Beyond the Primary Colours

Lu | they/them | grey-panromantic, greygender, asexual

GREYGENDER

Nathan
Hi!

Lu
Hello.

Nathan
So let’s start with talking about how you identify.

Lu
I identify as grey-panromantic, asexual, greygender.

Nathan
So you use what pronouns?

Lu
They/them.

Nathan
Ok, cool. So we’re here [as in, this recording] to talk about specifically you being greygender. What is that like, for you? How do you experience that?

Lu
It’s different on a day-to-day basis. It’s not like other more – I don’t know, I guess like “set” identities, where you go “trans.” Where you go across – different from what you were born, or put into the position of. Most of the time, it’s just – if people call me “she” it makes me feel really weird, it doesn’t fit me. Clothing, like… sometimes I can wear really feminine things, like dresses – I don’t wear makeup, I’ve never worn makeup. Makeup’s expensive.

Nathan
[laughs] Yeah…

Lu
But, yeah – it’s just sort of realising that gender, in terms of how sexuality looks at it, is just… a mess? Doesn’t exist? And I think greygender is a pretty good identity for just breaking apart, like, all gender and just saying – it’s nothing. It is a grey space.

Nathan
Yeah! So how do you define greygender?

Lu
Ehm – to me it’s sort of being outside of the gender binary, without having a specific way where you fit outside of it? So it’s similar, in a way I guess, to agender, except there’s no solid feeling of having any gender. Even agender is sort of –

Nathan
No gender.

Lu
Yeah! It’s defined as having a specific place, whereas greygender is sort of like, all over the place. I guess if I had to define it in a more simple way, I feel like sometimes my gender is a colour spectrum? So some days I can feel really red, other days I feel really green. And that’s how my gender feels? It doesn’t feel like, more ‘masculine’ or more ‘feminine’, it’s just this sort of massive colour spectrum and at some points I feel like, firmly on the grey side of like – I could be anywhere, and some days I could be feeling incredibly purple.

Nathan
That’s such a good way of putting it! [Lu laughs] That’s such a good way of visualising it! So it’s basically that – even as you feel your gender changes, it doesn’t really bear a relation to the gender binary, it’s not like “purple is closer to feeling feminine” and like, “red is closer to feeling masculine,” it’s just like – it’s another different thing.

Lu
Yeah it’s just a different way of looking at things entirely. Like, if I’m feeling red I might wear a red T-shirt [points to self] as I am today!

Nathan
Eyyyy!

[both laugh]

Lu
But also, yes – some days I feel like binding, some days I don’t. Some days I’ll be comfortable to wear lipstick, or wear a dress, or…I had my hair cut short a few months ago. That helps fit a lot more into who I am? Cause before that, it felt like however I dressed I’d be seen as – female, as feminine, as a woman. And since having it cut I can be a lot more androgynous-looking, which means I can completely change how I look from day to day.

Nathan
Yeah, that makes sense. Because there’s a lot of like, assumptions – that are wrong to begin with – that kind of do tend to come with long hair? Especially with people who are kind of ‘read’ as looking more feminine. It’s like – if you have long hair it’s almost like [people take it as] a statement that you’re embracing femininity? As opposed to just –

Lu
Yeah –

Nathan
it’s hair.

Lu
Yeah! It’s just hair. It’s like with things like wearing dresses and skirts. They are seen by society as being more feminine. High heels is a really interesting one because until quite recently, it was only men – only males that wore high heels, and it was seen as sort of their authority: the higher the heels, the more authority they had. And now suddenly it’s become this – women and females wear high heels. And there are some news recently about dress codes within certain places of work and they said “you’ve got to wear heels between 2 and 4 inches, and you’ve got to wear six different types of makeup,” and it’s like – these ideas that have come from literally something that is made up! [getting more heated] Gender does not exist! And yet, people are looking at this thing that doesn’t exist and saying, “you’ve got to wear six different kinds of makeup” – what?!

Nathan
[laughs] So much bullshit!

Lu
I don’t even think I could name six different types of makeup!

[both laugh]

Like, do they go and check how many products you’re wearing?

 [recording interrupted by ringing phone]

Nathan
Ok so – you talked about certain gender things ‘fitting’ better or like, feeling a certain way. What’s that like, what does ‘fitting’ feel like.

Lu
It’s quite hard to explain, because it’s literally like – a feeling. It’s not like you’re answering a Maths paper and you know that you’re going to get the answer right, it’s literally a case of – I will go to my wardrobe in the morning and pull out five different things and try them on and most of the time, I have to make do with sort of, what I’ve got? Especially when I had longer hair, it was a case of ‘this is gonna have to do for today’. But if something does fit, it just – it feels right. And the way that I’m expressing myself in that specific time feels right.

Nathan
Mmhm.

Lu
I don’t – because it’s a feeling, it’s very hard to put into words.

Nathan
Yeah – no, that makes sense though. [pause] When it comes to navigating society – which obviously, for the most part, unless you’re in a specific space that’s a queer space, or queer-accepting space, or kind of more educated about that kind of stuff – society doesn’t acknowledge anything beyond the gender binary.

Lu
[bitterly] Ye-ap.

Nathan
How do you navigate that – what kind of compromises or decisions do you make, as a person who is non-binary?

Lu
For the most part, I – because sometimes my gender can sometimes be on the more feminine side, and I can sometimes be comfortable with that, there’s actually very few people that I tell about being non-binary? Which I guess is kind of sad. But, yeah. Most places I will assume that people won’t understand. If I get into a situation where it’s making me really, really uncomfortable, or if I know that someone is going to have to know, then I will tell them, I’ll explain how it affects me. But for the most part unfortunately, I do sort of keep it to myself?

Nathan
Yeah.

Lu
‘Cause there are, I feel, more important parts of my identity that I would express first? This is something that although can really upset me if it goes wrong, it’s something that I’ve made a decision to make more internal, rather than more expressive. But if I am with people in the [queer] community then yeah – I think I’m quite open with it?

Nathan
Yeah, yeah.

Lu
It’s a lot easier for people to understand what it is? And – yeah, they don’t ask any awkward questions…

~~~

Lu
I just think society needs to – buck up its ideas about gender. It’s got a lot better within the last few years.

Nathan
Yeah, definitely.

Lu
Especially trans people, and non-binary people are becoming a lot more… obvious? In terms of people in society looking at them. But even then there’s people not accepting others’ pronouns, like – I can’t remember what they’re called, Jack-someone [Jack Monroe], a YouTube cooking channel, I think that’s where they started, and they write articles for The Guardian. And so The Guardian always refers to [Jack] as ‘them’. But loads of other places, every time they come up mentions “she”

[Liv sighs loudly]

and it’s like, they have literally told everyone what pronouns to use. It’s – people can’t understand they/them pronouns, and I don’t understand why!

Nathan
No, because even grammatically, it’s a thing that’s always existed, as a neutral option, but people conveniently forget that.

Lu
Yeah. Just seeing forms and things, where it’s like “he/she”

Nathan
Oh, yeah yeah yeah!

Lu
and it’s – why? Just why? Why are you doing this to yourself?!

Nathan
It’s irritating more than like, genuinely hurtful? It’s just – why?

Lu
[laughs] There’s no reason for them to do it! Just… use ‘them’! If you don’t know someone’s gender –

Nathan
It’s a perfectly good pronoun, it’s right there!

Lu
Yeah. Yeap.

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