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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » What to do about gender confusion?

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Author Topic: What to do about gender confusion?
NotApplicable
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I'm physically male, and I've had some issues with gender for a while.
I first actually decided that I felt transgender(IE that I felt more female than male) several months ago, but it reflected frustrations I've had for a while. I've always felt like I was negatively stereotyped as a male, and that I've had to fight particularly hard to overcome the stereotypes that men are overly sexual and perverted, and that we are stupid jocks who objectivize women. As a result, I've tried to resist those stereotypes, and be more of a human person than a male person.
Eventually, I discussed these feelings with my (then) girlfriend and with another female friend of mine. Another element of this is that I greatly prefer spending time around girls to spending time around guys, and have since the beginning of middle school. I have trouble connecting with people who are male, and I have trouble treating them fairly as compared to my female aquaintances. This is extremely hypocritical, since I am an outspoken supporter of gender equality, and I make an effort to keep from discriminating, but sometimes I find myself slipping. I feel like if I was female then I would be more able to interact with females without being seen as a male presence (as opposed to a "girl-friend".
There are other factors that affect it as well: I have a female body image, and I can't imagine myself as an adult male. I'm partway through puberty, and I'm afraid of what will happen when secondary sex characteristics really become irreversibly distinguished. I find myself wishing I had hips and breasts, and that my face was less angular. Part of that is that I am not very athletic, but I'm very slender, so I will probably never have a good male physic, but I could have a good looking female physic.
I'm not openly trans: I dress as a male, and I don't ask people to refer to me as "she", because I think that it won't change anything, and is pretty silly(for me, as a personal preferance). In many ways, I could go through life as a male and be perfectly content behaving as I wish while in a male body, but sexually, I cannot stand it.
I have extreme problems with my own sexuallity. I don't mean sexual orientation, but sexuality in general. I've never intended to be sexually active, or be sexual at all, but I DO have a sexual element, and I feel like that is exacerbated by being male. I masterbate, but I don't really want to. I tried to quit for a while, but then decided it was just something I would live with. Despite this, I always have the same pattern of masterbation: I really want to in an illogical way, I do, I climax(in an unfullfilling way), and then I feel like I just wasted a bunch of time, and that I just invested my emotions in nothing. I could never be sexually active with someone because I feel like I would orgasm, then feel no connection to them at all, and probably feel a revulsion towards them. The only time I have been sexual with another person was with my exgirlfriend, and I trusted her greatly. When I found out that it meant nothing to her, it really screwed up my view of sexual behavior in general. So, I simultaneously feel like I would rather not have sexual feelings at all, and that IF i'm GOING to have them, I want them to be female feelings. My emotions and emotional attachments are longterm and stable, adn I wish my sexual arousal was the same. I feel like being female would give me that.
I also don't like having a penis. They really aren't that great. I can't imagine inserting it into someone and gaining pleasure from their skin rubbing against it. It seems so shallow and worthless, like using someone else's body to scratch an itch. I would feel more connected having someone Inside of me, or having myself inside of me. I also have a tendency to like girls who are bi, and I LOVE stereotypical lesbian characteristics in girls, which also corresponds to a desire to have lesbian sex. Sex shouldn't be so darn important(It's just a rush of hormones!) and lesbian sex is like that:There is no defined boundary of commitment, and there is limited risk involved(in terms of pregnancy or STDs).
This whole issue is worrying me now more than usuall, especially the sexuality part of it. I wish I could find some herbal remedy to too much libido, but I don't think theres much of a market for that. HOnestly, if I could just become asexual and androgenous, that would suit me just fine, but I don't think that's actually a possiblity.

I really want to hear about how other people have dealt with these sorts of feelings, since I basically avoid them in various ways at this point. It's stressing me out a lot, and I'm worried about long term psychological effects, so any stories of similiar situations would be very relieving. Thanks in advance!

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JackOfSpades
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Hi there. First off, I guess I'm coming from the other side of the fence with this, so to speak but hey we might have some stuff in common. I am bio-female and I've had issues with my gender pretty much all my life. I identify as butch and trans to some degree.

What struck me was that some of what you say sounds a lot like my partner who is a feminine-identified guy. He doesn't feel entirely comfortable with his body - to the point where he occasionally feels disgusted by the thought of masturbation or won't look while he's doing it.

Something which helped me a lot was to stop reaching for unattainable goals which I thought would make me "normal" and accept myself the way I am. I identify as stone.

To steal the urban-dictionary definition of stone - [someone] who prefers not to be touched by a partner sexually at all, or in any way that is feminizing.

I have done things that made me feel very uncomfortable because I didn't think it was okay to be 'stone' (didn't even know what 'stone' was at the time) I thought that if I just went along with it and pretended to like being touched like that then maybe one day I would. I remember feeling so angry to the point of wanting to lash out the whole time anybody was doing this. I'm not talking about some crusty old pervert feeling me up without my consent; this was a person who I trusted and felt sexually attracted to.

What I'm saying is - if you don't enjoy masturbating - don't do it. Don't have sex with anyone if you think you're gonna feel revulsion afterwards. It's really not fair on either person. There are people of all genders and orientations who don't have sex as a matter of choice; with anyone else or on their own.

Good luck alright - you sound like a very thoughtful person.

-jak

[ 03-23-2006, 11:05 AM: Message edited by: JackOfSpades ]

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September
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Just a thought: I don't have any experience with this, but I think it might help a huge deal if you tried not to adhere to gender stereotypes so much. Not all men are 'perverted', not all women are interested only in stable, long-term relationships. The whold breadth of emotion is possible to either gender, so don't feel you have to 'decide' on a gender based on how you feel about sex and relationships.

Good luck!

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Heather
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I think September's advice here is pretty sound.

One of the trickiest things about a binary gender system is....well, that it's binary. We know for a fact we have more than two SEXES, and we know for a fact that very, very few people of any gender adhere rigidly to the "typical" limits and feinitions of male/female. usually, those who do work pretty darn hard to do so, either by direct effort TO fit, or by never realizing they just don't have to.

Even if you had SRS, did the hormonal thing, for instance, there's no way you would have "female feelings" when it came to sex because bio-women's feeling about sex not only vary vastly, they don't stay the same for any one woman from year to year, or even from day to day.

This, for instance:

quote:
My emotions and emotional attachments are longterm and stable, adn I wish my sexual arousal was the same. I feel like being female would give me that.
...is pretty out there. Some women are that way, some aren't, and if that's defined by our gender, it's likely only because our culture very much has an agenda per what it wants us to do in that regard. But it sure isn't about hormones.

(And eep! Lesbian sex has no defined boundary or commitment? In terms of what? And with whom? That's sure never been my experience in dyke relationships over, sheesh, more than 20 years.)

To me, I'm hearing more body image issues in this, more getting used to sexuality as a whole in this, than anything. That is by no means intended to dismiss possible gender issues. Rather, it's to say that I think it's possible you're deciding that these feelings "match" a given gender in one way or another. Which is why I think what September has said was so spot-on.

And what Jack said here:

quote:
Something which helped me a lot was to stop reaching for unattainable goals which I thought would make me "normal" and accept myself the way I am.
..is something else I think you should really look at. Also, understand getting used to all of this takes time: for plenty of people, it can even take decades.

So, think on all of that. To examine the gender stuff, if you want to see how much that all fits in, might I suggest Kate Bornstein's Gender Workbook? Or heck, talk to some people who are trans, preferably people who have been trans for many, many years. See if you can't talk to some people who are pre-op or post-op. I think that you might be surprised at how much of their experience does NOT often match the expectations you've got right now.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Heather
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A couple more personal thoughts on this that struck me after I finished the last post.

While I support those who are transgender and the trans community by and large, in some ways, I have to say that I'm really glad I came of age WITHOUT being very exposed to transpolitics.

I wonder if I had, if, for instance, I might have come to the conclusion that I should be/felt male, based a lot on binary gender norms, expectations and sterotypes. I might have easily decided that because I love manual labor, because I hate primping, because I like camping, because I have a voracious sex drive and loved casual sex, because I don't like sitting with my legs crossed, because I can fix things, because I am very assertive, because I like to box, because I like to be the person doing the penetrating as much as I like being penetrated, because I'd prefer not to shave, because I'd really rather I were flat-chested, was I given the choice, and beacuse I really abhorred -- and do still -- what the class of women are put through, how we're treated and presented, what expectations are had by some of us, based solely on sex or gender. I grew up for a while HATING my female body, because it meant people pawing on me, staring at my breasts, raping me, the works. Having someone "inside you" you don't 100% want there isn't so hot: having people always want to be inside you or define sex that way can be a serious drag.

I loathe even being presented -- and this isn't to elicit an apology at all, or make you feel crappy -- with some of the gender ideals and stereotypes you presented up there.

I'm glad I, personally, didn't decide that, because all of those things are the woman I am, and you know, I dig her. And a lot of other women like me are in the same boat as well. All of those things are a testament to the fact that biological sex dictates very little about character or behaviour, and gender sterotypes are just that. All of these things and more, as well as the seemingly-strange combination of aspects of self that DO fit in some gender norms, are a very real, wonderful protest TO some really ridiculous gender ideals, to the diversity of all of us, with all our genders.

I obviously can't know this to be so, but I have a pretty good idea that had I been sexed male at birth rather than female, I'd still have a lot of those characteristics.

Also obviously, this is the vantage point from someone who isn't trans (but also from someone who has known, published, spent more time around transpeople than a majority of people have).

My concern sometimes with transpolitics is that for many, especially from the outside, it looks like a shortcut route to being okay with yourself, or to solving some of the problems that arise in a binary gender system, when often -- especially for the latter issue -- it does neither. Now, a lot of transpeople would absolutely agree with me, and have those same concerns. I suppose, though, what I'm saying is that these are incredibly far-reaching complex issues, some of which are about sex and gender, and some of which really are not.

I'm also saying that I don't think one can "feel" male or "feel" female: after all, those of us of one biological sex truly cannot know what it "feels" like to be the other, or even know all that well what it feels like for others of our sex to BE our sex: what we can know, however, is when our own identity, wants or sense of self clashes with our ideas about gender, and/or culture's ideas about gender.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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Heather
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(Hey, Jack of Spades? Just wanted to mention something to you.

quote:
or in any way that is feminizing.
You may want to reconsider using the term "feminizing." Not only, again, does that imply a whole lot of binary gender/sex ideas that are not set in stone, but are really very arbitrary, in many ways that term and idea also can really enable more women's oppression.)

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
About Me • Get our book!
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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JackOfSpades
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Miz S,

Geez I looked at that statement again and I can see how crappy it sounds now [Embarrassed] . Serves me right for lifting other people's words in the first place and secondly not considering the implications. I have trouble saying what I need to say. I don't know if that's my age (haha - or lack of) or just because I'm a tongue tied sort of person.

What I posted earlier, it took me a long time to write because I'm scared of people's reactions; and that sounds pretty pathetic, I mean it's not like anyone can say it to my face on these boards. But. If I'm not careful I can come across sounding like I'm just trying to push another set of gender stereotypes.

I don't know a lot about transpolitics. I know it's really easy to get attached to an idea that sounds about right (but is not necessarily good for anyone once you actually start looking) because in the absence of any sort of words to describe what I am I feel invisible. It's so easy to oversimplify.

I've gotta rethink a lot of what I thought I knew. But that's life aint it? [Wink]

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We are interested in the convergence between filth and science
--chapman brothers

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Heather
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...I sure hope it is! Otherwise, me and my brain have been wasting a LOT of our life. [Big Grin]

I think, for the record, a whole lot of people don't think about a term like that or what it's really saying, in part because it is just SO easy in this culture to assimilate sexist stuff without even realizing we've done it.

And I agree: talking about all this stuff can be really tricky. We have so little language for it, considering how pervasive and large it all is, and in some respect, it's so culturally new to really be dissecting it at all.

[ 03-23-2006, 03:40 PM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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NotApplicable
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I agree with much of what you've said, Scarlet, but some of it doesn't quite ring true. While it's entirely true that what I define as being "trans" is tied into lots of other issues as well, many of the feelings that I associate with my belief are independent of the other issues. I once had a conversation with a friend about it, and she(he now) had many of the same worries and issues that I had, but in the opposite direction.

Additionally, many of the problems I have with my gender have little to do with me, and more to do with the way society views me. I don't really have as much of a problem with just being male as I do with being viewed as male by others. I feel an undue pressure to be the OPPOSITE of male stereotypes. I am also surrounded by ardent feminists, and there are days when too many "Oh, he's just being a boy" comments(at me or others) make me want to pop.

There are also positives to being viewed as feminine, which I think may be precluded by masculine secondary sex characteristics.

You're right on about this being connected with waxing sexuality, but I'm afraid of how to deal with that as a male. I don't feel like I'm satisfied, or could be satisfied, but anything I'm capable of in the sexual realm. At the same time, I have a growing desire to be sexual, and not outlet seems to be what I want.

What I mean about "female feeling" is not having a refraction period. Mine are not long term, but they are intense, by which I mean that I suddenly have absolutely NO sexual attachments whatsoever. I think If I was actually having sexual interactions WITH someone I would end up kicking them out, simply because I would feel so disgusted with having them there. Nothing like my emotional attachments to people.

In response to Jack's suggestion about just not masterbating, it's a lot harder than that, and that frustrates me, because if I don't, then it's like I am not letting off a necessary steam valve, and my thoughts become more sexual, as well as my interactions with the world. I find myself thinking about people that I don't want to be sexually attracted to in a sexual way, and that bothers me, since I usually have control over my emotions.

Anyway, thanks for actually reading my long-winded OP and response, and thanks for the responses, they've been great.

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NotApplicable
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Oh, and I didn't mean no boundaries OR commitments, I meant no boundaries OF commitments. As in, there isn't a universally accepted line that says "We've gone ALL THE WAY, and now our sex life is somehow more important." It's also the inability to become pregnant and the low probability of STIs. I mean, if sex means Drama, Pregnancy, and STDs, then I can't see it as part of my life.
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logic_grrl
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quote:
Additionally, many of the problems I have with my gender have little to do with me, and more to do with the way society views me.
I'd say that's one of the points Miz S is making, actually.

It's worth thinking about your feelings and trying to work out which you'd feel anyway, and which are tied up with current social stereotypes and gender roles. For example, if you were in a utopia where nobody had any preconceptions about what is "masculine" or "feminine" or connected those in any way to being male or female, would you still be uncomfortable with your current assigned gender or your body?

I don't know what your answer would be, and I'm not suggesting there's a simple answer. But it's worth thinking about your feelings and trying to sort out what comes from where, so that you can think in an informed way about what choices might work best for you in the long run.

One of the things that seems very positive to me in trans politics/theory at the moment is that there's been a shift away from thinking in terms of "real" gender.

There are some people in the world who do have a very clear sense of themselves as "really a man" or "really a woman" (whether they were assigned that gender at birth or not).

But there are also many, many people for whom gender is much more complicated, ambiguous and shifting, and it may be a question of looking for a "best fit" at a given time.

For one person assigned male at birth, they may be very clear that they identify as female in all respects, and want to have full sex-reassignment surgery and hormone treatment. But another person may choose to live as female without altering their body, or to modify their body in some way but not others. Someone else with similar issues might choose to define themselves as male and demand that society accept their so-called "feminine" characteristics and behaviour as part of who they are. Yet another person might decide that neither "male" nor "female" fits who they are, and that they want to carve out their own unique gender identity.

Other people may make different choices at different times in their lives, or try out one role and then find that another fits better.

There's a whole continuum of feelings, identities and choices. and that goes for everyone, whether they're trans- or cis-gendered or something in between.

But thinking about your feelings is tougher if you're working on the basis of stereotypes or false impressions (e.g. that lesbians don't have Drama ...). Getting rid of those can help you think more clearly about what you want.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Heather
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quote:
many of the problems I have with my gender have little to do with me, and more to do with the way society views me.
You might find it intersting to know that last I checked, that setniment would actually DISqualify you for sexual reassingment surgery: there was, and I beleive still is, a standard in the acceptance standards which makes clear that seeking SRS to change one's class, cultural station, etc. -- even to, say, limit or cease gender-based sexual harassment -- is not acceptable.

quote:
I mean, if sex means Drama, Pregnancy, and STDs, then I can't see it as part of my life.
Well, I've certainly never experienced less drama in dyke sex or community as a rule than I see in hetero communities. If you were to suggest to pretty much any dyke community that there is LESS sexual drama, you'd likely be considered to have told the funniest joke of the day. (And that's just interpersonal: that's not even taking into account the extra drama that gets piled on from being in relationships which are laregly not accepted by culture and many of the people around a person.) And STIs are an issue. Are they less so? Sometimes. But considering that a minority of lesbian women have NEVER slept with men, the risks actually tend to usually be the same. In fact, thinking they're automatically lesser has in no way benefitted lesbians or lesbian community. It's made a lot of women sick who wouldn't have been otherwise.

quote:
As in, there isn't a universally accepted line that says "We've gone ALL THE WAY, and now our sex life is somehow more important."
Again, I think you're making some guesses and borad generalizations about lesbians. Plety of lesbian women DO have aspects of sex/activities that signify this to them, plenty of them apply those standards to others.

quote:
I am also surrounded by ardent feminists, and there are days when too many "Oh, he's just being a boy" comments(at me or others) make me want to pop.
Couple things on that one. If that's so, you're around feminist women who...well, aren't being particularly feminist. A big part of feminism is analysis and theory, as well as recognizing the difference between class, culture and behaviour based on these and biology. My guess is you're around very young feminist women who are just feeling these things out, who aren't very well-versed in theory yet.

And transpeople tend NOT to fare well with a LOT of feminist women: many will in no way recognize a transwoman as anything but a man, and you will likely meet HARSHER approaches, not more accepting ones. In my opinion, a few of the usual reasons for that are sound, though many are really not, but that's how it is, regardless.

quote:
What I mean about "female feeling" is not having a refraction period. Mine are not long term, but they are intense, by which I mean that I suddenly have absolutely NO sexual attachments whatsoever. I think If I was actually having sexual interactions WITH someone I would end up kicking them out, simply because I would feel so disgusted with having them there.
There are a WHOLE lot of women who have or do feel exactly that way, by the by. Being female doesn't negate that. And women DO essentially have a refractory period, and refractory periods don't create, in and of themselves, any sort of given emotional response. Nor does still being engaged in sex or aroused, for that matter.

(FYI, I likely will not post to this thread for a week or so: just wanted to take a few minutes today to check posts while I could.)

[ 03-25-2006, 08:00 AM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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greengem
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NotApplicable,

So far, people have been mostly trying to convince you you're not transsexual. Maybe that's a good thing - no matter how enlightened the town, province, and country you live in, trans people have to put up with a great deal of chaff from random strangers on the street, friends, family, the medical profession, and so on. And growing up trans usually leaves us with scars, mental and physical, that last long after we've transitioned. It's not easy to be trans. So maybe it's better to be discouraged a bit, and to look around for other ways to deal with how you're feeling.

But if you are trans, what you're feeling will not go away. You may decide to do nothing about it, even to forget about it; but it will almost certainly come back to bite you sooner or later. I'm trans; I buried it for five years after it first became clear, and trying to do that pushed me to the brink of suicide.

I recommend you look around and try to understand what you're feeling. You can read books; Kate Bornstein and Charlie Anders usually argue for a more flexible notion of gender, which is probably a good thing. But I read their books, and found it left me with no real understanding of what I was feeling. It's hard to capture what it feels like to be trans. I found that what spoke most truly was other kinds of book - personal stories told by trans people, fictional stories written by trans people about trans people, photography - in particular, Loren Cameron's "Body Alchemy" is fascinating.

I can also say, make sure you know what you're getting into. It's easy to look at women from a distance and think that their lives are wonderful, but look a little closer. It's nice to be admired for being beautiful; but it's not so nice to be felt up by creeps, or to feel like you need to starve yourself to stay beautiful. It may seem nice to be more emotionally open, but it's not so nice to be stabbed in the back by a girl you've told all your deepest fears to. The grass is not greener.

I'd say, think about it, read about it, try to live as a feminine boy. Find someone you can talk to about it, and look for other ways to be yourself. If, ultimately, you need to transition, it will go much easier if you know what's involved and you've got some support.

Most of all, take care of yourself.

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Heather
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That was beautifully done, greengem. Thanks so much for adding your thoughts here.

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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likewhoa19
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NotApp, may I ask your age? You sound similar in some aspects to someone I dated for awhile, but if you were a much different age I think that would make the situation much different. I'm just curious. (like if you're young, I think you've DEFINITELY got a lot of time in which you might change. One thing you should know about being female before you think the grass is greener is it's virtually the norm for girls under 16 or so to feel bad about a lot of aspects of themselves.)
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Omnia
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I'm curious to your age aswell.

I'll give abasic rundown on my situtation (why I came to these boards) just because I can and I'm an attention whore: I'm 17 and have had gender issues for as long as I can remember. A couple of times I've tried "giving up" and just bravely being the young man society (and largely my father and a few other people close to me) wanted me to be and a couple of time's I've embraced my feminine side. However recently under the loving care and guidance of my girlfriend of 1 year 8 months, I've been finding myself. For a long time I've believed that I'm exactly half way, however now, As the voice in my head that is my father fades, I find myself leaning towards the feminine. At seventeen my body is still fairly lithe and I can pass fairly well but I'm worried because I believe my time is quickly running out as far as hormonal processes go. However I am a bit of a hippy and the thought of putting chemicals into my body (HRT) is not an appealing one. I am investigating natural alternatives as we speak. I'm not in the closet about my gender identity anymore, I've been attending school fore the last few weeks in almost full drag (as in everything minus fake breasts) and the majority of my year level accept that and everyone elses is too scared of us year 12s to question me. People dont recognise me as "just another girl" but they recognise me as "that guy who may as well be a girl" and no-one gives me trouble so I'm happy.

That post was almost entirely pointless but I thought I'd post it anyway because I havent had enough sleep and rambling is fun.

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BohemianBard
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You sound to be going through the exact same ordeal that I am.

Only, exactly opposite as I am a girl struggling with the frustrations of wanting to be a homosexual man.

Still, all that you have written is exactly how I feel.

I found this site tonight because the stress of my feelings is becoming too much and, having never told anybody how I felt, I needed to see if anybody else in the world understood how I am feeling.

I would greatly love to communicate wih you more on the topic. Please.

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Biguy(formerly AmberTS)
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I'm going through the same problem as you. I am male and I have been feminine all my life. I don't have many muscles, have a high IQ, am more well-behaved, and apologetic, and I don't really laugh at "potty humor". I am sexually attracted to both men and women, enjoy walking with feminine mannerisms, enjoy putting on female clothing, and makeup(when I can get the chance, when I feel like I need to but I can't, I have a pair of my mom's nylons I snagged).
I would love to be able to wear female clothes, and wear makeup, and have long hair and earrings in public. I would love to be able to have a vagina instead, although I don't dislike my penis like you do. I am not ashamed of it, and am at sometimes attracted to it(like a man suddenly changed to a woman's body might like his/her breasts) I just think a vagina would be sooooo much better, and would definately be a step up.
I like being called Amber(my chosen girl name), and am okay being called my male name, but I wish I was called Amber by more more people than you guys.
I am also afraid of secondary sex characteristics, because those cannot change after SRS. I don't want people to point and go "Is that a man in drag, or an ugly woman?"
I have female friends that I love to be around, we have such good philosophical discussions. I am okay with my male friends too, they make me laugh, but I just don't seem to fit in with them that well. They are definately good friends and are funny, but I just can't seem to come up with their kind of jokes or think the same way they do. On the subject, I am afraid that I might not be TS(even though I have so many girl feelings) or that going through hormones might take away the fun I get from typically "male" activities. I like action movies, and am an avid Star Wars fan. I play World of Warcraft, and have fun with my male friends, just not as much fun with them as with my female friends.
Every single gender test I have taken has said I am female, most say that I am extremely female. My Dad died when I was eight-years old, so it's just my Mom and me. I seem to be a lot more emotional than males are. I haven't had a boyfriend or girlfriend yet and am a virgin(I'm fine with the virgin part, other part, no way [Razz] !) My Mom was raised to be tolerant of homosexuals, but not of transgenders, not because my grandparents we're against them, but because they simply weren't very open to her when she was being raised.
I don't know what to do. I have always been told by people that I would look beautiful as a girl. I tried coming out to my Mom with the aid of a counselor once, didn't work out so well. She got in the car and started screaming "WHY, WHY!", and "LOOK WHAT YOU'VE DONE TO ME!", and then had a long speech with me about it. I eventually told her that the counselor misunderstood me, that I had said to the counselor that something was wrong with me sexually, and that I didn't know what. During the discussion she said, "It would've been alright if you we're gay, people accept that." I honestly don't know what to do. I have a bi friend who I could talk to. God if she wasn't somebody else's girlfriend...After the conversation with my mother I bottled up my TS feelings, and thought I was cured, I wasn't. Whenever I put them away they just keep coming back. It's not that I feel like I need to be a girl, I just want to stop running, it's driving me mad!
Maybe I should come out as bisexual, and then take baby steps. But then what about my male friends. They won't leave, but they will definately treat me differently. Sorry about the long post, feels good to actually get these out. I just wish I could be accepted as Amber.

[ 06-04-2006, 11:26 AM: Message edited by: Amber(TS) ]

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Used to think I was transsexual, after further consideration, a feminine bisexual male =P

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Heather
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quote:
I am male and I have been feminine all my life. I don't have many muscles, have a high IQ, am more well-behaved, and apologetic, and I don't really laugh at "potty humor". I am sexually attracted to both men and women, enjoy walking with feminine mannerisms, enjoy putting on female clothing, and makeup(when I can get the chance, when I feel like I need to but I can't, I have a pair of my mom's nylons I snagged).
I would love to be able to wear female clothes, and wear makeup, and have long hair and earrings in public.

Let's please not enable gender sterotypes here.

Having a high IQ is not "feminine." People of all sexes and genders can be, and are, intelligent. People of all sexes and genders can be, are are, well-behaved. People of all genders and sexes can be, and are, bisexual.

Many women do NOT enjoy putting on makeup or girly clothing, nor walking as if high heels were permanently affixed, barbie-style, to our feet.

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Biguy(formerly AmberTS)
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quote:
Originally posted by Miz Scarlet:
quote:
I am male and I have been feminine all my life. I don't have many muscles, have a high IQ, am more well-behaved, and apologetic, and I don't really laugh at "potty humor". I am sexually attracted to both men and women, enjoy walking with feminine mannerisms, enjoy putting on female clothing, and makeup(when I can get the chance, when I feel like I need to but I can't, I have a pair of my mom's nylons I snagged).
I would love to be able to wear female clothes, and wear makeup, and have long hair and earrings in public.

Let's please not enable gender sterotypes here.

Having a high IQ is not "feminine." People of all sexes and genders can be, and are, intelligent. People of all sexes and genders can be, are are, well-behaved. People of all genders and sexes can be, and are, bisexual.

Many women do NOT enjoy putting on makeup or girly clothing, nor walking as if high heels were permanently affixed, barbie-style, to our feet.

I perfectly understand, I just do enjoy being feminine, and I don't want to walk barbie style, but I do enjoy "typically feminine" mannerisms, and I wish I could be openly feminine. I am fine with women who are masculine. I don't plan to put on make-up everyday or be overly feminine if I ever make the transition, but it would be nice to just have the option to. I didn't mean to put bisexual in with feminine, I just kind of wanted to state that. After re-reading that, I suppose it is kind of corny. I just was trying to support my case of being more feminine than most males.

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Used to think I was transsexual, after further consideration, a feminine bisexual male =P

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Biguy(formerly AmberTS)
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Omnia, may I ask, How did you come out? I'm getting sick of waiting till I'm living out on my own, I think I might be ready to come out.
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logic_grrl
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I just was trying to support my case of being more feminine than most males.

You know what? You don't need to make a "case" or prove yourself here. You identify however you want to identify, and that's that [Smile] .

There are plenty of people who are trans without necessarily fitting gender stereotypes - for example, some FTM women identify as "tomboys", having a lot of masculine traits while they identify as female. Equally, there are some men who have a lot of "feminine" traits, but don't identify as trans at all.

Gender and gender expression are amazingly complex and varied things. So, social pressures aside, you don't need to draw on stereotypes in order to "prove" you are who you feel you are.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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greengem
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MizScarlet,

You've been very good about calling people on gender stereotypes when they crop up. But I think perhaps you're missing some of *why* they keep cropping up (beyond the usual, that we haven't done our feminist readings).

If I feel like I am a woman, but my body's plainly male, what can I do about it? I can try to walk around with this mental picture of myself as a girl (which will make me vastly happier), but it's awful hard to keep an attitude that is constantly being contradicted by reality. So if, for example, I think that girls wear high heels, I can wear high heels to remind myself I'm a girl. They also remind everyone else I'm supposed to be a girl. The fact that lots of women don't wear high heels doesn't bother me, because it's mostly my own mental image I need to maintain.

More generally, if I'm a girl with a boy's body, or just a person with a need to be feminine in an unfeminine body, I need to take femininity where I can find it - if that means makeup, long nails, and taking two hours to get dressed every day, so be it. (Note, of course, that women vary in how feminine they need to be, and that "unfeminine" simply means "not conforming to society's notion of femininity" and is not a value judgement.)

Put it another way: suppose women and men dressed just the same (B-movie jumpsuits without obvious zippers, say). What, then, can the people who feel their gender conflicts with their bodies do to express this? Surgery? That's a bit drastic.

That said, I can't stand high heels, nobody I know (of any gender) wears makeup, and my hobby involves getting punched in the head from time to time. So I'm not exactly an expert on femininity. Nevertheless I am female, in some indefinable way, in my heart.

greengem

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Heather
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I'm not sure what you're suggesting: I *think* you're suggesting that gender dysphoria/transgenderism is a major cause of gender stereotypes. If that is, in fact, what you're saying, I can't agree there.

I've never encountered any organization expressly FOR the support of transgender individuals and the eductation about transgender which has suggested that gender dysphoria to that degree is anything BUT very rare. And yet, lack of gender equality and gender stereotyping is incredibly common.

Again, I may not be understanding you. Perhaps you are talking ONLY in relation to being trans or genderqueer?

quote:
way: suppose women and men dressed just the same (B-movie jumpsuits without obvious zippers, say). What, then, can the people who feel their gender conflicts with their bodies do to express this? Surgery? That's a bit drastic.
Actually, that's an absolutely fantastic question. But I think you may want to look a bit deeper in trying to answer it. For instance, might it instead be possible that people would not FEEL as great a conflict? Or have to simply express their gender in a way that was not about appearance/dress? Why would surgery be the obvious conclusion when there is no one way women look without their clothes, sparing that generally, they have some breast tissue, less body hair and a vulva?

[ 06-20-2006, 11:37 AM: Message edited by: Miz Scarlet ]

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Heather Corinna, Executive Director & Founder, Scarleteen
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Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead

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greengem
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Uh, sorry for being confusing.

What I meant was, there are gender stereotypes, trans people certainly didn't create them, but they do help us. Some of what we feel is (for example) a need to feel feminine. Some aspects of our bodies we can't change without dangerous and expensive medical treatment; other parts we can't change at all. So having other things that are gendered that we can control can make us slightly happier. A transwoman (say) can wear a skirt and be confident that this is a feminine signifier; she can use it as a nonverbal request "please use female pronouns". A transman can't do the same by wearing trousers, since trousers are worn by women as well as men. He has to wear some other masculine signifier (beards seem to be common) if he wants the same effect.

So, for example, telling someone that driving racecars is not a gendered activity because Danica Patrick does it, is not only a bit disingenuous (her biography is written with a general tone of "look how amazing it is to have a woman in this male profession"), it can also take away a tool that a transman uses to feel more masculine (and to be seen as more masculine).

When an activity that is traditionally gendered (racecar driving, say) begins to be taken up by people of the other gender, (at least) two things happen. The early adopters are seen as having a certain amount of cross-gender behaviour (Danica Patrick is seen as a bit mannish, which she appears to compensate for by acting rather femme in the rest of her life). But the activity also begins to seem less gendered. Being a soldier is no longer such a masculine pursuit as it was (here in Canada, anyway).

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logic_grrl
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it can also take away a tool that a transman uses to feel more masculine (and to be seen as more masculine).

But doesn't that amount to saying that other people shouldn't cross break gender stereotypes because doing so is "taking away" tools for trans people to reinforce their identities?

I'm sure that's not what you're intending to say, but it is the logical consequence.

I haven't seen anyone here say that you (or anyone else, trans- or cis-gendered) shouldn't wear high heels or race cars if that makes you feel more feminine, masculine or whatever - or you just want to do it [Smile] .

But supporting universal gender stereotypes - as if "femininity" was something immutable, or as if it was only possible to be female by wearing high heels or being polite - doesn't do any of us any favours.

If anything, gender stereotyping tends to reduce, not increase, the options for people who are genderqueer in any way.

For example, historically, this sort of stereotyping was applied by the psychiatric profession to decide who was accepted as deserving of hormones and SRS - trans women had to be ultra-feminine and heterosexual in order to be accepted as "real" transsexuals.

The result was that for years, trans women who were lesbians, or who were more comfortable expressing themselves in a more androgynous way, were excluded - they couldn't be "real women" because they didn't fit the stereotypes.

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"Do not be daunted by the enormity of the world's grief. Do justly, now. Love mercy, now. Walk humbly, now. You are not obligated to complete the work, but neither are you free to abandon it." - the Talmud

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Sunsedrae
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Greengem, I very much relate to what you are trying to explain. I find myself getting frustrated as I read through what seems to me to be almost "criticism" for a trans expressing a desire to dress in stereotypical "feminine" or "masculine" ways to feel more comfortable with him/herself. I understand the dangers that exist around perpetuating gender stereotypes, and I wish that we lived in a world without them, but unfortunately, that is not the case. I believe that we, as humans, all need to work on disabling the negative power that gender stereotypes hold in our society. However, it seems unfair to me that a bio-woman is born with the privledge to live her life adhering to society's stereotypical notion of "femininity" if she so desires, yet a trans individual does not have this privledge and is often criticized for using such stereotypical words such as "wanting to look feminine."

Even as I write this, I see the hypocracy in my words. I see gender as a continuum, and it makes me angry when people categorize men or women into bianry categories (which is exactly what gender stereotypes do.) Yet at the same time, I recognize that we don't live in an ideal world, and it frustrates me that it becomes the trans' "responsibility" to stop perpetuating gender stereotypes.
Actually, that's an absolutely fantastic question. But I think you may want to look a bit deeper in trying to answer it. For instance, might it instead be possible that people would not FEEL as great a conflict? Or have to simply express their gender in a way that was not about appearance/dress?

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Sunsedrae
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oops, I was trying to insert a quote, and i messed up. That part that began with "actually" was the quote from Miz S that I was trying to put in. See, I think that if the world was that way (everyone wearing jumpsuits) then perhaps people wouldn't FEEL as great of a conflict. But the world ISN'T that way. So why isn't it okay for someone to long to look "stereotypically feminine" and write about it, without being accused of adding to the vicious cycle that is gender stereotyping?
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Heather
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quote:
However, it seems unfair to me that a bio-woman is born with the privledge to live her life adhering to society's stereotypical notion of "femininity" if she so desires, yet a trans individual does not have this privledge and is often criticized for using such stereotypical words such as "wanting to look feminine."
Sun, I think that's a totally apt critcism, I really do.

Save that I'd have/do have (and have voiced it before, plenty of times) the same critique of cisgendered women speaking to "femininity" or the nature of being female as appearance-only, or in a lookist way, or in a way in which traditional/pervasive gender roles are held up as "what is female." Publicly defining what it female or feminine by ANY one role, way of looking or behaving is problematic and oppressive, no matter who does it.

I think it IS okay for someone to long to look however they want to present their gender and write about such: my bad if my words gave a different impression (though I'm not sure I understand how they could have). And I recognize that all of this has some extra tricky elements being trans. I'd simply not view it as a privilege cisgendered women have to live under so many pressures to fit one view of women -- and one primarily held up for us by male-dimainated culture, often to suit its needs, not ours -- even when women DO want to present that way. The women who do fit or want to fit the narrow cultural viw/role/ideals for women may be privilieged to some degree by having permission to do so, but that's no different a situation than whatever priviliege someone trans may have to fit the narrow role of their assigned sex: to assume or presume women sexed female at birth are privilieged in this respect is to presume all or most of us are or want to be (or even can be) that narrow ideal, just as is often presumed with transfolk.

I'd also always question -- and always do --anyone definining the nature of being female in the way it is hegemoniously defined, and I do not feel that is the responsibility of transpeople above and beyond all other people (in fact, I think it's pretty obvious that a binary gender system very much harms transpeople, and certainly wasn't something transfolk invented/benefit from). I'm not sure where you'd get the impression I think the responsibility to protest/resist strict gender roles belongs to transpeople only or more to trans than anyone else, but it's pretty counter to what I think and do.

[ 09-23-2006, 04:20 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Bonnie.N.Clyde
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What you all are saying totally hits home with me. I am biologically female, but I =am= a guy. I don't know how to explain it...

Not Applicable, you described a lot of things opposite me! which is good, because it put things in a new perspective.

I, too have the feelings that i'll never enjoy sex. at all. It doesn't seem worth it without a real penis. So in a way, i know what you're talking about. I feel really dumb, but man, if anyone talks about my boobs, I feel like beating them up.. and i'm a relatively peaceful guy, even though I try to be tough. [Smile]

the fact that you like, or are interested in lesbian sex makes sense, too. i think that you WILL get enjoyment-- just give it some time. you could totally be in a lesbian relationship, I mean, if that's what you want, it is surely possible.

best of luck! thanks for the post-- it made a lot of sense.

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