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Historical Non-Binary Question


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Hi,

This is a bit of an unusual question but I hope someone can help. I am going to be involved in an RPG thing set in the 60s. I want to continue to keep up my non-binary\genderqueer identity but I am aware the term did not exist. So I wondered if anyone was aware of a good term I could use?

 

I know singular They and Mx. were likely being used so those are probably fine  but whilst I am aware of some terms none seem like they would be right. Androgyne is probably closest but was more referring to Agender, "Hemaphrodite" would usually refer to intersex and "Transexual" was generally used to refer to male to female transgender people planning to undergo GCS.

 

Now I am sure no one would care too much if I was anachronistic but I like to go for accuracy in these things. Does anyone have any ideas of possible terms that might have been in use?

 

 

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Queer was a universally used word describing anyone that was odd having either different and androgenous gender proclivities and appearance or same sex attractions. All the rest of the identifications are more recent. I self identify as an androgenous non-binary type, in reality more of just a Eunuch having been surgically castrated.  Hope you find what fits.

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  • Forum Moderator

In my younger days the word Queer was used to describe someone who was odd, but not in a nice way.  I used to describe things I did and the way I dressed as Androgynous.  In my circle I suppose not enough friends understood that term so it was safe.  In the late 60's/early 70's I would have never called myself queer as it would have indicated I was gay, which I wasn't.  

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I have nothing to add, but I'm desperately curious as to what you're doing. Geek to geek.

 

Hugs!

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7 hours ago, NB Adult said:

Queer was a universally used word describing anyone that was odd having either different and androgenous gender proclivities and appearance or same sex attractions. All the rest of the identifications are more recent. I self identify as an androgenous non-binary type, in reality more of just a Eunuch having been surgically castrated.  Hope you find what fits.

Yes. Although in my younger days I only heard the word "queer" as a suffix to "g_d d___ed". To this day, it is hard for me to hear the word, I've never been comfortable with it.

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1 hour ago, TammyAnne said:

Yes. Although in my younger days I only heard the word "queer" as a suffix to "g_d d___ed". To this day, it is hard for me to hear the word, I've never been comfortable with it.

Ah! ...the joys of childhood.  I can remember one of my first parades at age 7 in Ballard (a northwest Seattle suburb) with my Dad and my Uncle.  It was 1969.  Although I doubt it was a pride parade like we have today, several beautifully decorated floats came along that had colorful LGBT persons waving happily at the crowd along the street.  I thought it was so neat.  I didn’t understand what the floats were all about but from my Dad’s reaction, it couldn’t have been good.  He yelled out, “Go home, you d*mn*d queers!”.  I knew what ‘queers’ meant but had no idea my Dad hated anyone like this.  I never forgot that.  A few years later as I started to crossdress in secret against my mother’s wishes, I was scared to death my Dad was going to hate me if he found out or knew how I felt inside.  I still really don’t enjoy parades and find it hard to call myself ‘queer’.  Nothing a few hundred hours of good therapy can’t fix.

 

Susan R?

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  • 3 weeks later...

In Northern Nevada and the Bay Area during the era between WWII and the Free Speech Movement, "queer" was the second most polite word. "Homosexual" was polite, "gay" was new and considered a way for "queers" to cheer themselves up. (Honest, those are the words and meanings I learned.) Then there were all the not-polite words, spat out by homophobic tough guys, afraid it was catching.

"Female Impersonators" were a floor-show in Reno and Vegas, and Finnochios (sp?) was a club on North Beach in The City, where they had a permanent show. Very talented people. 

Cis women were disrespected too, but they were considered "normal" "sex-objects." All kinds of not-nice terms, as if their job were  to arouse males.

But with the FSM and "do your own thing," the Pill, grass, acid -- things started changing, very slowly, as sensitivities grew, and the "Gay Community" took hold in the Castro. Think Harvey Milk. LA always had their own bizarre set of rules, but the same thing was happening on the Atlantic Coast.

Just my take, having grown up around it all. YMMV.

 

 

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  • 1 month later...

According to my mother who grew up in the 50s and went to college in the 60s, most of the people in this area just said people like that were "different". I know a few euphemisms for gay men specifically such as "a friend of Dorothy", "on the bus", and over in England they used to say someone was "family".  Oh! The scholar Jennie June of 19th/20th century America self-identified as "faerie", "androgyne", and "effeminate man". But probably less anachronistic and pejorative by modern standards, they also identified as an "invert". I'm a bit late, but I hope that helps. 

P.S. - If you haven't heard of or read anything by Jennie June, please do. Quite the pioneering individual for trans and nonbinary people. 

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TammyAnne

 I have heard the term "invert."

Even funnier is i grew up in the 50s and went to college in the late 60s, so I'm about the same age as... your parents.

TA

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try X that was the priest and nuns would someone in my school if they where diff. Different meaning (you where not Irish, Italian or white catholic )

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  • 1 month later...
sleepinflame

Hi, I registered just to post to this thread because it intersects with my story.  Also, I am the same age as the moderator and did not consider myself queer in 1984.  However, I have a memory of the end of my senior year of college from that year.  Some close acquaintance sent me off from school with some comment like, "[sleepinflame] I would have said you were gay if you hadn't been going out with [girlfriend] for the last three years."  The reason it is relevant is that, at that time, the culture, at least in the Midwest, knew of the existence of straights and gays.  That's it.  There was no place to understand some man who had some feminine qualities.  Now roll back to 1972.  I was 10.  I remember that my mom cautioned me about gay men who preyed on young boys.  At that time, culture in the U.S. didn't even understand that gay men were not the same as pedophiles.   Go back much further in time and you'd find that any woman who caused any trouble at all was just committed to an insane asylum.  Gay men were treated better than that.  I'm not sure exactly what to think of the 60's, but you didn't really want to be a cis-woman, much less anything more queer.  My mom once commented about the show Mad Men, "I can't watch it, I lived it."  She was one of the first female full professors at her university.  There is no past golden age and there were no terms for what you asked about.  It would have been a horror for most here to exist then, IMO.

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TammyAnne
7 hours ago, sleepinflame said:

Hi, I registered just to post to this thread because it intersects with my story.  Also, I am the same age as the moderator and did not consider myself queer in 1984.  However, I have a memory of the end of my senior year of college from that year.  Some close acquaintance sent me off from school with some comment like, "[sleepinflame] I would have said you were gay if you hadn't been going out with [girlfriend] for the last three years."  The reason it is relevant is that, at that time, the culture, at least in the Midwest, knew of the existence of straights and gays.  That's it.  There was no place to understand some man who had some feminine qualities.  Now roll back to 1972.  I was 10.  I remember that my mom cautioned me about gay men who preyed on young boys.  At that time, culture in the U.S. didn't even understand that gay men were not the same as pedophiles.   Go back much further in time and you'd find that any woman who caused any trouble at all was just committed to an insane asylum.  Gay men were treated better than that.  I'm not sure exactly what to think of the 60's, but you didn't really want to be a cis-woman, much less anything more queer.  My mom once commented about the show Mad Men, "I can't watch it, I lived it."  She was one of the first female full professors at her university.  There is no past golden age and there were no terms for what you asked about.  It would have been a horror for most here to exist then, IMO.

I got the warning from my mother in the late 50s.

But I think my mother always suspected my twig was bent differently.

TA

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sleepinflame

@TammyAnne

 

The funny thing was, just a few years later, circa 1975, my mother was commuting with a gay man to UIUC to get her PhD.  He became a good friend of hers and I even remember his name.  I don't remember mom issuing a retraction and I'm sure she would be embarrassed if I mentioned it.  I was just trying to get across how much the culture has shifted.  Like when I mentioned to my daughter something about 1992, "before the internet really existed."  She looked at me with such big unbelieving eyes.

 

I also wonder if there were something about me that made mom warn me or if some external event I don't know about brought the warning.

 

I know she asked my (estranged) father why I wasn't interested in girls in high school.  He replied, "Oh, he's interested."  I think projecting from his own experience.  He was right, but for the wrong reason; he didn't understand my situation in any way.  I started coming out to him when I was about 30.  He just forcefully said, "You're a man."  So, no meaningful conversation with him since 1992.  He seems to have constructed this idea that I'm autistic.  I just hide myself from him and he just doesn't understand.  I don't really care about that now, but too much ground to cover to try to set him straight.  And he has so many hangups about women.  It would be so amusing to switch roles just to wind him up.  Maybe when I get brave enough.

 

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TammyAnne

I recall that in the 50s and 60s things were relatively hostile to "us".

Christine Jorgensen was covered in news stories, but it was not necessarily positive coverage, and the table talk was all about how horrible that was. So it was not an avenue even considered at the time in the mid-south.

Time moves along slowly.

TA

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