So we agree on something
Mon Sep 18, 2017 17:07

Holland had half expected Dade to refuse the nail polish, and been prepared to refuse his refusal, so it was a surprise and a relief when he pocketed it. He was probably going to run away now, and this time Holland wasn’t going to go after him. They had said their piece and that was that. They could tell Rose that they’d offered Dade support and someone to talk to, which was all Rose had really asked Holland to do anyway. The nail polish thing had been Holland’s idea, although they’d consulted Rose about what color Dade would like, without explaining why.

But Dade didn’t run away. He asked a question, not looking at Holland. So now, in the stacks at the back of the library, Holland was going to give the Gender Talk. Admittedly, Holland had had a lot of practice doing this. The weirdest place they’d given the gender talk was in line for the wooden coaster at Knoebel’s on a family vacation when they were nine, to a complete stranger who’d asked if Holland was a boy or a girl and hadn’t realized she was about to get a Gender Theory 101 lecture.

It was good that they’d had a lot of practice with this. “Cisgender means that your gender is the same as your sex at birth. Sex is physical, like, what body parts you have, but gender is mental, like, who you are, and how you feel in your head. So Rose is cisgender, because she was born with… body parts that people think of as girl parts,” yeah, better not talk about Dade’s sister’s vagina, or get too deep into their opinions of the phrases boy parts and girl parts, “and because in her head, she’s a girl. Her body and her gender match, so that means Rose is cisgender.”

That was the easy part. Easy-ish, anyway. “But for me, my body and my gender don’t match each other. You can think of gender as a line, or a spectrum, with male at one end and female at the other, and I’d be right in the middle of that line.” Holland used their hands to model the hypothetical line. They didn’t want to oversimplify, but this was probably a lot of new information for Dade and they didn’t want to completely overwhelm him either. The difference between identity and presentation could wait. “My gender is in-between, but my body isn’t. When your body and your gender aren’t the same, there are a couple of different words people use for it, including transgender, genderfluid, or non-binary.” It would probably not be helpful to introduce the subtle and largely subjective differences between transgender, agender, genderfluid, genderqueer, and non-binary. “The word I use for myself is non-binary. I like that word because to me, it means I’m not at one end of the gender spectrum or the other; I’m off the gender binary.”

They should’ve worn one of their cute gender t-shirts today, now that they thought about it. Or would that have been too transparent? “To me, part of being non-binary means that I can wear makeup and nail polish and clothes that people would consider either girl or boy clothes. And another part of it is the pronouns that I use, which are ‘they’ and ‘them,’ because I don’t really feel like a ‘he’ or a ‘she.’ So if you were talking about me, you might say, ‘I saw Holland in the library today and I talked to them. Their hair is blue and they were wearing jeans.’” Over the years, Holland had learned that the easiest way to explain their pronouns was to use them in a sentence. People usually got the hang of it after that. “Does that make sense? I know it was a lot of information. Like I said, I kinda know a lot about this stuff. I don’t mind answering questions.”

  • Holland followed him into the stacks and Dade was furious. He just wanted to be left alone and he wanted everyone to forget what happened over midterm and he wanted everything to be normal but Rose... more
    • So we agree on something - Holland, Mon Sep 18 17:07
      • Sometimes I'm agreeable - Dade, Thu Sep 21 06:46
        Wow Holland said a lot of words. Wow. Dade’s hazel eyes grew very round as Holland explained gender, which was something that Dade had previously been entirely sure did not require any explanation.... more
        • Once in a blue moon - Holland, Thu Sep 21 16:28
          Dade was quiet for a long time. Holland waited. They would’ve preferred to have this conversation sitting down, but the stacks seemed more private, so that was all right. They read the titles of the... more
          • So Rose thought he might be ‘questioning his gender’ or the way he ‘expressed his gender’. Dade scowled. He didn’t even know what that meant. He had mostly followed along with Holland’s explanation... more
            • Is it made of blue cheese? - Holland, Fri Sep 29 04:00
              Dade was back to looking surly, which Holland supposed shouldn’t surprise them. It seemed to be Rose’s brother’s default attitude. Just like how Rose defaulted to stubbornness, and Connor... more
              • Blue cheese isn't that blue - Dade, Sat Sep 30 15:48
                Well if this was what Rose thought was helpful, Dade didn’t want to see what Rose thought of as unhelpful . The helpful thing would have been to just ignore it and move on (okay, the yelling part had ... more
                • Maybe the moon is Swiss cheese - Holland, Sat Sep 30 19:19
                  Holland maintained a practiced composure while Dade got defensive. Ah, shit. Dade might actually be some flavor of gender non-conforming. If he didn’t identify at all with what Holland had said, the... more
                  • I don't think the Swiss are smurfs - Dade, Sat Oct 14 15:21
                    Nope this was bad. Very bad. Holland kept talking and Dade just felt more and more uncomfortable. He kind of wanted to ask more questions, but he also very much did not want to ask more questions.... more
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