things which I could potentially change, but would very likely come with unwanted side effects. For instance, I can change my fat-muscle distribution, resulting in a less-femaled contour like narrower hips, by taking Testosterone. But then I’d have to deal with the above unwantedness list, mainly hair and voice, and hair. Back to square one. So I’ve opted to avoid the T all together. I can curb the curves through exercise, but I can’t hide a five o’clock moonshadow.

Socially

Socially, I’m still female, and absolutely I hate it. Everytime I hear a she or a miss, oh and the worst is ma’m, my dysphoria (euphemism for extreme distress caused by this specific social situation) is instantly activated. Buttons have been pushed, internal lights go off, ocean levels rise, ice caps melt – you get the idea.

Tilting

While I am neutrois, I would say that I tilt more towards the male side than the female side. Here’s the term I learned: Transmasculine Neutrois. The cause for this slight preference remains unknown. Being raised as female, it’s possible I gravitate towards the male side purely in an attempt to shy away from the femaleness. I also believe that it’s because most designated-male activities are not all that male, just unisex, whereas designated-female activities are strictly and stereotypically female. Compare running track to dancing ballet, or wearing pants to wearing skirts, and you get the idea. There are other theories for this tilting, such as the slight shift in the Earth’s axis as it rotates around the sun, the natural asymmetry in our internal organ strucutre, and my right-handedness. But really nobody knows why this is so, yet.

Melting

It bothers me a lot to be identified as female, whereas being socially male identified would bother me less, if hardly at all. At least, I assume that to be the case. I’ve read of a few other neutrois who disliked being male identified, and having never fully tried this out, I can’t definitively conclude anything yet. However, change is not instantaneous nor without effort, and that is the most worrisome part.

After having written extensively about pronouns, a major “a-ha!” went off in my brain. Pronouns are just the tip of the iceberg – it’s what people can see, even though most of that chunk of ice is underwater. Why am I so concerned about pronouns, when the real issue is that of social identity?

The question then becomes, would I really, truly be comfortable socially identifying as male? That is, is that option attractive just because I haven’t tried it yet, or because it’s the only escape I have from the current one, or because it would be a genuinely good fit?

But really, what is ice except frozen water, floating on more water? Distinguishing between different states of the same element will indubitably lead to confusion. Hence why the above iceberg does indeed boil down to a simple explanation of pronouns.

The Suspense

You’ll have to patiently wait for the next installment of A Neutrois Introduction to find out what happens. Stay hydrated.

17 responses to “A Neutrois Introduction to Society

  1. Are lack of facial and bodily hair and a voice unchanged by testosterone neutral-gendered or rather female characteristics? You don’t have the male primary sexual characteristic, but I assume you have the female one. I’m reasonably sure a vagina is not gender-neutral! Even a flat chest — is that non-female or actually male? It matches male morphology.

    You wrote of not taking testosterone. Do you still produce estrogen and progesterone? Those are definitely not gender-neutral.

    I’m not trying to give you a hard time. Just trying to understand.

    • Hi Ariel,
      These questions are very thought-provoking.

      - As for my “primary female characteristic” – a vagina – you’re right that it’s not neutral-gendered, but it’s not as prominent as its male counterpart, which most male-born Neutrois DO want to get rid of. As medical science stands now, there is no way to truly “nullify” one’s vagina, but there are ways to “nullify” one’s penis. In addition, I’m asexual, so I don’t care much about those genitals.

      - As I was born female, I do produce estrogen. But as you were born male, you produce testosterone, even though you are no longer a man (I’m assuming). FTM’s usually don’t STOP production of estrogen, they just counteract it with testosterone; conversely with MTF’s. If there *were* a way to get rid of the feminizing effects of estrogen without adding the masculinizing effects of testosterone, I would take that path. But again, medically there is no way to get rid of hormones in an adult body, you can only override them with more hormones.

      - Many Neutrois do want a slightly lower, more neutral voice, but not as low as man’s. And I’d rather keep my voice as is than risk botching it (you never know what you get with T). A person with no facial hair can still be read as a man, or as a woman, whereas a person with facial hair is usually read as a man; thus lack of facial/body hair is neutral. A flat chest is leaning towards male, which is why some agendered people don’t care about that; but it’s more the case that breasts are a signifying feminizing feature, hence why they are such cause for dysphoria.

      - Now, think of a child. A child’s body is neutral gendered, save for the bottom genitals, even though the child has a gender. However, a child does not produce testosterone and/or estrogen, yet it’s a boy or a girl. A child has a flat chest, yet it’s a boy or a girl. A child has an unchanged voice and no facial / body hair. So, the hormones your body produces or does not produce, or having a flat chest, or an unchanged voice, does not make you less or more of one or the other gender, as children can be read as girls or boys – in this case, it’s more about outward appearance and being “read as” than one’s actual body.

      - This can be summed up as, if it’s a prominent sexual characteristic, it’s automatically not neutral. If it’s non-obtrusive, it’s neutral or neutral-leaning. And there are just some things which are not possible with modern medical science. Not to mention the complex social interactions that come into play.

      • Thanks for the explanation and for your patience with my questions. I thought of “child” but I wasn’t sure if I should bring that up. But since you did, it makes sense. Yes, a child’s body is fairly non-sexual and non-gendered until puberty.

        Just to clarify, my body once produced testosterone but has not for a little over a year. That’s a permanent condition! Of course, many of the previous effects are permanent as well, but I’ve been relatively fortunate in that department.

        Didn’t you mention an oophorectomy along with a hysterectomy? If that’s the case, your body would no longer produce estrogen and progesterone, correct? Although again, many of the previous effects would remain.

        • Yes, a hysterectomy would stop production of estrogen, but messing with hormones always causes unwanted chaos (hot flashes, osteoporosis, to name a few). Moreover, the effects of estrogen (wide hips, more fat storage, etc) would not be reversed – this is the key. It’s also an expensive operation that is not absolutely necessary for me at this point.

          Anyway, I was thinking of clarifying more of this in a follow-up post. Be sure to check back later in the week.

  2. Gah, this exactly!!! Although I suppose I’ve always wanted a slightly deeper voice, and the jury is still out on my chest. Reading your blog is like looking into a mirror and seeing a better-looking, better-worded version of myself. I anxiously await your next installment. :)

  3. It also bothers me quite a bit to be read as female..though it seems like I don’t have any other options as I’m quite curvy though I downplay it to the best of my ability..I like my voice kind of..though I have been speaking a bit lower to play around with stuff.. I don’t think I’d like very much to be read as male either..though perhaps it’d be a little less aggravating than female as there are certain expectations for everyone I guess that I just won’t live up to really.I don’t care all that much about my bottom part -though stopping a certain process would be useful- well now I’m just rambling, but I can definitely understand what you’re saying

  4. I also don’t want to go on T. It’s too unpredictable and doesn’t seem to be worth it.

    I’ve seen transmasculine neutrois used before, but that’s it. Have you seen transfeminine?

    I wish it was socially acceptable and expected for some people to go by gender-neutral pronouns. It would be nice to just switch sets and have the social things already built around them … as well as not having to educate people on what they meant or anything. If it was that easy I would probably do it. But unfortunately it isn’t. Ah, well…

    • Yes, there is transfeminine as well, and can be applied for any gender identity (like transmasculine MTF, although usually people prefer other terms for this).

      I’m going to touch on the pronouns issue in the follow up post.

  5. OK, I misread, because I thought you had undergone a hysterectomy. That by itself would not stop production of estrogen and progesterone, however. That would require an oophorectomy (removal of ovaries), which is not usually done with a hysterectomy. As you say, no sex hormones at all can lead to problems, osteoporosis being among the most serious.

    The adrenal cortex produces a certain amount of androgens, so I guess you have some of that circulating. So do I, which might be why my doctor suggests I stay on finasteride.

    I will keep reading!

  6. Pingback: A Neutrois Introduction: Physical Expansion Pack « Neutrois Nonsense·

  7. Thanks for linking this in your more recent blog! Being that I’m new to the blogosphere, I haven’t seen all of your older posts…But reading this, and I immediately think: Wow, that sounds a little like me! And that’s always a nice feeling.
    I feel pretty lucky to have a fairly androgynous body from the outset, because otherwise I would have dysphoria that I don’t have currently.
    I’m still feeling out how I want to explore that, and how far I want to take it. I don’t think I would mess with T because I’m not very interested in the Testosterone markers in others either. But then again, I would take T before I would take estrogen. But mostly, I like to not mess with my hormones. But I understand the desire to have that slightly lower voice, maybe more angular face, or any of the things that seem so subtle, and yet it doesn’t matter how short you cut your hair or how much baggy clothing you wear, those are the things that cause others to automatically gender you as female.
    Although, my friends calls me hir favorite 12 year old boy, (when I get IDd I always say, I know, I only look like a 12 year old boy. Peoples reactions are priceless.)
    In regards to the more recent post: good luck with everything. Taking it at lower doses and for a controlled amount of time sounds like a good plan. And you’ll know when it doesn’t feel right for you; you’re so sensitive to those markers, how could you not?

  8. I was just wondering about the body hair thing. While men generally have more than women, both sexes do have it, and removal of it is culturally driven, particularly for women (though there are subcultures that call for males to do so, such as bodybuilding or swimming or cycling, etc.). One of the things I strongly rejected when I stopped trying to conform to the binary (and before I was forced to in the first place as a preteen) was all the depilating/shaving etc. all adult bodies have hair in certain places, and as the strongest motive in Western culture for removal is to conform to the notion of a (imo childlike hence helpless) feminine ideal.
    So, why do you feel hair is gendered? I see it as just being adult.

    • Yes, removal of body hair is culturally driven – for the most part – and a lot of agender/neutrois people are split on this.

      Culturally, it’s not only for women. Think of male models, how often do they have hair? These days men are also expected to be hairless, while at the same time hair is revered as masculine. Go figure.

      I, however, have always been averse to it, on me and on others, regardless of culture (and I’m not one to follow all the cultural norms). If I could get my way, guys would also shave.

  9. Pingback: T&T « Neutrois Nonsense·

  10. Pingback: Testosterone, part 2 « Neutrois Nonsense·

  11. Pingback: A Pronouncement on Pronouns « Neutrois Nonsense·

  12. Pingback: The Road Less Traveled By « Neutrois Nonsense·

What'd you think?

Fill in your details below or click an icon to log in:

WordPress.com Logo

You are commenting using your WordPress.com account. Log Out / Change )

Twitter picture

You are commenting using your Twitter account. Log Out / Change )

Facebook photo

You are commenting using your Facebook account. Log Out / Change )

Google+ photo

You are commenting using your Google+ account. Log Out / Change )

Connecting to %s