Coming out as agender?

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
Raffles
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Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Raffles » Wed Apr 08, 2020 10:37 am

I discovered the term agender back in January. Since then, I've been trying it out and I really like it. The more I think back on my life experiences and what I now understand as dysphoria and euphoria, the more agender makes sense as an identity for me. I'd really love for people to see me as a person (not a woman) and use they/them (not she/her) for me despite my presentation that isn't completely androgynous. However, I'm really scared to come out. I'm so worried that I'm just a cis woman trying to be special, and that I'm making this up for attention. At the same time, every day that goes by, I become more sure of my identity. Due to current circumstances (as well as geography), I can't really come out in person, so I'd have to do it over text/call. Any one have thoughts or advice? I just don't really know where or how to start.

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Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Apr 08, 2020 11:00 am

Welcome to the boards, Raffles, and welcome to finding a framework for your identity that feels right to you! Looks to me like you started here with coming out, so congrats for that!

This is also the gender framework that feels like a best fit for me, in the event you'd like to know some of the company you're in.

I think you need to trust yourself, here: you know how you feel and you know that this isn't about you making things up for attention. By all means, some people's bias leads them to believe that if any of us identity as something other than what they consider "normal" or how they think we should, that it's about special snowflakes and all that garbage. But bias and bigotry have never been good sources of truth: quite the opposite, you know?

I also want to add that looking what our cultures (or even we ourselves) consider androgynous not only just isn't doable for some people <raises hand> no matter what we do, but no one has to look a certain way to have a gender identity. In every gender identity are a wide array of people who look all kinds of ways, including people who look ways that some people might assign a different gender to than is actually that person's. It's not our job to try and "match" how we look with our gender identity unless that's something we want to do for ourselves, and even then, that all is still limited by whatever things it is (money, time, our genetic makeup, what have you). <3

Sounds like you'd like to come out some: any sense of to whom, and what you're looking for in that?
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

Raffles
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My pronouns: they/them/theirs
My sexual identity and orientation: asexual, panromantic, agender
Location: Southwestern USA

Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Raffles » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:36 pm

I’ve been thinking a lot about gender expression (and this might turn into its own post because it’s a big topic). There are so many ways to look like a man or a woman, but we tend to have a very narrow definition of what androgynous looks like. On top of that, there’s definitely a pressure to appear androgynous if you’re nonbinary, even though there are people who aren’t nonbinary that present androgynously and people who are nonbinary that don’t. At least for me, the primary motivation for changing my presentation would be to stop the automatic assumptions of my gender. I’d rather people ask than assume, ya know? But that’s a different thread.

As for coming out, I actually impulsively sent a text to my two good friends from high school. The one who’s responded so far reacted positively, so that’s good news! I have another friend I’d like to be out to, but I’m not sure if now is the time. I also worry about coming out down the road. I’m currently studying to be a teacher, and I’m not entirely sure what being out in a classroom as the teacher would look like.

Heather
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Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Heather » Wed Apr 08, 2020 1:43 pm

If it helps, I know my fair share of out nonbinary/genderqueer/agender teachers and it seems to look like...well, anything else. It's really just a matter of asking for the right words to be used for you, a thing teachers do around a lot of different kinds of identity. Also, when I go and teach in classrooms, I usually manage it just by asking everyone to share their pronouns when they talk (or if it's a smaller group, when we introduce ourselves) and then also sharing mine. More nuanced parts of identity are usually just things that come when and if people get to know me better in that setting.

I agree with you about androgyny. The sad part is I actually think it's gotten a bit better in my lifetime in terms of being more inclusive, but it's still barely so. When I was coming up, we only really had "androgynous" as a term for being nonbinary, and it was pretty literally required you had to have the external expression to match, which nearly always meant whiteness and extreme thinness, at a minimum, two things that people generally can't (and often don't want to) do anything to get. At least now that's expanded a but and there's an understanding that gender identity and gender expression aren't the same thing. That said, I hear you: there is a looooooooong way to go, and I want what you want.

I'm glad your one friend was great about it!
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

0PT1M15T1C
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Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby 0PT1M15T1C » Wed Apr 08, 2020 2:24 pm

I hope it's okay I add in here a little, when I first came out, I came out as agender. Since then I've found that I identify far more in the binary as a trans male.

While I'm not entirely sure what things are like where you live when it comes to issues around being trans (however you define it), I know for me, it really helped to have an inclusive space finally. In my school we have a teacher who identifies as non-binary, they also run my school QSA. For me, I was able to see an adult that did it and feel supported by those around me, which is something a lot of young people don't talk too much about, but it does come up. I was able to kind of look at this teacher and say "well they're happy, they seem really normal and no one thinks differently of them for it", it also led me to the point where I could say "I can actually do this and be okay." - that was a big deal for me.

I also don't know how open you'd be willing to be about it, but really, I'd say highschool is when a whole lot of kids start questioning that, but not a lot of them have a safe space to do it in (I'm speaking from experience and from those I've talked to), so having an adult that they can trust won't be mad at them and will respect them no matter what, is incredible. I think most trans kids in highschool have that one teacher that really kind of made it okay for them, and I am so grateful those people exist, mine was my 6th grade teacher and my 7th grade social teacher, my friends was their middle school science teacher, another friends was I believe one of the drama teachers. But for all of us, if we didn't have that person, school was absolute hell, where you were being misgendered, disrespected, teased and not heard by others.. it was those teachers that at the end of the day made us think "Maybe I can be okay." So more than anything, if you're going into teaching, PLEASE try to be that person for someone.

Personally, I loved when teachers would do the things that Heather mentioned in their post. When a teacher gave me that option to say "I go by he/him" and know that if anyone had an issue with that, the teacher would help me out a bit. At my school, we also go by last names on roll call unless the teacher has had time to write down all the preferred names which aren't in the system, which just felt freeing that no one would hear my name (granted, now it's the name I go by, but I hated it for a while).

Also, with that teacher, they still go by "Mr." but use they/them pronouns, just to give an example of choices that are up to the person.

Really, though, the point of making this, was to say from a highschool student's perspective, it helped a great deal to have a teacher that I knew would respect me no matter what and somewhat understood what I was going through. It allowed me to feel safe, which when kids are being bullied for it or even just exploring, is honestly one of the best things ever. When you can look at an adult and say "well, they did it, they're okay, maybe I can do that too", it's a really great thing.
You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end".

Raffles
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My sexual identity and orientation: asexual, panromantic, agender
Location: Southwestern USA

Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Raffles » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:25 pm

Helping students is what teaching is all about. I went to a small private school, and I did not have a single teacher of color from 6th grade through graduation. I had two gay teachers. That was it, and that lack of representation was really difficult for me as a young, queer, person of color. I felt like there was no one I could turn to who would get it. If I can help a student feel less alone, I absolutely will. I'd like to be out for the students, but I'm more worried about all the teachers, administrators, and parents who might not be accepting.

0PT1M15T1C
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Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby 0PT1M15T1C » Wed Apr 08, 2020 3:49 pm

I'm sorry you didn't feel you had anyone and that there was such poor recognition. That really sucks.

At my school, I feel we have quite good representation of a whole variety of things from cultures, to teachers who are people of color, teachers that identify as LGBT and more. There's multiple gay teachers, that trans teacher I mentioned, as well as we actually have a cultural liaison and starting next year, my school starts teaching Cree! I'm so beyond grateful to be at the school I am that has resources (although the majority of the other trans students at my school hate me...long story..) that they do, it makes a difference for sure.

As far as other teachers, I don't know what to really say on that and Heather might have some better information. I always admired the way the teachers handled things with the comments that came up about them, it was a good way for me to see how they properly handled things, but also, I go to an inclusive school...My sister was a highschool physics teacher for a year in Tennessee (I'm surprised she made it the whole year, honestly) and the way she was treated, let alone paid was disgusting to hear about, she was hardly treated as a person so she had kids that were major problem students with no backup from the school. I always admire teachers for the amount of BS they put up with on a daily. Really though, coming out depends so much on where you are, right down to to the school you're in, and I really wish you the best with that. I wish I could say all schools are a safe place, but sadly that's not the case, I really hope you're able to find a school you're able to be yourself at.
You have the power to say "This is not how my story will end".

vlad
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Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby vlad » Sun Apr 19, 2020 11:23 pm

Hi, this is my first post in the message boards! I am agender and I came out to my partner last month.

My first advice is to start with explaining all the words that someone who has ZERO knowledge of LGBTQ+ stuff needs to know to understand what you're experiencing (like agender, nonbinary, etc.). I started with saying that I'm agender, then I defined agender, then I explained how nonbinary is an umbrella term that agender fits into, and then I explained how transgender is an umbrella term that nonbinary fits into!

Secondly, think about how your coming out will affect your relationship with whomever you're coming out to and focus on what that person can do to support and affirm your identity. They will greatly appreciate your guidance in this. For example, I explained that my partner could still refer to me as his "girlfriend" but that gendered language (https://writingcenter.unc.edu/tips-and-tools/gender-inclusive-language/) generally made me uncomfortable.

Sorry for the late reply! Best of luck.

Raffles
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Posts: 27
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My sexual identity and orientation: asexual, panromantic, agender
Location: Southwestern USA

Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Raffles » Sun Aug 02, 2020 5:49 pm

I recently heard someone refer to me with they/them pronouns for the first time. It wasn't the huge gender euphoria moment I was hoping for. In fact, it made me feel more like a fraud. Because I didn't experience euphoria, I feel like I'm not actually agender. On the other hand, every time people refer to me as she/her, I silently correct them in my head. Anyone else have a problem adjusting to new pronouns?

Mo
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Re: Coming out as agender?

Unread postby Mo » Mon Aug 03, 2020 4:39 pm

I don't think you have to experience euphoria, or that not experiencing it "means" anything about your identity. Sometimes hearing the right pronouns used for you feels weird or like a bit of a relief or like something else entirely, and any of those reactions are valid and just fine to have. I know that when I've changed pronouns there have been instances where hearing the right ones has felt amazing and instances where it was just fine and didn't feel like much of a big deal, good or bad.


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