Mac Lawrence, author for the commentary on gender identity. (Submitted: Mac Lawrence)

My gender identity is indistinguishable from the rest of me. It is not a finite definition that I can easily label. It is infinite and as unique as I am. What I call my gender is not something anyone else could possibly experience; it is inseparable from being what I call Myself.

I know I am transgender because I do not identify with my gender assigned at birth, and yet I do not have a word to define what I understand myself to be. “Gender non-conforming trans masculine” would be close, or maybe “agender,” but these words fail to capture anything meaningful about how I experience gender.

Those words, to me, feel almost like a diagnosis, a false one — something that describes my symptoms but fails to capture anything actually authentic.

I do not feel the need to give my gender a label. I might as well just call it by my own name, Mac. To separate my personal identity from my gender and vice versa would be impossible — they are one in the same.

I think this is because I am autistic. Neurodivergent people have been documented to experience gender variance at a higher rate than neurotypical people, and I believe this is a major contributing factor to how I experience gender. My perception of the world is altered in every facet because I am autistic. Why would my gender be an exception?

I do not recognize the body or face I see in the mirror as my own other than through habit. I see it as an ever-changing vessel in which the real me floats around. I feel no need to change my body to be more masculine.

No body can capture what I feel myself to be within my vessel.

I do wonder sometimes if I began hormone replacement therapy if I would begin to see Myself when I look in the mirror, but I think I would see little more than a slightly hairier vessel with a better jaw-line. I do not experience any meaningful connection to masculinity or femininity or androgyny, other than through how fun it is to play with the aesthetics and performances of gender.

For a long time, I thought I must strictly be a trans man because of how much disgust and resentment I had for my femininity. It took time to realize that my disdain for femininity was not born out of a true hatred of it, but a hatred of the idea that “woman” was all I could be; I know now I can be that and so much more.

I remember being young and scared, fretting over what label I would use and what to tell people. I would stress over if I was a lesbian or bisexual or if I was “gay enough” to say words like queer. I became extremely concerned with finding labels to define something that I could not understand and that those labels might need to change to better define my ever-changing sense of self.

It was easy to confuse Myself — who I really was — with the artificial labels that I used to explain Myself. To find comfort and community through my confused adolescence, I clung ardently to ideas of gender and sexuality that were not my own. I realized finally that this was futile. I cannot summarize what I am into one word — one word created by someone who has never known what it is like to experience gender the way I do. It would be like asking me to relay my life’s story to you in a sentence!

My pronouns are he/him, but in the way that if you saw a frog, or perhaps a turtle, you would say “Aww, he’s such a cute little guy!” It is for simplicity’s sake.

I suppose that I don’t really care what anyone calls me because it would all struggle to express my experience. I still do not like to be called “she.” I think only because it expresses the limitations that others would impose on me. It reminds me of the way in which everyone sees me and how I continue to be unable to express my ambiguous gender through my unambiguous body.

I do not fault anyone for this. I am comfortable in my body at this time and I feel no need to change it. I don’t get upset with anyone perceiving me as a woman. It is not entirely untrue. I am not in any kind of denial about my feminine appearance and voice. For me, the best way to express my gender is to do what comes naturally and not concern myself with others’ perceptions. Their perceptions will be wrong regardless, so I might as well do what is euphoric for me. I have found great joy with this method.

I do not write this as gospel. I think, in a few years, defining my gender in this way might seem absurd to me — and I am okay with that. This is all part of the infinite variety of my experience with gender. This mini-thesis is the result of years of continued and re-evaluated contemplation surrounding how I experience gender. I encourage everyone to reflect on their own gender identities periodically.

Gender can be so much more than the labels we ascribe to it.