Internalized genderphobia.

Someone wrote…

You’ve heard of internalized homophobia? Sometimes I think I have internalized genderphobia.

Today I was out shopping with my mum and I realised that the negative, niggling thoughts in my head about “wearing men’s clothes when I’m a woman” weren’t emanating from her; they were coming from me. In fact, my mum was even looking around the men’s department for other things for me to try! She didn’t utter one plea for me to wear feminine clothing.

Here I was thinking I was all open-minded and forward-thinking and unprejudiced, and that my desires to be accepted for who I am were justified, when really I was the one being negative. How disconcerting!

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on July 29th, 2009 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 15 comments »

15 Responses to “Internalized genderphobia.”

  1. Sheik

    There was a period of time right after I came out, that I forced myself to wear super masculine clothes because anything less was "being girly". Sometimes it comes down to the fact that we can be our own biggest critics and we have to just tell ourselves to back off. Now I let myself wear whatever I want, regardless of what section of the store it came from.



  2. another julian

    Ah, I just realized/came out as genderqueer/non-gendered and am still working through this. I don't think "genderphobia" is the right word — it's gender expectations, what we have all been taught a "man" and a "woman" looks like (which can't be the same thing, or THE WORLD WILL END!!!).

    I've always been a more feminine man — I am built pretty small, so especially when I was a teenager, I got a lot of shit for being "girly" — and I have spent so much of my life policing myself into being "properly masculine" that it is a really difficult habit to get out of.

    I'm still trying to separate the part of my head that is telling me what I "should" look like (as a male-assigned-at-birth or as GQ) vs what I actually WANT to look like, or the stuff that I just LIKE.


  3. paunfar

    I feel like this around 'the family'. An odd kind of shame. It's like I am letting them all down, even the members I am not yet out to. I wear all clothes from the men's or the guys' department, but whenever my grandmother asks me to dress like a girl, it cuts like a knife.


  4. Rory

    Yep when I first started to embrace my genderqueer-ness, I tried to be as BOY as possible, wearing BOY clothes, not allowing myself to wear eyeliner or foundation [although plenty of male-identified folks out there wear eyeliner etc]. Nowadays I have learned to just wear whatever I want and I now wear foundation again, I'm vain okay? Hah. But I still have some inner turmoil every once a while about this sort of thing, it's hard to escape the conditioning we all grew up with. Girls wear this. Boys wear this. Boys can't wear this, Girls can't wear this etc.


    Sheik replied:

    I fight with myself whenever I'm going out over my eyeliner. "but boys wear eyeliner, I mean, David Bowie wore eyeliner. I could be Bowie." "but what if people assume X about you, eyeliner hinders your presentation." "NOESSSS!"



    rory replied:

    Yeah pretty much, I worry that people will then be like see, Rory's not serious about all this trans/genderqueer thing because Rory's wearing make up, or is wearing a dress [although I never wear dresses anymore unless it's for photoshoots]. It's pretty lame that I'd even care what people think. But it's interesting, like when I wear a dress for a photoshoot, I've had some people say, you make a great girl, and it's like huh? Just because I'm wearing a dress, I'm all sudden a girl?


    Sheik replied:

    drag is drag is drag is drag.

    My girlfriend said I looked like a (very attractive) guy in drag even before I came out. that's totally what was going on.

    Andrei replied:

    I have that fear too! As if all my "progress" getting people to accept/realize who I am will be swept away in the face of skirt or some makeup…

    gunk replied:

    I can definitely relate to this as well. I question my gender presentation a lot, and I sometimes wonder if maybe I go too anti-feminine. I feel comfortable, though, and have no desire to wear makeup or skirts or dresses; haven't in a long time. I know it's ridiculous that those things should be the strict domain of girls, though. I wonder a lot if I'd feel differently if I was born into a male body. Maybe, maybe not – there's no way to tell. I guess the most important thing is that I question it often and try to make sure that the way I dress and present myself is not just a reaction against all things deemed female, but a true expression of what feels comfortable to me.


  5. Josh Viralogy

    Ah…happens the same with me many times. I definitely relate to this. Just stumbled and submitted your site to Hope you get some great traffic from it. Your blog is here
    – Josh


  6. Gabriel Grom

    One of the things that I really like when thinking about makeup is I automatically think of gender presentation in ancient Egypt. I saw some pictures of a female-bodied queen who had transitioned and lived as a male – and she was pharaoh in a period (she even wore the traditional male faux goatee and such). Also, some makeup and cosmetics have had a spiritual and rather genderless role for quite a while. People used to line their eyes with Kohl to protect from curses like the Evil Eye.
    It's the things like that- they excite me and make me proud to be androgynous.


    Sheik replied:

    I want the male faux goatee. those egyptians were damn stylish.


  7. Gabriel Grom

    Yes, they were! I love the period and the art.


  8. William

    I try to think about where it is and isn’t “safe” for me to present as a femme man. My home town and my partner’s home town = not safe. There I NEED to pass as male to stay unharmed (Passing as a femme woman would get me beaten up less but I refuse to pretend to be a woman again).

    At Uni, I am safe to present as the genderqueer / femme / androgynous guy that I am.


  9. Doodle

    Sorry for the thread necrophilia, but I just stumbled upon this site. I empathise, so, so badly with all the comments.

    Especially the eyeliner. Although as a friend pointed out to me the other day: ‘You only wore make up once you realised boys were allowed to as well.’


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