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Is it arbitrary? Difference between genderfluid and woman
Chordal
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Post: #1
Is it arbitrary? Difference between genderfluid and woman
'Ey! Yo! <!-- sTongue --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_razz.gif" alt=":P" title="Razz" /><!-- sTongue -->

Okay, I'm not entirely certain why I chose this board to vent this -- maybe because we talk about figuring out who we are on this board? I do have a listserv I could write to, but I don't want to risk alienating the people there if I'm just being so genderfluid now as to have (temporarily) flowed into a "woman" space. Plus, I now have interpersonal issues with two of the moderators (who I know IRL; both of whom have either been skeezy or alarmed me). But anyhow...

I'm in this class which is expressly for women and transgender/gender-variant people, dealing with violence specifically directed at us. It's a really great class. One of the things which struck me though is how much in common we all had. I won't get into unnecessary details here so as not to break confidentiality, but the end result is that 1) I know now that the type of space I need is "women + trans*/genderqueer space"...and now I'm questioning whether I'm a cis (non-transgender) lesbian or a genderqueer lesbian ("genderqueer" meaning so queer as to "queer gender" and not just sexuality), using the terms loosely. The major difference between myself and a cis woman is likely my years of involvement in the trans* and genderqueer communities, meaning I've been (at least) secondhand exposed to the realities of life as a trans* person that a lot of people who have never questioned their gender identities, don't see.

My own identity is probably much more complex than GQ lesbian...but that's kind of difficult to explain, because I'm hardcore in-between genders, so much so that it induces shame to talk about it. I'm (mostly) a very feminine male in a female body. Other than the fertility issue and the social issues, it's probably better I be in a female body, but at the same time I feel some discomfort at not being seen as male. But then if I *were* seen as male, I'd be targeted for violence, because I knock down male gender norms all over the place...which is the reason I'm probably better off in a female body. Those perceived as cis women get more leeway in gender expression than those perceived as transgender or as men, it seems.

I haven't really touched the "energy being" identity in a while, having opted instead to move to a more...expansive? sense of being which does not single out this body as an individual to name, and nor is "species identity" a strong issue. I am not quite ready yet to launch the ideas brewing in me about that. But I have been reading over my backposts...which help to provide some perspective.

I just don't know if I can get across how accepted and respected I felt in that space.

At this point, though...I'm wondering where the line is drawn between "genderqueer" and "woman," (meaning "actual woman," not "woman as imagined by Marketers") especially given that I suspect "gender fluidity" (or being who one is regardless of gender-specific rules and norms) may be the natural state of things? If that's so, then what is separating me from women and womens' groups other than an arbitrary self-emplaced boundary which doesn't really exist for anyone but me? (well, and the cohort of older sexist trans* men who tell anyone questioning a trans* masculine identity to stay out of "womens'" space?) I haven't met and befriended enough women in my adult life to know exactly all the types of women there can be...I just know that as a teen and young adult, I was outside of the norm. But it looks like *a lot* of women are "outside of the norm"!

I know there are a lot of gender-diverse people in the otherkin community, so I thought this could be an interesting place to start dialogue. I should get going, but I'm just hoping that maybe some people (Sera? Eli?) could chime in on this.
2014-10-09 5:08
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Edge
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Post: #2
Re: Is it arbitrary? Difference between genderfluid and wom
I’m chiming in a trans man who is familiar with trans issues and has a burning hatred for the continued belief in gender roles. I apologize in advance if I am too blunt. I’ve been told I have all the tact of a bull in a china shop and I swear it’s just a personality thing and not something I consciously do.

Chordal Wrote:("genderqueer" meaning so queer as to "queer gender" and not just sexuality), using the terms loosely.
Perhaps a little too loosely. Genderqueer is a catch-all term for non-binary people. Like pretty much everything to do with gender identity, it is separate from sexuality.

Chordal Wrote:The major difference between myself and a cis woman is likely my years of involvement in the trans* and genderqueer communities, meaning I've been (at least) secondhand exposed to the realities of life as a trans* person that a lot of people who have never questioned their gender identities, don't see.
Actually, many cis women have years of involvement in trans* (genderqueer is under the trans* umbrella) communities and have been exposed to the realities of life as a trans* person. Just because they may have never questioned their gender identities, doesn’t mean they don’t see. We have many cis allies, friends, and partners. Discounting them does them and us a disservice.

Chordal Wrote:At this point, though...I'm wondering where the line is drawn between "genderqueer" and "woman," (meaning "actual woman," not "woman as imagined by Marketers") especially given that I suspect "gender fluidity" (or being who one is regardless of gender-specific rules and norms) may be the natural state of things?
Two things:
1. Yes, being who one is regardless of arbitrary “norms” which people still insist exist despite no evidence or logic to back it up is the natural state of things. People of any and all genders are who they are regardless of “rules” and “norms.”
2. No, genderfluid does not mean being who one is regardless of “rules” and “norms” (although they that as well same as every other person). Genderfluid means that one changes genders.

Chordal Wrote:If that's so, then what is separating me from women and womens' groups other than an arbitrary self-emplaced boundary which doesn't really exist for anyone but me? (well, and the cohort of older sexist trans* men who tell anyone questioning a trans* masculine identity to stay out of "womens'" space?)
Er... Well, there are some problems with people who are not women going into women’s spaces. For one, are the other people in the group comfortable with it? If they’re not, intruding on them would be disrespectful. If they are fine with it, go ahead. For another, is the guy comfortable with it? I know that I personally would feel uncomfortable in women’s spaces because I would worry about being seen as “really a woman” when I am no less of a guy than any other guy. If he (or they) are comfortable with it, then it’s their choice what they do. Personally, I’d also check out if the group allows trans women since the idea that trans men are “really women” tends to go hand in hand with the idea that trans women are “really men” and used as an excuse to exclude women from women’s spaces which would make me very uncomfortable.
If everyone involved is comfortable, go ahead. Those are just the boundaries that I personally set for myself.

Chordal Wrote:I haven't met and befriended enough women in my adult life to know exactly all the types of women there can be...I just know that as a teen and young adult, I was outside of the norm. But it looks like *a lot* of women are "outside of the norm"!
It’s like with any kind of people: if you’ve met one woman, you’ve met one woman.

Chordal Wrote:My own identity is probably much more complex than GQ lesbian...but that's kind of difficult to explain, because I'm hardcore in-between genders, so much so that it induces shame to talk about it. I'm (mostly) a very feminine male in a female body. Other than the fertility issue and the social issues, it's probably better I be in a female body, but at the same time I feel some discomfort at not being seen as male. But then if I *were* seen as male, I'd be targeted for violence, because I knock down male gender norms all over the place...which is the reason I'm probably better off in a female body. Those perceived as cis women get more leeway in gender expression than those perceived as transgender or as men, it seems.
Forget other people for a bit. Imagine that you are alone and far from people. There are no social issues, no “norms,” no violence, and no one except yourself to perceive you. You can be whoever you are and see yourself as whoever you are. Who are you? How would you express yourself even if it’s just to yourself? What would you want your body to be like if all that matters is being comfortable with it?

I'm the one with the power around here. -Rumplestiltskin
2014-10-12 15:28
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Chordal
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Post: #3
Re: Is it arbitrary? Difference between genderfluid and wom
Hi Edge!

Apologies for not responding sooner. The class I'm in for women and TG/GQ people is a self-defense class. It's kind of hardcore, and is kind of disturbing the normal state of things because of my need to "process" what's going on, because a lot of trauma gets brought up by -- particularly -- the roleplay situations. But anyway, my time management is kind of messed up at this point...I'm trying to keep up with self-defense and work and school, and none of it is particularly set.

I think I'll just pick a couple of topics here to respond to, right now.

Edge Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:At this point, though...I'm wondering where the line is drawn between "genderqueer" and "woman," (meaning "actual woman," not "woman as imagined by Marketers") especially given that I suspect "gender fluidity" (or being who one is regardless of gender-specific rules and norms) may be the natural state of things?
Two things:
1. Yes, being who one is regardless of arbitrary “norms” which people still insist exist despite no evidence or logic to back it up is the natural state of things. People of any and all genders are who they are regardless of “rules” and “norms.”
2. No, genderfluid does not mean being who one is regardless of “rules” and “norms” (although they that as well same as every other person). Genderfluid means that one changes genders.
In the case of #2 then, I'm thinking...that maybe under this definition I'm not genderfluid. I would be a transmasculine femme with varying gender presentations. (Big Grin I found a term for it!) That is, I'd be more comfortable as male, but also with the freedom to express femininity, regardless of being male.

But even so...I was wondering the other night about what it is in particular that causes me to identify with femininity. By that I mean that a lot of the signifiers which I've been hanging onto are really not fundamental. I accept being in a female body because it's easier and safer for me than doing maintenance hormone shots; plus, a lot of things I like about masculinity (larger frame, the bits, male-type chest, higher muscularity and strength [limited by my frame], male fertility/lack of impregnability, etc.) are things hormones won't give me at this point. Then I moved on to liking to dress in womens' clothes -- but the truth is that I don't necessarily like dressing in womens' clothes, more than that they're cut for my body and I take advantage of the relative freedom to wear them; and if clothes which fit me well and did not read as feminine were produced, I'd easily transfer over (given I liked the aesthetic). My hobbies are another thing I've clung to (particularly jewelry making), but then again, there are probably more male jewelers than female ones.

So the question here I've posed to myself is what makes me a feminine male and how is that separable or inseparable from my identity? I've said before that I'm a feminine male who is so feminine that I like being in a female body (or a pretty boy who's so pretty he looks like a woman), but that doesn't quite cut it...because identity is separate from body image. I'm just trying to make the best of my situation. In my present situation, remaining female is less traumatic than transitioning and having things upended and not knowing if the people who support me now will continue to do so, if I'll have to leave my job, if I'll have a mental breakdown, if I'll end up on Disability, if I'll ever be able to get settled in a career, etc.

Edge Wrote:
Chordal Wrote:My own identity is probably much more complex than GQ lesbian...but that's kind of difficult to explain, because I'm hardcore in-between genders, so much so that it induces shame to talk about it. I'm (mostly) a very feminine male in a female body. Other than the fertility issue and the social issues, it's probably better I be in a female body, but at the same time I feel some discomfort at not being seen as male. But then if I *were* seen as male, I'd be targeted for violence, because I knock down male gender norms all over the place...which is the reason I'm probably better off in a female body. Those perceived as cis women get more leeway in gender expression than those perceived as transgender or as men, it seems.
Forget other people for a bit. Imagine that you are alone and far from people. There are no social issues, no “norms,” no violence, and no one except yourself to perceive you. You can be whoever you are and see yourself as whoever you are. Who are you? How would you express yourself even if it’s just to yourself? What would you want your body to be like if all that matters is being comfortable with it?
Ah, this question. The problem is that I have multiple body images; I easily imagine myself in different forms. I'm not sure whether this is because I have a lot of spirits hanging around me who have their own ideal bodies (and I just pick up on them) or what...in that sense it could be related to psychic sensitivity and not "me" at all. Ideally, I'd be a shape-shifter, but I'm guessing that's not on the table. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink -->

Originally when I was thinking about this (this last time, at least), I thought of Lafayette from True Blood. I've appeared in this form in a dream, and it's very comfortable for me. Slim, tall, dark skin, deeper voice, with a somewhat padded chest and no head hair or mustache/beard, but still being physically male. But I'm guessing that this is because I've identified with his character. Lafayette's also somewhat trans* seeming as well, and I'm not sure whether I identify with him because of this or not.

The issue of race has also come up for me with this; I am multiracial but have a largely Asian-American identity -- because that's the family and culture I grew up with. For a long time I've actually wanted to look more typically Asian (like a handsome Asian man) [and be able to have a beautiful Asian baby which I could parent but didn't have to birth myself], but at the same time I remind myself that that's not who I am or what I look like this time around. The best I can do on this level is cope, because what I want is inaccessible, or at best, risky and very expensive. What I look like is what I look like; and it doesn't of necessity give an obvious answer to the question of who I am. At this point the question arises as to whether I should look congruent (in some identifiable way) with my identity, or if that assumption is a relatively privileged one (not to name you as mistaken at all -- I was the one who jumped from "ideal body" to "socially recognizable" ["social" in this case, including myself] -- but I've had a hard time finding words for the sense of dislocation and the corresponding sense that others do not feel dislocated in the same way; and I question whether it is actually better or should be the norm, not to feel dislocated).

In any case, I don't really hate my body for being female, because I recognize that the predicament I'm in is not my body's fault -- it's a societal issue combined with a biological one. Still, though, I would like to be stronger, taller, more handsome, with the correct bits to sustain me, and to grow more manageable hair. <!-- sWink --><img src="{SMILIES_PATH}/icon_e_wink.gif" alt=";)" title="Wink" /><!-- sWink --> I might be able to have two of those things, and it comes at a high cost with a high level of risk...
2014-10-18 5:44
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