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» Got Questions? Get Answers. » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Sexual Identity » How Do I Know If I'm Gender Queer? (Page 1)

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Author Topic: How Do I Know If I'm Gender Queer?
cagedbird123
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I like being one of the guys and I HATE it when my friends say to me, "Oh, it's a guy thing."
I cut my hair short because I don't like girly hair styles on me. I like to look at and wear men's clothes because I think they look great and that girl clothes are gross. I've thought about binding my chest and being a guy for a while, but my voice is too high. At the same time, I like being called pretty and being told I'm beautiful. I have no problem being a girl. I don't want a penis, I just want to look like a guy. I like men, I'm not interested in wemon or being lesbian. I am demisexual straight.
I have a bisexual boyfriend and he supports me no matter what I look like. I don't know what this all means for me. I want to look like a guy, I think they can be a lot prettier and asteticly pleasing than girls, but at the same time I want to keep my vigina, even if no one else knows I have one. What does that make me?
Also, my voice is too high to be a man's. Is there any way I can mask it or make it lower (with out permanent damage or alteration) if I decide to assume the role of a guy?

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Robin Lee
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Hi cagedbird123,


You get to decide what your gender looks like and what gender words (if any) you use to describe yourself.


Know to that people's sexual orientation doesn't have to be (and very often isn't) connected to their gender identity or gender presentation.

What I'm hearing in what you're saying here is that you want to make some changes for your own comfort. Is it also important what people perceive you to be? For example, your desire to have a more typically masculine voice, is that for you, or so that people might think you're a guy?

It sounds to me like you're living the way you want to live and have support, at least from your boyfriend, to do that. What other chnges do you feel like you want to or need to make right now?

Have you seen these two articles? I think they speak to a lot of what you're saying here.

Living without Labels


Q is for Questioning

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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Personaly, I'd like to appear as a boy to most people, letting certain people (my boyfriend and probably my college roommate -I don't want her to feel uncomfortable thinking she's rooming with a boy- will obviously know) know that I am actually female. I don't mind that I have a vagina, I just want to look like a boy, or at least someone in between (androgynous). I don't mind not having a lable, I just want to know what to say when people find out or ask.
My parents don't support me, none of my family does, only my boyfriend and a few of my friends.
I want to figure out how to deepen my voice and flatten my chest. I also need to try and fond nice men's wear. I need to work out too. I'm getting another haircut Tuesday.
I'm very very short on cash. I have little money and a teeny income, and my parents will definitely NOT help me out. They're homophobic and don't even believe that I'm demisexual (they think there is no such thing), so anything discrete and inexpensive would be fantastic.

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Heather
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Is there a secondhand store or Goodwill near you? Thrift or secondhand stores are how many people -- would have been naked for decades without them, myself -- who are low-income or short on income find clothing they can afford.

What you say to people per what words you use for your gender identity is totally up to you, and mostly about what words seem to express that identity best. No one else can tell you what those words are, because they're about you and for you. If genderqueer, all by itself works for you, great. If not, you can choose other words or make up your own words. After all, all these terms we've had for gender through history? Someone made all of them up at one time or another. [Smile]

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Molias
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I just wanted to send a few links your way in case you find them helpful! Genderfork is a great site with personal experiences from genderqueer/gender-variant folks of all sorts; I find it's a nice place to go when I'm feeling too alone or weird in my gender identity.
I know you said you are not really interested in being a man as much as looking like one, but some of the grooming and dress tips at Hudson's ftm guide might be helpful. I find some of the advice to be a bit too prescriptive - men dress and act all sorts of ways! But I think the clothes-shopping and haircut tips could be pretty useful.
I don't know what size your chest is, but tight-fitting sports bras can help for smaller breasts. Binders, which are much better at giving a flatter look, can be expensive but there's a binder donation program that might be able to hook you up with one. And Heather is spot-on with thrift/Goodwill-type stores; it might take some sorting but that's a great place to look for clothes to experiment with.

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cagedbird123
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Wow! Thank you! This is exactly what I needed!
Do you have tips on making my voice lower?

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cagedbird123
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Note: I don't plan on taking testosterone. My chemistry is already weird and I don't want any more testosterone, I just need a deeper voice to be able to pull off being a boy. I have a high pitched voice. I also don't want to permanently damage my vocals either... I'll try doing some research on it.
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cagedbird123
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I guess what I'm trying to say, as far as the whole "being a guy" thing goes, is that to other people, the general public, I want to appear as a boy, but to my partner and very close friends I would like to be female. I don't really know what that means for me. I think for now I'll just work on finding guy clothes (since I'll be wearing them either way) and then see if I want to go any farther later (binding etc.) when I don't have so much on my plate.
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Heather
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I take it you've already seen this article, cagedbird?

Genderpalooza! A Sex & Gender Primer

I ask because there's some language and terms in there which, if you haven't seen it or anything like it before, might help you out here.

Per your voice -- and I'm talking here as someone who had many years of voice training -- without hormones that create and amp up changes, voice training is the way people alter their voices, primarily, or expand their range so that they can speak or sing higher, lower or both than they already do.

So, the easy route? If you're not in any kind of choir at school, that's a free way that's very accessible where you could work on that.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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cagedbird123
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I'm not in choir. I'm a terrible singer and you don't get any one on one work. School is almost over so I doubt I can get a class change.

I think I'll just practice getting lower like I would on my instrument (I'm in band), but with my voice.

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Robin Lee
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Speaking as someone who loves to sing, there are a lot of sources online for free vocal exercises. Even if you're not a great singer, I'd suggest using those as they'll help you with vocal control without, hopefully, risking vocal strain as you might if, say, you tried to just speak in a low voice all the time.

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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Hmmmmm... I don't know what that article means for me. I guess I'd probably be classified as some sort of transvestite to most people. I guess I understand better a little bit of what I'm feeling, but it's not a fetish (like they discribed some transvestites dp it because of a fetish).

I do get pretty upset after people figure that I'm a female and then call me a dyke or ask me if I'm a lesbian. I don't like that at all because that not who I am. I'd rather be androgynous than be called a dyke. I feel like people are making false assumptions when they think/say things like that.

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Robin Lee
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Nodding. Unfortunately, people tend to confuse sexual orientation with gender identity/presentation. That is, they think people of different sexual orientations should or do look certain ways.

Knowing that you are and likely will continue to be mistaken for something you're not, how do you feel now?

above you said you would just make the change of wearing typically guy clothing and see how you felt after that.

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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My plan is to very slowly transition so my family doesn't notice, retaining my short hair, wearing men's clothes, and leaving how to present myself as a male (which in cludes speaking like one). After that, when I start to get out of the house, I plan on going to college (UALR, my family thinks it's unsafe for me to go there and hate the idea). I will room with my good friend, an active actavist and LBGQ member. She's the only other person who knows about this besides my partner. At this point (if I decide that I want to and I am ready) I will fully transition into presenting myself as male since no one will know me besides my closest friend/roommate.

Is that a good plan?

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smittenkitten
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Sounds like a very sensible and well thought out plan to me [Smile]

I think it's really good that you're planning to room with a friend. You might be surprised and meet some more sympathetic friends at college - and thus have a wider support network. I understand it can be an intensely private process though, so maybe having just one person is better for you.

I don't know the stats for violence at UALR, but I just want to make sure you're aware that there are risks. Even though you aren't identifying trans per se, if you're presenting as gender diverse you are still at risk of violence. That's not to say you shouldn't dress how you want, I just want you to keep your safety in mind too.

Good luck [Smile]

Marion

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cagedbird123
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Yeah, I need to be convincing for my own safety's sake.
I am working on my voice (my partner says that it sounds too forced). I will probaly need to work out a lot too. I'm pretty frail and weak.
I'm kind of scared. I feel really vunerable right now. I have so much work to do.

UALR is in a bad part of town, as in you want to be inside when it starts to get dark, but tne school is wonderful.

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cagedbird123
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I'm just so scared. I don't know If I can do this. I'm terrified.
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Robin Lee
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So, since this whole big plan terrifies you, how about breaking it into smaller steps? Above you mentioned that you wanted to start off by just wearing boy's clothes and working on your voice. Working with your voice will be a process; it'll take some time for you to safely achieve the sound you want.

When a goal seems too overwhelming, breaking it into smaller goals can really help.

What do you think?

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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Yeah, I'm just scared I won't pass, or my family will fing out.
I was talking to my future roommate that I mention earlier and she was telling me that it can be dangerous. Her friend is a FTM and he gets beat up a lot. I really want to be able to pass as male in public, because if I don't that will ruin the whole point and can put me in danger.

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Robin Lee
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As with most things, changing one's gender expression is a process. Most trans people don't wind up passing right away, nor do genderqueer folks.

It's a process of figuring out what works, and it's also a process of figuring out what you want.

You really don't have to have all the answers right now. [Smile]

How do you feel about picking a few things to start with, then giving it a while to see what happens and how you feel?

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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So I can work with these three for now:

1. voice
2. aperance (I already have the hair, I need the clothes)
3. figure (I'm going to try and build a lot more muscle since I'm so frail)


Any tips?

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smittenkitten
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Sounds like a great place to start.

I don't have too many tips to offer, but here's a few.

As far as appearance goes, I'm not sure whether you bind your chest, but I know you can buy purpose-made binders. I've also heard of FTM trans men layering crop tops to reduce the swell of their breasts (which may be a slightly cheaper option). I also think your gait (how you walk) and stance can impact on which gender you're read as, so you could try watching how men stand and walk and practice mimicing it.

As for your figure, if I were you I'd look into doing some kind of self-defense. Not only will it help you build strength, it will teach you how to use your size to your advantage and mean you have some tricks up your sleeve should you find that you need them.

Hopefully these tips weren't too obvious, but I just wanted to let you know I'm still listening and following up on your situation.

Let us know how you go,

Marion

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cagedbird123
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That is good, thank you. I don't know how my family would feel about me taking a self defence/martial art class like kick boxing etc. I've already taken a wemon's self defense course, but that was totally different. It wasn't about fighting, it was about getting out of a dangerous situation (fighting then fleeing).
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Robin Lee
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Are you interested in taking a self-defense course? Many such courses are focussed just as much on mental and physical fitness as they are on, as you put it, fighting.

It sounds like it's pretty important to you what your family thinks of what you do. [Smile]

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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Hahahahahahahahahaha!

You've got it all wrong. My family is a nightmare as far as acceptance goes. They're slightly racist and very homophobic. They're a strict Christian family. I am nothing like them, but I have to walk on eggshells around them so I don't get my head cut off.
They monitor my every move. I don't respect them or think highly of them, I fear them. I fear them and I lash out at them, and it gets me no were.

Actually, very soon, you won't hear from me for a while. I'm checking myself in to a behavioral center because I've relapsed into my depression. It came back with force. I really need some help sorting out all my feelings and thoughts. It's hard living in such a repressive household. I just need a week or two to collect myself. School isn't helping either. I'm swamped in responsibility. I'm literally sick from all of it. I am physically sick.
My parents don't know because they don't really believe in my depression. Every therapist I go to is awful and usually religious, shoving Christianity at me and shaming me. I had a very bad experience the last time. I finally got medication, but my depression is so bad that I don't trust myself to make it the two months it takes to start working. I hope all goes well and that I get admitted and my parents don't find out until I'm already there and admitted.

I know this sounds crazy, but I feel like it's something I need to do.

I'd very much like to be mentally and physically fit.

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cagedbird123
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(the funny thing is though, about the whole guy/girl thing, is that to my close friends -my partner and best friend- I would want to appear as a female -neither greatly effeminate or masculine- but to everyone else I want to seem masculine. I wonder how it will be if I make a very good and close friend and have to transition them into seeing me as a female. I just think that's kind of interesting...)
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smittenkitten
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Sorry to hear your family is sucky [Frown]

As someone who lives with depression, I can understand your frustration with people not believing it's real. It is a real condition that needs medical treatment. It's definitely not a character flaw or something to be ashamed of.

I hope your time in the behavioral center is beneficial and you come out feeling well-rested and ready to face the world! It sounds like you have a lot on your plate, but if you can get a handle on your depression it will make everything else a little bit easier.

Gender is different for everyone. It was described in one of my Gender Studies courses as not just something we do, but something we are. I know my femme persona definitely has a performative element. I spend a lot of time cultivating my public persona, but I do relax it with people I'm close to (things like not obsessively reapplying lipstick).

I just wanted to let you know I will be away for a few weeks but I plan on checking in when I get the chance. I'm sure the other wonderful volunteers here will be able to help you in my absence.

Cheers,

Marion

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cagedbird123
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Thanks so much for the help and support!
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cagedbird123
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Just got home... I hated being there. It didn't really help me at all to be there... but I'm so happy to be home!
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cagedbird123
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I am a size 33 wide 28 long in shirts.
size 30 long 21 wide in pants

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cagedbird123
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...wait... I don't think that shirt size is right. Men's clothes are hard! Does anyone have a resource for helping me dress male?
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Robin Lee
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Molias gave you a link or two above. Have you checked those out?

As with buying clothes in general, it might be a matter of trial and error, and likely the best way to figure out what fits you is to go to a store and try things on.

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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Yes, but none of them say much about sizing or how to dress to help you better pass etc.
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Robin Lee
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Other folks might have some personal experiences to share with you.

In general, I'd say that it really is going to be trial and error. Everyone's body looks different, so what clothes are going to give you the look you want really will depend on you and your own personal aesthetic.

Can you take some time to go to a clothing store, just to try things on?

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Robin

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cagedbird123
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I'm not taking T so it will be harder for me to pass, regardless of if I shop in the men's section. I need to know how to dress to apear more masculine and other tips/tricks to pull of a masculine astetic. Currently, I'm not fooling anyone.
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