Interview with the Inmara

The Inmara (they/them) are queer authors. I asked them about themselves and their content, as well as content they’ve has been enjoying recently. You can check out the Inmara at the links at the end of the interview.

  1. What queer terminology do you use for yourself publicly? Do not feel pressured to come out as anything in your answer. Please only disclose whatever you’re comfortable with.
    • We joke that we are the entire QUILTBAG, but that’s pretty close to the truth, too. We identify as Queer, first and foremost, but the specifics are important to us. We are intersex, trigender (girl/teratogender/aporagender), biromantic (some of us are gay, some biromantic, and one of us is heteroromantic), asexual, polyamorous, and autigender.
    • Autigender, or autistigender, means that our genders are deeply linked to, colored by, and inseparable from the fact that we’re autistic. For instance, girl for us is a separate and distinct gender from woman, a homonym to girl as “female child”. And that probably stems from the reality that people who identify as women in our lives put a great deal into defining womanhood by a set of social standards that we autistically cannot adhere to, and go to great lengths to separate themselves from people who don’t fit, while people who identify as girls (children and adults) just don’t do that. In our experience. Our subconscious saw that difference as we were growing up, and now it is A Personal Autistic Rule, and a source of dysphoria if those of us who are girls don’t call ourselves girls.
    • Teratogender is a term a friend made up that translates to “monstergender”. Those of us who are teratogender seem to be nestled closest to our lymbic system and also identify as monsters of various sorts. Their collective gender is closer to agender compared to the rest of us, with roles and expressions that are mostly meaningful in-system. They don’t front much, except to act as protectors.
    • Aporagender is an umbrella term for all genders that are neither male nor female but definitely a gender. We call our specific aporagender “dragon”. It is related to and inspired by mythical dragons, but it is every bit as much of a gender as girl is to us, and separate.
    • Many of us also have kin types, as in otherkin, and those are independent from our genders and layer over them like expressions and roles. So we have dragon girls and girl dragons, for instance, and all sorts of other kinds of people. We go into more detail about this on our wiki.
  2. What non-queer demographic terminology do you use for yourself? Again, please only disclose whatever you’re comfortable with.
    • We are physically and socially disabled, Autistic, ADHD, a plural system, and we have CPTSD.
    • We qualified for a Dissociative Identity Disorder diagnosis, but we were allowed to turn it down to avoid medical stigmas and discrimination, and we also do not believe in the pathologization of our neurotype, especially when it doesn’t really distress us. The CPTSD diagnosis is enough to cover what we do struggle with. We subscribe to the model of Positive Plurality.
    • However, we also have a bunch of white privilege to own.
  3. What projects are you involved in? This can be any type of content you’d like to promote.
    • It’s the Sunspot Chronicles! A series of novels (well, currently a novel and a half) that take place in a world where there is no assigned gender, no “she” or “he” for pronouns, and society is based around two human rights, Autonomy and Consent. But, you know, there is still darkness and things that need working on. Humans are still human, even if they might not look like it anymore in some ways.
      • The first book is called Systems’ Out!, and it is about a large plural system like us who are given access to an experimental technology that allows them to project themselves into virtual space and interact with other people and each other as individuals simultaneously. And then it tumbles into the sociological and psychological impacts of that while uncovering some uncomfortable truths about the world they grew up in, the Sunspot.
      • Being able to reach out of our body and exist as separate entities is something we have dreamt of throughout our life. We wanted to create a world and a story that we could revisit where we could do that, at least in our imagination. And making it a book for other people to read makes it feel even more like we’re doing that in real life.
      • It is, overall, a very transhumanist setting, and the story delves into other subject matter, too, such as treatments for physical dysphoria, failures of eugenics, queer structures of power, alternative modes of parenthood, and just arguing with the universe itself. Also there are space lesbians (for a definition of lesbian that is still meaningless on the Sunspot, but their real life counterparts are lesbians).
      • The sequel, Ni’a, is exploring the culture of the Sunspot a little more closely, with how children are raised and taught, how people pick their names and pronouns, what a post scarcity society might look like when it comes to art, food, and other forms of creativity and trade, and a centuries old project coming to fruition that threatens to upend everything. It’s not coming along as quickly and is kind of stalled while we go back and edit Systems’ Out! for clarity and ease of reading, but the first several chapters are up and we’re hopeful about it.
      • We’re also hoping to turn Systems’ Out! into a graphic novel at some point. We’d very much like to see a comic book in stores that is obviously and clearly about life as a plural system, even if it’s also in a fantastical science fiction setting.
      • But our disabilities are keeping us from drawing comics right now, and our CPTSD makes it impossible for us to do business. So, instead we’re just putting it all up on a website hosted by our QPP, for people to read for free. We just really want a few more readers right now. We’re excited to share this story!
    • We’re also working on an autobiographical wiki, to set the record straight about who and what we are. But it can also serve as an introduction to particularly large systems like ourselves and how we work, if anyone is curious about that.
  4. What do you enjoy doing when you’re not creating content?
    • For the past several years, not much. We’ve been in the throws of autistic burnout since 2012, and working on recovering from that. Which means a lot of just lying in bed or on a sofa and maybe listening to music, but usually not even that much stimuli.
    • We also spend way too much time on social media, which isn’t something we enjoy, but has been therapeutic and crucial to our survival. It’s also an addiction, but that doesn’t change how our community there has helped us stay alive.
    • Lately, however, we’ve been getting back into watching movies and TV shows and, more happily, reading webcomics and books!
    • Our favorite shows have been the new wave of queer and feminist cartoons, both new properties and remakes or sequels of old ones. They are still problematic in a lot of ways, of course, but they are so much better than what we grew up on and as a trans feminine system it’s been really good to finally let ourselves enjoy things that would have been denied to us when we were little.
    • But, we used to be incredibly avid readers, of both novels and webcomics, and burnout took that away from us. So we’ve been thrilled to be able to start reading Questionable Content again, and to binge on Gastrophobia, O Human Star, and Nimona for comics, and to plow through Wildbow’s Worm and Ward, When Rabbit Howls by the Troops for Trudy Chase, Edge Anomaly by Meg Rabbit, various Jack L. Chalker books we missed in our previous scramble to read his work, and especially to start getting into Octavia Butler’s writing. We’ve got a long way to go there, having only just read Wild Seed. We are going to continue in that series, alternating with other books.
    • We’d like to bring special attention to Freshwater, by Akwaeki Emezi, however. We just finished reading it. It is an autobiographical novel. But it is a personal account of an Igbo and Tamil (South Nigerian) spiritual experience of plurality. Of course, we don’t understand it in any way that Akwaeki Emezi’s peers could, so we don’t want to describe it further than that. We think the importance of it should be evident, though. Especially as we’re talking about our own work regarding plurality. This is a book we think everyone should read, more than our own.
  5. What does the queer community needs to do better about understanding, accepting, and supporting?
    • Well, the things that have gotten in our way the most have revolved around our genders and our experience with physical dysphoria. Amazingly, our open plurality hasn’t played much of a part in that except when being harassed by TERFs.
    • We once had another trans person dismiss us by telling us we were just a 19 year old tumblrina cis girl looking for attention because we said we were non-binary. Just for being non-binary. We hadn’t even described our weird personal takes on our genders! And at the time we were 40 years old. And as an intersex person who had been assigned male at birth, who had come out as a dragon (our aporagender) at 9 years old in 1984, and fought like hell in 2015 to get HRT and bottom surgery as quickly as possible in order to survive horrendous suicidal ideation, this insult was just absurdly ridiculous.
    • But that didn’t really hurt us. We laughed at it and then blocked them.
    • What hurts and what scares us is both a broader dismissal of non-binary experiences (especially things like aporagenders) and the medical necessity of treating physical dysphoria ASAP, and where those two things intersect. We grew up with the denial of transitional medicine to anybody who wasn’t perfectly aligned with the cishet ideals of one of the binary genders, and that kept us in the closet for decades. So when we get that kind of gatekeeping from within the community still, when it’s serious and relentless as it can be, it can be a killer.
    • But we don’t want to get into that further here. It’s what our stories are about. That’s our personal drum that we beat, and we’re better at conveying that message through narrative.
    • Wait a minute. You know what? Looking over what we’ve written above and what we wrote and deleted, we do have a clear message from our perspective: We all have got to learn how to manage our own trauma and heal from it and to self advocate without somehow limiting and hurting others in the process. And the fear that someone’s identities somehow make yours look bad is not proof that they are hurting you. In fact, that fear is more likely to cause you to hurt them.
    • And we the Inmara are no saints in that regard, and we seek to actively learn how to do better, too.
    • Anyway the greater struggles we see are with all forms of gatekeeping and how those come from colonialism and white supremacy. And we are not the experts to talk about that. This is why we have been reading the works of people like Akwaeke Emezi and Octavia Butler. And as we recover from our burnout, we are also looking for others from other backgrounds and experiences that we cannot have, especially Indigenous and Black authors, but also as many others as possible. And that’s a call out for recommendations. Thank you.
  6. What are you excited about going forward? Can be anything from creative projects, personal or professional milestones, etc.
    • Honestly, and we do hate to be a downer here, but we are not excited about much. We’re exhausted and in a lot of pain. It’s hard work to look forward to anything in the future, and we have limited spoons to do anything.
    • What we are doing, however, is trying to take as much pleasure in the present as we can. To hunker down during flareups and CPTSD attacks, and to celebrate during periods of relative relief, and to take the opportunity to explore new things again now that we can. And to soak up as much gender euphoria and body congruency as possible for the rest of our life.
    • We do look forward to swimming, whenever we can do that. And to reading the next book. And to hopefully finishing our sequel, but that’s pretty far out there and we don’t think about it often.
  7. Are there any pets or plants in your life?
    • We live with a very round cat with diabetes named Tuck and a cuddly spotted white pit bull named Petey, both of whom were adopted by our girlfriends. They are such wonderful people, the animals and our girlfriends, and Petey keeps us exercising while Tuck is just ridiculous and cute. Both animals are old but spry.
  8. What content / content creators have you been enjoying recently? This could be anything from books, to podcasts, to tutorial videos, etc. Anything you want other people to know about.
    • Ah, we covered this above! Um, let’s see if we can make a longer list: Akwaeke Emezi, Octavia Butler, Noelle Stephensen, Rebecca Sugar and crew, Jack L. Chalker (kind of a guilty pleasure, but very eggy), Jeph Jaques, Arryn Diaz, Dylan Meconis, Meg Rabbit, Vera Bresgol, Daisy Finch McGuire, and Anne Lecky, among others we’re just not remembering.
    • And for music: Lenka, Mary Lambert, Metric, Shiny Toy Guns, They Might Be Giants, Talking Heads, Gorillaz, Bif Naked, Siouxsie and the Banshees, Raymond Scott, Regina Spektor, Suzanne Vega, Karen O, the Cranberries, Miles Davis, Cannonball Adderley, Eartha Kitt, Garmarna, Babe Waves, Against Me!, and the Akira Soundtrack, plus whatever anyone recommends to us that’s Black, Indigenous, trans and/or queer.
    • But we’re pretty focused on plurality right now, so the above list are artists who’ve written songs or pieces of music that while they may not be about plurality at least remind us of our experiences with it.
    • Oh, and Iguanamouth. Not music. They’re a visual artist, and probably everyone reading this knows who they are. And if you don’t, they’re easy to search for and worth it. We really just can’t wait for whatever they draw next.
  9. What is your favorite thing about yourselves?
    • That there are so many of us, and that for the most part we all seem to be willing to band together to help each other. And even though we don’t all agree on how to do that, or what our problems are, when we do tackle a problem we can get a crack team on it and figure out a solution that suits everyone remarkably well. Our body may be extremely limited, but our psyche is so powerful. And we love each other deeply.

The Inmara can be found on twitter and tumblr.

The Sunspot Chronicles can be found here.

The Inmara’s wiki.

Additionally, the Inmara also welcomes you to peruse the music they write to.

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