+ Vampirism as a Gender +

How do you explain something immaterial? How do you convey to another person something that is so deeply personal and deeply held that you cannot possibly hope to actually explain it to them in a way they can understand?

What is gender? How do we define that? There's entire fields of academic study dedicated to it -- countless blogs and twitters and youtubes of people trying to quantify and explain gender, what it means in society, what it means to them personally... Is it innate and immutable? Or is it something that can change over time, something that is influenced by the experiences of our lives?

As a trans person and a feminist living in the year 2022, I've got some familiarity with Queer Theory -- not in a way I could properly convey to another person (academics isn't my "thing", I'm an arts nerd. Even the "soft sciences" often evade my understanding.) I've tried to read Judith Butler's "Gender Trouble", though was unable to finish because of the aforementioned difficulties with academics and academic language specifically.

For me, personally, I understand gender as a thing you do as well as a thing that you are -- that gender is as much the performance as the internal identity that informs the performance. To me, the two are inseparable. Gender, for me, isn't just an internal perception of the self, it is also a form of communication. I communicate something about myself and my identity to the world through my gender and my presentation. And a part of that presentation, a part of that identity, is vampirism. An important part of it is being a vampire.

I show that through, largely, aesthetics -- it can be difficult, in meatspace, to communicate things about ourselves and our identities without using visual markers. At least, it can be difficult to communicate those things to strangers. There's more to my identity than aesthetics but a lot of how I look at the world, how I experience the world, is through visuals. My ideal self looks rather like he crawled out of a 1990s era Vampire the Masquerade sourcebook illustration... With a little bit of the illegitimate lovechild of a glam rocker and Jack Black thrown in there for extra spice.

When I say aesthetics, I don't necessarily mean a specific visual or look -- vampirism, as a gender, is a sort of a feeling that I don't know how to explain or define, though I know it when I see it. I know it when I hear it. And I seek to recreate that feeling in myself, and possibly communicate it to others, when I create the self that I show to the rest of the world.

For me, gender is a combination of a created performance and a sort of internal identity that may be innate or may be a combination things influenced by my life. I'm not sure. To try to peel apart my identity and dig out which bits are the trauma, which bits are my neurodivergence, which bits are "innate" is a pointless exercise. I just know that I feel within myself what I am and I feel "vampire" in the same place and in the same way as I feel "man". These parts of me are in someway woven together, intertwined. So, like "man" is a gender, so is "vampire".

I don't have a more eloquent or exact description of the gender itself.

And yeah, I do have "transition goals" that are related to that part of my gender -- I don't expect to be able to achieve those goals -- I don't have the money for permanent fangs and it's not like there's much of a point in wearing them during Ye Olde Pandemic, especially when I am planning to continue to wear masks because my housemates and myself are immunocompromised.

Maybe someday I'll be able to define these things better, explain them better. But I don't think so. Self-reflection has been something I've indulged in a lot in my life and nothing thus far has given me the words to describe it. I guess making a page about it was a silly thing given that. But it gave me a space to talk a little bit about gender and how I see it.

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