• Lauren Goodey

Gender, sexuality mapping + trying on labels.

This post is massively inspired by CGLIF's post "Non binary girl" and other discussions that we have had and that have evolved from this post, also a big thanks to you for giving me permission to be me and reminding me that I am a queer queen.

For most of my life I have identified as female and (mostly) straight, it's funny as although internally i know I don't always feel very 'female' and I know I am and always have been attracted to ppl of all genders... i still identified in these ways. I guess the cultural norms and pressures get to me. I shy away from telling people i'm queer as i don't want them to ask questions, i don't want to reveal the parts of myself that don't fit into their boxes. Most of my long term relationship have been with cis-men, so they often just assume, if people ask me directly I will shyly tell them i am, 'not straight' and i am attracted to people not specific genders.

So... I decided to map my gender and sexuality over a period of months. just to see my cycles, how I move (often like a wave) and when I'm fixed into societal norms, and whether those norms are 'me' or not.

The graph I made to map on is inspired by the Genderbread person

A bit about labels:

I'm interested in labels and definitions, especially related to sexuality, gender, mental health etc. And although i think they can be quite damaging and unwelcome (in which case they must be thoroughly discarded) they also help me personally... they give me a sense of reality or truth, they help me feel allowed and welcome.

This is particularly important in relation to my own trauma and history of being unclear of myself and who I am, my adaptability to people and situations. When i find a label or a box I can fit into I find some kind of stability and solidity that helps me to be me.

I like to try labels on and see how they feel, some labels I use to define myself at times are:

Female, straight, queer, asexual, bisexual, pansexual, non-binary, wave-like.

Labels are fluid and changing (like me) and that is how I use them.

The marks on each scale below are where i fall on the scale at the particular time of recording, I added a 'minus' section to the graph to express repulsivity :

I have regularly had long periods in my life of feeling unattracted to people (sexually and romantically), And over the first couple of months or so of mapping, this was where i was. So i tried on asexuality: it fitted and i felt at home. It makes me feel safe knowing there are a lot of other people out there who at times are confused by and maybe repulsed by sexuality and romance.

I was surprised when mapping how non-existent my gender identity and expression were at times. I always thought I was "female" but this has really helped me to question that and understand that internally i am having an experience that is not related to binary gender and I am often internally not referring to myself as female a lot of the time. I often feel i have to be female to meet the others gaze.

It seems I move from female to non-binary to non-existant and back again. I am never male. (not yet anyway).

I love this meme, it is literally how i feel sometimes and it reminds me that i'm allowed to not exist.

As i continue mapping over the months my asexuality status sometimes takes small moves towards being a (not very interested in romance or sex and mostly non-existant) straight woman.

and more recently to a queer, non-binary slightly non-existant woman. I would not currently consider myself as asexual.

I'll keep mapping over the next few months, exploring and updating this post as i do.

Here is a blank graph you can draw on if you want to try mapping for yourself. it's a fascinating process. Let me know what you discover...