i get misgendered but also misraced. if “gendering” a person involves applying a gender assumption like man or woman, then “race-ing” a person involves applying a radicalized assumption like black, white, asian, native and so on. “misraced” refers to the act of making a falsified racialized assumption. often i am misunderstood, misinterpreted and misplaced. i am racially identified to be ethnically misaligned and gender assigned to be temporarily displaced.
people know that i am mixed. really they know that i am mixed with something. half something this and half something that. i am mixed with bloods before birth. i get ethnically and racially guessed as a combination of the following: hispanic, jamaican, native, black, white, some type of asian or indigenous to somewhere local or somewhere far away. you often guess wrong.
i wonder what signals these guesses, assumptions and interpretations. i wonder what exactly it is about how i look, how i act or what i say that inform people’s judgement. i wonder what people think, what they think before the shit that they say and the shit that they don’t.
i have come to realize how the my racial and ethnic experiences create tensions that pull on the ties, the knots and loose ends of my experiences of being misgendered. my gender experience includes being read as man, woman, man-woman, woman-man but hardly ever as neither man or woman and both. is it even possible to be read as both? this all depends if my facial hair is shaved the right way, if i have my back to you displaying my long hair with petite figure and if my nails are cut short or left long. it even depends on what bathroom i use.
shifting seas, shifting seens, i shift scenes as i play into or against what it seems that i am supposed to be. my appearance is confusing and complex. it works to unravel your perceptions and ideologies of race, ethnicity, sex, gender and sexuality. my looks and the looks you give me challenge these seemingly fixed identity markers. do i play into what you want me to be or do i enact the way i want to be? do you play into what people want you to be or do you enact what you desire to be?