Elan Morgan is a writer and web designer who works from Elan.Works, a designer and editor at GenderAvenger, and a speaker who has spoken across North America. They believe in and work to grow both personal and professional quality, genuine community, and meaningful content online.

#335: WHAT PEOPLE HAVE BEEN ASKING ME ABOUT THIS NEW GENDER DYSPHORIC PANSEXUAL THING

What do you mean when you call yourself a "gender dysphoric pansexual"?

If you can't tell, I made that up, so if it doesn't fit correctly, let me know. Until then, it seems to suit me, at least in the short term.

Gender dysphoria is hard to explain, so I'll start with that..... Ever since I was a little kid, I have been aware of people seeing me as a female and have been somewhat uncomfortable with that description. When I was five, I developed a strong reaction against it and prayed fervently every night before I fell asleep that I would wake up in the morning with a penis. I was being raised in a religious household, and I believed that the loving god I had been told about church would grant me my wish. I was losing hope and decided that I would only give it one more day. On that last day of my supplications, I peeked under the covers to see if my penis had materialized, and when I saw that it hadn't, I felt a terrible rejection. I had been sure that this god from our church loved me. I marched into the kitchen and told my mother that I no longer believed in God. When she asked why, I answered: Because if God loved me, he would have made me a boy.

Since then, childhood religious angst aside, I have settled into a middle place. As I grew into my own skin, I found that neither gender was entirely right. I am in the middle somewhere. It used to feel like a deformity to me, one that presented itself not only physically but also psychologically and spiritually, and it took a long time to understand that my condtion was not a "condition" in a medicalized sense at all but simply a fact of who I am at my core inside and out. My body is biologically female, my brain parks itself all over the boy/girl map, and the two of them are learning to work it out together. The brain mostly wins, but it concedes some territory and lets the body keep hanging out.

The pansexual thing is easy..... The dictionary describes it as "exhibiting or implying many forms of sexual expression", which is just about right. I have never been attracted to any one gender in particular and have dated all kinds of individuals.


How long have you known what you are?
I was not able to articulate what I am until I was in my twenties, but I have known of or at least felt my difference since I was three years old.

Does your new honesty about who you are change your relationship with the Fiery One in any way? Do you have an open relationship now? Did you find a girlfriend?
My being open about who I am does not directly affect my relationship with the Fiery One. This is not new information for him, and so he was completely unsurprised by my disclosure. He did offer to skip around the house in a blonde wig and shriek while I chased him, but that's not really my cup of tea.

Our relationship is not open, has never been open, and never will be open. I do not need to have sexual relationships with people of other genders and sexualities simply because I naturally find them attractive, which answers one of the most popular questions I have been asked. No, I have not found myself a girlfriend side project. My husband rocks too much, and I am a bit of a natural monogamist to boot. I'll leave polyamory to the polyamorists.


Are you interested in having any kind of surgery to reflect who you are? Are you anatomically totally female?
I am, as far as I know, built with all the standard female equipment. At least, I haven't had any raised eyebrows from doctors during pelvic exams. Although my physical body does not acurately reflect what I am, what I am does not easily fit in with this bi-polar gender system that we've got running here. I have given thought in the past to a couple of different -ectomies, but I don't think that making physical alterations to my body would markedly help my situation, so my body will stay the way it is for the timebeing.

So, what changes for you as a result of being open about yourself if you're not going to be sexually reassigned or pursue other sexual relationships?

Forgive me if I ramble on and fail to be concise when I try to answer this question. It's a doozy.

Why bother coming out when my life, on the surface, looks very heterosexual and traditional with my female body and male partner and marriage and whatnot? This was a difficult question for me to answer for myself. Why complicate my very normal-looking life by throwing in the details about something that is invisible to most everyone but me?

A major reason for this move is that I have spent so much of my life living dishonestly. I don't believe that everyone has to know everything about me, but constant self-censorship is incredibly complicating. I am not good at having each part of my life cloistered away from every other part. The way I have had my life structured until now is that each group of friends or family have had slightly different versions of me presented to them depending on what I have felt comfortable with them knowing. This means that so many seemingly innocuous conversations are incredibly stressful, because I have to constantly think about what the person might know about me and how much they know. With one person it may be totally okay for me to mention that the smell of oranges reminds me of a woman I used to fuck occasionally, but accidentally letting that detail slip with another friend could lead to a monstrously uncomfortable situation. I would rather not have to constantly think and double-think myself through life. I would much rather know that things will be monstrously uncomfortable than tire myself out dancing around secrets.

Being open about myself means that my own memories and friendships and inclinations no longer have to be seen as potential weapons that can be turned against me if I fail to keep my stories straight. No wonder it has been so hard for me to like myself. I was literally my own worst enemy.

The worst part about that is that I knew I was my own worst enemy for years, but I wouldn't commit to honesty because I could not figure out why coming out was so important or justify the difficulty some people would have with it. I didn't see that being at war with myself was in itself what made coming out important and justified the possible social difficulties I would encounter.

Another reason for this move is that I am hoping I will be able to overcome the worst of my bouts with self-loathing. I have turned a lot of my feelings against myself, and as a result I often suffer from an almost panicked hatred of my physical form, hurting it and starving it in an attempt to make it be something it is not, to make myself something I am not.

I think I am finally ready to just be how I came into this world.


I don't get why you bothered to do this.

You know what? It doesn't matter if anyone else gets it. I get it, and I have never felt better. I feel bigger, stronger, more satisfied, happier, comfortable, important, and free than I have ever been able to feel before. Your getting it only means a touch more icing on my already well-iced cake.

Any more questions out there?



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"Girl's Lament" by Rainer Maria Rilke