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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » I feel like its all in my head; is it?

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Author Topic: I feel like its all in my head; is it?
moonlight bouncing off water
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Well, I'm happy to say that I own my first 'male' clothing that was purchased with the express intent of it being for when I want to be a boy.

(Gosh I kindof feel sick just writing that. The idea of myself as a man kindof sickens me. I can't see myself as anything other than female: having long female style hair doesn't help either).

See, I'm trying to let myself be whatever gender I am, but I've really got no clue what that is. I mean, I also just bought the first dress (other than my grade 8 grad dress) that I've owned in nearly a decade and I feel really good in it.

I can't tell if I'm simply gravitating to genderqueer or trans because it is different that what I was taught and I resent being taught gender, or if I truly do not fit 'female'. All I have ever pictured any future me as is as a woman, a mother, a girlfriend, a daugther, etc. Never a father, a boyfriend, a son, etc. And whereas I can safely 'be' non-hetero without my parents' knowing, I can really be non-girl without their knowledge.

On a frustrated aside, I was shopping yesterday when I bought shorts from the men's clothing section. When I went in the sales clerk asked me if I needed any help, etc: the usual. Then I was instantly drawn to a pair of shorts that I liked. The clerk said to me: "those are guys shorts, but you can totally wear them". I said thanks or something like that as I searched for my size, wondering if there was a conversion from male to female sizes. I wasn't too bothered, the clothes were on the line dividing "male" and "female" clothes, and some people would have wanted to have known. (I should note that I was rather clearly presenting as female that day). Then he said: "like I said, this is the guys' side of the store, the girls' is over there", again I thanked him politely, pretty annoyed at that point. I continued to shop and things went pretty well normal. But when I went into the changeroom I could vaguely hear him talking and I think I hear him say: "wow, I've never seen a girl come in here and try on guys clothes", but I may have only been listening for what I 'wanted' to hear (in order to have grounds to loudly call him out on what he had said and to embarass him). At the end of the shopping trip he was my cashier as I was checking out with a pair of guys' shorts. We made small talk while another employee check the price of the shorts and I told him that I hate shopping so I'd be glad to be done. He said that that was "really ungirl like", now I was pretty annoyed. After I had paid I told him that he shouldn't make so many gender-role assumptions. I wish I had picked better words, but I'm glad I said something. I've been spending a long time getting up the courage to confidently shop on the guys's side fearing just what happened and it did. Iwas more than pissed.

There's more to what I want to write, but its getting pretty late so I guess ill just post this for now.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Robin Lee
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HI Moonlight,

I'm sorry you faced so many assumptions just shopping in the men's department. Not only assumptions about your gender but about who girls are and what girls want or like to do.

I was at a workshop recently, and the workshop leader was teaching us how to identify how we feel and what we think about something by looking at how it feels in our bodies. I mention that because what you describe makes it sound like being a guy or presenting as one maybe doesn't feel good to you right now and wearing dresses does feel good.. If that's the case, that's certainly okay.

Gender identity is a journey. ON the other hand, if you get up one morning and decide you want to be a boy, or boi, or anything else that day, just go for it. [Smile]


On the other hand, "male" clothing is a heck of a lot more comfy than "female" sometimes, and it has bigger pockets! [Smile]

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Robin

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WesLuck
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Yes, men seem to make men's clothes with deeper pockets than women's clothes. [Razz] [Wink]

[ 05-28-2012, 08:48 AM: Message edited by: WesLuck ]

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copper86
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I agree: guy's clothes are so comfortable! I bought my brother a pair of Spider-Man boxers; and I saw a Transformers pair, and got those for me. I wear them with panties underneath; but I absolutely love the feeling of boxers. They're like poofy shorts!

I think it's stupid that sales people like that are so judgemental and assuming. They're there to sell and get commission, right? So regardless of how they feel about anything, they should just make the sale and be friendly. It's so rude to just "assume" that girls are one way and guys are the other. To illustrate what I mean: my brother (who is heterosexual) is in a rock band and wears a lot of my mother's 70's clothing for his gigs (long white shirts with poofy sleeves); and my mother buys jackets from the men's department. Not only that, the other guys in my brother's band wear women's shirts and pants too, to get the look they want. So that sales guy needs to get with the times! [Wink]

I'm sorry he was so rude. Be who you want to be and ignore those kinds of people.

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"I do the best that I can. I'm just what I am." - Rush (Best I Can)

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Thank you everyone! I feel like maybe I'm not wanting to BE a guy, just break the gender binary a bit. And I wore my guy clothes today which felt pretty okay. I had a frustrating day dealing with a lab partner who isn't doing zir share of the work though so the clothes I was wearing were the least of my concern.

I guess I just need to give myself time to process and see how I feel and get that I can be whatever I want to be, even if that changes day after day.

And per guys clothes having bigger pockets, I'm so happy that they do and so frustrated that girls' don't! Most pants for females now don't even have enough space in them to put in a phone the long way!

Also, Robin, may I ask what you mean by "boi".

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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SheepySeahorse
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Hey, I've been going through a similar situation just these past few days, "gender curious." I've seen myself as a girl forever with long hair, many dresses,etc. , but then I've thinking about what it would be like to not so much be a boy, but have a penis, maybe wear more emasculate clothes. But I've always liked not having hair on my legs or on my neck, upper lip, chin and cheeks and liked having breasts, even wishing I was a bit curvier from time to time. I have never had any qualms about being called, "she" or "her." I'm attracted to girls, but that doesn't really have anything to do with it. The idea of being male is fascinating, but does that really make me trans* especially since I've known and felt I've been a girl, all my life?

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New to all this

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I'm at a point where I really want to revisit this. I'm feeling a lot better about my gender now, but I haven't achieved any more clarity yet. The notion of myself as a man feels really good some days but usally feels really off the mark. That is okay though, I don't feel like I AM a man so it is okay to not always feel like one.

The notion of woman is particluarily difficult for me. Many aspects of what I percieve to be womanhood do not suit me. If I had to choose right now to be a man or a woman I am not sure what I would choose. I think I would choose man because I feel more affinity for aspects of manhood than I do of womanhood. But there is socialization to contend with. When I hear the word woman I self identify-- but not because I feel like a woman but because it is a word I was taught applies to me.

I feel okay not having binary gender, but I wish it wasn't so ambiguous! Genderqueer feels like a good term, but it also feels like a lie.

With figuring out my sexual orientation it was comparatively simple-- I am attracted to people of various genders, thus I am neither straight nor gay and identify as queer. But the notion of man or woman is not as easily identifiable. How does one truly know they are neither man nor woman? It is not as clear cut. (Though sexuality is by no means clear cut).

I'm not sure what I'm looking for here: does anyone have any observations?

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Robin Lee
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Hey Moonlight,

I'm wondering what you mean by the term genderqueer feeling like a lie?


How does it feel identifying as a woman? That is, I'm hearing the thoughts behind this, that you don't perceive yourself to be a woman but that it's a familiar term to you because it's always been used to describe who you were assumed to be. I'm wondering though how that actually feels?

That is, if I were to walk into a room where you were, and refer to you as a woman, what would that feel like?

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Robin

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Genderqueer feels like a lie because I don't feel non-cis enough to use it. I feel like being someone who gets read as a woman and who doesn't feel huge amounts of dysphoria that I don't get to I'd that way. I know I can identify however I want, but don't feel genderqueer enough to call myself genderqueer.

Being percieved as a woman and feeling familiar with the term feels somewhere in the middle ground between neutral and icky. It is convinient to have people read me as female because it does not complicate things too much. I don't want to give a dissertation on my gender to every person I meet, so it is alright for them to make assumptions. At the same time I don t feel like a woman (as I write that doubts resurfaces, how can I be sure I don't). But on the other hand my grandmother referred to something of mine as feminine and that left me feeling downright awful! I'm not really sure how all of this feels.

If you were to walk into the room and refer to me as a woman it would feel okay. Supposing you didn't know all the stuff floating around in my head about gender I wouldn't blame you for percieving me as a woman in our binary society. I wouldn't be happy about it, but I wouldn't take it to heart.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Molias
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Hi moonlight,

I do not at all want to try to convince you into using any word for yourself that you aren't comfortable with, but from personal experience and talking to a bunch of genderqueer friends, I think it's very common for people to really wrestle with whether they're genderqueer "enough" to claim that term. And I find that really sad, although it's certainly understandable too. The Identity Police are everywhere. =/
I believe very strongly that each person is the best judge of their own identity. If you are feeling that way, then I think you have the right to use that (or any) word even if someone else might not agree with you. Because outside viewers can't see your gender!

As a personal example: I was really happy when I heard about genderqueer identities because that idea seemed to fit me really well; I was starting to feel very uncomfortable being read as a woman and was playing around with my gender presentation, but also felt unsure about medical transition and wasn't sure I felt like a guy either. At first I wasn't sure I was not-a-woman enough to be genderqueer.

Then, a few years later, I actually felt more and more sure that I'd be happier using male pronouns and starting testosterone. As that process progressed I didn't feel like I could be genderqueer anymore - hadn't I "picked a side?" And being a guy only sort of felt ok but the physical changes were amazing and helped me feel less like an alien in my own body. I've never been comfortable saying "I'm a man" but I was ok calling myself a "trans dude" or a "guy" or something like that.

But in the past few years, my vague male identity has been even more vague. I am very very happy being on testosterone, having a flat chest, using male pronouns, etc. but it's very clear to me that I don't feel Like A Man any more than I felt Like A Woman before. It's like I'm a person in a "man suit" and that's much better than being a person in a "woman suit," but both were things I put on. So my gender identity, which has been pretty floaty and variable for a while now, has come back to be much closer to being genderqueer, and I'm tentatively using that terminology for myself again. And now I'm having those same worries - am I really genderqueer enough to call myself that? But when I do question myself, it's easier now for me to be ok with claiming that identity.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Thank you Molias. That is really somforting to read all that you wrote. I need to do some processing and some thinking about what you said, but I want to let you know that I've read it and I appreciate it.

I especially identify with not knowing if I'm not-a-woman enough to be genderqueer. It just feels like I'm going to be read as that anyway and coming out doesn't feel necessary (of course there's not much to BE out about since I'm still figuring this out).

Hmm, lots of processing to do.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Here's what I've come up with and stuff I haven't yet mentioned.

I vie for a flat chest (oh how I envy my friends who feel their breasts are too tiny). I don't wear a bra and those few times that I do it feels like drag. I hate how much my breasts bounce but hate bras more. Binding is something I love in principle but find too uncomfortable and quite frankly I'm not damn good at it! plus it'd show with half my clothes. I fantasize about top surgery. BUT I hate having surgery and really don't want to be cut open any more than I have to be. Plus I plan to breast feed the children I will some day bear and I don't want to risk not being able to do that. Plus I really dont want to come out and the only way to avoid coming out about top surgery that I can think of is to stuff a bra! Now clearly, top surgery is a future possibility, but for now I suppose a flat chest must remain in my dreams.

The breast feeding issue brings up an important point. Although I would LOVE to have a penis, I am okay having a vulva. Breasts feel wrong on my body (like someone glued them there almost!) but right as a way to feed my offspring. I would love to bear my children and absolutely love that I have a factory for making people inside of me! Pop in one ingredient (sperm) and wait nine months and if all goes well you've got your self a living breathing person! I'm totally cool with my body ('cept breasts, I'm super dysphoric about breasts).


As per actual identification, I feel like the idea of being a woman is cropping up everywhere I go! My friend and I have joined an athletic club and she must have mentionned eight gazillion times that we are the only girls there. I want to tell her that I don't even feel like a girl, so she's actually all alone on that front, but I don't really have the words to express this.

Today I wrote a contest had to bubble in my gender. The only choices were M and F. Not that I want to out myself to the contest writers but I would have loved to have the choice!

I am going to come out as "not a woman and maybe genderqueer" to my best friend. And then I think I will come out to the friend who joined the athletic club with me. I think that with those two knowing I will be able to see how a non-binary gender feels to me when it is a little less outside of my head.


On a positive note about clothes, I now confidently shop both sides of the store and shop for gender independant of the mens or womens sections. I still loathe shopping, but it is better now that I don't feel afraid to enter half the store. interestingly, there were some "men's" clothes I saw that I found too femme. In terms of clothes, I am becoming more confidant.


As per coming out to my firends, and the rest of this, do you have any suggestions. (The best friend has questioned her gender and knows bits and pieces about my relationship with mine, and also gets read as masculine despite IDing as a woman frequently. I anticipate her being receptive, but perhaps not super acutally getting that this is a real thing. The other friend might be more problematic. I am in fact afraid she might make fun of me, not getting that this is a big deal to me and not something I'm okay with her joking about. I might just make it clear from the outset that this is not okay. I will certainly make it clear to them that this is something I am super closeted about and need to stay that way until I figure it out.)

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Molias
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Testing the waters by coming out to a few friends first sounds like a reasonable plan. In terms of the friend you worry might make fun of you, telling her in advance that it is not ok to joke about it may be a good idea.

You could start the conversation by saying something like: "[friend], some of this information may be not be something you've thought about before, but it's important to me and I hope you'll take it seriously even if it sounds surprising to you." Hopefully she won't need a second reminder. =)

I actually found that talking to friends about my gender-feelings helped me to understand them a bit better. I'm wrapped up in my own thoughts a lot and sometimes I do find that being forced to articulate myself vs. just thinking about stuff all the time helps me to clarify things.

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Heather
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(Hey, moonlight: you've been around here such a long time, I just wanted to briefly pop in and say I'm proud of you for working through all of this the way you are, and for seeking out a gender identity that feels comfortable for you. I know it's good stuff, but it's also challenging, hard stuff, too. As you can tell already from your exchanges here, just know you've got our support!)

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I am excited to get these thoughts out of my head. Saying things will allow me to examine if they feel tru even when I say them.

My friend I want to tell first was absent today, so I must wait until tomorrow. I am excited to get to talk about this though.

Thank you both for your support. I am so happy to figure this out, you're right Heather that it is challenging.

It was liberating when I figured out today that I can I.D. As questionning indefinately.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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moonlight bouncing off water
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I just came out to the friend I was going to come out to days ago!

This feels awesome. She reacted totally awesomely! Might help to know that she, althoguh female identified, is anthing but a stereotype. She sometimes dresses in costume as a man and her wardrobe contains clothing marketed to both binary genders (and more male).

Not much to report as yet, but this feels much more real now and I'm loving it.

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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MusicNerd
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That's awesome, Moonlight! [Smile] I'm so glad that your friend was so supportive of you!! Also, I know this whole thing probably isn't easy for you, but I'm really happy to see you make progress on your gender identity journey. [Big Grin]

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"Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don't matter and those who matter don't mind." ~Dr. Seuss

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Molias
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I'm glad to hear that your friend was supportive and reacted in such a positive way when you came out to her. =)
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moonlight bouncing off water
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Thank you MusicNerd and Molias.

I am really glad that I told my friend, and it was awesome to not even need to define genderqueer for her. I didn't get much of a chance to talk to her when I told her, and I'm very busy so I don't see her much at school (and when I do there are a bajillion other people there). I really want to talk to her more and I'll ask her to hang out in the summer most likely. (Two weeks left of high school, WAHOO!)


But as for my actual identity, it is getting really hard to pin it down. I came out as genderqueer, but this isn't 100%. It makes sense-- but I wonder how much of my revulsion from being gendered stems from thinking about this so much. I don't think I have always felt SO intensely like assumptions being made about my gender are unfair, but then I haven't been as educated or cognizant.

Does anyone have any ideas about how to sort my feelings from my overthinking and my political and philosophical view points of gender?

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~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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Molias
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If you've been spending a lot of time giving Serious Thought to gender stuff lately, maybe it's time to take a break for a little bit? I am definitely an overthinker and I realize it's more complicated than just deciding not to think about something, but maybe you could spend a little less mental energy trying to figure out the exact details of your identity for a little bit. Or telling your brain "it's ok!" if you start to think "well, but maybe 'genderqueer; isn't 100% accurate, is that a problem?!?" It may be the sort of situation where you'll come back to this question with a fresh perspective or understanding.

Also, people are complex and complicated, and I think if you dig into a lot of identity-words that you'll find that they don't 100% fit a lot of people who happily use them.

I think you may be interested in Fine: A Comic About Gender. It's a comic project by someone who's interested in hearing a wide range of people's thoughts about gender; the preview pages are a good read and there will be more content eventually. I met the artist recently and really like how they're handling the project. Plus being interviewed really made me realize just how fuzzy and undefined a lot of my ideas about gender are. =)

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moonlight bouncing off water
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Thank you Molias, that comic does look really cool!

And you're right I have been spending too much time thinking about gender lately. I will try to stop, but I'm not really sure how. I think about gender when I get dressed, when someone calls me miss, she or refers to me as female. I think about gender when I see other people. I just know how to stop when it feels like gender is always there.

But I shall try, for this is taking up too much space in my brain.

--------------------
~moonlight

I am ME and that is the only label I need.

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