This poem was written and performed by Erin Upchurch in 2011 as a part of the Columbus, OH Transgender Day of Remembrance. This year, we wanted to bring it back. With the recent murder of Cemia “Cece” Dove from Cleveland, OH and many other members of the trans community, this poem really hits home for us.
Thank you to all of the Trans*, Gender Non-Conforming and Allied people who took part in this video and thank you to Erin Upchurch for creating this amazing piece and allowing us to adapt it into video.
Hello there - You’ll find a great list of familial neutral and queer titles over here: http://genderqueeries.tumblr.com/titles
Hope this helps,
I am so happy to hear that GQID has been useful for you and your boyfriend! Thank you for reading,
Whether an individual who is a hijra or two-spirit person sees such identities as genders is the main point of concern. There are certainly many who do see it as an identity or role, some who see it more as sexuality or spirituality, and a little bit in between or beyond such notions. It is also worth mentioning that two-spirit as an umbrella term encompasses many divergent Native American tribes and roles and it may be worth exploring a specific tradition or to know an individual’s identity and perspective to understand further.
Non-binary typically includes any gender/s beyond the binary (which would include gender fluid); only 100% man or 100% woman are generally regarded as binary gender identities, but even here there is some room for someone having such identities to have ambivalence, divergent presentation, or for some trans* people to see their identities as being very different from cis people (while other trans* people connect more with the binary view - there is no right or wrong here, just different models and ways of being). Moving between the two, having some gray areas, or having other genders entirely would fall under the scope of non-binary.
For temporarily minimizing the shape of hips and butt, compression shorts are an option. Underworks sells compression shorts and pants that you may want to look into. Wearing baggy clothing to cover this area is another possibility.
For more long-term shaping, testosterone can redistribute body fat and typically creates a more masculine shape, but belly fat can begin to increase as well (alone with a host of other effects that one may or may not desire, like vocal change, body hair, and so forth), so working out more is also necessary to circumvent this if that is an issue. Certain exercise regimens, even without the T, may also help with shaping the hips and butt.
This is not my area of expertise, however, so if anyone else has tips to share, I’d love to hear them.
Thank you so much for the kind words! If you let me know a more specific area, I may be able to suggest further resources for you as well.
Great question! First, let’s define what exactly “penis envy” is anyway before moving further.
Penis envy is a concept from psychology that Freud came up with describing what he thought was a crucial moment of gender identity and sexual formation for females: when they realize they don’t have a penis. There have been a number of criticisms about this theory by feminists and other psychotherapists that take issue with various reasons why they find the theory to be inaccurate and/or offer an incomplete picture of gender identity formation or sexual development. Penis envy may also be used informally by people describing someone without a flesh and blood cock that seems to want male privileges or has jealousy or envy around the status or equipment of males in general; it is usually used in a derogatory sense when it comes to describing others in these ways.
In terms of sexual or gender fluidity, on the other hand, someone female-assigned-at-birth (FAAB) of any gender or orientation may perhaps want to have a packer (a soft item resembling a penis to tuck into the underwear) or dildo / strap-on to play with in terms of comfort, presentation, or sexual expression. It is worth noting that there are many cisgender women that are totally into occasional gender play, having sex with a strap-on, and other permutations. Someone may be more inclined to identify rather as gender fluid or transgender if the desire seemed more essential to their identity or more persistent. “Penis envy” would not really be the appropriate term here for any of these scenarios.
I am so sorry to hear they you feel so stressed out about this, but hopefully you can take some comfort in knowing that you are not alone in these feelings and that they are ways that people have found to not only cope, but thrive, as genderqueer.
It is important to keep in mind that genderqueer and non-binary identities are brand-new concepts for many people, even those within the broader LGBTQ community. The term genderqueer itself appears to have originated around the 1990s and much research and outreach still needs to be done around this side of gender.
As for always being misgendered, this entirely depends on the spaces one inhabits, where and how one is out in daily life as genderqueer (if at all), and factors like presentation and how aware one’s own community is of such an identity. Many genderqueer people can begin to feel more at ease with their identity and comfortable in sharing information about their relationship with gender by communicating with other people who identify similarly in online or physical spaces. Online, there are a plethora of forums and other types of websites where this kind of sharing and discussion is encouraged. In physical space, this might look more like clubs and support groups.
Coming out is often a process that is repeated many times throughout one’s life and isn’t necessarily done just once and never again, although it is sometimes portrayed as such. It is common to be out in some areas of life and with certain people, and not in other areas and with other people. To use myself as an example, I am out to most people in my life, but I have avoided explicitly talking about my identity with those that I know it would be painful, or even annoying, to go through the details of this with. I can choose my battles and, occasionally and to my delight, some interesting conversations and closeness that can result because of this. Sometimes the people who are the most supportive may surprise you. As I have said many times, coming out is not obligatory and it should only be done for your own comfort and when you feel it is safe to do so. There are resources for coming out as genderqueer at this link.
Finally, as for growing old genderqueer, I’m not sure what your specific concerns are around aging, but I do want to tell you that I have met and know of a number of genderqueer elders! I recommend you check out this piece Coming Out As Genderqueer At the Age of 50 for a look at this.
Based on your question, I don’t know what area of your body or presentation is causing you to have dysphoric feelings, so I am unable to give a specific suggestion here. Many areas of dysphoria can be worked on through using hormonal treatments or through purchasing items like breast forms, binders, packers, and so forth, depending on the area of concern.
Another big component of dysphoria, apart from addressing what could be done physically or with external tools like the aforementioned to alleviate distress, is considering one’s psychological state.Some people who experience dysphoria also become depressed or anxious because of it, or other things might be going on in their life that cause them to feel more dysphoric than they would otherwise. This is the kind of situation where one might find a gender therapist to be helpful. Even if physical transition isn’t possible or necessarily desired, getting to a place of translating the body into something that can be more functionally and aesthetically appreciated is something such a therapist could potentially help with. Psychology Today and Gaylesta are two resources for locating gender therapists. An LGBTQ support group may also be a good place to hash out some struggles around dysphoria.
Finally, many transgender, genderqueer, and non-binary folks go through a period early on in identity, or periods throughout their life, where they feel more dysphoric then others. Again, if there are other life stressors, or they haven’t located the information or support that they need to take the steps that would help them learn how to feel better about their body and reframe it so that it could work for them, this could also enhance dysphoric feelings
Whether or not to come out around gender is a frequent point of concern for people. Doing this depends often on the intimacy of your relationship with that person and how important being out as transgender, genderqueer, or non-binary is for the person potentially doing the coming-out. Some people find it important because of their level of community involvement or desire to inform others that these identities exist, others might come out on a need-to-know basis (doctors, certain family members, sexual/romantic partners, etc) and choose carefully who they tell, while still others might be out to just about everyone who they could be out too.
If you feel that it is important to come out because identifying this way is a big part of your life and you might feel less honest for not sharing it, there are some strategies for doing so listed here (it is geared towards genderqueer coming out, but there are other links in the list, too). Don’t forget, though, that no one should feel obligated to come out: if you identify as a girl, you are a girl, whether you are non-op / no-hormones, pre-, or post-. Sharing other pieces of your history are only necessary to share as far as you feel like they are necessary to share. One strategy that I use for coming out can be simply discussing transgender rights (outside of relation to myself), or gender and sexuality topics more generally to see whether the reaction is positive or negative. Then, from there I can gauge whether my friendship would be at risk / would be worth risking if they knew this information about me.
Hope this helps,
When telling others and deciding for yourself what pronouns you prefer, it is a common approach to make an inventory of your level of comfort and/or discomfort with different terms. Some people do feel noticeably uncomfortable with what they know they do not identify as, and may be more apt to go with alternatives from there (as you’ve described). I think this is a fine strategy for now while you work out what would be most comfortable for you, although it may be more effective if you at least identify as partially male, masculine, and/or as a man, otherwise he/him/his may begin to be a source of discomfort as well. Similarly, when asking others about pronoun preference and hearing what they are okay with, following their lead and checking in with them if something seems to have changed for them or they’re uncomfortable is a good idea. Finally, if you don’t know someone’s preference, they/them/their is a generally safe bet, but most people don’t mind being asked if you want to be sure.
I am a non-binary artist curating a compilation of non-binary written and oral histories. My aim is to document our existence in the world with a collection that reaffirms our varied selves to each other and helps others to understand. I am reaching out to the internet to get in touch with as many people as possible who want to have their voices and stories preserved and shared with the world.
I am requesting submissions that document your own life and experiences as a non-binary person, or that of a non-binary person you know. Share whatever you feel comfortable! You can write a sentence or a novella. I’m including some prompts below; you can answer all, or some, or none in your response. Responses may be published, but will all be anonymous. I will be publishing responses on this project’s tumblr, as well as an edited (for brevity and obvious spelling mistakes only) e-book and hard-copy version.
I thank y’all so much in advance for your contributions! You can get updates about this project at nonbinaryhistories.tumblr.com (recently created, nothing there as of writing this). We gotta stand for each other, y’all.
NON-BINARY HISTORY PROJECT
Submit your stories to:
Responses will be published anonymously in print and online. If you would like to be identified, please include your initials and/or location as you would like it to be listed. Responses may be edited, but ONLY for brevity (I may not publish the entire response) or obvious spelling errors (if there is any question as to whether it is intentional, I will not change it).
Prompts to answer or not answer as you wish!:
- Describe your gender identity.
- How do you like to present yourself?
- What do you say to strangers who misgender you? What do you wish you could say?
- What does ‘transitioning’ mean to/for you?
- What goals do you have about your gender identity?
- What pronouns do you use?
- Describe when/how you first realized you were non-binary.
- Did you realize that you were not your assigned gender before you realized you were non-binary?
- What are some authors/books/influences that have shaped your ideas about gender?
- What makes your identity feel validated? Invalidated?
- What does being non-binary mean to you?
- What changes would you like to see in the way society perceives non-binary people?
- Do you experience dysphoria? What is it like for you?
- How do you feel when you look in the mirror? What do you want to see?
- Describe a time when a stranger made you feel validated about your gender identity.
- Describe a time when you realized something important about/related to your gender identity.
- Describe a relationship you have with someone who supports your gender identity and what that means.
- Describe how you feel when you are at your best/strongest (or worst/weakest).
- What ideas or wishes do you have about the future of gender?
Again, please write about whatever you want – these are just some ideas. Don’t worry if you feel like you are not a great writer – putting our feelings into words is hard and you are awesome just for putting your awesome self out there!
Yes, it is okay to feel like this! There are lots of folks who have a similar combination of identities and may express interest in some medical changes at some point. As more people are aware of alternative transitional paths and identities other than man or woman in the trans*, genderqueer, and non-binary sphere, options for transition in in some ways but not others are becoming more well known too. Further, there are some people who don’t feel the term transsexual applies to them even if they do desire medical transition, since the term can be associated with older generations (so there can be a sense of disconnect for a younger transitioning person if using this at times) as well as associations with pathology or disorderliness for some folks. At the same time, there are people who can use the term transsexual in an empowering and validating light for themselves. Ultimately, identifying with different terms that fit comfortably is a process that is up to you.
Finally, in the trans*, genderqueer, and non-binary communities, female assigned at birth (FAAB) and male assigned at birth (MAAB) are common designations rather than biologically female or male or genetically female or male.
I hope this was helpful for you,