I’m sorry to say that I won’t be writing about TRON today – sorry because apparently it’s the original film’s 35th anniversary today, and if I’d thought about that and planned for it I could have made a killer TRON post. But what brings me here sort of came up because of TRON, so maybe it’ll still be appropriate.
See, a couple weeks ago I got this idea for an awesomely ridiculous tattoo, featuring a picture of Bit from TRON surrounded by the text “FUCK THE BINARY” – written in binary. In this case I meant “fuck the gender binary” (because honestly, fuck the gender binary) and I chose Bit because in spite of the fact that it’s supposed to only have two states – yes (1) and no (0) – it most frequently appears in a neutral state. The only problem with the tattoo was that the binary numbers would have to be so small that they wouldn’t even be writable.
Yes, clearly that’s the only problem presented by an obscure TRON reference tattoo.
But when I first explained the tattoo to a friend of mine, he excitedly suggested we get (different) tattoos together for friendship funtimes. At first I put the idea off because of the challenges presented by the Bit tattoo, but then I remembered a tattoo idea with a similar meaning that I’d had on the back burner for years.
I’m not a huge comics person (though I’ve collected a few binders full of Mega Man and Marvel’s Land of Oz comic books), but my favorite comic strip of all time is George Herriman’s Krazy Kat. If you’ve never heard of it, don’t worry – most people haven’t, and that’s okay.
The important thing to know for this post is that Krazy Kat canonically has an ever-shifting gender, referred to by other characters as “he” and “she,” sometimes both in the same strip or even the same sentence. Herriman himself refused to answer readers’ questions about Krazy’s “real” gender, once saying that Krazy was like a spirit or pixie, free to be anything. While I seriously doubt Krazy’s inconsistent pronouns were intended by Herriman to be any kind of radical statement about gender, it was still a pretty interesting thing to do – especially in a strip that first ran between the 1910s and the 1940s.
So why am I yammering about a comic strip kat that almost nobody’s heard of? Because reading about Krazy’s pronouns was a click-moment for me. I just thought: “Oh, that’s me.” That’s when I realized I was genderfluid. Almost ever since, I’ve wanted to get a tattoo of Krazy Kat, as both a tribute to the brilliant strip itself and as a subtle affirmation of who I am.
And that’s when the self-doubt creeps in…
All this made me start thinking about my gender, how I’ve been expressing it, et cetera. I’ve written before about how I bought a psychedelic suit to help express my more masculine side, but other than that I haven’t mentioned gender much on the blog. Part of this is because I’m afraid it’ll devolve into self-absorbed ramblings that will only confirm others’ stereotypes of gender non-conforming millennials. And part of this is a sort of guilt I have about how little I’ve suffered for my gender identity.
Real talk: I’ve been lucky so far when it comes to my gender identity and how I express it. So lucky, in fact, that I feel sick with guilt when I think of how difficult it’s been for other people – like my late fiancé, who was rejected by friends and family for being trans and went through all kinds of shit for it, shit that I feel ultimately led to his death. For years after losing him I felt guilty thinking of myself as anything other than a ciswoman because I hadn’t suffered the way he had for not being cis, even though I knew how fucked up that guilt was and that my fiancé would have wanted me to be true to myself, whatever that self might be.
So now to be at a place where I understand and accept who I am – to the point that I want the catalyst for that realization to be permanently pictured on my body – is almost surreal. Plus, on a less serious note, it’s got me rethinking more easily changeable things like hairstyles (since I never could get the bangs right for the classic Louise Brooks look).
I think next I’ll go for the Leatrice Joy IDGAF Androgynous look.
I can’t pretend these doubts don’t still creep in from time to time, but every day I feel a little more secure in my identity.
And getting back to what my friend asked: yes, I’d be honored to get a ridiculous tattoo with you. If nothing else, it’ll be a fun story to tell fifty years from now.