I annoy myself.

Someone wrote…

I think of myself as neither male nor female, but I still try to figure out if other androgynous people are biologically male or female. I annoy myself with my hypocrisy.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on January 22nd, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 30 comments »

30 Responses to “I annoy myself.”

  1. AgentRusco

    I do that too… It’s unfortunate how ingrained the binary system is.


  2. Boston

    I do the same thing, though I’m succesfully doing it less and less.


  3. Claudius Maximus

    Yeap a little annoying, but is true I do it too.


  4. jammy

    don’t mind what other people are saying.what matter is they respect you as a person.love and accept yourself first. :)


  5. Anonymous

    i do that too. the thing is, I only like to sleep with people who are biologically female. So it seems like that fuels the gender binary . . if i see a cute androgynous person and then realize it’s a bio-guy i feel a little disappointment.


  6. ElegantAndrogyne

    I do that too, and tend to be more fond of charming androgynous biological males than females – it’s all about being attracted to people who are brave enough to subvert traditional gender roles, and ‘masculinity’ in Western culture seems much more limited and strictly enforced on men than ‘femininity’ on women :)


  7. Mika

    I do the same thing however I’m trying to break myself out of the habit. It takes time to reprogram yourself to not give into what’s been ingrained into us since childhood.


  8. J

    Notions of binary gender are ingrained in us at roughly the same age as potty training. Which means by adulthood it’s that automatic. The one would probably be just as hard to unlearn as the other. (Not that I recommend unlearning the latter!)


  9. SK

    feel the exact same way. it’s so hard not to automatically gender people one way or the other ):


  10. mars

    it bothers me that i do, but i’m the same way.
    specifically with what #5 said about being attracted to biofemales


  11. Cat

    Tally me up for yet another who has the exact same problem.

    These days, I try to catch myself doing it and stop. And really, it’s not your fault. You’ve had this stuff drilled into you since the day you were born. Don’t beat yourself up about it. Just strive to do better.


  12. sasha

    Yeah, I’ve also felt a bit ashamed about doing this… especially because part of me secretly prides myself on being pretty good at telling if a person is a bio-female, trans person, or bio-male – though I feel alienated by people who are preoccupied with what my sex is, and i’ve not done enough to eliminate this double standard.

    And yeah, i still don’t know how to reconcile my sexual preference/orientation (which really is geared towards trans, intersex and female-bodied folk) with my distrust of the gender binary either. When your own sexual desire is still dividing people up it’s pretty frustrating.


  13. Aran

    Yup, I do that, and it bugs the hell out of me.


  14. Samson

    @ J, #8: LOL.

    I also have to echo Cat, #11: It’s not your fault, don’t beat yourself up about it. I do this all the time, and it’s not that I think I should, but I think you just have to acknowledge it, say “Isn’t it funny how despite whatever I feel about androgyny and/or sex, I’m still doing that?” and expect it to get easier over time.

    I feel like I can tell when other people are trying to figure that out about me–whenever I end up looking pretty ambiguous, people stare. It used to really dishearten me but I realized I do the same darn thing without realizing! We’re all conditioned to look for those external clues to gender/sexuality and when they’re not there or they’re conflicting, people’s brains lock up.


  15. Anonymous

    I don’t think that trying to identify a person’s sex when you look at them is a behaviour that is learned. It’s most likely an instinct to identify who can be mated with. There’s no point feeling guilty about something that’s out of your control, as long as you don’t ask the person invasive questions or make assumptions about them.


  16. Anonymous

    It’s interesting that I found this when I had just been thinking the same thing… even on Genderfork I find myself peering at pictures, looking for signs of bio-masculinity or -femininity. Being asexual and quite young, I don’t do this for potential partners, so I feel less justified than a few of the comments above.

    But as I just realized, it’s possible to do this for other reasons. It intrigues me greatly when I just can’t tell, or when I decide on one only to be told the opposite later on in the profile or whatever it is. And I usually look a little more closely when I do, trying to figure out how I can do the same, where the usual clues are lacking.


  17. Anonymous

    I can definitely relate with #5. And to extend the discussion, I am only attracted to bio females if they look like bio males. I don’t know what this says about my sexuality…but I try not to question my desires and instead just go with it.

    By the way, I’m the one who wrote the quote, and I want to thank everyone so much for their comments. I suppose that with learning to see yourself in a new way comes seeing others in a new way too.


  18. jean c.

    when I became aware of my own gender ambivalence, I realized how much I immediately try to figure out whether someone I see is male or female… I agree that this impulse to “know” someone’s gender is probably instinctual, ingrained way deeper than society.

    as a little noogie to myself when I caught myself doing this, I started playing the game of “looking for clues that a person is the gender other than they seem to be”: ie. when you see a person who presents as a very feminine lady, try to find evidence that they could be a trans woman; when you see a really macho looking dude, try to convince yourself that he was born with a female body. (you know, not staring or being impolite or anything, just in that sociable, curious, people-watching way…)

    what you can see in people when you look for it is really surprising & pushes you towards seeing the gender ambiguity that everyone actually has, as opposed to looking to categorize & divide people… this helped me a lot in how I was looking around at the world. !


  19. J

    Jean, I’ve tested people on this before: Tell them the picture you’re about to show is of a trans woman, and ask them to point out what features “give it away”. Then show a picture of an “average” looking cissexual woman. The responses will be very entertaining.


  20. Morgan

    I do the same thing and it’s really frustrating but at the same time I think it’s sometimes neccesary. Like, there’s this really cool andrgynous person in on of my classes who I think is just so good looking and kind of want to ask out but, being a lesbian, how horrible would it be if we went on a date and I found out this person was biologically male and I had to be like “sorry, can’t date you anymore because you’re a boy.”?


  21. Lilybean

    Morgan (and other) – I think I have to ask the difference there. Is your problem only with the sexual dynamic? I don’t know, as a “pansexual” (if anything at all) I find it hard to understand statements like the one you just made, I’m sorry.


  22. Jimena

    I do this as well. It drives me insane, but then I remember that other queer people try to figure me out too, and I feel less guilty.


  23. angel

    I agree with 18.
    What if we started looking for gender clues in people that we know, or assume are ” ____insert gender here___” then we would stop trying to “figure them out”

    I like to mix up gender looks, because I can’t quite go for the androgynous look.
    I think it doesn’t matter what gender we are.
    The Binary gender system sucks, so let’s make a new one. Except you can’t compare it, because there is nothing to compare it to!(GENDERqUEER – voices from beyond the sexual binary.)

    Here’s to all of us.


  24. Anonymous

    Aw man, #23 ended on such a nice note… too bad I can’t just stick my post above it, haha.

    I remember at one point doing this, but I think I can say now I’ve just about completely stopped doing it. Sure, I have those moments of surprise, like, “Oh! That person has a penis”, but I blame that on clothes, and find nothing weird or bad about it. It’s hard not to subconsciously try to guess the nature of an object tucked under obscurity. :p

    I had been doing it steadily less for a while, and then the lessening sped up a lot after I got more involved in the trans and androgyny community. You start realizing how similar and in-between genitalia and bodies of different biological sex can be, and all of a sudden, it seems even biological sex is a perception, and not something concrete. You start thinking about sex genes and sex parts no more differently than other physical features, like eye color and height. But then again, I’m also on the same boat as Lilybean, which may have a small part in my lack of concern of whether a person is biologically male or female.


  25. Anonymous

    people take gender too seriously.


  26. Jessica

    People take themselves too seriously. Will the world end if some guy I never met gives me a hard time and goes home to his wife and disses me? I’m not important in the scheme of things. It hurts every day, but I’m used to that pain.


  27. kat

    same as no.5… wow I just happened to find this website tonight, I didn’t really know other people did this too, the whole finding someone cute and then being dissapointed because it’s probably a biomale


  28. Anonymous

    haha I do the same thing sometimes. Isn’t it crazy how ingrained the whole binary system is in our brains.
    Nowadays though, when I see someone who looks androgynous, I tend to think, “How do they identify themselves?”


  29. Brynn

    I think a lot of people who fall under the transgender umbrella tend, as a result, to want to slap labels on anyone they think also falls under that umbrella. I’ve been guilty of spotting what appears to be a female-bodied individual, and trying to figure out if they were just a butch lesbian, or a trans man.

    So I think we all have those moments of hypocrisy from time to time.


  30. Lyn Aven

    I don’t find that particularly hypocritical. I just find that to be a fascinating curiosity about people’s backgrounds — and it’s just that, background, not current truth.


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