Question: Gender Exploration

Anonymous asks…

What are some good ways to begin to explore my gender, not necessarily in terms of changing my wardrobe?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «


Posted by on September 26th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 26 comments »

26 Responses to “Question: Gender Exploration”

  1. Anonymous

    Notice what people of various genders do, and if any of those things appeal to you, give them a try. Notice what you do, eliminate things you don’t like, and do more of what you do like.

    [Reply]

  2. Lan

    Perhaps intentionally altering your body language, or creating online accounts where you can introduce yourself as having a different gender.

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    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    YES! Body language accounts for a lot on how people perceive us.

    And I’ve been doing the online account thing for a while now, introducing myself as an FTM :) It’s sooo interesting to talk to people that I don’t know… starting off fresh, even though not in person, is an unspeakable good experience…

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  3. kendall

    stereotyped but people rely on it, this is outside of wardrobe, and do not make a man or a woman but seem to be indicators to third party outsiders

    I don’t know if you want to be more boyish or girlier, and I think some of these are dumb as a rule as far as society goes but that they are things to consider?

    Posture is supposed to be a dead give away, its considered femme sitting with ankles crossed…squaring your shoulders, your walk how you carry yourself how you sway your hips if you step heavily or gracefully,using your hands as tools or as instruments, you can apparently tell about people by the way they grip vs hold things, if they hold a spoon like an instrument or like a weapon and what not

    when speaking controlled breathing, speaking concisely without flowery language, and without squeaking or getting ahead of yourself and running out of air, is a masculine quality?

    Grooming, nail polish/shaving/accessorizing vs not

    [Reply]

    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    Nail polish! Yes. I wear a tie and mens shoes and nail polish and it really knocks people out. Gender bending for the win.

    Accessorizing… hmm… I really wouldn’t feel comfortable wearing jewelry :S Though I have my ears pierced and all… maybe one earring! Thanks, you gave me an idea :)

    Sometimes I masculinize my voice for a day. It’s great fun.

    [Reply]

  4. Samson

    Reading thought-provoking things has helped me explore my gender a lot. I loved Kate Bornstein’s “Gender Outlaw” and S. Bear Bergman’s “Butch is a Noun” and “The Nearest Exit May Be Behind You”–especially those two one after the other, because you kind of get to listen in on Bear’s reflections on hir gender as ze reevaluates it over time.

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    XylophoneGender replied:

    Agreed! Reading can be so fantastically helpful when it comes to sorting out one’s own ideas. Some things will ring true and others won’t, but even the latter can be used to contrast yourself against- defining yourself by process of elimination :)
    If you look in our sidebar you can find a link to “Books We Love” to get you started.

    [Reply]

    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    Kate Bornstein! I love hir. I read her book Hello Cruel World. It’s amazing. It’s the book that helped be realize I was genderqueer and that it’s OK. Also learned why people discriminate against androgyny and anything LGBT.

    I’d recommend everyone read it!! We’re all in this together :)

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  5. Anonymous

    also maybe how you interact with people in gender roles?…(and this is kinda stereotypical and dumb too…) e.g., how much responsibility do you take for planning and logistical things, how much house-maintaining do you do, how dominant are you in give and take relationships…etc…

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    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    It’s stereotypical, definitely, but it’s not a dumb point. You just raised an interesting question – gender roles. So house cleaning versus working to earn money… hmm.

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    Jessica replied:

    Why don’t we compare house cleaning to being employed to clean houses. Apples and apples.

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  6. Anonymous

    Don’t try to mimic others of either gender…that’s what we’re conditioned to do in the first place. I personally would recommend becoming aware of what (gender driven) situations make you feel more or less comfortable…what dynamics with others make you feel happy or alone. The better people know you, the less they’ll assume about you by what they see on the outside. Gender doesn’t always have to be a mask.

    [Reply]

    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    YES! You’re totally right on that one.

    At first when I thought I was trans, I tried mimicking everything male. Male clothing, male voice, male shoes… but what if I had a great pink shirt to go with my tie? It didn’t make sense. By BREAKING OUT of my assigned gender, I was actually CONFORMING to another one.

    And then I realized I was neither gender. Had no need to try to become either one. And why should we, if we can be both or neither? :)

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    Jessica replied:

    Amen. Same crap, different gender. If you don’t want to be defined by your body parts, why the hell would you be content to be defined by your underwear?

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  7. Meike

    Do whatever feels good for you. Maybe even write down a list of things you do, like “1. Verbose, 2. Not graceful gait, 3. Likes watching sports,” etc. (I used myself as an example, this is not a reflection on you–no worries!) Then, if it’s important to you to explore various genders, pay strict attention to how “men” and “women” act, find similarities or differences between the two, as well as between yourself and them. If you’re blessed enough to come into contact with gender non-conformists or other “variant” gendered-types, pay attention to that for them too. I hope eventually you come to a place that fits you perfectly–viel Glück damit!

    [Reply]

  8. rhys

    watch everyone. see what they do, how they do it, what the reactions of others are, and how each behavior makes you feel. question your own behaviors – why do you stand/sit/walk/talk/touch the way you do? can you find the gendered behaviors you enact? once you find them, what happens if you do the opposite? how does it make you feel? try on new gender patterns and see how they fit and how they affect your interactions with your world…

    just some ideas. :)

    [Reply]

    essejz replied:

    I have found this advice useful, not so much in terms of mimicking what other people do but in terms of recognizing what i’m doing. it’s fascinating to take the time to really watch someone else & how they move, dress, talk, interact, and then reflect on whether or not you do those things, and the effect those things have on an audience. For me, this isn’t about changing your gender presentation but about enacting it with more consciousness.

    I also want to second those people who suggested reading–not only queer books (Stone Butch Blues, Nightwood, Zami, Fun Home were important to me) but also feminist books, which helped me significantly in terms of clarifying my ideas and feelings around masculine/feminine.

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  9. Nick

    Write/sketch/paint self-portraits, changing elements that you associate with gender, like pronouns and roles in society.
    What would you be like as a dad? as a mom? as a son or a daughter? What would you be like if you could be anything you wanted?
    The good thing with art and fiction is you’re not limited in your experimentation by your body or the community you live in.

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    Anonymous replied:

    This is fantastic! I like how this thought experiment allows you to try out roles or identities in a way that is “real” without commitment.

    [Reply]

    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    Thanks for the amazing idea of sketching how I see myself!! I’ll definitely try that. Cause I have vivid images in my mind of who I am…

    Thank you so much again. You’ll never have any idea how much this will help me. Thank you, my mysterious internet friend :D

    [Reply]

    Samson replied:

    This suggestion has been on my brain since I read it. Really interesting.

    [Reply]

  10. epistemic murk

    Body hair might be an eye-opener, be it shaving or not shaving. I remember my jaw dropped the first time I shaved my legs; it put a lot of things in perspective. Good luck.

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    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    I have unnaturally hairy arms for a bio female. They’re harrier than some of my male friends’ arms!! But not TOO hairy.

    At first I was all for laser hair removal, but now I see my arms as a masculine trait that I wanna keep. I wish I could say the same for leg hairs ;)

    [Reply]

  11. Jessica

    Be yourself. Take your time. Try not to burn bridges you might want again later. Don’t exceed your comfort zone too much and do not forget that you’re doing this because it is something that makes you happy. So enjoy it.

    [Reply]

  12. bernal

    Kate Bornstein’s My Gender Workbook is a really easy read that is meant to provoke your thoughts on your own gender

    [Reply]

    Captain Crowdeath replied:

    I read hir book Hello Cruel World. Thanks for recommending My Gender Workbook! I’m off to order it right now.

    [Reply]


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