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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Genderqueer, Genderfluid, or Female?

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Author Topic: Genderqueer, Genderfluid, or Female?
tigerfishy
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I have always identified as female, but lately I've been questioning my gender identity. I'm definitely not transgender, but I feel as though I may be genderqueer or genderfluid. I know that the choice in the end is my own, but I'm wondering what people think I sound like?

I usually go by female pronouns, but if somebody used male pronouns when talking to me, I wouldn't mind. I am pansexual with a preference towards women, but sexual orientation isn't really relevant. I wear clothes designed for both men and women without caring and am comfortable in both. As a kid, I played with both Barbies and Hot Wheels, and preferred the Hot Wheels. I feel a lot more comfortable around guys than girls and have more male-identified friends, but that doesn't mean I don't have a few female friends. I wear a little bit of makeup most days, but don't feel uncomfortable when I forget/choose not to. I've always felt a little manly with the way I care about my appearance, but not a lot. I also have been told I walk like a man. I communicate in a male fashion, very direct. I also am not the most ladylike. I like rough-housing and don't really care if I look messy.

I just feel like I don't really fit into either gender category, and though I fit more into female than male, I feel like that difference is slight. I know that a lot of my examples are kind of stereotypical, but it's really hard to describe it. I'm 20 years old, so I feel like this is something that isn't "a phase" (though I hate when people say that to anyone of any age). I'm wondering if anybody personally wants to tell me what I sound like to them.

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I'm not a professional, just a peer. But I will provide the best, most honest advice I can.

Posts: 16 | From: Oregon | Registered: Feb 2011  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
Molias
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Honestly, I think it's impossible for any of us to say what you sound like from this description, gender-wise, both because we can't really know you even from this much detail and because people with a certain gender identity won't all have the same attributes.

I can absolutely tell you that I have met some people with a range of gender identities who have a lot of the characteristics you describe, so what you're saying doesn't make me say "oh yes, clearly this person is [x gender]." But even if what you're describing did point to one in particular, I'd be really reluctant to weigh in because gender's so personal, you know? It means different things to different people.

If it's any help, I really do think it's ok to not quite know, or to feel like your sense of gender is in flux over time. That doesn't mean that any gender is "a phase" but that some folks have a less fixed sense of identity than others, and that's ok.
Are you feeling uncomfortable, right now, not having this pinned down more? Or feeling pressure from other people to be more certain?

Also: I don't know if you've seen it, but I think Genderqueer ID is a good online resource for genderqueer/genderfluid/non-binary resources and information that you may find helpful. =)

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tigerfishy
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I'm not uncomfortable not knowing so much as I'm just confused right now and it makes me feel like I don't really know who I am. I also am hesitant to come out because I know that my boyfriend and my mom, though they have no problem with people of non-binary gender roles, will tell me that no, I'm female (I've already talked to my boyfriend about it, and he laughed and asked what made me think that). So I want to know before I really tell people, but that's difficult for me to know right now.

I really do feel like I'm 60% female and 40% male, but I don't know if I can convince the people close to me that that's okay, especially since I tend to present myself as female...

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Molias
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It can be really tough in bringing this sort of thing up with people, especially since a lot of folks don't have a framework in place for understanding non-binary or fluid gender identities. If you talk to your boyfriend again and he asks why you think the things you do about your gender, can you tell him some of what you mentioned in your first post? I think you did a good job of explaining how you feel even if you aren't entirely sure what that might mean, gender-wise. You might even talk about the difference between gender identity and gender presentation if some folks are hung up on your 60/40 split when you have a mostly-feminine presentation.

But ultimately if you talk about your gender to someone else and they argue with you, you can just tell them that even if you aren't always sure what to call your gender you are the best expert on it and that it's really not ok for them to try to tell you what your gender is, even if they are confused by what you're telling them.

If you have a sense of any concrete things that your boyfriend or mom could do to respect your gender, asking for those specifics might be helpful. Maybe you want different language used for you, whether that's your name or pronouns, or even something like "partner" vs. "girlfriend." Maybe you just want people to know that you are doing a lot of thinking and exploration, gender-wise, even if they don't need to change their language and behaviors. Maybe you don't know at all yet! But I think that can sometimes make those conversations easier, if you can say not just "I identify as X" but also "...and here's a way you can support me in this."

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tigerfishy
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I've tried talking to my boyfriend about those things but he thinks labels are stupid and that I should stop trying to label myself. I've tried to explain to him that my gender identity is more than just a label to me, that it's part of who I am, but that's something he seems to be struggling with, and won't even support me. He's always been a little close-minded regarding these things. He's respectful around non-binary gendered people and called them by whichever pronoun they preferred, but he seems to be struggling a bit with somebody close to him being a non-binary gender label. He also said "I'm happy with you being whoever you want to be and I will support you 100%, but I still think it's dumb," which when you come down to it, doesn't really sound all that supportive.

I don't really mind female gender pronouns, and I know it's hard to switch when you've known somebody for a long time, and so I think I'm just going to ask people to switch it up once in awhile when they think about it, and refer to me as "he/him" or "zie/hir" if they remember, but the pronouns aren't really a problem, it's just the understanding and support that I want most.

I ordered a book from my college library called "My New Gender Workbook" that seems that it's geared towards people struggling with where they fall on the spectrum by providing activities to help people find out what they feel they are on their own. I actually found it through the website you gave me the link to, so thank you for that. I'm hoping that will help and then if I do need to come out, I'll just try to make sure I have some resources and support to be there for me if some people try to reject it.

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Molias
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I do have to agree with you that your boyfriend's statement is pretty much the opposite of supportive. He can say he supports you all he wants, but if he thinks your identity is dumb and that labels are too, then... that's pretty clearly not respectful or supportive at all.

I think it can be easy for people with majority identities (whether that's someone being straight, cisgender, an ethnic majority in their area, middle-class, etc.) to say "labels aren't important" because they are the "default" or unmarked identity in at least some ways. Identity politics, where people are really concerned with policing other folks' identities (as in: who can "really" say they're a lesbian, or genderqueer, or bisexual), can absolutely be a drag and can be harmful. But to say that no one benefits from having a name or names to put with their identity and their feelings is really untrue. Some people may not care much about it, but for others it really helps to know that their feelings have a name, or that they can find peers by being a part of a shared identity group.

Maybe you can find a time to sit down and talk to your boyfriend about your feelings here, and let him know that just saying "I support you" doesn't mean much if he turns around and insults you. Some of the material you find or online might be something he could read to get more perspective on this, but ultimately you'll be the best expert on your own feelings and he needs to be able to listen.

I'm glad you are getting the Gender Workbook! I have not read the "New" edition but did read the original one and found it to be pretty helpful in terms of asking a lot of good questions to ponder.
If you like the gender workbook, you may also enjoy Kate Bornstein's first book, Gender Outlaw. That was the first thing I ever read that talked about non-binary trans identities, as well as continuing to have one's gender be in flux after social/physical transition, and it made a huge impact on me.

Posts: 1352 | From: San Francisco | Registered: Jan 2013  |  IP: Logged | Report this post to a Moderator
   

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