The Identity Asymptote
Amanda Roman

My two cents: gender identity, in the way that many people talk about it, does not exist. This is not to say that it does not exist at all, but rather that it isn’t *a thing* in the way it is often treated. Instead of some atavistic truth, it is a way of conceptualizing and understanding yourself. Gender is not an essentialist or innate trait about people, so gender identity can’t be either.

In fact, I sincerely believe that the more people analyze it, the less concrete Gender — and any corresponding identities — becomes. Only the most simplistic and raw feelings can be felt in the sort of immediate sense that many claim to feel their gender. And perhaps, for some people, their experiences, outlooks etc. allow them to have that sort of relationship with their gender. Let’s call that experience of gender “uncomplicated.” However, that is not to say everyone has that relationship with their gender. Gender is not “uncomplicated” if you think about it at length — it’s one of the most complicated things you can possibly tackle.

A lot of my writing has to do with my “working through” the fact that the way others talk about gender does not ring true for me. Affirmations didn’t work for me either, and I personally landed on the idea that genders are multivalent descriptive categories. You can’t “have” one so much as you can belong to one. Once I let go of this idea that you’re looking for *a* feeling or *a* thing, and embraced the idea that woman/man etc. come after the fact as a way of describing people, I was able to just be me which entails belonging in the category “woman.”

I don’t know how helpful this sort of thinking is for you, but if it is, I hit on it most directly in these posts (though it tends to pop up everywhere in my writing):

  1. Making an Ass Out of You and Me
  2. Ecce Femina — How One Becomes What One Is
  3. A Theory of Everything (So Long as It’s Related to Gender)
Like what you read? Give Galen Mitchell a round of applause.

From a quick cheer to a standing ovation, clap to show how much you enjoyed this story.