Luke, a bi-gendered person, discusses what it feels like to have two gender identities

Feature by Luke Cockayne | 12 Aug 2014

Gender is really fucking complicated. I know; that’s a bit of a shocker that you weren’t expecting in a sex and gender section like Deviance. But seriously, for some people gender is a really fucked up concept.

Take my gender identity. I’m bi-gender, in that I have two gender identities. For a while I thought maybe I was genderqueer or androgynous… someone beyond gender who could express themselves however they liked. ‘Screw the gender binary!’ I thought, ‘Having only the options of male or female is too restrictive!’

But my gender IS quite binary. Somedays I wear my breast binder and call myself ‘Luke’ (like I am in my byline here) and somedays I wear a bra and go around as a cis(ish) woman. It’s not perfect as a system, but I find it suits me better to flit between the two. 

It doesn’t suit everyone. A lot of my friends have transitioned completely and successfully from female to male (or, indeed, male to female) with no explicit regrets. They dressed exclusively in male clothing, cut their hair short, went to their doctor, passed their psychological tests, got their testosterone injections and became the men they always were. 

Some of my friends haven’t done that, instead choosing to use completely genderless names. Think about that for a moment…. a genderless name. Pig Thequeer, for instance, chose to adopt a name that has no gender signification. It told me: “Pig has been my nickname since I was a kid because I was a guinea pig in a game once... But as an adult I have liked being neutral and even prefer the pronoun ‘it.’ Partly that’s because I don’t feel I fit in and others generally agree I don’t, and partly because many people see ‘it’ as offensive! Plus ‘it’ fits in that a pig is just a pig, most people don’t care if it is a sow or a boar.”

Trying to exist outside of the gender binary is really difficult because it’s so ingrained in our society. Today, for instance, I was taking a short course in setting myself up as a freelance writer. I needed to go to the loo. I was planning to use the disabled, because although I was dressed entirely in male clothing, was wearing a breast binder, and had introduced myself to everyone in the private venue as Luke I didn’t want to impose myself on the cis guys and invade their space. Unfortunately there was no disabled toilet, only a male one and a female one. So I had to choose. That’s the gender binary.

Some people just don’t fit in the binary. I admit that this piece is difficult to write without falling into the trap of it. I admire anyone who can live in a fluid, genderneutral space, any intersexed person who refuses to conform to a system that doesn’t even factor them in, anyone strong enough to embrace all the different aspects of their gender. But that’s just not where I’m at.

I started hormone blockers a few weeks ago for a medical procedure unrelated to my gender issues. A trans guy friend of mine told me once that testosterone seemed to just correct an imbalance in his body. I feel kind of the same way. I don’t want my hormonal cycle to come back. Would rather just keep taking the suppressants. A few years ago I made an appointment with a gender clinic in Glasgow, but chickened out and didn’t go. Maybe I’m a coward, but a full medical transition just doesn’t seem… like the solution.

‘Bi-gender’ really does seem to be the best term to describe how I feel. I don’t want to have to choose. I can’t choose. 

And I see absolutely no reason why I should.