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Poll: To what extent to you identify with your assigned gender? (50 member(s) have cast votes)

To what extent to you identify with your assigned gender?

  1. Completely. (16 votes [32.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 32.00%

  2. It's not perfect, but I feel comfortable with it or I think it can be changed. (7 votes [14.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 14.00%

  3. I feel uncomfortable but I can't do anything about it. (3 votes [6.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.00%

  4. I don't like it but I try not to think about it. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  5. I don't like it. I'm seeking or have found another gender expression that works better for me. (13 votes [26.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 26.00%

  6. To hell with genders. I shouldn't have to have one if I don't want one. (8 votes [16.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 16.00%

  7. What the hell are you talking about? (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  8. You're an anti-feminist macho asshole. (0 votes [0.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 0.00%

  9. There's no such thing as gender. (3 votes [6.00%])

    Percentage of vote: 6.00%

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#1
Troublemaker

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Ok, NicoleVF asked this question in the Butch/Femme forum:

Quote

I do have a question for you Trouble if you don't mind? Can I ask why you bind your breasts? My thoughts have been that it's to give a look of a males chest, is that right in your case? Are you uncomfortable with having breasts? Or does it just look better with a suit and tie? I'm curious :?:

I ask out of curiousity and not judgment, let me make that crystal clear.

*grin* ok, i think there's a whole pile of questions burried under this one, and i'm way too tired to do them all justice, but here are a few thoughts. i hope others will jump in!

first off, i don't identify as butch. i do identify as genderqueer. in my life i have slid around many different gender expressions (both the "correct" one for my genitalia, the "incorrect" one, and a bunch of others). Yes, I have passed for male, at first accidentally, then sometimes deliberately and sometimes not. it often happpens that people don't know what i am at first (gender, sexual orientation, race, language even!), and that's fine by me.

So that's me. my answers are totally specific to me... i imagine there are as many answers to this question as there are people.

what i've found is that i really like the "inbetween" spaces, when people really, really want to assume that you're either one thing or its opposite. i like to try to shake up that assumption, both in others and in myself. i find that i've learned a whole lot from exploring this space (most people would like you to believe it doesn't exist).

i've definitely noticed that when i first meet someone, i almost instantly figure out if they're male or female, so fast i didn't even notice i was doing it. it wasn't until i met someone who i actually couldn't tell, that i realized it really bothered me not to know. so i started thinking about why (don't have the answer all figured out yet!).

i definitely had lots of ambivalent feelings about my "assigned" gender and have rebelled against the conventions of femininity my whole life. i wanted to experiment, both because lots of people told me i couldn't (even in the queer community), and because i wanted to know what it felt like. so i started fucking with my gender presentation -- experimenting with different combinations of ways of acting, looking, walking, talking, etc.

i don't think there's one "femininity", and one "masculinity". i think there are actually lots of different sets of overlapping, but different codes... based on tons of other factors (especially race, class, culture, religion, etc etc). so it made me think hard about those things too, and where i fit in to them.

by doing this, i learned a lot about myself and others. just noticing that i felt different when i looked different, and then thinking, why? also, realizing there were very distinct patterns of how people reacted to me depending on how i changed my gender presentation. it was revealing. it was also freeing, to realize that there was a lot more choice there than i had ever realized. finally, i realized that the place where i feel like "myself", where i don't feel like i'm putting on a show for anyone, is somewhere outside the dichotomy. someone i know calls it FTX: female to none-of-the-above.

it also made me realize that i knew way less than i thought i did. what is biological sex? if it's about chromosomes and genitalia, then what about intersexed people who have both or none or some unusual combination? if it's not, what the hell is it about? what is sex, and what isn't? is it related to genitalia or not? if it is, see the previous question *laugh* if it isn't, what the hell is it, and how is it different from anything else? and, if sex and gender aren't clear cut, what does that mean about "sexual orientation"? what does it mean to be attracted to someone whose physical sex i don't know, or can't classify?

And finally, why do we ask if people who bind are "uncomfortable having breasts", but we don't ask if people who modify their bodies in other ways are uncomfortable with their bodies? Nicole, I don't mean to put you on the spot -- I'm glad you asked questions! But I do wonder about questions that don't get asked. Bras also change the shape of breasts. High heeled shoes make you lean forward just enough that breasts and butt stick out more than they normally would. Then there's control-top pantyhose, and so on. Are women who get breast implants *more* comfortable with their femaleness than those who don't? What about people who wear earrings... are they uncomfortable having ears? I mean really, they're cutting a piece of them right out! *grin* ok, i'm being a bit silly. but do you understand my question? why are breasts so invested with meaning about identity, sex etc when they're so different from person to person, and sometimes from day to day? (i'm not saying they shouldn't be, or should be, just asking why).

ok, this is getting really long! no, i'm not uncomfortable having breasts. i love my body in all its unique wonderfulness. I also love all the ways i can look, genderwise and otherwise. but i hate when other people make assumptions about my body, or about me because of my body, or try to lump me into some dichotomy because of my physical shape.

there is so much more to say on this topic! for anyone who wants to know more, I'll leave you with some of my favourite resources.

Goodnight all,
Troublemaker

===========================================

Boys Like Her, by Taste This
- an amazing collection of short stories, photos, and poems originally part of a live show by the performance collective Taste This. Get your hands on this any way you can.


One Man's Trash, by Ivan Coyote
- Ivan is a spellbinding (no pun intended!) storyteller. Also check out his other collections and CD of him reading his stories at at ivanecoyote.com


My Gender Workbook, by Kate Bornstein
- just what it sounds like: questions to ponder and exercises to try, to learn about gender in general and in yourself


"How We Have a Sex" in Refusing To Be A Man by John Stoltenburg
- really interesting essay that challenges the idea that we need to lump people into categories at all


Androgyny - Rarely Asked Questions
http://www.chaparraltree.com/raq/
- extremely funny, yet informative


Stone Butch Blues, by Leslie Feinstein
- love it or hate it, this is a well-told story and an important piece of history


http://www.transfemi.../pdf/adults.pdf
- rad queer/disabled/tranny activist Diana Courvant answers the questions that don't get asked... with attitude ;) on one of my favourite websites


http://www.transfemi...tfmanifesto.pdf
- If you're wondering how all this can possibly be feminist, check out how Emi Koyama weaves it all together in "Transfeminist Manifesto"


Genderqueer, by Joan Nestle, Clare Howell, Riki Wilchins (eds)
- anthology from "beyond the sexual binary"

#2
nicolevf

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WHOAAAA...lol.

Well you've satisfied my curiosity, thank you for answering so openly and honestly, you weren't expected to and I appreciate it 100%.

People in general often fear what they do not know or understand. My thoughts don't come from fear or judement, just purely wanting to have a small understanding of another. I won't sleep better at night knowing the world is flat or round, or the reasons why you bind your breasts ;) I don't need things to be "right" or "wrong" in order to be who I am. Believe it or not I'm at peace knowing "you" are living to the grandest version, of the highest vision that you ever held about who you are.

I don't separate myself from you or anyone else. I used to. I once thought I was separate from everyone. But you are my family and to judge you, to put you in a box, is to do the same to myself and I won't do that. Like a child who is seeing things for the first time, I ask questions to satisfy my curiousity, but I am not comfy with approaching another and asking "why do you do that?" When I asked if you were uncomfortable with your breasts it was not an assumption, I was throwing possibilities in the air, but it has come across as assuming and for that I apologise. I should not assume you need possibilities to answer yourself. It's a bad habit and one I will work hard at not doing :oops:

Experiencing is the essence of life, of who we are. For you to be experiencing the other sides/parts of who you are is to be celebrated. I hope I did not appear to you as making assumptions about you. Live with wild abandon, experience all that you are and can be. It's all about creation, creating ourselves and re-creating to live our highest version of who we are.

Shed our skin and you and I are the same. Our thoughts make our personalities different, but our souls bring us together. Thanks again for being open.

Cheers

Nic xx

#3
Troublemaker

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Hiya Nicole, glad you enjoyed my brain-dump there! *laugh*

Quote

I don't need things to be "right" or "wrong" in order to be who I am.

*nod* It makes me feel more comfortable knowing you're not expecting a mythical one right answer!

Quote

Believe it or not I'm at peace knowing "you" are living to the grandest version, of the highest vision that you ever held about who you are.

*grin* Don't worry, I do believe you. Who wouldn't want to believe in such a beautiful compliment! *blush*


Quote

When I asked if you were uncomfortable with your breasts it was not an assumption, I was throwing possibilities in the air, but it has come across as assuming ...

oh no, not at all. I understood that you were speculating wildly... I was writing for you but also for anyone else who happens to read this. I think that's something that often jumps into people's heads when they think of "butch"... whether they agree with it or not, it's a quick association. So I wanted to challenge people to question why is that true, for them?

Quote

I hope I did not appear to you as making assumptions about you.

don't worry -- you gave me a perfect opportunity to get on my soapbox! *laugh* and also to clarify my own ideas by putting them out in the world.

I hope others who may be interested will tell their parts of the story too.

take care,
Troublemaker

#4
nicolevf

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8) It's all good.
When I looked over my reply to you, it sounded to me, a little "assuming". Thanks for knowing I wasn't.

It's hard when writing and not talking face to face. My tone of font doesn't always come across as what I'm actually feeling. LOL.

Nice to meet you and look forward to many more deep and meaningfuls, and more importantly, fun.

Take Care Trouble, speak soon.

Nic xx :P

#5
grrlboi

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I'll jump in as I have a question for anyone that may be "like me". I identify as a female, I was born female. I consider myself androgynous and I am very comfortable with my body. The problem is that others aren't so. I'll admit I'm a little shy, but I am 30 years old and entering the real-job stage of my life and the amount of people I have to tell that I'm a female is starting to pluck my nerves. I am proud of who I am, but it is just a hassle. I don't want to change myself, I won't....but how do I deal with "sir" in the workplace. If I'm at the bank or the drive through, I don't care what people think, its my peers that are the problem, its always embarrassing for others and sometimes I just say nothing, because everyone figures it out eventually. I could fool people if I wanted, but I'm not interested in that anymore. I wish there was a medium gender. If it were fast or slow or up or down, medium would be an acceptable answer, but male or female has to be definite and I am just plain sick of discussing it. I'd like some feedback on this, I always see andros and the like on the internet, but I don't know what life is like for you in the real world. Is it like this for everyone?
I try not to care, I would lose my mind, running 'round the same thing time after time.

#6
Krissy27

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I am female and thats how I identify---but even though the errancy of them sewing up my girl parts and leaving icky poy parts on me when I was born has made my life interesting. I often love being in the genderqueer category.....I like it when I'm assumed to be female it's a big deal to me--but the gender queer stuff can be very fun as it happens no matter how I'm dressed--I was going to stop into an old punk bar the other night I was wearing t-shirt and jeans and I bascially flattened my chest---as I did not wnat to shock people as a friend of mine had passed and I wanted to pay respects without getting beat up or harssed(I had only attneded the bar as male)


I ended up going to the bar next door and I realized after leaving everyone was guessing--I was laughing the rest of the night. Strange as it seems to me it is when I go basically flat chested that people go backand forth on my gender the most---If I let my breasts be in full regalia---I either get assumed for a woman or often someone will think trans. I think gender is too societally integrated and I think more people should fight with it---I have never concerned myself with gender roles--only gender identity--I identify as female, but I dress how I want; I have a feminine voice and I talk and walk like a female--but I don't always dress like a barbie doll ---I wear many of the same outfits I wore as male and I still come off as female in them although depending on what I wear it will make people switch between straight girl and lesbian---I think it's fascinating form a sociological point of view.

#7
kladdaugh

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When I woke up to being genderqueer, it was such a help. I never realized how much I had been fighting it. I mean, no longer at odds with my own sex or sexuality, no longer at odds with anyone of any gender anywhere. It's sooo good. Only downside is that people think gender = sex, instead of: gender = internal, sex = external. Some folks wake up to that. The trick is getting them out of the binary and into the spectral.
Anyway, this post made my day, and I loved the links.

#8
MorganES

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Being female has never felt comfortable to me. I've always identified as a male. When I was little and went to work with my father I dressed like he did... slacks, polo, belt and shoes. Cross dressing started very early. It felt comfortable, natural and right. While I don't identify as female, once I have my breasts removed I will be content. Someone once told me that people that transition do it in their own way, own time, when they want to... it's all about the individual. I've come to hate "gender" being male and female. I try to ignore it all together. I know I'm male, period. I know I will never be a legitimate male because I wasn't born that way and I've come to accept that. However, I will reach full glory when I can go to the beach and take off my shirt without a sportsbra underneath!

#9
Ash

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View PostMorganES, on 07 December 2012 - 03:51 PM, said:

Being female has never felt comfortable to me. I've always identified as a male. When I was little and went to work with my father I dressed like he did... slacks, polo, belt and shoes. Cross dressing started very early. It felt comfortable, natural and right. While I don't identify as female, once I have my breasts removed I will be content. Someone once told me that people that transition do it in their own way, own time, when they want to... it's all about the individual. I've come to hate "gender" being male and female. I try to ignore it all together. I know I'm male, period. I know I will never be a legitimate male because I wasn't born that way and I've come to accept that. However, I will reach full glory when I can go to the beach and take off my shirt without a sportsbra underneath!
Of course you're legitimate! Previous people in this thread mentioned how genderfuck is all about violating people's expectations. If people percive you as something else that does not make your identity any less legitimate.

Edited by Ash, 10 January 2013 - 10:29 AM.


#10
MorganES

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I guess it's just how the people around respect me for it ya know? Because at work, males try to lead with the strong arm to assert their masculinity not all, those who don't I'm friends with but I guess you can never rid the world of assholes lol






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