Their Voices: UV Interview #1
An Agender, Trans Man Speaks Out
by Aspen Lofgren, Unspoken Voices Writer
This has been the most rewarding time for me. Writing for Unspoken Voices has been both rewarding and eye-opening. However, my last post had many errors and I was very discouraged to write again—I was ashamed and believed I had let down the LGTBQ+ community.
Thank you to those of you who reached out and let me know of my errors and thank you to those who encouraged me that my writing effort will help with folks who have very little to no knowledge about LGTBQ+.
The next few posts will be very personal stories of those in the LGTBQ+ community.
Q: Short Bio: This can include whatever information you don’t mind sharing Examples: age, race/ethnicity, occupation, education level, your hobbies, favorite animal, etc.
A: Well, I’m 20, a racial mutt that mostly Uruguayan and Native American (Muscogee Creek), I'm just about to get my bachelors, I’m a direct support provider (like a CNA) and I like way too many things to list just a few hobbies.
Q: How do you identify yourself + include what these identities mean to you (regarding: gender identity, gender expression, biological sex, and sexual orientation):
A: I identify as an agender trans man, which I know is (in a way) a bit contradictory, at least on the surface level. Personally, I’ve never really understood the feeling of gender. I don’t know what it is to ‘feel’ male or female, or any other gender out there. I see gender more so as a social form of categorization, with the behaviors set for each gender determining the gender roles an individual’s play in society. (I’m terrible at putting my thoughts into words so sorry if you don't understand).
Masculinity and femininity are usually what defines gender in a societal aspect, but one cannot exist without the other and the same goes for gender, you can't have male without female, in a functioning society that is. Basically, since I view gender as a social ideal and I’ve never felt partially one or the other, or anything else for that matter; I identify as agender because the closest thing I can comprehend is a lack of gender.
One could argue that gender is another gender itself, but to me it means nothing, or the absence of something. As for the trans man part, I prefer society to view me as male. I’ve always wanted to look biologically male. That is the body I want, but the body isn't tied to a gender. Socially, it's easier to accept transitioning from one binary to the other, and even in queer communities, I’ve been met with hostility towards a lack of gender.
It's also very difficult to get help transitioning from one ‘sex’ to the other if you're not the opposite binary that you were given at birth. I use male pronouns because I like the way they sound, and my OCD is too bothered by the grammatical correctness of they/them/theirs (can't use the ze/zir/ect ones because dyslexia; I can't even keep the binary straight).
I suppose I am transitioning biologically from one to the next, and society is slow to understand, let alone accept, so I just combine the two for my own identity. Perhaps that identity won’t change, perhaps it will, but I’d rather not spend my energy now trying to pinpoint exactly what I want. I am me, and that's all that matters. As far as sexual orientation: polyamorous, pan romantic, asexual. Don’t like sex, don’t want sex. One person can meet all your needs, and not everyone can find love, and those that do are blessed. Why not love as many as your heart is able to handle, because each person touches you in a different way. And again, gender is a social construct and only dating one or two genders is too exclusive to me.
Q: Are you public with your identity/identities? :
A: Yep, and for 3 of my 4 jobs I’m the only open queer person. Most of my coworkers have never met a trans person before.
Q: When did you come out and how was that process?
A: I came out for the first time at an Unspoken Voices Christmas party. I was asked what pronouns I use for myself and I decide that I just couldn't lie. (Identifies fully as male at the time, figure that if I wanted to look male I had to be male, right?) I knew since I was 11 that I wasn't cisgender, but I didn't actually accept it really until that moment.
It took me all of two minutes to answer the question, at least it felt like it did. Long story short, I cried and they told me i was a wonderful person male or female. Fast forward three months and I still had only told those people and my then partner (horrible decision) tried to force my sibling into using they/them/theirs pronouns with me to try and ‘prep them’ for my coming out. My sibling figured it out on their own and asked me what my identity was and I straight up told them.
Congrats, now out to six people. Flash forward a month and my ex outed me to the half the town. I got very discriminated against at my job at the time and had someone threaten to shoot me in a grocery store; that was fun. It made me so hyper-aware of the town that I just pretended to be female for months. Four months into my current job, I came out, and honestly no one at work new how to interact or address a trans person.
Q: What did your journey look like? We all have a different path of discovering who we are.
A: Like I said, I knew something wasn't right when I was 11, and combine that with an abusive home, I tried to kill myself because of it. I've only attempted suicide once, at the age of 11. I wasn’t allowed to leave the house alone (homeschooled) or have friends, so I don't have anyone to talk to. That was my life till 18, super homophobic/transphobic, hate myself, and planned to kill myself right after getting to college. Simply put, I got to collage, met my ex, and they introduced me to Unspoken Voices. Unspoken voices is really what let me accept myself and actually like myself enough to not want to die. I came out and ended up in my first relationship that was very abusive. I spent a year and a half with my ex and was abused and sexually assaulted for a year and a half. After getting engaged, I broke up with my ex and met my best friend. They really helped me accept myself and I have no idea where I would be without them.
Q: What is a challenge you face as an LGBT individual?:
A: Being accepted by the LGBT population. Other than the death threat, I’ve had the most flack and difficulty with being accepted by the LGBT population. Mostly over how I can’t be agender and male at the same time or how I for some reason like the it/it's/lts pronouns (I get the dehumanizing argument, but most people just tell me it's stupid). I've had other queer individuals pick apart my identity, argue about it, or straight up tell me that I can't be that unselective about who I would date (talking about having a type, which I honestly don't). Or being poly/pan and ace. Especially since I’ve had sex before, lots of sex (granted most of it I didn't have a say in participating). The hard part is that the LGBT population would in theory be really accepting, and that just makes it hurt more when they are not.
Q: What has been the best experience you have had as an LGBT individual?:
A: My best experience was being the first person someone came out to. They told me that—in watching me just be—they finally felt ready to take a step out of the closet.