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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Help with figuring out what my gender means and what it will mean to my partner.

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Author Topic: Help with figuring out what my gender means and what it will mean to my partner.
Member # 74024

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Most these details and issues probably have been adressed in some way somewhere else, but I find the action of writing and explaining them myself a bit helpful in and of itself, and the combination of them to be in some way unique. I've begun my long road down discovering how I fit in terms of gender, expressing my appearance in a more and more feminine way, in opposition to my biological mascilinity. At times I'm a bit pragmatic about gender, telling myself "its all social conditioning" and at others it burns not to be recognized as female. Emotionally, i feel much more satisfied with stepping out and fitting into the female construct, but logically i cant seem to grasp what it means with respect to others. To complicate matters further, I have a straight female girlfriend. I feel that, personality wise, my presentation of myself is completely accurate and fitting for the most part. When talking about my gender dysphoria with her, she is quick to note that she doesnt feel she could date a girl--a preference i treat with respect. However, the conversation then usually fluctuates as we struggle to determine what it is about females she finds particularly hard to build a relationship with. She said at one point that she doesnt believe someone's dress or physical appearance should completely determine attraction and that she could therefore be satisfied (i dont plan on having my personality alter from its already rather effeminate nature).
I suppose we are both confused as to how to define our needs in terms of gender and what a transition of any kind will do to our relationship.
Our relationship has thus far been a really positive one, and id hate to let it go out of fear; but, at the same time, i dont know that its best for me to ask her to move so far away from what she sees as an important part of her sexuality.
I havent completely sifted through all of what being genderqueer or transgender means to me and how "far" my transition will take me. I know that living in the masciline social "box", if you will, and taking on a masciline appearance causes me tremendous emotional discomfort, to the point of self harm, and that i need to let my femininity be defined in some way. It all feels so slippery to me, in my head, and in my partners.
i hope some of those points were coherent. I dont feel a particularly strong need to gender my "ideal partner" and tend to have an attraction toward neutral characteristics like honesty, cleanliness etc, but could that be out of some naivity? I tend to say things like "gender doesnt matter to me", but that doesnt seem to be true if i my own has been such a battle. Am i missing something basic/important? any feedback would be helpful, I love this community and all the readings ive done on it.

"Divine I am inside and out, and I make
Holy whatever I touch or am
Touch'd from,
The scent of these arm-pits aroma finer
Than prayer,
This head more than churches, bibles,
And all other creeds"
-Song of Myself, Walt Whitman

Posts: 16 | From: California | Registered: Aug 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Executive Director & Founder
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First up, I'm glad for you that getting further down the road in transition is largely feeling good for you. [Smile]

In terms of your relationship, I think that unless someone has a partner who at any point feels very strongly that they know at a certain point in a partner's transition they're going to have some big conflicts, this is usually a giant question mark. Even then, some people have found they don't feel like they'd expect to. So, I think this is one of those things people can't usually predict, but just have to feel it out as they go.

I'd add to that that, in life, relationships shift and change all the time, not just when someone transitions. So, I'd also bear that in mind, and not forget that if you had the idea this relationship would always stay the same even without you transitioning, chances are that's not realistic.

I don't see you asking her to be a different person than she is, so long as you recognize -- and it sounds like you do -- that it is possible the nature of your relationship may need to change at some point, or may change for her (or you). Do I have it right that you both recognize that you need to both have some flexibility around that, whether it's about your gender or something else entirely?

Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Posts: 68290 | From: An island near Seattle | Registered: May 2000  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
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I want to applaud you for talking to your girlfriend about all of this, and for recognizing the uncertainty and confusion you both feel. I have no way of knowing how your relationship with her will progress, but maintaining good communication as you appear to be doing already will make any situation that comes up easier to handle.

It's totally okay to have a complicated relationship with your own gender but also not care strongly about the gender of any partners that you have. Not having a strong gender preference for the people you're with sexually and/or romantically doesn't mean that you're invalidating anyone else's gender, or that you're missing some basic point. As long as you respect who others are as people and support them in their personal identities, you're doing fine.

It really sounds like you're doing a great job of thinking about your needs and your girlfriend's needs in your relationship, and I wish you the best in all your gender explorations, wherever they take you!

Posts: 62 | From: California | Registered: Jun 2012  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator

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