Gender Fluidity & Transitioning

A few months ago I came across the 30 Day Genderqueer Challenge. While I skimmed over a good deal of the questions, the ones that caught my attention were numbers 5 and 10. Those two questions specifically dealt with something that I related as transsexual topics, not something for the wavering gender fluid. As anyone well read in the basics of transsexualism, of course I expect dysphoria and transitioning as something common mostly to people born in the wrong body, which is why I was dumbfounded when I found that I would be just as justified to transition because to me, I was born into the wrong body. I may not identify as transsexual, and I may never identify as such, but I still have the right to transition.

But transitioning is still a bit of an oddity for me, mostly because I am not much a part of the gender-queer community – I’m just here giving my advice and documenting my progress – and most of the transition related blogs I do read are by FtMs, transsexuals. When I do scroll through the ’30 Day Genderqueer Challenge’ or ‘gender fluid’ tags on Tumblr, they offer even less help to me than those who are literally staying within the binary.

What I have gathered is that I can either transition or not. That’s not much improvement. From what I’ve read by other gender fluids, it always seems as though gender is a choice and not something that is truly a part of us. For me, I can’t believe that gender identity is something that we choose, we get to choose gender expression, not identity. I believe that it’s part of us, an integral trait we have for whatever reason. Like hair color, we don’t get to choose it, and even though we dye our hair, it doesn’t change our natural hair color.

It still remains that I can choose to transition, and for that, I am turning to FtMs more over other gender fluids, because question 10 is always ignored in those surveys and question 5 barely answers my questions. Occasionally I do see posts about how gender fluids end up transitioning because their male/female sides are much stronger than their birth sex, and then there are others who start transitioning to look more neutrois but end up being taken as male. But what it really comes down to is my having to truly accept myself and then act on it instead of waiting for the decision on transitioning to magically come to me.

So to transition or not to transition?

There are other blogs on how to look neutrois and if that’s what you’re looking for, that’s all right and I suggest Neutrois Nonsense. But the one theme I do stress in these posts is that we live in a binary world and look neutrois is going inevitably result in a lot of judgement. Let’s face it, ‘Is that a boy or a girl?’ may seem like a good question to us, but its very negative to everyone else, it is a judgement and something to laugh at if someone cannot automatically categorize you, most of the time it even denotes that you’re not very good looking. And while that’s harsh, its something that is just going to happen. So while it’s up to you, before you transition to neutrois, be aware that you may be getting some insults (read: not for the faint-hearted). While thinking of transitioning, perfecting our body, we don’t always stop and consider how others are going to react so take this as a reminder, not my being rude.

Personally, I have an anxiety problem, calling attention to myself about whether I’m a male or female sounds terrible to me. I don’t want someone seeing me and laughing. And that’s a part of the reason on why, when finding which gender I truly am – or identify as more – I try to pick the binary. And no, this isn’t the time to say I’m giving into the binary or some speech on how society sucks – its just that its not my fight. I’m going for male or female, and for those who haven’t noticed I am very much focused on the male side.

Not Transitioning

From what I’ve seen, most gender fluids end up not transitioning. Obviously there are many reasons to not transition, from a fear of surgery to health concerns, but I’ll focus more on not transitioning because of gender identity. A lot of gender fluids do bind – and a few even talk about getting breast reduction surgery to make it easier – and dress as the opposite sex from them, or gender neutral, but skip out on surgery because they still have days where they identify as the sex they were born as, probably even more than when they identify as the opposite sex. That’s perfectly acceptable and you can still identify as gender fluid – and chances are there are a lot more people who can relate to your problems in this.

Transitioning

This is the trouble area, because not many gender fluid transition. I’ve seen maybe 3 posts on Tumblr about someone identifying as gender fluid transitioning to the opposite sex, and I’ve talked to one who would like to transition but has decided not to. Not a lot of people choose this path.

The number one fear with transitioning (when it relates to gender identity) is that once transitioned, dysphoria will begin once more. If you’re of a female sex and feel dysphoria one day but not the next, but transition anyway, chances are the same problem will arise. The dysphoria will still be there, its just that now you’ve spent a lot of money and probably lost a couple of friends. And that’s probably why most gender fluids are reluctant to transition.

But there are some gender fluids where they identify more as one sex than the other. A female-sex gender fluid can identify more as female, or they can identify more as male, and that’s a reason to transition.

For me, another problem is that scientifically speaking, transsexuals have a brain matching the sex they identify as, not born as. It always seemed like transsexuals have specific codes to live up to – dysphoria, etc. And I’m just not sure that I fit into that. When I think about transitioning I think of, ‘Well obviously I’d be transitioning to a guy so I might as well drop that female persona and accept the term transsexual’. Accepting whatever you actually are in gender identity is probably the first and most important step to figuring it all out, remember that.

For those who identify more as 75% opposite sex and 25% their born sex, transitioning is probably something to consider. That’s probably the most simple I can get.

Any further advice on figuring it out?

Yep. I got links. Considering I have been stalking some FtM blogs, I have found some useful posts about figuring out how you identify more on the gender identity scale. I would like the warn that this is by a gay transsexual so sexuality does appear but its still helpful in figuring out gender.

FtM 101: Sex, Sexuality, Gender, Gender Expression

Trans 101: How Do I Know?  (another warning, this post has some NSFW writing but it did help me a lot)

Also, talking to a therapist isn’t as crazy as it seems. If you’re questioning transitioning, and leaning more towards it, I seriously suggest talking to a therapist. Obviously you’re not insane or wrong, I’m planning on doing the same thing myself when I can, because it is difficult trying to identify what sex you identify more as as a gender fluid. Also, most of the time when you start hormone replacement therapy you need to have 6 months or whatever of therapy beforehand to get the note for the endocrinologist so you might just end up in therapy anyway if you do decided to transition.

And what about me stalking transsexual blogs?

As I said, I’ve been having a hard time relating to other gender fluids because I am leaning more towards transitioning than not, and that just isn’t the majority of the gender fluid community. So I turned to transmen in hope of finding someone who used to identify more as genderqueer or who took a while in finally figuring out they are transsexual. A lot of the time transsexuals say out they figured it out fairly quickly and acted upon it (transition/suppressed) but its harder to find those who took a while and maybe even dabbled in being genderqueer before finally saying no, I am a man/woman. Because at this point I’m still just waiting for the revelation to come to me. If you haven’t figured it out, I’m someone who likes to be either or, not somewhere in between.

Anyhow, these are two trans blogs I’ve been following so far and relate to in a lot of ways:

Not Another Aiden  (because if I do transition I’d be gay and its nice to see an FtM who is an effeminate guy considering that would describe me)

Bending Gender (til it breaks)  (another gay guy, and he goes really in depth on how he figured it out and how long it took, what transitioning was like, and he even has this really good guide on how to dress like a guy and actually look good)

And wow, it seems like I’ve already chosen!

Nope! I haven’t. At this point, I don’t go off of which gender I identify as more often. It doesn’t work for me because I tend to feel pretty gender neutral most of the time. So instead I follow Not Aiden’s advice and try to imagine myself in a few years. Most of the time, I can conjure up some little scene of me being male, even easier than when I try for female.

But because there’s still that female identity, it feels like I’m trying to kill off that part of myself. At the same time, though, my male self would be given more of a chance and I’d probably make a better guy with my attitude.

So its still quite the quandary, but hopefully I had some good advice for someone here.

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Coming Out the Modern Way

I started this blog in hopes of helping and informing other gender fluids and so I shall. The story I wove of my own life is no longer a novelty, even when I came out to my mother, but recently I took another step forward. So, for those looking for a way to come out to their friends, I may just be able to offer some advice.

Though it isn’t the choice option, I chose to come out to my good friends over social networking. So I might as well tell you how I went about it, shouldn’t I?

The Traditional Way

So it seems all fine and well to come out on social networking, right? You don’t have to come face to face with someone, you don’t have to stumble about looking for the right way to express what you’re trying to say, it just seems that you’re avoiding a disaster when you go on social networking.

But I would like to remark that if you can, you should probably take consideration of actually telling a person face to face. When you talk to a person and can actually put emotion behind your words, you’re letting them know you’re serious. Identifying yourself as a certain gender is not exactly like commenting on how your day was or any of those other 2 dimensional posts, it’s something that can change how others look at you.

Besides that, it’s also not the best of manners to insist on others reading about who you are on a public site and unless you take care, the wrong people might find out. It can seem a bit one-sided so that others may feel discouraged in asking questions that might have.

Though the traditional way is best in my opinion (for etiquette and other similar reasons) there are circumstances that can’t be avoided – such as having moved away from your friends.

Should you decide to come out in the traditional way you can consult my past post on coming out to see what not to do.

The Modern Way

For a reason I haven’t been able to figure out yet, most of our lives now seem to involve the Internet in some way or other. As that world wide web grows, so does the means of spreading word to friends directly through social networking, eliminating the more personal visiting and phone calls. With that, there is also the appearance of coming out over Facebook and other such sites.

Due to this new option for informing others about your identity/sexuality, some may be considering coming out over the Internet. Though everyone has their own way of doing things, I might be able to offer some of my own advice.

Decision

I have given my opinion on traditional way vs the modern, but I daresay I did have more guidelines than just a prejudice to decide upon coming out on Facebook. I realize it is easier to write about who you are instead of telling over and over, and that is why I thought over it a bit more. If I went on and told others in writing who I was, then what would I do should I come face to face with someone who knew? Would I feel comfortable talking about it? That was the one thing I had to be sure of before I came out on Facebook – I could talk about in person just as easily as I could in writing. Though there must be more, I felt that was the most important question to be answered.

Preparation

“A lot of parents will do anything for their kids except let them be themselves.” – Banksy

It certainly isn’t true for everyone, but unfortunately quite a number of people are bogged down by unaccepting family and friends. And to further it all, their Facebook account may be watched by such folk.

So what is to be done? Why, create a new account of course! I know, it seems a lot of trouble, but it’s worth it. I had to create a new account for other reasons and wound up with only very accepting friends, so, being that I had recently come out of a reachable range from my friends, I decided to take advantage of my new account.

Creating a new account on Facebook so that you can wind up with accepting friends is not uncommon and in the end you can tell others the modern way without too much worry.

Research

When I first started thinking about telling my friends over Facebook, I decided that if I did I should at least look into how other people came out on Facebook. Most of the articles I found were about coming out on sexuality and mostly agonized over the lack of etiquette that was involved with coming out on such a site.

But that was on sexuality, you see, and I couldn’t leave it at that. So I went snooping again only with more detail in my Google search. Typing in a search about transgenders coming out on Facebook, I found but one article addressing a transsexual woman coming out on Facebook with the new Life Event feature. Well, that didn’t quite satisfy me either, as I wasn’t transsexual.

A quick dash over Tumblr’s tags proffered me a post on a guy coming out on Facebook as being gender fluid. The post contained a description of gender fluidity and a picture of the guy in a dress to further his point. Though this was certainly a step in the right direction, I decided to tap into Google again.

Finally I just decided to search for any other gender fluids who came out over Facebook. To my fortune, I find a thread on a forum for those who have come out to share their stories. The post was just what I was looking for in how another gender fluid would describe who they were.

Getting It Written Once and For All

Lingering over Facebook’s Life Event app, I tried to compose a post similar to what the gender fluid on that thread did, though not too similar. It was in excellent reference in figuring out what to include and tallied up to be a checklist in what I must include in a post.

In the end I wrote the standards I deemed necessary to include:

  • the definition of gender fluid
  • my chosen pronouns
  • my name for my masculine side
  • how others can tell when I feel masculine
  • a link to my blog so most of their questions can be quenched
  • a quick thank you for reading to satisfy my need for etiquette

Of course, for those who have unaccepting family/friends, you may want to include to not refer to opposite pronouns/names in front of them.

The Results?

As I said, the friends I have on my account are accepting. I got quite a few likes, which I translated over to acceptance. I even got a couple of messages from friends saying they accept who I am and one even said they’ve been reading my blog, which I find to be a success.

Luckily, I never had a doubt they wouldn’t accept, and that is what is wanted when coming out.

What Can You Expect?

Questions. If people have questions, actual questions, it’s not a bad idea to answer. When I posted, I let my friends know I was willing to answer any questions they had to clarify. If they understand then it works out better in the long run.

So, if you do decide on coming out on Facebook, that is my advice, plain and kind of simple with a touch of my prudeness.

Asks: Resources for Queer Youth

Hello! Do you know any forums for people who are figuring their gender out? :-\

Hey, this is a perfectly reasonable question, to be able to talk and share your feelings with someone also questioning. Luckily there are a number of resources for those in the LGBT community online, including forums. For more information you can check out Resources for Questioning Youth: Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual.

Though it may seem a bit discouraging, transgender issues tend to be lumped together with the rest of the LGBT community. However, this means you can find information on gender and sexuality all in one place.

So what resources do I recommend? All of the sites I will list will be more towards gender identity, of course.

Geared Towards Coming Out/Other’s Stories/Information

  • OutProud: offers tips on coming out, stories by other queer youth, recent news articles regarding the LGBTQ community, resources for suicide prevention, and a forum, though this doesn’t seem to be updated frequently and may focus more on sexuality
  • Antijen: this is more towards transsexuals but the site has the stories of transsexuals going through high school when they’re in the wrong body and other such stories and information
  • Youth Guardian Services: online support for LGBTQI and questioning youth

For Suicide Prevention & Support

  • The Trevor Project: the program offers help for LGBT and questioning youth to prevent suicide, along with sharing news in the LGBT community, general education of gender identity and sexuality, even for parents and educators
  • GLBT National Help Center: offers a phone line for LGBT people along with a page on frequently asked questions and a list of resources

Forums

  • LGBT, Sexuality and Gender Identity – Teen Help: forums that are still alive and offer the opportunity for LGBT youth to ask for others experience, knowledge, etc.
  • Transyada: alive forums that let users talk about gender, sexuality, and other subjects such as art
  • Empty Closets – LGBT forum on coming out and other people’s stories, updated really often and I’ve found very good advise on this forum

The Unfortunate Truth

Most forums for questioning youth that used to be active no longer are or the link is no longer good. Many of these forums were started years ago and have since died out.

The Positive Side

A lot of these forums have have closed but we still have a lot of sites offering resources and communities for questioning and queer people. To find more resources you can check out GenderqueerID  or browse through Tumblr. Chances are somewhere on this world wide web you’ll find someone you can talk to about yours and their experiences.

Pronoun Hopping

According to my last post on pronouns, there is the option to switch between pronouns such as he, she, and even they for those who are gender fluid and have friends who are accepting enough to comply. Unfortunately, though, to be able to switch between pronouns, one must first come out as gender fluid. Now, coming out is a very big can of worms and will be dealt with separately, but how do you switch pronouns in daily life?

There are different ways to clue to those you know that you’re gender has changed and so should the pronouns. You have options in how you let them know and what other aspects will help in your daily life.

The Default Pronoun

As can be expected, when you’re changing pronouns others might get tripped up. Though it may cause misgendering at some point, it is a good idea to have a default pronoun that your friends and strangers can use when they don’t know how you identify that day. It’s good to stick to he or she given our society just in case they refer to you to another person who doesn’t know. The idea is to have a pronoun for others and you to fall back on when you’re gender neutral/androgynous/etc. or others don’t know.

When coming out to someone as gender fluid, it is a good idea to also inform them of your pronouns while you have their attention. If they seem uncomfortable or are losing their attention on you because of so much information being put on them, information which is a foreign concept to most of the world, you should wrap this up quickly. As you come out, inform them as well that you’re default pronoun is he or she. If you’re sticking to your original pronoun as default they will be relieved that something remains and if you’re changing it inform them then so that they can get used to the idea. You should also warn them that this may change in the future and you’ll keep them posted, but don’t overload someone all at once. If they understand the definition of gender fluid then they should understand why your pronouns will switch.

Switching Pronouns

At some point you may want to switch your pronouns as you start to lean towards the opposite side of the gender spectrum. When you feel it is time to switch your pronouns and have others follow suit, you should have a way to communicate this which works for you and them so that there’s not too much confusion. You will also want to tell them of which method you’ll use to change your pronouns while coming out or the first time you switch. There are some methods.

#1 Telling Others

Though it will seem like having to come out to the same people several times, telling them that today you feel more like a she/he and to use those pronouns/name is the most straightforward way to inform others of the update. This doesn’t have to be overly long or dramatic, just a quick note that your pronoun has changed will suffice. If you keep it simple, others will pick up on this without too much sensitivity and you won’t have to go on explaining.

#2 Presentation

If you prefer not to tell others you can show that you’ve changed how you’ve felt in gender identity by showing this. If you can switch smoothly to a more feminine/masculine appearance that is noticeable enough for others then they will be able to tell automatically and will know for the rest of the day. Besides from that, it will also cure dysphoria for the most part.

The bad part is that others might question this change, those who don’t know you’re gender fluid. If you feel like passing for the opposite gender then how you previously went by, just know that there will be questions. If you don’t want questions, tip your appearance just enough for those who know to realize the change (if they notice) and others don’t question

Along presentation is a very subtle hint that may seem a bit silly but is actually extremely smart. The idea is to wear a bracelet or some other accessory so as to tip off to those who know your gender identity what your gender is. So, a female assigned at birth gender fluid person may wear a bracelet when they feel more masculine and so on. It won’t be picked up by those who shouldn’t know your identity and can be seen and used by those who do know it so that you are not misgendered by them. As you can see here, it is a idea used before, including by me.

 

There are probably other ways then that. The problem is that pronouns should be a simple but more sensitive subject to change as it deals with who you are. No small sign should be given but I don’t think many will feel comfortable with openly wearing a tag that says today I am so and so.

What do I think is the best way? Telling others simply and straightforward is the best way to avoid mix-ups. However, if you’re more shy than that, changing your appearance slightly may also do that trick. And hey, if you’re more on the creative side maybe you can do something more creative to get the point across and not have too much fuss, changing your hairstyle to match who you are more for the current gender identity is a subtle cue. It just depends on who you are and how comfortable you are with switching pronouns.

If you have any suggestions or ways of telling others your pronouns/name changed feel free to type in a comment or send me one on the ask me page.

Names: Walking the Unisex Line

So now that pronouns have been depleted to simplified options (which doesn’t seem to make them any less harder at times) we can advance onto the more complex and legal world of names. Those who are gender fluid will oftentimes not want to keep with their birth name because of the dysphoria it can cause. Overly feminine or masculine names can be severely unwanted at times. Luckily a name change can solve that and even encourage the pronouns.

The term unisex more or less means ‘universal sex’ due to its history. The idea is that it can work for both males and females.

Choosing a unisex name is probably the best option a gender fluid can ask for. The names work for any gender with an either masculine or feminine, or even neutral, touch based on the current identity.

So what unisex names are there?

Almost every name site has a section or list for unisex names. Here are my 2 favorites:

1. Nameberry – the page is currently on the A’s but the other letters are up there. The site has a section for unisex names in their side bar complete with lists of unisex names, such as unisex place names, etc. Nameberry is a good site, always accurate, and has names you can’t find on my main source

2. Behind the Name – this is my main source, the site is always accurate and gives reviews and ratings. They even offer a pretty wide selection of international names for those who want to honor their heritage

Of course, you can find unisex names elsewhere on the web, but those are the sources I usually use. You can also use the power of Tumblr tags to search through gender neutral names, or simply search Google. There are some very nice unisex names out there so just keep looking and you might just find a name you love.

For those who aren’t gender fluid, the gender neutral name comes in handy because it can be used for both our male and female (and everything else) phases and covers us from dysphoria. Just like the wish to be able to slide between appearances, so do we also want to slide through a name that can go any way we need it to.

That one option we probably thought about at one point or another

When I go through the introductions of gender fluids on Tumblr, I see people listing 2 names: their feminine pick and their masculine pick. I referred to this before as the John/Jane identity, meaning there are 2 separate gender identities to switch between.

It would be nice to have 2 names to fit whichever identity – at first. You have a feminine name and a masculine name. One must be realistic about this, though. Unless the names are terribly close, people will probably get tripped up often about which name you are using at the present date.

And then there’s the question of which name comes first in your list…

If you’ve decided to use the 2 name road, I would advise to really think about the two names you’ve chosen and have others start switching between them properly before doing anything legal. You may find it doesn’t really work for you, to have to explain to others two different sets of pronouns and names and whatever else, and then come out everyday to your chosen pronoun. Or you may find one of the names doesn’t fit you quite right.

This goes for both the 2 names and the unisex name choices as my only advice: experiment first. You might just find the names you’ve picked don’t sound right. Don’t let me deter you off the track, of course. I’ve thought a really long time on 2 names and still consider it. I just want to get across that whatever you choose, make sure its what you want. Names can be a first impression according to what your name is – make sure you don’t have a wrong feeling about it.

Sensible choices in my opinion

  • Use a unisex name you’ve tried out and know you want
  • Find the John to complement your Jane or vice versa and use the one chosen (or both if you chose both of them) as a nickname for whenever you identify as the corresponding identity. Once you’re sure, then set about the legal chores

There are a lot of choices and names to choose from, you’re bound to find the perfect one for you. And if trouble comes in choosing, take your time, don’t feel rushed, and talk over it with someone. Outside opinions can give a clearer view of things (just don’t let them decide for you).

Pronouns: A Limited Supply

In a binary world filled to the brim with stereotypes, the simple pronoun may not seem like much to the cisgender person but can be a big deal to those outside the binary or who are switching to the other side of the gender spectrum. With pronouns come a whole can of stereotypes tipped off by the little words. Oh, this is a she, so she is obviously a woman and probably wants a boyfriend and children and all of those other stereotypes centered around woman. Or oh, this is a he, so he is obviously a man and probably is afraid of commitment and just wants to have sex and all of those other stereotypes centered around men. The point is that two things typically make up what gender you are in outward appearance: your looks (i.e. your clothes, haircut, body type, etc.) and your pronouns.

So, for those who feel dysphoria from being called a she or a he because of what that really means, you may want to change your pronoun to something you’re more comfortable with, or you may just want to stay with your given one. The good news is that (at least with a select group of people such as supporting friends) you can decide to change your pronoun and be able to have people address you by that. Just because you switch pronouns doesn’t mean you’re any less gender fluid. It’s just the problem that this society is binary and not a lot of people will want to listen to what gender fluidity is so that they can get your pronouns correct. In that case, you have options for how strangers will call you and if you can, how close friends will call you.

Strangers/Acquaintances/etc.

As said above, this is a binary world and you get a choice of 2 pronouns for the majority of the world. Unless you’re bold enough to explain to everyone to call you ‘they’ or one of the gender neutral pronouns such as ‘ze’ or ‘hir’, the truth of the matter is that you’re going to have to choose either male or female. It smooths over situations where you don’t really know someone or you know they’re unaccepting of the trans* community.

Option #1

Sticking with the original pronouns. Instead of getting used to a whole new set of pronouns and tripping those who already know you up, you stick with the original pronouns. The good news is that if you don’t switch pronouns, people will not misgender you based just on pronoun, such as those who are already used to your assigned gender. It also saves the troubles of coming out in case someone has heard you’re this gender or has seen you with a more feminine/masculine body.

The bad side is that being misgendered can lead to dysphoria. If you’re in a guy phase but people call you a ‘she’, or vice verse, it’s likely to result in your being reminded that, yes, you were born with a male/female body and not the other gender’s body.

How does this apply to gender fluidity? If you’re an FAAB gender fluid person who is more feminine than masculine most of the time, you might prefer your original pronoun because it fits you most of the time anyway. It really depends on if you’re more masculine or feminine (or neutral, I know) for the majority of the time.

Option #2

Switching to the opposite pronouns. This is something that seems like it’s more for you than anything else, considering you’re asking others to completely change your pronouns to the very opposite of how they see you. Just remember that if you change to the opposite pronouns, it isn’t selfish or wrong, it’s what makes you feel comfortable. If you identify more as the opposite gender then switching over can ease the dysphoria over being so closely identified as your given gender. It might also be a further persuasion to those who know you’re gender fluid to really accept you’re not your given gender.

The bad side would be having others get used to your new pronouns, have strangers point out that you do not look like a he or she because of your body, even though that’s how you feel. There also may be the dysphoria when you feel like your given gender (if you ever do) yet you have chosen new pronouns.

How does this apply to gender fluidity? You might have the same problem as before, with dysphoria. Though you may feel more of the opposite gender for most of the time, there may be days you can get dysphoria. The point of choosing the binary gender is to feel more like who you are most of the time.

Those Who Know

The Desired Option

All right, maybe it isn’t the option all gender fluid people desire, but it’s the one I’m most familiar with, both from myself and reading about other people’s posts. The preferred pronoun is he and she (and possibly others, such as ‘they’, mind), depending on their gender identity for the time being. To be able to have people refer to you as the pronoun you feel like, to be able to switch at any time, would be ideal. The good part? You’ve come out to those who are closest to you (for better or worse) and as long as the others can grasp the idea, you can switch between genders as you like.

The bad part? Some people will not understand that you’re outside of the binary. Or it may take some convincing that it’s not just part of your personality, or something that’s not just a phase, and whatever else. Or someone may even tease you over this. Just because someone says someone nasty doesn’t mean you should believe what they’ve said. You know who you are. If others can’t accept that then perhaps they aren’t worth of your time.

 

Those are the options for gender fluid people, the most evident and fitting ones. Agenders and androgynes may want to go as ‘they’. It would be grand if you could wake up and tell those you trust that today you’re a ‘he’ or a ‘she’ and they understand perfectly. And if you can achieve that, congratulations, honestly. Just remember your pronouns when coming to strangers or others, it may just be the difference between a dysphoria-filled evening and the thrill of being called your preferred pronoun.

Gender Fluidity: In Depth

Defining the Term

Before I even begin, let’s stop and consider the definition of gender fluidity:

Gender Fluid: someone who moves between 2 or more genders depending on situation and with time

All right, let’s break it down even further.

So what does it mean to move between between 2 or more genders? I thought there were only men and women.

Unless you are well-versed in all of the different genders, this part of the definition might be a confusing point. For most of the world, society and everything else is split up into male and female. When you then introduce the idea that someone can be more than one gender, a person can take it as “oh, so you go from man to woman”. Though this (might) fit for those who identify as bigender*, it’s only going about halfway for those who are gender fluid. Gender fluid means that a person can identify as man, woman, and even more genders and move between them. In fact, some gender fluids may not even pick man or woman, but have a combination like man, agender, and androgynous or some other combination. Most gender fluids tend to go from man to woman to intersex/agender, though.

So what are the different genders available then?

  • Male
  • Female
  • Agender (and others, such as neutrois, etc.)
  • Androgynous
  • Some others, but the above tend to be the most notable

What I’m saying is that a gender fluid person will identify as two or more of the genders mentioned above. The term ‘gender fluid’ will provide a term for them as they move between male, female, etc. from time to time.

*Bigender: identifying as 2 genders. This can be mistaken as a bigender person identifying as man and woman, but it must be noted that a bigender person may be man/woman, man/androgynous, woman/agender, etc. Hence, 2 genders, not man & woman.

 

Depending on situation and with time? Can you please elaborate?

Yep, situation and with time. Both of these words describe what it takes for a gender fluid person to go to a different gender. Let’s get some explanations and examples:

1. Time: this might be a bit obvious, so let’s cover it first. In simple terms, for those who aren’t gender fluid, let’s offer a small but somewhat-like example. People change over time, that’s a give fact. So say that for about a year you really liked this one rock band, but then you heard this pop song and now you’re downloading the discography of the singer. Your infatuation with the pop singer lasts for another year, when you discover an alternate band that is in between rock and pop and catches your fancy for a year. Then you rediscover that rock band and wow, you realize how much you’ve missed them and start identifying more with rock. In each state you are bringing on different sounds, from the rebellious sounds of rock to the dance-rhythms of pop, and you calm down with some alternate music.

In a small-scale way, you just went through three very different phases in a given span of time. Rock is what you really identified with for the first year, and so you listen to it. And so on.

So now, let’s say there’s a gender fluid person who was born a girl. For about a year they felt very feminine and were comfortable with their body. Then they started experiencing dysphoria so they identified more with masculine behavior. Finally, the dysphoria calms down a little and they’re feeling more in between male and female. The phase starts again, or even rewinds back to the masculine phase. So they switch up their identities.

The example I gave happens in 1 year spans but this varies between people. For some people, they can go for about a year without dysphoria and then suddenly get hit with it again, which can be confusing in if you really are gender fluid between those long spans. Or you can move between genders in a more medium-time fashion, say, to identify with a different gender from between 2 to 6 months, and so on. And others rapidly change genders within days or even hours. There are some who switch their clothes in the middle of the day to correct their gender because it changed, though this is inconvenient for most people.

So time varies between people, it goes in phases, but it doesn’t mean you’re not gender fluid and not trans* to go through long periods of one gender and then switch.

2. Situation: sometimes certain events can trigger a change of gender, though not always. To say, assume you have a child who was assigned female at birth but identifies as gender fluid. You then take them out shopping while they identified more as masculine. Just because you have them do something feminine doesn’t mean they’ll start to identify as feminine during the trip. Say a while later they were still in their masculine state but they go shopping and start feeling more feminine. It’s just an example, so if you feel triggers are stronger for you than that’s perfectly fine.

It’s a bit harder to explain than time. Time is time, everyone changes. But what situations encourage an identity change vary from person to person and how they’re feeling.