Gender roles?

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sky
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Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Fri Nov 08, 2019 6:33 pm

As a lesbian who is new to it is there like gender rules? I don’t even really understand when people ask that?

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Fri Nov 08, 2019 10:22 pm

I don’t know how to delete this i wish I could don’t get mad at me for asking a lot. I know I suck but you all are so smart and I actually understand what you all mean. I’m so sorry :(

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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Nov 09, 2019 8:54 am

Hi Sky,

No need to apologize! This is a really common question, especially for people who are just dipping their toe into understanding LGBT stuff.

The basic answer is: nope! There are no rules for how lesbians express their gender identity, just like there is not one, specific way any one gender identity or sexual orientation is meant to be expressed. Some lesbians like to present in a really "masculine" way, others in a really "feminine way," others mix and match, and the list goes on.

Part of why you might be getting confused when people ask about that is that some people have the mistaken idea that sexual orientation determines gender identity or expression. So, they think that because lesbians like women, they should express their gender in a way that's masculine. But gender identity and sexual orientation are separate things, and one doesn't determine the other. You can actually read all about that here: Trans Summer School: What's the Deal With Gender?.

Does that all make sense?

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:05 am

Yes!! That’s why I’m confused. I’ve always felt I can like morph into man or woman but I’m a girl and I like that but when I first came out I almost buzzed my hair because I want to really take care of my girlfriend when I get one and I thought I had to be a “boy” but like I like masculine and feminine women so I don’t know what that means about me? I hear a lot “if you like a girl that looks and acts like a guy why not just date one” because one has a vagina ??? I get what you mean but it’s still confusing because society sucks

Sam W
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:22 am

Yep, you hit it on the nose with the fact that a lot of this confusion is because people still have some really outdated notions about gender and sexual orientation. If you haven't done so before, you might enjoy looking at photo projects where people have photographed all the different ways queer women (including lesbians) present themselves.

It sounds like you've already done some thinking about how your like to express your gender. It may help to think about what you'd do if you could present your gender any way you wanted. What clothes would you choose? How would you do your hair? Would you wear make-up? Playing what-if like that can help you find a gender expression and identity that feels right for you.

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:26 am

Well like sometimes I will wear men’s clothing but still have my hair down and wear makeup? But my name is Melissa but I like to go by Mel because it’s like gender neutral and it makes me feel better about myself?? Does this make sense or am I just confused and weird

Sam W
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Nov 09, 2019 9:41 am

Nope, that all makes total sense! You get to express your gender in whatever way feels right and comfortable to you. Too, figuring out how to express your gender is a process of exploration; you get to play around with different looks, and it's totally okay (and pretty common) for your look to change from year to year, month to month, or even day to day.

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:21 am

Thank you ❤️
I haven’t told anyone really that I’m gender fluid I just like do what I want to do and hope no one asks but it’s still scary

Sam W
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Nov 09, 2019 10:33 am

You're welcome!

You get to share your realizations of your gender identity at whatever time or pace feels right to you (including not sharing it, ever, with some people). If you ever want decide you want to tell someone about it, we're more than happy to help you brainstorm that conversation.

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:03 am

Well I want to tell my mom. But my older sibling is trans and is going from girl to boy and my mom is having a hard time with it and being kind of rude. I told a few friends because I’ve known since I was 18 and then I found out the terming for it 4 years later and felt soothed? But I don’t know how to tell my mom because then everyone will know and hate me like they hate my sibling they don’t hate them just are “disgusted” is the words everyone uses :(

Sam W
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Sam W » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:14 am

Given other people's reactions to your brother, I can see why you'd be hesitant to open up to your mom about this. I'd say that others insisting they are "just disgusted" is communicating a fair amount of hate towards them, and making it clear to you that any gender non-conformity, be that being trans or genderfluid, is not going to be treated with support and kindness. I'm sorry that both you and your sibling are having to deal with such an unsupportive situation.

Have you told your sibling at all about your gender identity? It seems like the two of you might be able to offer each other support around this that you're not getting from other family members.

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 11:41 am

I did tell them! And I said to not tell anyone else and they didn’t really say anything about it. But I mean I wasn’t really expecting it. I live with my grandma who is incredibly religious and judgemental and I know if I tell my mom my grandma will know and then I won’t feel comfortable living there I feel like. I think it’s kind of best to not tell my mom. But I also want to tell her but tell her I’m scared too so she can know that she sucks as a mom

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 12:45 pm

I’m just so sad and angry about a lot in my life and I want to just tell her to F off and not talk to me anymore because all she does is ruin me. I’m old enough to cut her out but I just feel mean for it.

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sat Nov 09, 2019 3:10 pm

Someone at work just called me fat and then everyone wonders why I can’t accept myself!

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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Siân » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:03 am

When you spoke to your sibling, did you feel like he would be open to talking to you about your gender more? Was he generally supportive?

It sounds like your relationship with your mom is pretty fraught, and judging by this and your other thread, she has said a lot of pretty awful things. It's really down to you who you keep in your life. Captain Awkward did a really great thread recently here about relationships with difficult parents and said plenty of it far better than I can - check it out!

I particularly liked this bit, about deciding how much contact to have with family:
"You don’t have to decide all at once, forever, right now. You don’t have to be fair. If you think taking a break from working on your relationship with your family or spending time with them would make you feel better and give you some peace from the stuff that’s bothering and hurting you, try it out...Then see how you feel. If things get better and you feel better, if you miss them terribly or want to try something else down the road, try that"


Maybe think for a bit about what having her in your life brings you, and what it costs you. What do you think?

Urgh, people can be so mean and awful sometimes, I'm sorry that people are making hurtful comments. Sam suggested previously looking out some body positive media where people who look like you - whether that's scars or body shape or gender presentation - share their acceptance or appreciation of their bodies. Is that something you think you'd find helpful?

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Sun Nov 10, 2019 7:34 am

Thank you.

And yes that’s something I would be interested in looking at :) I need to learn how to accept myself

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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 9:55 am

Are you an Autostraddle reader -- https://www.autostraddle.com/ -- sky? If not, that might be an easy place to start. Same goes with Genderfork: http://genderfork.com/ <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

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Mon Nov 11, 2019 11:54 am

Thanks Heather.
Is it okay if I just don’t know? Like I feel like I just want to be masculine so I feel okay dating girls but I also want to be a girl like 98% of the time. If that makes sense. Like can I just exist or do I have to label it? I don’t really understand it, meaning I don’t understand myself as well

Heather
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 12:43 pm

You can totally just exist, and don't have to *ever* use words to identify your gender identity in any static way if you don't want to. A word for that a lot of people use who feel that way, in the event you want one, is genderfluid.

But I also want to add that you can be a girl AND be masculine. Those things aren't mutually exclusive: they can co-exist! Butch identities are all about that, but that's also something that you don't have to sign onto if it doesn't feel right for you, or sign onto in any kind of ongoing way. You can, for example, just feel butch/masculine sometimes and other times find that's not how you're feeling.

Lastly, you don't have to be masculine to date women. It's certainly okay if you are, but femmes can and do also date femmes all the time. Nothing requires people to be of different gender identities or to have one person be masculine and another feminine -- and that includes for straight couples! -- except the biases that heteronormativity has created.
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

sky
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Joined: Thu Nov 07, 2019 9:15 am
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:23 pm

Thank you. This just caused me a bad panic attack just overthinking it all. But I need to just get over it! I need to just live. I’m sorry I asked.

Heather
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:27 pm

I'm sorry to hear that. Maybe the next time you're up to talking we can talk some about how you can care for yourself when having loaded talks like these?
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

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:31 pm

Well I just don’t know. Like I don’t know how to like handle life. (Not a suicidal thing) I just am not good at life

Heather
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 1:44 pm

Respectfully, it's difficult for many -- if not most -- people to handle conversations about things that are very loaded or scary for them. I promise it's not just you!

But if the way you tend to react is on the anxiety/panic axis, specifically, then there are some things that might help you that help a lot of people who experience panic. We keep a page of resources for mental health help here, and there are a couple of apps that focus on some help with anxiety, and/or offer mindfulness training, if you want to take a peek: https://www.scarleteen.com/anxiety_and_ ... _resources I personally love apps for this kind of purpose, because it can be so easy to have them when we need them.

I do also think -- and forgive me if I sound like a broken record -- that some of your panic might be about moving super fact into working through all of this. Sometimes, when people find us or other services like us, they can feel like they can resolve all their stuff super-fast, and trying to can result in feeling pretty overwhelmed. I don't know if you've ever had any kind of therapy, but there are reasons that therapists will limit appointment times or frequency beyond helping us not go bankrupt. :P That's also because we all can only start to process so much at once, and usually need to take some time as we start working through the hard stuff.

So, it might help to slow down with this some. If you're just digging having the support and community, it is totally okay to pop into or make threads about stuff that ISN'T loaded to talk about so you can get the good stuff and do the harder stuff at a more manageable pace. :)
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

sky
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby sky » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:37 pm

I don’t know if I want to go to therapy because then it makes it real and I don’t want it to be real. I’m just accepting that I’m a lesbian. Thank you, this isn’t the first time you’ve helped me and you’re absolutely incredible heather and you help me realize not everyone sucks and that I’m okay as I am. You all are incredible. I hope to one day be like you

Heather
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Re: Gender roles?

Unread postby Heather » Mon Nov 11, 2019 2:43 pm

You're very welcome.

You don't have to go to therapy if that's not something you want (around this issue or any other): I was only bringing that up to talk about an example where taking time in between big, hard talky things was a standard and why.
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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