Cont.: 2/2 From what I have informed you of in the first part, would you say I sound more gender-fluid, gender-neutral, Neutrois or bi-gendered? From what I can see, all of the above labels seem like they fit me, bi-gender not as much however. Like I said in part 1, my normal gender-identity is pretty neutral. I have no desire to be masculine, nor feminine. But when a feeling of gender hits, it is usually feminine with rare moments of masculinity. What do you think? Thank you for your time
GQID: Hello there,
Since you use the terms feminine and masculine rather than man and woman as for how you feel in addition to a neutral gender, I am wondering - are you referring to feelings of identifying or not identifying as a man or a woman, or the expressions which could be considered masculine or feminine, which don’t inherently imply identifying/not identifying with a woman or a man? For example one can identify as neutrois or agender, but decide to have a feminine expression.
If you are moving between identifying as neutral (neutrois.me has great information if you haven’t checked it out yet) to identifying as a woman, gender fluid may be appropriate. If it is more about always identifying neutrally and yet having a feminine gender expression from time to time, then neutrois with a feminine expression by itself may make more sense.
That’s wonderful - thank you so much! I am so glad the site has helped you.
I only think it is important to come out if an individual feels that it would be meaningful and beneficial to do so (it is also of course possible to come out to some people and not to others). No one should feel obligated to come out and in some cases it may be risky for safety or emotional well-being to do so.
In my case it is relatively easy for people to find out how I identify within a few minutes of encountering my primary online spaces or even taking a look at my bookshelf but, still, there are people I am around regularly that don’t know. The subject just doesn’t come up and I don’t bring it up either because I don’t view it as particularly relavant to my relationship with these particular people, or because I am already aware of some of their negative views on gender-variant and sexually-variant people and choose to not enter into an aggravating discussion with them and possible resulting alienation.
Only come out if you want to and to who you want to, if you do - not coming out doesn’t make you any less of of who you are as a genderqueer person.
First of all, it is important to make the distinction between an asexual identity (which is not inherently harmful or disorderly) and real issues that could manifest as lack of sexual behavior / interest. By issues I am referring to issues for people who do want to be and do have sexual identification (rather than asexual), from low or non-existent libido to memories or fears of trauma that create a block around desired sexual activity. Yes, there may be a road to accepting one’s own asexual identity, as with any other (a)sexual identification, but there is a difference between being comfortably asexual and being uncomfortably unable to be sexual when one actually wants to be. I would suggest pointing this out to your psychiatrist.
I recommend checking out, and possibly recommending to your psychiatrist, the book Understanding Asexuality, which was authored by a psychology professor. Checking out the work of The Asexual Sexologist may also be of help.
Thank you for the appreciation! A big motivator for this site is to help alleviate some of the feelings that I went through when I was first trying to understand myself.
Sometimes people prefer to view terms like genderqueer as a kind of “third option”, rather than just being different flavors of the term transgender, particularly those with bigender or gender fluid identities where the lines can blur a bit.
However, it is also important to consider how your own experience of gender adds up in your mind - when you identify as a woman, do you feel like you cease to be a bigender person? Or does the way you’re looking at it have more to do with how you feel that other people are perceiving you? Whether you are “passing” as cis or not, you are still a person of bigender experience and your own personal experience may be a better informant on how you identify than other people’s peception.
No, it absolutely doesn’t have any merit! Please present whatever way makes you feel the most comfortable. Not everyone’s presentation reflects typical ideas about a given gender identity, whether they are cis or trans* / genderqueer / non-binary. I have noticed that people in the spectrum of gender diversity are held to particularly strict standards about how they should look and it can get pretty ridiculous (see also this humorous take on “tips on passing”). Whether, how, and if your presentation reflects gender is up to you only.
The term two-spirit is most commonly used as an umbrella term for a variety of gender identities and roles other than man and woman found amongst cultural and/or religious traditions in indigenous North American groups, so if you fall outside of this area, I would recommend against using it for yourself. Check out this site for more information: http://www.ne2ss.org/history/
Identifying as both man and woman can be referred to as bigender identity, if that term gels with you, check out this definition page for an explaination: http://queerdictionary.tumblr.com/post/15355325370/bigender-adj
(cont. pt2) I just want to get this straight in my own head, because I honestly don’t understand what it means/how it feels to be a girl, so I don’t understand how I would know if I was one. I don’t feel like I’m ‘in the wrong body’, I’m totally happy with having a female body, but I don’t know if that means that my gender fits my body, because I don’t know what a gender is. I’m not being very coherent I know, but any help you could give me would be appreciated :)
GQID: Hello there, and good question! Please don’t feel stupid about asking - if people were always so sure of what gender was or what gender they were, I definitely wouldn’t receive as many questions as I do on this site and there wouldn’t be so much theory and case studies around unpacking such concepts.
Gender is a nebulous, multi-faceted term. The definition I have formulated for myself based on my own research is as follows: Gender can refer to sense of self (gender identity), perception of self by others (including gender recognition or misgendering), behavior, expression, and role. There are both psychological (arising in the mind) and socio-cultural (determined by others, ideas about what is masculine, feminine, androgynous, or neutral, and role expectation) aspects of gender.
It is also worth noting that for mainstream theoretical ideas about the sexes male and female, man and woman are seen as the “matching” genders that are the psychological, social, and behavioral counterparts to the biology of the sexes, but of course these concepts can be easily upset (check out the GQID FAQ for more on this).
Many people who are trans*, genderqueer, or non-binary figure out their identities by first considering what they are not. Feelings of dissonance may arise from what people are telling them that they are, or what they are assumed to be to the point where eventually they may think, “No, I’m not that. And if I’m not that, then what am I?”
As for myself, I still don’t really know what it means to identify as a woman. Because that didn’t and still doesn’t make sense to me, I began to explore other options of identifying until I found what gelled with me. Identifying as genderqueer resonates strongly with me for the very reason that I question gender and am personally confused by the idea of identifying as a man or a woman and that the ways I seek to understand and express myself seem to lie somewhere outside of this model. What kind of person am I? Who do others see me as, and am I happy with that? How do I see myself? These questions seem to tie in to gender frequently.
Doing things that are contrary to stereotypes about gender does not necessarily imply identifying as other than that gender - for example, many people who identify strongly as women have short hair and wear clothes that are not traditionally feminine. Doing activities or expressing oneself in a divergent manner to expectations does not inherently imply a trans*, genderqueer, or non-binary identity at all - only if someone is utilizing them intentionally for this effect. What is important here is what these activities, expressions, or internal thoughts mean to you personally.
Here also is a good article on understanding gender: https://www.genderspectrum.org/understanding-gender
One of the best ways to figure out how you identify is to explore stories of other people who identify in a variety of ways - what were their lives like? What differences and similarities are there between their self-concept and your own? It is important to not get so caught up in the terminology and getting a handle on the experience of others and yourself.
Gender I think is better seen as a language of actualization and expression. Gender is packed with readily recognizable symbols and tropes that we can manipulate at will to achieve the desired effect either privately or publicly. We can even leave gender behind or call it a neutral area if we find little appeals to us here (check out information about agender or neutrois identity, for example).
I hope this helps! Approaching gender as a concept takes time and a lot of thinking, reading, and conversation. It is totally okay to keep asking questions - I certainly still am.
I can definitely relate to being confused by many of these terms myself when I was first exploring ideas around gender and sex - and I am still sometimes surprised by new information! The important thing is to take note of what seems to call out to you, even if it just expresses a piece of what you’re feeling, and don’t worry about putting it all together until you’ve done some further exploration.
Neutrois is a term that is often applied to people who either don’t identify as any gender or who identify as a neutral gender, including those who might desire physical changes to have a neutral body. Check out these posts on Neutrois Nonsense for information on agender, neutrois, and genderless: 1 and 2
If you have some identification with being female or a woman, demi girl may be an appropriate term, since it reflects partial identification. If you feel you move between identifying as a girl to identifying neutrally, gender fluid may be an appropriate descriptor (you can check out this post for the difference between bigender and gender fluid).
Your presentation (in terms of clothing) does not necessarily have to do with your gender unless you want to express gender this way - being femme-presenting would not contradict any of the above.
It is of course useful to have and use words for identities, especially to find others who might identify like you do so you can read about their stories or connect with them in some way, but one of the most important things can be just exploring your own personal perception of gender, perhaps writing out your feelings on the subject more extensively if you haven’t done so already, to get closer to what you already feel and what you might like to actualize in your life (how you perceive yourself or are perceived by others).
I hope the above is helpful - please do remember to give yourself time to explore these ideas and your own self-concept, as there is a lot of information to take in.
First of all, I would recommend that you read this piece I wrote awhile back called “It’s just a phase.” So what if it is? And, so what if it’s not?:
There have been lots of asks lately where people want to know if they are appropriating genderqueer identity. I want to make this clear: exploring your very own gender identity and learning how to best express yourself through this medium is not appropriation. You have to be able to explore gender in order to find out how you really are comfortable identifying! Appropriation of trans*, genderqueer, and non-binary identities is real and can be an issue (see this post at Questioning Transphobia for one author’s perspective), but exploring gender itself in order to find out how you identify is not one of its manifestations. I would of course recommend becoming very comfortable with a term and community before being especially vocal about such an identity, but I think many people would feel similarly - go with it if you feel like it is right for you personally.
If you are still exploring and aren’t entirely sure how you identify yet, you can always stay anonymous or choose a different username than usual in online spaces based around gender identity if that would make you feel more comfortable. Additionally, no one is obligated to come out about their identity if they are not ready to or interested in doing so.
Give yourself permission to explore how you identify, whether it be in terms of gender, sex, or sexuality! It’s totally okay - it’s okay to do it and it is okay for it to take time for you to realize what fits you best.
A demi guy feels a partial identification as a boy / man, and a demi girl feels a partial identification as a girl / woman, generally along with another gender identity. Some usages also take the demi- to mean a slight continued identification with the gender or sex assignment at birth, even while identifying as another gender or sex.
Check out this AVEN thread for more information, there are some variant usages depending on an individual’s perspective:
I have definitely shifted my words around a few times, even though the concept of my identity has been remained essentially the same now since I was a teenager. This all has depended on what access to information I had and how much I thought about gender at the time. I’ve used similar or identical words to describe my gender and sex identity for nearly 3 years now.
You would have to ask yourself - is your core identity pretty much the same and the kind of transition options stable, or are key elements changing that might prompt different courses of transition? If it is the former, I would recommend going ahead, but if it is the latter, you should probably spend more time puzzling out your identity and transition options.
Now you’ve got me thinking about my own descriptive choices, and this may be interesting to others, so I’ll outline it below in case this would help others:
Childhood Concept of Gender and Sex: ???
I don’t remember thinking about it much apart from being confused when people would say “boys do…” or “girls do…” or “boys can’t…” or “girls can’t…” This is probably because my immediate family did not put pressure on me in this area, which I am very grateful for and I realize is not the typical experience.
Childhood Words About Gender and Sex: Girl, Female
Again, this is not something I really thought about, but I also had no problem with these terms being applied to me or checking any boxes with these words.
Teenage Concept of Gender and Sex: “I guess “girl” is okay but I’m not sure about this upcoming “woman” business. “Man” isn’t right either, so what’s going on?!” - my basic thought process outlined when I thought about these things at this time
Puberty essentially marked the beginning of my deeper worries about my gender and sex. I would look back on my childhood and wish I could go back to a time where I didn’t even have to think about it. As my attractions developed further (always to men, but now more explicitly so) I became aligned with ideas about gay male sexuality and about identifying more specifically as male. But “man” also rubbed me the wrong way so at this time, I was at a loss.
Teenage Words About Gender and Sex: ???
I would avoid using descriptions whenever possible, but “girl” was okay if I had to. “F” would be checked, but I would sometimes feel uneasy.
Adult Concept and Words About Gender and Sex - Part 1: “not woman”, “male-identified”
In the beginning, I didn’t really know what to look for, so the above would at times pop into my head. I didn’t know how to describe that I wanted my body to be a certain way without the corresponding gender that is assumed to be attached to that sex identity just yet.
Adult Concept and Words About Gender and Sex - Part 2: “girlfag” (I no longer identify with this term)
This is the term I came across when looking up “gay man trapped in a woman’s body” or something similar a few years ago. I didn’t know much about or understand transgender concepts yet at the time and felt scared about what might happen to my body when I looked through the vast array of transsexual medical transition options. I was relieved to see that many people in this community identified as girls while also identifying with gay male sexuality, or identified only partially as girls along with identifying as men. It was here that I learned about the term genderqueer, which fit me much better, did not tie up gender and sexuality in a way that was (to me) confusing, and did not have the same type of problematic connotations (although “queer”, as we know, has a whole other set).
Adult Concept and Words About Gender and Sex - Part 3: gender: genderqueer, sex: gay male-identified, appearance: androgynous or feminine
Through the genderqueer community, I learned about the option to be non-op or no-ho, which I had no idea about before. I gradually stopped questioning whether I was trans*/gq/non-binary “enough” to belong and realized that I could tailor whatever options I liked (clothing, medical, self-empowerment, you name it) to fit what I wanted to achieve.
Although my sex and sexual identity are tied up pretty closely, I can’t really find a better way of putting it than “gay male identified” (for some reason, gay FTM or gay transmale just don’t suit me, because people tend to assume that also means you are a man too, and I’m not). My style is what other people see as androgynous or feminine (very little masculine), but I’m not so sure it has to do with my gender expression or not - this one I’m still figuring out.
So, there you have it - that’s pretty much me at this point - words have changed to reflect my experience more accurately and as I’ve become more confident in knowing that I can express myself how I want to, inside and out.
Some people’s identities change - some people don’t identify as trans*/gq/non-binary anymore who once did, and some people who thought they were cis their whole lives are today trans*/gq/non-binary. Some continue to be trans* but in different ways, or have fluid gender. You will have to personally weigh how you would feel about your transition options if you did happen to identify differently than you do now, but if your identity has been consistent (with only descriptors changing for greater accuracy), I would not be particularly worried about transitioning.
Thank you so much for the kind words! Indeed, there isn’t nearly enough info about demi guys, demi girls, and related identities.
Continued: So I’m really.. very confused. I’m both fat and a full time student, so most of the clothes I can afford and wear are feminine. However, I don’t necessarily want to wear typically masculine styles of dress - sometimes I actually rather like the way my body looks in the clothes I have. But I never find myself looking in the mirror and seeing a woman - just me. It doesn’t help that, at times, my poor self-esteem makes me wonder if I’m just making it all up to be ‘special’, and that maybe I’m just desperate to be different. But I can’t shake the feeling. I don’t think of myself as a woman, but I don’t think of myself as a man, either. If given the choice, I’d go with ‘Mx’ as an address. I don’t adhere to social ideal-beauty traits for women, so sometimes I wonder if I’m unable to consider myself a woman because I’m not a size-2-blonde-with-hourglass-curves-smooth-legs-perfect-breasts and so on. I just really don’t know, at all. Sorry for the long, rambling ask.. -R.B.
GQID: Hello again!
Well, you’ve got several things going on that you’ve mentioned, so let’s break this down more concretely:
- You seem pretty sure of the physical traits in people that you are attracted to. This concept and whatever words or ideas you use to describe it does not neecssarily have anything to do with your gender identity unless you personally feel it is somehow an expression of such.
- The clothes you wear do not necessarily have to “match” a gender or sex identity in a traditional way (for example, I identify as male but have no interest in 95% of clothes people consider masculine). Clothes can potentially serve as a fun expression of gender if desired or serve as anchors to more clearly communicate gender expression in the ways it is commonly recognized in the mainstream or by subcultures, but it is not a requirement to utilize fashion in this way.
- I can definitely relate to the initial feeling of uncertainty around whether I “really” identified as genderqueer / non-binary, or whether I was really just a woman who did not embody or appreciate certain stereotypes. Thinking about a few of the following ideas helped me a lot:
- How might I feel about my body and my gender if I was the only person on earth? Without other people to view me, would it be the same or different? I determined that I would continue to see myself the same way and wish for the same changes in my physical form.
- Thinking about the various types of femininity and womanhood, I realized that there is an infinite array of possibilities - and they all don’t particularly fit me as I understand them. Acknowledging their depth, that they are beyond stereotype, is the important step. In this step I realized that, no I did not hate womanhood nor was I projecting self-hate about being a woman and trying to deny it, but that I did not wish to see myself as a woman, in any of the word’s meanings. Would it be possible for me to claim I identified as a woman and embody this meaning as I saw fit? Yes, but it would mean denying the feelings that resonate with me above all else - that I see my body as / want it to be what I understand as male, and that my gender is neither man nor woman. Realizing and embodying these ideas brings me more satisfaction and feels more right than “girl” ever did, and this is what matters to me.
You mention low self-esteem - I can’t know for sure whether or not this would change how you perceived your gender identity. I would recommend exploring the variety of body-positive blogs around Tumblr for some inspiration (check out this site for a great list) and checking out self-care material when you are feeling down as a couple of ideas if you don’t have access to or are not interested in seeing a counselor to discuss this topic with further.