(Same topic as / a follow-up to this post from a couple years back!)
In my tweens and teens, in the age of getting onto the Internet via AOL, I discovered that online anonymity meant I could be a girl in cyberspace. So I did, for a while! I had some lady personae I still think fondly of to this day. But the relentless scrutiny this invited burned me out, so I eventually abandoned the thought. It was not until much, much later that I realized this was unusual for a dude to want to do in the first place.
In those same high school years I wrote a poem that, reading it now, sounds like a transgender cry for help. It features a woman trapped in a cage that represents a male identity. But back then I didn’t even know the word “transgender”. If I had, it would have been taboo at best; I was at that point attending Catholic schools and 100% receptive to what they taught on such things.
If the Internet had continued to develop in the direction of anyonymity rather than that of personal exposure, maybe I’d still have the option of such experimentations, and I’d probably go for it! Instead I just roleplay female characters in games with some regularity.
Thing is, I don’t think it fair to consider myself transgender. I have 95% of cis privilege. I don’t experience dysphoria looking at my body. I just… think it’d be awesome to be Ranma Saotome? And would be in girlmode most of the time if I were? If gender transition were easy, I’d seriously consider it.
Is it possible to be “just a little bit transgender”?
Gently, subtly, wistfully genderqueer?
Is there a word for that?
I posted a version of the above first on toot.cat, and an insightful user there suggested “demigirl”. Per the Gender Wiki, the term “can… describe someone assigned male at birth who is transfeminine but not wholly binary-identified, so that they feel more strongly associated with ‘female’ than ‘male,’ socially or physically, but not strongly enough to want to identify as as [sic] a woman.” I’d say I teeter on the edge between that and the male counterpart, “demiboy“, which “can be used to describe someone assigned male at birth who feels barely connected or disconnected to that identification, but does not experience a significant enough dissociation to create real physical discomfort or dysphoria.”
As an aside, I used to be one of those bewildered by and a bit skeptical of recent decades’ proliferation of gender terminology. But having gone through this bit of searching, I’ve come to understand the value of it. Genders are weird artificial things to begin with, but it’s comforting–and useful for dialogue–to be able to find a label and say “it me!” Funky genders are nothing more nor less than a quest to find or create a term concisely describing a complicated relationship with one’s body, feelings, and the expectations of society.
So yes! I’m demigender. This… probably doesn’t mean much to anyone but me! I don’t even know what it changes for me, on a day-to-day level. You don’t need to adjust your pronouns. I’m still a dudely-looking person. But if you do happen to refer to me with feminine language (“she,” “sister,” whatever), far from being insulted or offended, I’d actually be rather charmed!