I suppose there's no point in being abstract and cryptic about it when 95% of my audience already knows exactly what I'm talking about.
This blog was intended to be about who I am, not what I am. Those of you who knew me before already know what I am, and those of you from the Whatever didn't need to know because who any of us are (other than Scalzi) is more or less irrelevant. I've carefully avoided specifying because I want my words and actions to be considered completely separate from any preconceived notions based on knowledge of whats.
But then we (the Whateverite side of the crowd) started having Group Blog Incoherence. And then we became Collaborating (Co-conspiratory?) Founders. And then it was only a matter of time before the Big Question came up to the spotlight. Am I "he" or am I "she"? Because of course gender matters, of course it's important. And of course there's a difference. A lot of people would like to pretend otherwise, but then it's unnerving not to know, isn't it? At some point as you want to know me better as a person, you start quietly digging around, scrutinizing and analyzing my posts, hoping to figure it out - or in one case, emailing me. Not that there's anything wrong with that, or with you - it's natural and human. Gender is one of the three basic defining characteristics of a person you've just met - so much so that it's part of a standard greeting in online chat ("ASL?" - stands for "age/sex/location?"); it covers what would be immediately obvious offline. There are people wandering around online who are actually incapable of proceeding with a conversation until ASL is first answered, whose minds are blown at the concept of doing such a thing. That's how basic it is.
So what am I? I thought I knew when I was two or three. That's when children first become aware of gender. But then everyone else told me I was wrong, and even my own body agreed with them. When I was eight or nine, I assumed I was one of those mutants that hadn't developed quite right, and when puberty hit, all would become clear. I would no longer have to play along.
Puberty hit. It didn't turn out to be the ending. It turned out to be the beginning of something that had no end at all. My body betrayed me again, everyone else went along with it, and the only reason I'm not dead at 16 is because I'm too much of a coward when it comes to physical pain.
There used to be a voice of protest in the back of my mind. It insisted that I wasn't what they told me I should be. It got quieter after puberty, and then it was overriden by the voice insisting that I merely didn't want to be what I should be. Fifteen years later the first voice had more or less succumbed. By then, when I finally discovered that transsexuals aren't, in fact, merely insane, that there are actual physiological bases underlying the condition - I'd been playing the part for so long that what I knew as a toddler was no longer right either.
So am I he or am I she? Sometimes I wish that English was one of those languages where the third-person pronoun was gender neutral. (I certainly could've evaded doing this post for far longer.) Neither sounds right to me anymore. Along the gender gradient between masculine and feminine, I'm pretty close to the middle overall.
I think at this point I can only conclude that I'm human.