Every one of us has a gender identity – whether we don’t think about it at all or it’s something that is constantly spiraling in our brain space. For some people this is just something that has always been, there’s been no question or maybe it was given a passing thought and that was that. For some people it’s a big deal, and for others it’s an incidental element of who they are. For others the journey has been more about presentation (e.g., butch, femme, tomboy, etc) than identity (cis, trans). And then there are journeys that have nothing to do with presentation at all! It’s really all over the place!
To others – like myself – discovering, exploring, and identifying our gender can feel like this yellow brick road leading…somewhere? Home? A home in our bodies? To accepting that maybe we won’t ever feel a “home” in our bodies? I don’t have an answer! So here’s what I’m asking you all today: how did you realize and/or develop your relationship to your gender identity or gender presentation?
In my early twenties gender felt like a ride I Could Not Get Off. Once I had something figured out – my identity felt THIS way, I wanted to express myself LIKE THIS – I would surprise myself by wanting the exact opposite! It got confusing because what I wanted didn’t match up with what felt good in my bod. I would want to wear a thing but when I was actually IN that thing I felt like my entire body was screaming at the sky. Has this happened to anyone else? Just me? Coolcoolcoolcool.
Over time I generally chilled out – I stopped analyzing what felt good or what I wanted and leaned into whatever words and identity felt solid to me. It took me a hot minute but I now solidly know I’m genderqueer, which to me means I am neither male nor female (isn’t it wild that even these WORDS can have a multitude of meanings! Damn! Etymology, amirite!) and I use exclusively they/them pronouns.
I don’t think my gender is done expanding/exploring/changing though. I think if anything, what I learned when I was younger is that my body/mind/heart/soul is always going to do what feels exciting (does my Venus in Gemini have something to do with this?). I also don’t think this is a journey that HAS to have a solid ending, although I know for many folks it does and that is awesome too!
What I want to know is how YOU, dear Autostraddle readers, are doing in your own personal gender experience! How’d you know you identify however you identify? Are you in the thick of it or are you wearily taking a drag of a cigarette as you read this thinking, “Oh, GENDER!” in a dry husky voice?
This conversation is open to everyone, transgender/non-binary/cisgender/folks in-between/etc.! Please be mindful to give each other space to express individual experiences. We all have different words and meanings and ways of being so let’s focus on being supportive to everyone, however we got to where we are today!
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