In Space Between Genders a 'Seahorse' Emerges

Sunday, July 17, 2011

As Nina transitions into Nick, he discovers the space between being a man and a woman. In this excerpt from his book, "Nina Here Nor There," he describes a similar journey undertaken by his friend Bec through this middle ground.

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Pronoun Preferences

"The middle ground must pose problems for you," I said, emboldened by Bec's frankness. "I notice people refer to you with both pronouns. Do you have a preference?"

"I do prefer 'he,' " Bec said. "But 'she' is easier and makes the most sense to a lot of people. So, really, either is fine."

I was one of those people for whom it was easier. It had taken me so many months to pose such a simple question, but underneath my inclination to ask was the willingness to let go of the rules and reconfigure a training so ingrained it felt hardwired. And this was not simple. Allowing a person to make a choice, especially a confusing choice like linking "Rebecca" with "he," threatened the entire foundation of gender as permanent, given and obvious. This might've still been scary had I not felt so free.

I wanted to refer to Bec as "he," his clear preference, and to uncover terms like genderqueer and middle ground that articulated what I thought I could see but not explain--that there were more identities and people under the category of transgender than just transsexuals, those who transition from female to male or from male to female, making those other terms real. Making them possibilities for me.

"Were you always this comfortable with yourself?" I sputtered with incredulous reverence. "Or was it a process for you?"

A smile opened on Bec's porcelain face and he crossed his legs effeminately.

"Oh, it was a process," he said. "A metamorphosis. Although I don't know what I'm metamorphing into."

Excerpt from "Nina Here Nor There" by Nick Krieger. Copyright 2011 by Nick Krieger. Reprinted by permission of Beacon Press, Boston.


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A native of New York, Nick Krieger realized at the age of 21 that he'd been born on the wrong coast, a malady he corrected by transitioning to San Francisco. His writing has earned several travel-writing awards and has been published in multiple travel guides.

For more information:

Nick Krieger's Web site:

Nina Here Nor There: My Journey Beyond Gender

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I think that to some degree we all have spaces in between and middle ground. My husband calls me a gay man in a woman's body. If more people accepted the vast variation in the land between male and female I think we would all be a lot more at ease in our bodies and minds. Props to Nick for elaborating on this idea for finding the comfort in his own skin.