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    Thread: Ask me about being genderfluid

    1. #1
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      Ask me about being genderfluid

      Hey DV, what's up?

      So, I'm genderfluid.

      "Huh? What is that?"

      Well, to understand it all proper and such, first you need to know a bit about sex, gender, and everything in-between. Here's a cool infographic with the basics for ya:



      "Okay, but...what?"

      It's super simples: I'm sometimes a dude, sometimes a chick, sometimes a weird combo of the two, and occasionally neither. Pretty much have no control over it, which--for me--is kinda sayin' something.

      Some other background:
      This has been something I've known about myself for a long while, but have really been coming to grips with in the last few years.
      My body map is female, which lines up with the mode I tend to be most often. Because of that, unlike a lot of genderfluid folks, I've been pursuing transition.
      As for pronouns, singular they/them/their is what I prefer people use for me in general conversation--'specially here on the interwebz.

      Questions, comments, flames?

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      Two questions: How would you describe man-ness and woman-ness? How about femininity and masculinity?

      See, the thing is, the thing I don't understand, is that from my perspective, those things are made up and almost not even real things. I can't place myself on those two scales because I don't feel that I can accurately describe any one action, thought, feeling or system of behavior as being feminine or masculine. Sometimes I do things or feel things that would commonly be described as feminine, and I've been mistaken for a girl online - but it has never occurred to me ever to mean anything. I feel that it just gets too confusing trying to come up with a label for what I am based on those really minute nuances in my own feelings and behavior. I've always been comfortable thinking of myself as a male, because I never felt that describing myself as a male would imply anything about my feelings and behavior.

      But I think that brings me back to what I first said. These are things I don't understand. Clearly, the feelings of being all these things I don't have a clue about are feelings a lot of people out there have. My problem is that I can't at all relate to it, despite the fact that I don't think I could be described as a "straight cisgendered male". So it confuses me. Things like pronouns turn into jokes for a lot of people, and I find them funny because, indeed, from my perspective it is an alien concept.

      There is just a small part of me that believes that it stems from the assumption that there are hardcoded "masculine" and "feminine" traits. So people who feel like they have both, start to get confused about their own gender, rather than realizing that those two concepts are bullshit and shouldn't be thought of at all. We can describe your physical situation, at least usually, physically it isn't difficult to figure out what sex you are. But mentally? Personally I think all that is just a bunch of made up crap. And that's when we come back to the point where it's really just me that doesn't understand it, probably. In any case, there's nothing wrong with being or identifying as anything.
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      I think this whole gender-identity thing is very interesting. I like the idea that we are not binary but part of a web of spectra, so I liked that cookie diagram, Mzzkc.

      But, I have a very similar opinion as Maeni.

      I am a cisgendered male. But I thought I was a transgendered female in my childhood because that is what people told me I was, because I had many friends that were girl. I never felt girly but people did. So, I thought if I were a girl, everyone would love me, and I wouldn't be insulted anymore. Growing up, I've stopped believing other people, and have realized that although some people expressed that opinion, others expressed opposing opinions about me.

      My point here, is although I really like reading about gender identity and I find that it makes the world look more complex, it has only harmed me as a child, and I do not see the relevance of it for me. Like Maeni, I identify with my sex. I don't believe in gender: I don't think a man should act a way and a woman another. I like to see people of all flavors, but it bothers me when people say "That's a tomboy or that's a broken boy." I wish people would all just be boys, and girls (and well, those who were born differently) and that that would not imply anything at all but them.

      So, I really do am curious what you would say. Why does a transgender feel the need to label themselves as such. For example, why would a female label herself as a male? If there is no such thing as a male? (I think I am mostly trying to find out if my experience with gender identity has anything to do with people who are transgender or gender-fluid. Is it trying to find where you fit in society, is it a real feeling you feel inside you?)
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 02-10-2015 at 11:43 PM.

    4. #4
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      Good questions, Maeni. =)

      First off, I'll agree with you that the way traditional genders are defined is largely socially constructed. It's dumb, but the sad reality is--because of that social construction--most folks (in nations where a binary separation exists) tend to lump various traits, thoughts, behaviors, and what have you into one of two boxes: maleness and femaleness. This is useful in satisfying the human need to compartmentalize complex information (and gender is extraordinarily complex), but it's less than helfpful when ambiguities and complications inevitably arise.

      But the key differences comes down to how the brain processes and responds to information, which tends to be influenced by its physical structure. Here's some science (with sources) on that if you're interested.

      Really, the best way I can explain maleness/femaleness is as the differences in how the world affects a person mentally/emotionally and their response to that stimulation. Following that, masculinity and femininity are simply tools used by a person to help communicate those mental and emotional responses to others, which in turns points others towards a social framework which they can use in further communication. This is necessarily a simplified explanation.

      Hope I helped you understand things a bit more, but let me know if I can be more clear or elaborate in places.

      Cheers. =)
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    5. #5
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      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      I think this whole gender-identity thing is very interesting. I like the idea that we are not binary but part of a web of spectra, so I liked that cookie diagram, Mzzkc.

      But, I have a very similar opinion as Maeni.

      I am a cisgendered male. But I thought I was a transgendered female in my childhood because that is what people told me I was, because I had many friends that were girl. I never felt girly but people did. So, I thought if I were a girl, everyone would love me, and I wouldn't be insulted anymore. Growing up, I've stopped believing other people, and have realized that although some people expressed that opinion, others expressed opposing opinions about me.

      My point here, is although I really like reading about gender identity and I find that it makes the world look more complex, it has only harmed me as a child, and I do not see the relevance of it for me. Like Maeni, I identify with my sex. I don't believe in gender: I don't think a man should act a way and a woman another. I like to see people of all flavors, but it bothers me when people say "That's a tomboy or that's a broken boy." I wish people would all just be boys, and girls (and well, those who were born differently) and that that would not imply anything at all but them.

      So, I really do am curious what you would say. Why does a transgender feel the need to label themselves as such. For example, why would a female label herself as a male? If there is no such thing as a male? (I think I am mostly trying to find out if my experience with gender identity has anything to do with people who are transgender or gender-fluid. Is it trying to find where you fit in society, is it a real feeling you feel inside you?)
      I think it might help for you to think of things in terms of bodily comfort. Turning things on their head, imagine--using your own childhood experience--everyone was telling you your leg was broken. To you, your leg felt fine, you felt no pain, and you couldn't imagine why everyone kept insisting it was broken and trying to get it fixed.

      For a lot of trans folk, their leg really is broken, but too often the break isn't obviously busting through the skin. They're in pain, but their parents take a quick look, tell them they don't see anything wrong, and that's the end of it. Except the leg is still broken, the pain is still there, and only medical intervention will fix the problem, cause for whatever reason, the leg isn't healing. Eventually, if help isn't sought the pain becomes too much, and suicide or some other form of complete detachment seems like the most reasonable solution.

      Transition tends to be life saving. A large part of that transition happens socially, which means navigating social constructs and re-appropriating social tools (like labels) to assist in healing yourself up. For instance, if I had never started up this thread, y'all would just continue to assume: "that's a dude" and treat me as such. But if I'm not it that mode, seeing that is like a kick in my leg which has only just started to heal. I don't know about you, but I'm not a fan of hanging out in places where people who'd otherwise call you friend are aggravating your wound. It's a big reason why I haven't been around here much recently. But by letting folks know: "hey, I've got a broken leg, sorry I didn't tell you earlier, could you please stop kicking it?" I open up the possibility of hanging around that group of people instead of being forced to cut them out of my life entirely.
      Last edited by Mzzkc; 02-11-2015 at 12:45 AM.
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      Thank you Mzzkc,

      Your metaphor definitely helped me understand (except no one's broken ). I think it's interesting, this complexity in people.

      I wish you the best, being who you truly are. Complete.

      (The only problem is that society is not familiar with this, and thus ill-suited to behave properly...)
      Last edited by Occipitalred; 02-11-2015 at 12:50 AM.

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      I think that there are certain natural differences between men and women.
      From a historical perspective, men have been the hunters since men in general are physically stronger, and this is probably also the reason why men in general are often considered more competitive.
      You can see this behaviour among many animal species as well, it's very often the males who try to impress the females, often by fighting each other.
      Similarly, women are probably considered more "caring" because they bear their children for 9 months and have to invest all their energy on that specific child, whereas men are more wired to spread their genes as much as possible.
      This would also explain why it's said that men tend to be unfaithful more often.

      Yes, it's true that several things are "social constructions", but I don't really agree that men and women are "completely the same".
      I mean, if we were so similar then why do heterosexual men always have such problems understanding women?
      I think we are wired differently for many different reasons, although of course there are exceptions.
      Last edited by Laurelindo; 02-11-2015 at 04:12 PM.

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      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      Yes, it's true that several things are "social constructions", but I don't really agree that men and women are "completely the same".
      Actually, I completely agree. I can see why my previous post seems to say the exact opposite - I think what I really mean is that when those exceptions happen, it doesn't matter. It's true that the sexes have many differences, but sometimes a male will have traits that are commonly associated with female behavior. I think maybe what I disagree with is the idea that 'gendered behavior' becomes exclusive to its gender. That is to say, if competitiveness is seen as masculine, then competitiveness is always a sign of man-ness. And if being caring is feminine, then caring becomes exclusively a sign of woman-ness.

      In my head, if a man has all of the feminine traits and none of the masculine traits then that means all of exactly nothing. He isn't less male, he isn't more female, he just happens to not have the traits that most men do.
      Last edited by Maeni; 02-11-2015 at 07:17 PM. Reason: nevermind i figured the last bit out
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      Okay, I think I grasped a new concept that helps all of this make more sense to me.

      Masculinity and femininity are different things altogether from gender identity although they can interact.

      For example, a man can have all attributes normally considered womanly: caring, intuitive, verbal an no attributes considered manly: confidant, dominant, logical. But still feel very much like a man. Or he could have "manly" attributes and feel like a woman. So, the feeling itself, doesn't have to do with whether you identify your personality to man or woman stereotypes, but simply, what gender you feel you are, possibly because of brain structure, etc. Anything is possible.
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    10. #10
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      Quote Originally Posted by Occipitalred View Post
      Okay, I think I grasped a new concept that helps all of this make more sense to me.

      Masculinity and femininity are different things altogether from gender identity although they can interact.

      For example, a man can have all attributes normally considered womanly: caring, intuitive, verbal an no attributes considered manly: confidant, dominant, logical. But still feel very much like a man. Or he could have "manly" attributes and feel like a woman. So, the feeling itself, doesn't have to do with whether you identify your personality to man or woman stereotypes, but simply, what gender you feel you are, possibly because of brain structure, etc. Anything is possible.
      That's it in a nutshell. Traits and expression don't define someone's gender, no matter the stereotypes.

      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      I mean, if we were so similar then why do heterosexual men always have such problems understanding women?
      Growing up, I always thought this was a just an overused trope; it blew my mind when I first learned people legitimately have this problem. XP
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    11. #11
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      I know none of these were questions, but I figured I'd delve into each of these points a bit for everyone following along at home. Just for funsies.

      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      I think that there are certain natural differences between men and women.
      No arguments here. The primary differentiating factor being brain structure more than anything else.

      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      From a historical perspective, men have been the hunters since men in general are physically stronger, and this is probably also the reason why men in general are often considered more competitive.
      Yep, males of sound body were often put into such roles way back when clothes were barely a thing--their strength afforded to them by larger quantities of testosterone (which plays a pivotal role in increasing muscle mass).

      Of course, to suggest that this is the source of that modern masculine stereotype seems a bit off to me.

      I mean, you've seen Mean Girls, right? =P


      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      You can see this behaviour among many animal species as well, it's very often the males who try to impress the females, often by fighting each other.
      Human mating patterns and social structures are a bit more complicated than that, lol. I suspect you're only looking at things from a male perspective here, which is understandable, but--when it comes to dating--posturing and what have you most definitely occurs on the opposite end of the spectrum too.

      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      Similarly, women are probably considered more "caring" because they bear their children for 9 months and have to invest all their energy on that specific child, whereas men are more wired to spread their genes as much as possible.
      This actually has more to do with the fact that women are more readily primed to produce oxytocin; the higher levels of estrogen don't hurt either. By nature, humans aren't monogamous creatures, but society has evolved to place us in monogamous roles--despite the many evolutionary drawbacks.

      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      This would also explain why it's said that men tend to be unfaithful more often.
      Another stereotype, but I'm unsure of actual statistics here--would need to look it up. XD

      Quote Originally Posted by Laurelindo View Post
      Yes, it's true that several things are "social constructions", but I don't really agree that men and women are "completely the same".
      For sure, brain structure and hormonal discrepancies account for some major differences. Which is why HRT has been proven such an effective method for alleviating gender dysphoria in trans individuals. They've got the brain for the part, but if the hormone levels aren't right, everything gets out of whack. It's sorta like running an engine that needs premium gas with regular. Sure the engine will function, but not as well as it could, and not without wearing down and eventually breaking over time.
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      So, since you tend do be female most often, do you dress like an average female most often? And then some days you dress like an average male? Also, are you attracted to both genders, one gender, or none?

      What I've noticed about myself is that I'm a cisgendered straight female, for the most part, but I don't always like to dress or act according to stereotypes. It hurts my self-esteem, though, whenever somebody mistakes me for a boy because of short hair and no makeup, because I primarily identify as a girl. What's weirdest for me, however, is that I notice I sometimes prefer to use male pronouns towards myself in my thoughts. For example, "I'll be a good boy" sometimes sounds better in my head than "I'll be a good girl", and I've wondered if that was just because I have a strong distaste for female gendered stereotypes, usually implying more inferiority and servitude when "good girl" is used than "good boy", but I suspect it might be deeper than that.

      I liked a lot of unisex toys as a kid, like Giga Pets, play-doh, etc, and only bothered playing with Barbies because my sister played with them all the time, and I didn't want to play alone. Otherwise I was bored with Barbies. I didn't like toy cars or army stuff that much either. Yet I notice my niece and nephew strongly identify with their gender archetypes. My niece loves Barbies, princesses, etc (though she also loves animals, art and spiders). My nephew loves basketball and everything sports/masculine related, and tends to be very aggressive. My youngest nephew, though, tends to be more gentle, and I can't tell yet what kind of stuff he's really into. This leads me to believe that while society can shape how people behave to a certain degree (like a mother forbidding her son to play with princess dolls because it's "not right"), a lot of gendered interests and behaviors actually do start in the womb. I don't align much with either gendered interests or behaviors, as I'm sure a lot of people don't either, and that came from the womb as well. It's kind of creepy to look at really old home videos and see how much you were exactly the same as you are now, right from the start. Just older, and the same interests have developed into more complex patterns.
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    13. #13
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      What I wear tends to be more androgynous overall, with some push in either direction depending on which end of the spectrum I'm leaning toward and whatever I'm doing that day. Although, random folks are consistently gendering me as female more and more frequently, even when I'm pushing boymode pretty hard. It's all still very much a work in progress. XD

      As for attraction, I prefer women no matter where I'm at gender-wise.

      And yeah, thinking back, I totally see what you mean about being the same person from when you were younger. I used to build big (think 4 foot tall), complex houses, structures and stuff (with knex) for my beanie babies as a kid--to give them a comfortable, safe place to live in and enjoy. Now I design and write software for much the same reason (but for keeping people secure--not beanie babies). And I'm pretty sure I've butted heads with and challenged authority pretty much from the get-go. XP
      Last edited by Mzzkc; 02-28-2015 at 01:15 AM.

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