This is the start of a project made by Milo of rotwork whom I’ve been following in various blog forms for a while and have learned so much from them. Normally I don’t talk about myself and my own identities outside of religion because this is a heathen blog, but from time to time I do find that my own gender/sex identities gets in conflict or is completely unknown in the religious context, so I kinda have to tweak things a bit. So I’ll be following these prompts, and if I’m able, I’ll respond to some of them too on this blog. These will be part of the “Reflections” category.
First, a little about myself in this context. As far as public image goes I look like a cis-female, since I have a straight boyfriend and my body is, uh, well-equipped for child-bearing. Having a conservative Catholic family doesn’t allow for any deviation from one’s body either, so I just say I’m female on legal documents to make things easier on myself. But if there wasn’t all this social pressure, if I had a flatter, more androgynous body, or if I had the ability to shapeshift, you can bet your ass I wouldn’t be staying in this form. I’d be all sorts of shapes as it suits my mood or the situation I’m in, and I have no particular attachment to the sex that I was assigned (I’m still me in this body, but if I woke up tomorrow and found myself in a male one I’d still be me, there wouldn’t be a body dysphoria issue either way).
My sexual orientation is similar. I’ve been attracted to all sorts of people and gender hardly becomes a part of it. Rather, it’s how I feel around them, or their personality traits, after I’ve gotten to know them. The physical traits that I find “hot” tend to be found in all sorts of people too rather than being a single gender stereotype (i.e. tall person with long hair [when it’s clean and well-taken care of at least], strong arms and hands). Often the people I have crushes on look androgynous and I have no idea what their gender is.
So TL;DR, I’m an agendered pansexual (demisexual-pansexual?) who favors monogamy. But like I said, most people assume I’m a straight woman and I don’t really have the energy at the moment to educate everyone on gender/sex diversity let alone try and convince them on what I actually am. The internet is pretty much my sole refuge for exploring those topics.
Now for the prompts!
How did you first realize you were nonbinary?
Reading anime fanfics in high school (yea. I was one of those kids). This was back when angelfire and geocities were hosting the best sites. I got introduced to a lot of “interesting” things in the stories and they became my sexual awakening so to speak. Later in early college years I started to realize that maybe what I liked about certain characters and ideas were because they were like me, so I started to explore the various lgbt+ facets online. However, I didn’t really grasp the concepts and figured out how they applied to me until the last couple of years, when I was living on my own for the first time and had room to breathe and explore.
There’s still a lot for me to learn though, as this is the first time in my life that I’ve interacted with others over this topic. Previously I was just reading about this on my own.
How did you come to be a practicing pagan, polytheist, or witch?
This was answered in a previous post.
Who was the first deity you ever approached, and why?
Inari. I have loved and strongly identified with foxes for as long as I can remember, and the most accessible tales about foxes for me (again, due to anime and due to my library’s resources at the time) were the stores of kitsune and their counterparts throughout East Asia. Naturally Inari pops up quite a bit in reference to kitsune and when I first started being a pagan (in a wiccanized sense) I thought Inari would be a perfect patron deity. I had done a lot of research on kitsune and Inari, I had some basic Shinto shrine materials from ebay and I was ready. But my petitioning received no response.
Now that I’m no longer 15 I’m grateful that I didn’t get a response, cause otherwise that could have lead to some seriously weeaboo-ish and disrespectful behavior on my part. But looking back on it, it seems like the attraction to Inari was partly due to their fluid nature (of gender, but also of their fluid relationship to human society and nature) on top of the equally-fluid fox spirits, as marginalized and boundary-crossing beings tend to be the ones I can most relate to. That period was an important step in learning about myself.
When was the first time you realized that the system of belief or non-belief you were raised with wasn’t working for you?
Middle school, around 13-14 years. There were a lot of things that I had issue with, but the outdated gender concepts of the Catholic Church just pissed me off so much and became the last straw. I left in a militant huff.
How, if at all, do the above experiences relate to your understanding of gender at the time?
My understanding of gender and gender equality was limited to the binary system at the time. You were either man or woman, and women deserved the same rights as men. Paganism and mythology was similar, where there was an emphasis on humanoid deities that were either man or woman, and were either for men or for women. With the exception of Baphomet the idea of being agendered, trans, or intersex just wasn’t visible, and homosexuality was barely visible.
Over the years I’ve come to find myself more comfortable with animalistic or “force of nature” deity depictions instead of humanoid ones, and their traditional gender, if there is one, is a minor attribute. A few of my gods are indeed humanoid and gendered (i.e. Nagy Boldogasszony is depicted as a humanoid female due to traditionally presiding over women birthing babies), but even then I don’t have a NEED for them to be only that way.
To end off, given that this is my “coming out” post on this blog so to speak, I am open to questions about this identity of mine and how it works within my form of heathenry. I’m sure I’ll be going over those details in future prompts too.