Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
nerd.
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Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Wed May 05, 2021 7:46 pm

Hi,

This might be long, so thank you in advance for reading it! There lots to vent about, and I'm in desperate need of advice on how to proceed. (some stuff in this might be offensive to non-binary folks, I know it was for me, these are not my thoughts though)

Recently, I recognized, came to terms with and embraced my pan and genderflux identities. I came out to my friends, and my mom knows I'm pan (so she probably told my dad). My dad hasn't talked to me about it, as he once told me that being bi or pan is an excuse to keep your options open and that you're really just gay, and that all your partners will be jealous no matter what, so no one will love you.

Now that you have some background, a week or two ago, I was talking about my non-binary friend at the dinner table, to make conversation, and my dad told me he thinks the whole nb thing is a fad, a trend and it'll go away soon. This was incredibly offensive for me to listen to, and yet when he came back to talk to me about it later, to clear things up between us, he said he thought asking people to use certain pronouns was an assault on free speech. This really didn't make me feel better and only made me question my father more. I prefer equal use of she/her and they/them, though only my friends know that right now. This revelation that my dad wouldn't be very accepting (he said as much) really hurt me and I'm not sure how to process and deal with it.

Also, I've been looking into baggier and gender neutral clothing (kinda hides my bobs, and just feels right), as wearing that type of stuff helps me with the neutral part of genderflux. I don't have the ability to buy my own clothing, so I'm stuck having to ask my mom to buy everything, and just giving her the money. I've been asking her to get me this kinda stuff, which is mostly just baggy t shirts and sweatshorts (trying to start off relatively 'normal'), but she said that I'll look like a slob and I'll be too hot in that stuff (summers almost here) even though it's short and stuff. I don't want to tell her that I'm genderflux because she'll tell my dad and I'm afraid he'll reject me or whatever, but those clothes really help with my mental health and stuff, so I don't know how to proceed with this. I still wear more feminine clothes, when I'm feeling girly, so she think I'm 'trying to be cool' and wont actually wear this stuff.

It's just incredibly frustrating (both situations) and I don't know how to handle either. If anyone can help, I'd be very appreciative. Thanks for reading!

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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Sam W » Thu May 06, 2021 7:39 am

Hi nerd.,

That does sound incredibly frustrating and invalidating, and I'm sorry you're stuck dealing with it. With the clothing, can you say a little more about why you're not able to buy your own? Is it an issue of access or mobility? Something else? I ask because, if you at least have the money for it, it might be worth seeing if a friend (or a friend's parent, if they're supportive) could get a few pieces for you.

With the situation with your dad, it seems like you know he's not someone you can be out to right now. Do you want to talk about ways to navigate living with him in the meantime? Is it important (and safe) to you to try and push back on some of the ignorant and bigoted things he says? Or would you like more space to just vent or process those feelings you're having about him?

nerd.
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Thu May 06, 2021 6:52 pm

Hi Sam,

I live in a small town with no real retail stores, and with the pandemic and all, we can't travel to go shopping. If we could go shopping, it's a lot easier to buy my own stuff, but since online purchases go through my mom (I don't have a credit card or anything), she ends up nitpicking everything i want to buy. All my friends live two hours away, so that isn't really an option either.

As for my dad, I unfortunately agree with you: I don't think I can tell him about all this stuff, especially since I got a ways away from being able to move out, plus I'm stuck with lockdown. It'd be a horrible situation for everyone, and I really don't have the mental space for that right now. I'd say it's safe to push back on the stuff he says, but I'm worried I'd 1) out myself and 2) it'd create a lo of unneccessary tension during an already tumultuous time. But, then again, it feels horrible when I don't say anything, like I'm lying or something. Idk, is there some way you could help either with processing all this, or pushing back a bit without outing myself?

Elise
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Elise » Fri May 07, 2021 4:16 am

Hi nerd., I'm really sorry to hear that you're dealing with this situation with your parents, and that the pandemic is making things more difficult.

With regards to your Mom, how do you think it would go if you asked her if you could have your own bank account? If you get money via an allowance or by doing jobs, you could have it deposited there? Accounts for people under 18, usually called "youth accounts" usually come with a "debit card" (which works like a credit card except only with the money you have) so you can buy things online. Maybe she'd also like that you could learn how to use online banking and start managing a budget and make a savings goal of your own? What do you think?

With your Dad, you are right that this is a difficult situation and it is important to look after yourself, both by staying safe and not outing yourself when it doesn't feel safe to do so, and also by looking after yourself with the (completely valid) feelings you have when you've had to take the action of not pushing back to stay safe.

As you expressed, it can feel really hard not being our true selves, and it takes a lot of mental and emotional energy.
Some things you could do to help with this are;
1) do things in your private space that allow you to express your identity authentically and be yourself, like video chats, group chats or online gaming with friends with whom you are out, writing in a journal or watching/reading/listening to things that you feel affirmed and seen. If you'd like some media recommendations the team here would be really happy to supply some!
2) Doing self-care and self soothing activities will help you take care of yourself, and your mental health.

There is more information on the two above points in the below linked articles that you might find useful:


We're also really happy to chat and listen more here too.

nerd.
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Sat May 08, 2021 8:15 pm

Hi Elise,

I actually do have a job and a bank account, but it doesn't come with the debit card, plus on most online stores, you can't use a debit card. Because of this, she doesn't want to bother putting up with figuring out how I would get one. Trust me, if it could work, it would have been done by now lol.

Like I said, I have friends with whom I am out, which is nice, but I'd love some recs for media if it wouldn't be too much!

As for the articles, I've taken a look at them and I actually do a lot of the self-care stuff anyways to escape. I am kinda afraid of being outed, since my mom regularly asks about it. She does it to be supportive, but she also tells my dad this stuff, so I say I'm not.

Everything about my family (extended included) just feels straight-washed. There's no one lgbtq+ on either side of the extended family, so everyone assumes I'm straight, and tells me that 'the boys'll be running after you in no time' and stuff like that. They also say stuff like 'hey girl' and it really affects me. I silently rage half the time I talk to them, but it's not even their fault really, I'm just too scared about how they'll react.

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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Heather » Sun May 09, 2021 10:19 am

Hey there, nerd. I just wanted to come in today to give you some solidarity, especially...well, today.

I'm 51. I left my Mom's house when I was 15, and stopped living with my Dad at 19, but I've had to support him and have him live with me sometimes a few different times in my life. But I've been on my own and independent since I was 16, effectively, and out since right about the same time. My Dad has always been easily accepting of my queerness, and my Mom got there eventually, but it took a while and her family never did. I'm thought to be the lone queer person in their family (I'm not, but the other person will never be out, doesn't realize I know and will likely never want to talk about it), yet somehow they both don't take it seriously -- especially when my partner is or looks to be a cis man -- and make me a forever outcast because of it. Amazing.

I didn't have the frameworks, language or options, really, to be agender or anything other than on the binary back then, unfortunately (not the rigid kind of body type very much required to be considered androgynous), and my family highly genders me as a woman, no matter what. I honestly don't even bother trying with the pronouns I finally let myself use around a decade ago with either of my parents or the rest of my family because I know it'd be fruitless. They know what they are. My mother has recently kind of sort of tried. No one else could be bothered, even though some of them would call themselves "allies" in other circles, no doubt. No one else in the family that I know of -- and this side of the family is Irish, so there are hundreds of them! -- is trans or gender nonconforming (yet). My father's family are all gone. It's all always very isolating.

I tell you this because I don't have to live with any of this directly right now and I am so freaking sorry that you do. It's hard and lonely enough living this way in a family when it's not immediate, when it's not the home I am in. I have chosen family now, like it sounds like you're starting to yourself with your friends -- yay! -- so I don't even think of most of these people *as* my family and I haven't in decades.

But one of the things that time made better, if it helps to know, is that when I am around any of them, or talking with any of them, I get to just be who I am -- talking about me and myself and my identities as I do, whether or not they follow suit, no matter what they think about it. There's no threat to it anymore (they can't kick me out again!).n I don't care if they get annoyed (I lived without talking to most of them for many years - I know I can and that it's totally fine by me). It sucks when they ignore it or it doesn't sink in, but, I don't know, it sucks less than feeling like I can't even do THAT, you know?

And I do see some of the least expected people actually starting to try a little. It's late as hell for it, obviously, but like, my Dad was my best friend most of my life, and my mother and I were in the worst place for DECADES, and here she is fumbling over trying to use right language every now and then, and here he is talking more like yours with this "fad" business.

I'm sorry you're still in it. I'm so glad time passes and I wish it to pass as fast as possible for you! I'm around for venting or listening or missives from the future. <3
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

nerd.
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Sun May 09, 2021 7:18 pm

Hi Heather,

I appreciate the support! It's nice hearing someone who can relate, I don't have a lot of those role models where I live. It's hard sometimes, and it helps here that stuff.

Sometimes I just wish I was 'normal', you know? And I know that's horrible to say, but it's true. It get rid of a lot of stress weighing down on me. My whole family thinks there is male and female, straight and gay and that's it, that's all. It's just so frustrating, because I can't *really* say they're wrong, because I don't want to out myself, and they don't know anyone besides the heteronormative cis person. 'Bi people are just gay but don't wanna be', 'Pan isn't real, people made it up to be special', 'Non-binary people are just faking to make themselves different' are just a few of the things I've heard my family say, and I just wanna SCREAM. They diminish my identity without even knowing it, and it's just so disheartening, hearing the people I always looked up to talking like that. Like, what would they say if I came out? I don't even wanna know at this point. It'd all just be easier without all this stuff to hide.

Did you have any ways of coping with the whole 'fad' thing your dad thought? Because I'm out of ideas at this point, I kinda want to come out, just to spite my dad. I don't wanna risk it, but I kinda do too. I just want to find a way to last until I can move out, and then come out to everyone, just to be sure I'll be okay. So, any ways to deal with the crazy?

nerd.
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Mon May 10, 2021 7:03 pm

Ugh, I was late to school this morning. Might not seem like a big deal, but the reason makes me sad. It was the first time my clothes were so mismatched with my gender or whatever that I needed to changed. I literally cried for 20 minutes straight, because I just felt horrible. I hated my boobs, my curves, everything that made me 'a girl'. I'm so sick of this shit. I want clothes that allow me to be ME, I want a binder and I wanna dress how I want without being called weird or sloppy, or whatever else people have called me. I know this clothes thing seems really like no big deal, but it's starting to really affect me. Ugh, I ate this so much, why can't I just be 'normal'? I hate calling is normal, but everything is just easier.

Sorry for the rant, just needed to rite this somewhere I think

Sam W
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Sam W » Tue May 11, 2021 6:55 am

Hi nerd.

It's absolutely okay to vent about that stuff here. While I'm a pretty firm believer in normal being overrated, I also don't know anyone from a marginalized or "othered" identity who hasn't had moments of wishing they could just be like everyone else so the crummy things that were happening would stop (I'm including myself in that statement). And I'm so sorry you had such an awful time yesterday; where you able to do anything, even something small, to help you feel a little more like yourself? Or are you still feeling pretty down from the whole thing?

You mentioned trying to figure out how to last until you can move out, especially when it comes to your dad. I know you've been reading stuff on the main site, so have you had a chance to read this? https://www.scarleteen.com/article/advi ... lationship. There's a section in there with advice on how to navigate living with someone who you can't be out to and who won't stop saying nasty stuff about your identity.

(Heather's out today, but I'll leave them a note so they can come address your follow-up questions when they're back)

nerd.
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Tue May 11, 2021 10:04 am

Hi Sam,

I'm still pretty down about it, but I have a friend who's really great at making me feel better, and they can relate, so I do feel a bit better. I ended up wearing two sports bras as a binder for a bit which made me feel a bit better, as one of my friend's suggestions. Freaking out like that was just something that never really happened to me before, at least not quite as intensely. It's just frustrating that I feel good most of the time, but then have these moments of like utter despair where nothing feels right. It's awful, but I really don't know how to stop it from happening or at least minimize the impact on my mental health.

I read the article, and I appreciate it! It was pretty helpful, though not all of the suggestions work for me. Becoming suddenly busy would be a godsend, but I'm at home with him 24/7 because of covid. Finding safe topics would kinda work, but I have a hard time talking to him without thinking about these horrible opinions he holds. I do have a few outlets to unwind, I'm a tutor, I read a bunch, music helps, so that is nice, to escape. but that ends up being like 5% of my time, my parents are big into *family time*, so it can be hard to get some me time.

Thanks for letting Heather know, I appreciate it!

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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Marisha » Thu May 13, 2021 1:48 pm

Hi nerd,

I know this thread has gone quiet for now, but I just felt the need to add on, because I really feel your pain. Like you said before, the road to independence is long. I myself didn't come out to my close family members until I was away in college. I was so tired of hiding my truth, but at the same time, I resented having to come out to people who made doing so uncomfortable in the first place. My journey with my identity has been so personal and private for so long that coming out almost felt like a violation of privacy!

Please hear me when I say: Being genderflux is normal. The thing that should not be normal is cruelty. You deserve to be able to exist peacefully and authentically; for your house to feel like a safe place. And I'm deeply sorry that it doesn't.

The idea that it's 'abnormal' or 'trendy' to identify as anything other than a man or a woman is a nasty lie told by conservative thought leaders to an ignorant viewer base to earn their votes, views, and dollars. It is purposely constructed to find a scapegoat to be the subject of this cruelty. I want to call you strong for being able to deal with it, but you shouldn't have to deal with it. You are allowed to just be.

Wishing you luck and happiness.

nerd.
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby nerd. » Thu May 13, 2021 7:20 pm

Hi Marisha,
I am a very private person, and it was even hard telling my very accepting friends because it feels very personal, but at the same time, I should be able to tell my parents about these things without being afraid about their reactions.
Your saying that the idea that identifying as non-binary is a conservative idea is pretty accurate in most cases, but when my dad started talking about free speech and all that, it was strange because he normally condemns stuff like that. It really showed another side of him that I'd never seen before, and don't like at all. It really cast him in a new shadow, where I can't be myself in front of him. That's all new because my parents were always pretty good with lgbtq+ stuff, though not the bi/pan or gender topics. He was my person, but now I'm having a hard time with this.

Elise
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Elise » Fri May 14, 2021 5:34 am

Hi nerd.,
You've identified something really salient here which is that it is extra hard when the people you should be able to trust most in the world, who were as you so well put it "your person" and also should love you unconditionally fall far from that reality in validating you and creating a home for you in which you feel safe. It can feel really hard because it is the opposite of what you deserve, and is a kind of loss that can need its own kind of grieving, if that makes sense. We're hear to listen and help you with it here - it can also be really useful to talk to a therapist about these things, do you think that could be something you'd like to try and do?

I saw that you said you'd like some media recommendations, so please see below (I'll ask the other staff and vols to add, too). I saw also that becoming busy feels a bit tricky with your family's focus on spending time together, something that has worked for me in a similar situation is finding things to do that take the conversation away from topics that will lead to your father making these kinds of comments, these can be things like fun board games, or watching movies or TV together that are unrelated to the topic. Deploying things like this might be able to help make the time you are required to spend together more safe for your mental health, by hopefully introducing an enjoyable element for yourself and less direct interaction with your father's views during that time.

Also, if there is something you can spend a extra time on that they see as "useful", like wanting to study more on a subject you like to do extra well on it (and convene a study group of friends to do this with) and/or do other online courses that could be good for your resume, or take on a creative project where you make something could help you carve out time and also provide some good alternate conversation material with your parents.

Some queer media recs

Heather
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Re: Genderflux, but my family is anti-enby

Unread postby Heather » Fri May 14, 2021 8:51 am

I'm so sorry it took me so long to circle back! Had a sick pet emergency here again, which then resulted in a no-sleep issue on my part and just messed up my whole week. I'm sorry it meant you had to wait on me.

You know, you said something about your Dad that sounds SO like mine in some ways:
Your saying that the idea that identifying as non-binary is a conservative idea is pretty accurate in most cases, but when my dad started talking about free speech and all that, it was strange because he normally condemns stuff like that. It really showed another side of him that I'd never seen before, and don't like at all. It really cast him in a new shadow, where I can't be myself in front of him. That's all new because my parents were always pretty good with lgbtq+ stuff, though not the bi/pan or gender topics. He was my person, but now I'm having a hard time with this.


We literally spent the first six years of my life in hiding because of my father's very radical leftist politics. My father was a white man who was helping with civil rights movement work in high school in the 60s, and anti-war work right before I was born. I grew up so schooled in social justice it has always felt like part of who I am. And, like with you, my Dad always felt like my person. We always understood each other. And he was great about my queerness, always. Coming out didn't even feel like coming out with him: it was literally nothing, it was easy.

At the same time, like with so many human beings, my Dad isn't perfect and he has ;political blind spots. His feminism, for instance SUCKS. So sucks (even though he actually doesn't even like men and is lovely to women). During the 2016 election, he was one of those folks that would not STFU about Hillary and was all over Bernie and how he would vote for Warren if she was running, but of course, just as I predicted and told him at the time I knew would happen should it come to pass, once Warren WAS actually running he had radically different feelings. His gender politics just plain suck, so it's not actually surprising to me that he's clueless when it comes to my gender identity.

What I do for myself around it is remind myself that he's human and even though I looked up to him he's not and has never been perfect and he by no means is always right about everything, and, in fact, there are plenty of things I have better awareness about than he does! There are some things he just won't ever understand, including some things he won't work to understand because he just won't get them for whatever reason. I remind myself it's his problem, and about him, not me. I don't talk to him about it because I know it would just frustrate me and I wouldn't get what I want from it: it would make me feel worse, not better. I don't think of it as keeping secrets -- it's not -- so much as just not making myself more crazy than I need to, just like I don't talk to my mother anymore about wrongs done in my childhood by her because I know she can't give me what I want from that.

Is any of that helpful?
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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