Dysphoria is a common theme, but it is certainly not a requirement for identifying as genderqueer. Check out this recent post for more on why. There are many GQ folks that are comfortable with their bodies or even their sex assignment, just as there are many who are not or are working on ways to become more comfortable. ~Marilyn
Question, cont.: Just causes me serious disphoria. I work in a very gender segregated work place, and I’m scared and confused of my brains inability to “pick a side” as it were. Knowing that being gender queer is an option is comforting, but living in America it doesn’t seem like much of one. There doesn’t seem to be anywhere I feel comfortable, except the internet, I guess. I don’t know what to tell my boyfriend or coworkers or family, and I’m scared that I’m just making it up in my head.
Many people with similar identities can relate to what you’re describing. The challenge of navigating social spaces that are likely to be unfamiliar with genderqueer identity and pondering the dilemma of coming out (or not) are common, even if difficult, experiences, so you are not alone here.
If at all possible, I would suggest looking into an LGBTQ or trans*/genderqueer-specific support group in your area or use Internet resources to connect with people with similar identities in your area. The Internet can be a great place for revealing sides of yourself that you may not feel ready to, or safe to, come out about in physical space, but it is incredibly comforting to be able to interact with others who may share some of your experience.
Although non-binary and gender non-conforming identity and presentation is nothing new, the term genderqueer is and the awareness of the concept in the mainstream is even newer. Recommending resources to people who you do feel comfortable coming out to (and remember, you don’t have to unless you want to) and checking out the coming out masterpost may also be helpful to you.
In regards to feeling like it is being made up in your head, you may want to have a look at my response to If a gender identity falls in the forest and no one can hear it, does it make a sound?
Yes, sports bras (as well as some DIY methods) can be useful for chest compression / binding. Hudson’s Guide (though geared towards trans* men) is a useful resource and I’d recommend you check out this post about safety precautions if you are concerned. If anyone has specific sports bras that work great for binding, please feel free to suggest them here.
Yes, it certainly is totally fine, and many others have taken a similar approach. Not everyone feels the need to be out to everyone, or anyone at all, and people may have varying degrees of comfort or discomfort with being seen in certain ways.
There are a number of things that could be going on in your case - it could be gender, sexuality, or a combination of the two. Body dysphoria is not a requirement for identifying as genderqueer (or any other identity) and behavior or interests gendered by yourself and/or society may not necessarily line up with gender identity either.
Many bisexual and pansexual people describe themselves as being more attracted to the person than to the gender or sex. Of course, there are others who do find specific qualities of various identities attractive, but it is still noteworthy as a common characteristic. Additionally, as someone mentioned in a reblog of this question, whether you attach importance to someone else’s gender identity as a factor in how you’re attracted to them or not, their identity may still be quite important to them, so keep this in mind.
Some people who feel like they don’t have a gender or feel gender neutral may find that agender or neutrois describes them. Other people may indeed be okay and comfortable identifying with a gender, but not attach too much importance to it in their mind or see how it is relevant most often. I can’t say for sure what you’re experiencing, but these concepts may be helpful to consider.
Yes, I certainly do think so. In some spaces, around certain company, or due to pressures and expectations (societal or self-created), there can sometimes be a tendency to enter into the question of whether to sacrifice or uphold personal style versus recognizability as what others understand as being a given gender. This is handled very differently from individual to individual and it can be frustrating to have to weigh the pros and cons of either route.
I have seen bigender used both to refer to continuous, simultaneous identity and a fluid movement from one gender to another. It troubles me when there is stern insistence that a certain term must never mean something that is entirely possible for it to mean (like when people say that “true” bisexual people must always be attracted in exactly the same capacity to men and women). Androgyne is another identity term that is used to refer to a mix of man and woman that you may be interested in looking into, although androgyny can also just be used to refer to fashion, behavior, or gender ambiguity. I would say I have seen bigender more commonly used when there is a strong impression of two genders, and for androgyne to refer to more of a blended sense of gender.
Great question! They’re not the same, but the terms are closely related and there can be overlap. Gender non-conforming tends to be used for presentation and sometimes behavior, while genderqueer has been used for identity, presentation, and behavior. I deal with this more in an answer to another question on GQID over here, along with defining genderqueer and non-binary. Which terms you are comfortable using depends on what you find accurate and empowering.
Hello there -
Although dysphoria is a common narrative throughout trans*, genderqueer, and non-binary identities, it is not essential. Medical and psychological discourse around trans* issues is part of why dysphoria has been so emphasized, but it really is not a requirement for having an identity outside of the binary or somewhere in the trans* spectrum.
People in these communities feel all kinds of different ways about their bodies - love, feeling indifferent, mixed, dislike certain aspects, hate - and about whether or not they want to have certain bodily changes. Feelings may also be shaped differently over time. Check out these posts for more information:
I hope this helps.
These are all excellent questions! I will do my best to answer them.
1. How does gender in dreams relate to real gender identity?
Some trans*, genderqueer, and non-binary people may have dreams in which they present and are seen in the ways that they identify, perhaps even having bodies or other scenarios unfold that would be difficult or impossible in real life. So too can some cisgender people have dreams of crossdressing or alternate bodies, situations that they may or may not actually want. I would recommend not only relying on dream content to verify whether one is a certain identity or not, but think about waking-life clues and feelings on the subject as well.
2. Can someone have no gender identity?
Some people may have no strong feelings about their gender, or gender at all. There are also those who believe that gender is an inherently harmful and unnecessary construct and do not describe or name their gender in any way. As for naming it, agender is the most commonly used term for this situation, though this is considered a non-binary identity.
3. Being not over the moon with your own gender and not being very attatched to it is not being cis, right? Or can it be?
There are certainly cisgender people who don’t think much about their own gender or gender in general, or might have problems and pressures that come up because of gender.
4. How much does the ‘gq thing’ deal with how you look?
It really depends on the person. Genderqueer people may or may not choose to use gender presentation in the form of fashion and items like breast forms, packers, gaffs, and binders to adjust their appearance as desired. Some genderqueer people want to align their gender identity with their presentation in a way that may be more recognizable to others (such as an androgynous person dressing androgynously) and feel like they are totally expressing themselves as they want to, while others may feel like doing this would sacrifice their own sense of style and have to weigh the pros and cons of potentially being recognized as how they identify more often versus giving up their personal style.
A feeling of continual coming out is actually not an uncommon experience for people around both gender and sexuality. Some people may find that they have fluid or situationally based changes in their gender or sexuality, while others may have a more consistent identity. It is also possible to discover more things about yourself that you may not have had the words or community to recognize previously. Even for those whose identity doesn’t change much over time, coming out generally happens in stages, for different reasons and to different people.
It is not necessary to come out to everyone in your life each time you reframe your identity and, in fact, can be quite exhausting to do so. It may be important to prioritize who should know and when those around you should know about it.
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.
Even something as seemingly innocuous as using the term ‘third gender’ cannot be stripped of its racist past and the ways that the very notion has been used to misrepresent and colonize non-western gender and their discourses.
While it may not be the case that third gender is not a slur, it is also not exactly the sort of thing that white people should feel entitled to. Particularly because of the way that it was created to further exotify and, thus, delegitimize genders not easily understood by white, western academics.
A good piece on the term third gender and a case of its previous use in a documentary and how it has racial connotations. It is essential to be aware of how even neutral sounding terms can have more complex backgrounds and take this as another reminder of how important it is to use caution, accuracy, and mindfulness in language.
These questions came to my mind In relation to the recent Age and Gender article, as I was interested to know readers’ experiences. I expect there will probably be some variance in responses. Age range may be given (such as 10-12, or pre-teen, as examples) if you are unsure of an exact age.
For my own responses, I would say 1) somewhat as a pre-teen, more strongly in teen years, 2) Vague understanding beforehand, but not really until 17 - 18? 3) 19-20.
One of the most common types of questions I’ve received on the site and in private messages and interactions concerns whether someone is either “too young” or “too old” to identify as transgender, genderqueer, non-binary, or even as an otherwise gender non-conforming person who may not even see themselves as trans*. Sometimes the individual thinks this about themselves and is concerned about what this means, and other times it may be a family member or friend who is skeptical about how someone could identify a particular way when it seems either too early or late, in their mind, for them to be identifying this way.
Part of this stems from a body of medically-oriented literature that suggests that, for the majority of people (both cis and trans*), gender identity is fixed at an early age. You can easily find such remarks as “By age four, children’s gender identity is stable, and they know they will always be a boy or a girl” (Healthy Children). There are also more broad, and in my experience, more helpful, articulations, such as that found on Gender Spectrum: “Your child may articulate [their gender] at age 4, 14, or even 24” and Kids’ Health: “Some transgender people know they feel “different” from the time they’re young kids. Others start sensing it around puberty or even later.” Seeing the variety of responses on Genderfork’s ‘When do trans people realize it?’ post is also encouraging.
I aim for a more inclusive approach in my own research and discussion of age and gender identity determination. Even if it is the case that the majority of people feel solid about their gender identity at a young age, this factoid is not particularly helpful to use as “evidence” against anyone identifying as trans* at an age older than expected based on this model. This method is similarly harmful as that used by people who think it is better or more acceptable somehow for someone to be naturally a given sexual identity and who use “by choice” in a pejorative fashion.
There are a number of reasons why someone may not name themselves as trans* and/or sense any kind of conflict about societal expectations, assigned sex, and gender until later in life. A lack of information access concerning gender terminology and associated communities is one. Someone may have a fluid identity that changes over time. Environmental factors like absence of parental discussion about gender or lack of prohibition from exploring what is considered atypical gender behavior or presentation is another way. Someone may even indeed identify as trans* in some way, either by name or in recognition of similar characteristics, but keep it secret until they feel it is safer for them to come out, or even never come out.
As for those who do explore non-normative gender at a young age, this is another feature that unfortunately can be used as cause for undue alarm, perhaps just as much as the “too old to be trans*’ model. People who are not familiar with the topic and trajectories of trans* people may think that entertaining something that may be a “phase” seriously, particularly if hormonal or surgical intervention is a future possibility, is dangerous for young people. Some of these people may not even believe trans* identities are real or, even if accepting these identities as existing, think that it would be better for someone to “just wait and see.”
I have already discussed how attacking a concept as “just” a phase is problematic. Identity may indeed change over time for a variety of reasons: some people may view a given past identity as having been true for them at that time, other people may view such fluidity to a new identity as discovering their true selves. A fluidly changing gender or sexual identity, in itself, should not be cause for concern unless the person is experiencing distress as a result and wishes for this to not be the case. Regarding hormonal or surgical transition, if desired, consulting with a young person over time about their goals, parental involvement, following WPATH’s Standards of Care guidelines, and supportive medical professionals that make clear the temporary or permanent implications of treatments of interest are all components that should help to ensure that the best options are taken. Parents and other supportive people in a young person’s life must also be prepared to listen and for identity to change and to not pressure someone to continue along a path they no longer want to pursue.
Ultimately, while statistics about the ages at which cisgender and trans* people articulate their gender identity are useful to know, making the mistake of using ideas about normalcy or the majority as an excuse, even if unintentional at first, to invalidate anyone’s identity is not an angle I would recommend for support or research.