Question: How do I deal with being pushed away?

Jesse asks…

I live in Alabama, and I feel isolated because I’m not like everyone else and no one wants to talk about gender. “Girls are girls and boys are boys.” What can I do about this?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on June 20th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 21 comments »

21 Responses to “Question: How do I deal with being pushed away?”

  1. Quince

    I LIVE IN ALABAMA TOO!! I feel your pain!! I hate it here!!


  2. Beck

    It helps if you join a group online (like this one!). Try this one:


  3. Avery

    Depending on where you live, you could try to attend some of the Alabama Gender Alliance meetings (, or just join the online group for support.

    Also, if you’re near any of the universities in the state, almost all of them have a GSA-esque group. I personally can vouch for UA’s group, Spectrum.


  4. Milo

    You know, in a way, I don’t like to talk about gender a lot in everyday conversation. I simply like to present myself as I am, and if people bring anything up (which is rare) then we’ll talk.

    But I hate it when I’m sort of culturally isolated because of gender presentation and such. It does suck here (in Missouri) too. :(


  5. Meike

    The MN/ND border is pretty much the same. Find a group of supportive people, even if it means confiding in friends a bit more than you’re used to. Internet or university groups are also really great. Also look for out of city/state opportunities to meet more like-minded people, in case you’re ever in the position to be at the right place at the right time.


  6. Adrien

    I know the small town I live in in South Florida isn’t nearly as bad as Alabama, but I will tell you–the best thing that ever happened to me was leaving home and going to college in Orlando. I’m sure there are groups you can join in Alabama that will help, but sometimes the answer (I think) is just getting out of that environment altogether and finding a more comfortable one.


  7. Ophelia24

    If Alabama is like Tennessee (and it probably is in more ways than this Vol fan would care to admit), I imagine there are places, even in Alabama, with like minded individuals. Most college towns and/or sizeable cities have folks who are transgressive in various ways; it’s just a matter of finding them.

    If you’re too far away to travel/contact folks in a city or college town, I still think you might be surprised. Keep your eyes and mind open and, eventually, serendipity will strike (or so the optimist in me believes). Plus, you’re a foot soldier in the war against the binary behind enemy lines; just by being you you’re probably challenging and helping plenty of folks. Keep fighting the good fight!


  8. Addison

    At first I thought I might have written this and forgotten! I’m from southeastern Alabama, and it seems very close-minded to gender for the most part. However, there are really good gender therapists in AL (Dr. Susan E. Riser in Montgomery specializes, I’ve heard good things.) Don’t be afraid to be who you really are. Oftentimes, all it takes is a little exposure to gender variance from a loved one for friends to open their minds.

    Best of luck!


  9. Jessica

    When I think about Alabama, especially rural Alabama, my thoughts turn to deep stealth. Hostility and aggression are endemic – to any gender or sexuality questions, let alone to non-standard answers. People be incredibly threatened because they have been taught that these issues threaten them. It is incredibly dangerous to try and reach out to people.

    According to a recent survey of US attitudes to gender/sexuality variance/lifestyle, almost any large city presents more tolerance and less overt oppression of gender/sexuality minorities – as compared with rural areas. Universities often represent hot spots of tolerance and support (if we omit some obvious “Christian universities” that teach intolerance and bigotry as part of the curriculum.

    Challenging local attitudes only makes sense when there is some positive result that can come from it. Trying to open completely closed minds just generates hostility and violence. Be safe. Be careful. Be kind.


  10. Quince

    I didn’t write this, but all your comments are really helping me. It’s so hard living in such a rural place where you’re afraid to be yourself around your friends even.

    Thank you all :)


  11. Jessica

    Jesse / Quince – and if you want to chat with someone and vent or rant or just let your hair down, please feel free to call on me. I am privileged to live in a part of the country where at least the laws is on our side, most of the time. I have access to many more places where I am definitely not the weirdest person in the room.


  12. RaeRay

    Well, socializing is really important and it can be terrible to not be able to be yourself, but if it’s not safe to do a little educating, and you have to wait to save $$ to move or you have to wait until the weekend to meet up with your new genderqueer city friends, then I’d suggest using books to drown out everyone else’s crappy attitudes.

    assuming that you like to read, and that you haven’t read everything there is on gender already, when you’re feeling lonely i know from personal experience that you can find some great solace in the written words of others. not only can you feel empowered by your reading, you can self-edumacate yourself so that when you do face ignorance and intolerance, you have an informed, intelligent and articulate defense.

    if no groups or anything exist in your area, consider starting one yourself? or start a blog about the intensity of gender conformity in your area or your genderqueer (or whichever kind of) identity, get a bunch of people to follow, get a lot of ideas going, then start talking about it to people in your town.

    just some ideas… good luck!


  13. Cydne

    I’m from a small town in England. It’s probably not as bad as some of the places in the US, because England seems to have a smaller/less vocal population of bigoted crazies, but living in a town where we apart from one flamboyant dressing gay guy, two black men, and a Chinese girl, everyone is white, middle class, Christian, straight-seeming and binary-seeming, can be pretty crappy. I mean, I worked in a cafe in town once and a masculine looking woman, and after she left, my co-workers wouldn’t stop making fun of ‘that tranny’. And then they made fun of me after I told them to knock it off. Ugh.


  14. Jessica

    I have not lived in England for some years, so my information is not up to date, but at least in England, you don’t have roving gangs of Bible thumping wackos telling everyone that you are a danger to their children, a threat to their intimate personal relationships, and an affront to God, which should be scourged.

    If you ever want to examine the leading edge of hate speech (couched in a quasi-PC verbiage) try “Liberty University” – that so-called brainchild of the late great Reverend Jerry Falwell, whose homophobia was one of his leading characteristics.

    In England, as I recall it, the crazy homophobes were usually afraid of coming to the attention of the general public – whereas here, they seem to think that everyone should gather around and applaud.


  15. Cydne

    I’ve seen enough youtube videos of Westboro baptist church and their peers to be very fearful of certain parts of America. Who the eff thinks it’s ok to picket funerals?! I’m fairly active on a few atheism message boards and the things I’ve heard about sound terrifying.

    I’m ashamed to say the UK’s bigoted religious jackass movement seems to be growing. Our racist, fascist party, the BNP, are gaining popularity, and the leader is a well known holocaust denying homophobe. And although homophobia is mostly frowned upon, transphobia seems totally acceptable.

    Our most read ‘newspaper’ (and I use the term loosely), the Daily Mail always brings up stories that involve transgendered people, even if it has no relevance, and isn’t even a real news story! I dare you to visit the website and not punch your screen out while reading the comments. Last time I risked it someone was bitching about how IVF isn’t fully NHS funded, but gender reassignment surgery (or ‘trannies messing with the natural order’) can be NHS funded.

    I really hope the hate tide is stemmed soon…


  16. Jessica

    And I thought the Daily Mail was known exclusively for page three girls. It’s spiritual counterpart over here is USA Today, affectionately known here as “McPaper” for the depth of its journalism. Not even any good pictures, owing to its puritanical editors.


  17. Cass

    “I have not lived in England for some years, so my information is not up to date, but at least in England, you don’t have roving gangs of Bible thumping wackos telling everyone that you are a danger to their children, a threat to their intimate personal relationships, and an affront to God, which should be scourged.”

    While I certainly agree that England is generally a much safer place to express yourself in terms of gender than particular parts of the US, I’m not sure it’s beneficial to say “at least…” in reply to Cynde’s troubles. It suggests there’s some sort of scale of discomfort and oppression; that if you’re not suffering at the extreme end of it there’s not so much of a problem. No-one ought to feel that they shouldn’t complain because others “have it worse.” That and, well, it’s not greatly comforting to think that other people like you are facing physical violence just for being themselves anywhere…


  18. Jessica

    @Cass Agreed. No amount of prejudice and intolerance is acceptable. My “at least” was intended to express my own shame for the country of my birth for not being better than it is.

    One must remember that those of us who live in Europe or America are extremely fortunate, even those residents of Alabama. We could be citizens of Uganda where having a minority sexuality or gender identification is punished by imprisonment or death.

    That this is true, it must be said, is due in large part to the pernicious influence of Rev. Scott Lively of Abiding Truth Ministries in the formerly great Commonwealth of Massachusetts.


  19. glitterdik

    its tough man, i live in south carolina…i think to a certain degree, you try to find people who “get it”, but you shouldn’t have to try. at some point, you gotta get up and pack yr shit and move to nyc or berlin and queer it up!


  20. Cydne

    No offense taken! Oh, and page three girls are the product of The Sun. The Daily Mail isn’t very anti sex :P


  21. androgyn

    i just moved to south alabama. there are others who are gender-transgressive or just want to talk about gender. not sure how to find them here though…i am also finding the need for a community of queer and differently gendered folks, but don’t know where to start.


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