Just figuring it out.

Someone wrote…

My best friend is also androgyne but she has been since she was twelve. I only recently started to identify as androgyne (well, polygendered) after twenty-six years as a femme ciswoman.

It really hurts my feelings when she questions me and seems to think I am a poser or something. I don’t understand what is happening to me either and I hate having to justify myself to her or try to explain something I don’t understand either… I’m just figuring it out.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on April 2nd, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 17 comments »

17 Responses to “Just figuring it out.”

  1. Lyn Aven

    I understand completely where you’re coming from. I’m bigender/genderfluid too, and it took me a long time to figure myself out. I’ve had someone very close to me insist I’m just a man with effeminate tendencies, but still a man.

    Try to take questions positively, though. Use them as an opportunity to explore yourself and your identity.

    If your friend really is your friend, she’ll understand in time. Be patient; in the end I’m sure your bond will be even stronger. :)


  2. Mym

    I’ve identified as genderfluid to some extent or another (not always the same) since about high school, and I’m still just figuring it out.


  3. Milo

    word. I totally feel that way.


  4. Anonymous

    Hm. I have a similar problem, sort of. My best friend is a trans guy, and I’m starting to (maybe) identify that way as well. We’re reeeeally close and he’s quite a bit older/wiser than me and I think we’re both a little scared that he’s just projecting his experiences onto me and being like … more influential on my life/identity than he should be. At the same time though, I know he’d be totally supportive regardless of how I decided to identify, so yay. It just makes “figuring it out” a lot harder :/


  5. Lyn Aven

    To the previous commenter… My best friend’s a transgirl, and her influence was definitely part of figuring out my identity, and especially in deciding to come out.

    It’s natural to worry about projection, and it’s good to keep that possibility in mind, but as you delve deeper into it you’ll learn more about yourself, one way or the other. You’ll figure it out in good time, and you’ll find clues coming from places you wouldn’t expect — in particular, your own reflexive reactions to things as you open yourself up to the possibilities.


  6. Pax

    Why can’t people just accept each other exactly as we are? Why do friends feel the need to question and roll eyes and shake heads and give looks?


  7. epinards

    Friends worried about projection have to consider that we are friends with people for a reason . . often because there is something we appreciate in their manner or ways. We get SO MUCH intense signalling from society all the time that gender nonconformity isn’t okay. I think the worry about “unduly influencing” a friend is basically a manifestation of a continued phobia about gender, whereby influences in the gender-transgression direction are construed as likely to be unhealthy whereas influences in the gender-conforming direction are interpreted as ‘normal.’ But sometimes it is really healthy to be influenced by friends.

    I think the defensive reaction your friend might have about androgyny is really common. Like she can justify her own struggles by thinking of herself as special or different from others, and if you move in the same direction then that threatens the singularity of her experience. Or the countervailing worry: if you do androgyny differently, then it might imply there is something wrong about her experience. The reality is that it doesn’t threaten anything about her singularity. You are going to ‘do’ androgyny in your own way and it will be different for you than it is for her because you are a different person with different history and experience. For the same reason there is nothing about the different ways you arrive at or perform androgyny that makes it any less real for either one of you.

    Have you asked her about it directly? Say that for some reason when she asks those questions you feel defensive . . ask if there is a part of her that doesn’t believe your experience or if there is something about what is happening that feels threatening to her? That might open up into a larger conversation about what’s happening. She certainly has had a lot of people question her experience in a not-great way (we all have) so telling her directly about your defensive feelings might help her realize that she doesn’t want to do to you what has been done to her, and put you two on common ground in terms of how hard it is to talk clearly about something in flux.


  8. Jessica

    I have children older than many people on this list, so when I hear them saying they’re just discovering themselves at 26, I smile, thinking of myself discovering myself at 26,36,46, and the saga continues. I, too, hate it when others deny the reality of your changes – you’re just “pretending” or just “more of your selfish bullshit.” It’s hard sometimes, and sometimes they get to be right, too. Life is messy.


  9. Mym

    @jessica – sounds like I’m close to your kids; while I’m going through a pretty major period right now, it’s later than I would’ve liked, and while I expect more self-discovery at 38 and 48 and whatnot (or what is the point?) I do hope it won’t be quite so disruptive.


  10. Avery

    @Lyn Aven – Thank you for your words. They have brought me comfort this morning. :)


  11. Jessica

    @Mym Well that’s dependent on a random universe and how you choose to deal with your world. I wish I’d made decisions much sooner than I did. I wouldn’t have ended up where I am now, if I did. I haven’t got a lot to complain about… So I lived lies for decades and was an far in denial as the people I felt so superior to – that’s galling, but hey, guess I’m human.

    My point was that people make a choice and feel like they’ve decided everything for the rest of their lives. It ain’t necessarily so. And it doesn’t solve everything. And making things better doesn’t necessarily make them easier.


  12. Anonymous

    @Lyn Aven

    Previous commenter here :)

    Thanks for your response, makes a lot of sense. That’s what I try to remind myself of on a regular basis, but sometimes it’s hard. Y’know.


  13. Lyn Aven

    Of course I know. :)


  14. Renae Ann

    to Jessica and Mym – I also have turned out to be a “late bloomer” (I haven’t come to understand my condition until my mid-fifties), and it seems that life is just a messy business.
    … when faced with an issue as close to self as gender, and lacking the vocabulary or tools or insight, it just takes longer for some of us to journey through _our_ process. And the way others perceive us is so very secondhand….
    Like probably many here, this understanding came to me in steps – it was like having to go through a number of sequential doors,…. or maybe the removal of veils?
    What is it that wise man said a couple thousand years ago?, “once I was blind but now I see”?
    It’s so hard to face the criticism, but especially from those that you would think should know better.
    If we’re lucky enough to live long enough to lose those veils, now _that_ is happy.


  15. Jessica

    The most involved fact in the world
    Could have been faced when it was simple.
    The largest problem in the world,
    Could have been solved when it was small.

    The simple fact that a person finds no problem large
    Is the sane person’s prime achievement.
    If you say “yes” too quickly,
    You may need to say “no.”

    If you think things are done too easily
    You may find them too hard to do.
    If you face trouble sanely
    It cannot trouble you.

    Lao Tzu


  16. Renae Ann

    to Jessica – I really like that….

    Thank you :)


  17. Gabe

    I went through that too when I started transitioning… I kept bumping up against people telling me that at 26 I was so OLD to be just starting my process. I think part of it is that I didn’t grow up in the progressive metropolitan area I live in now, but in a very small, redneck town. I think people have this tendency to expect you to move along the same timeline as you because we subconsciously assume everyone’s experience has been like ours.


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