I realized as I filled out the national trans survey that the reason why I don't explain my gender to people more often is that I have too many variations from the default that would need explaining, and I don't want to center gender in my identity. Also I don't really have a gender so much as a negation of gender, and few binary people can even grasp the outside edges of that.
But far more central to my identity is wordweaving and thought remodeling: ethical use of language and concepts. I don't use slurs and it hurts me to have them used by others. I avoid oppressive language and coercive language and seek to listen and balance voices. I self-educate constantly. I dismantle stereotypes and problematic expectations in my own mind. This doesn't 'count' as an identity but more than anything else it separates me from others.
So many of the cheap and temporary yet useful bridges people build over difference or distance are made with language and concepts I would consider toxic or evil. "those cr*zy id*ots" implies "you and I belong together and are better than those other people who do not belong." I cannot accept bonding over oppressive ideas so when most of the people around me are feeling jovial and affirmed as belonging, I'm feeling a painful reminder that nowhere is safe and I don't belong and if I assert my needs I won't even have the sense of almost-belonging. Instead of having people who can work with me clumsily, I will have nothing, or worse I will have to be around people who feel the need to make everything harder for me.
There are, I'm sure, more important things to change, but the single change that would make me feel like I could actually belong in this world would be if people would stop using oppressive, coercive language. (not that that change could be separated from other change in reality) How lucky am I that this is the thing that causes me the most pain. Other people have to deal with fear of literal death and I just live with fear of words. Nonetheless it gets to me. There is no escape.
I used to deal with bodily self-loathing that was pervasive and ruled my every action. But that hurt less than this. At least with that I could wear certain things and stand certain ways and feel like I had some protection. There is no protection from this and no way to predict who will just fling out slurs. Even with the most justice-minded groups there are almost always ableist slurs. And it's so much more painful coming from someone I want to trust.