WASHINGTON D.C.—When you are the only person in the area that can see colors, consider how you would have a conversation with a co-worker about the characteristics of common place things in the world you share. The person you are speaking with sees a Granny Smith apple and a lemon as being the same color, i.e. the same shade of gray. Is what you are talking about like a lemon or like an apple? How can you tell? Maybe you can’t until you can smell it or touch it.

It would take tons of examples, but it would be really hard sometimes to make sure the two of you were on the same page.

Now consider someone who is profoundly gender-queer. Such a person considers themselves to be either both male and female or neither male nor female. Such a person really can’t be heterosexual, nor can they be gay or lesbian. For this person, there is neither a same nor an opposite sex.

Don’t just call this person bisexual, because there’s no reason to suspect that they would be that either. This person will identify with whom, other than fellow gender-queer people? Will they find the male jokes funny or the female jokes funny? Will either or both seem funny and all/either seem exploitative?

One is expected to have one of two genders. Nowadays in progressive circles, sometimes a survey form now has a third choice, like Other. Furthermore, one is expected to have a sexual orientation. The list of choices is a little longer, but seldom is there one for “It Depends.” What do you do if the only rational choice for you to tick off is none of the above? Everything we think we know and understand about sexuality, and especially everything we understand about sexual politics is predicated upon a male/female binary.

This gets plenty of transsexual, transgender people upset, too. There are lots and lots of lesbians who will refuse to accept any transwoman as a real lesbian, just as there are lots and lots of gay men who consider a transman as someone who can never be male.

Then, just to get complicated, there are a fair number of transsexual people who consider any person identifying as transgender who is not also transsexual to be not really transgender or to be a transsexual person in denial.

Gender is just as nonsensical as race. You can have a dozen different heritages from half a dozen different continents and what race does that make you? You’re not white. You’re not black. You’re not Asian. If you’re also gender-queer then you’re completely without a “granfalloon,” a group of people, to call your own.

You are a person without even such a simple thing as a regular pronoun, and that is sad because you’re the person who sees all those colors in the genders and sexualities, while everyone else is stuck in a black and white binary. How do you communicate this to others?