Gender and sexual orientation are something we each experience and interpret for ourselves. Each of us recognizes what we feel inside, embraces what we can, tries to change limiting beliefs, and goes out into the world expressing what we discover. And so each descriptive word associated with the terms of “who we are” is limiting and oh-so-personal. Like with feelings, words can only describe a small part of our actual experience.
Last year I starting writing the word womxn based on my desire to be inclusive of those who identify as and embrace femininity on a more substantial level than masculinity. As I sat down to do the research on this word, I read through hundreds of comments on IG posts and combed through online articles. I saw a stark contrast of both offense and inclusion, and all other emotions in between. Before my research, I felt strongly about no longer writing the words woman and women. It’s important to me to speak with inclusion coming through the words I write and, honestly, they seem naive. I spent a solid amount of time being troubled by whether or not I should use this word, womxn, but what I ultimately realized is that my intentional efforts to show up in the world the way I want to- supporting peoples and brands that align with my views- is where my focus should be. I want, and will continue to have confusing and challenging conversations about the ever changing world I live in and desire to be a part of.
Below are three sources I have to thank for expanding my willingness to remain engaged while being in confusion, and that have helped me continue to learn and expand alongside all peoples. I want to work with folx (another controversial spelling for multiple reasons) who identify as feminine/femme/women etc. because that’s where I’m pulled to do my work. Knowing the correct language isn’t always clear, it may never be, and that’s okay.