Question: I think It’s a boy…

A reader asks…

Recently the whispers regarding my gender (or lack there of) have ceased to be flattering and started to make me feel anxious and uncomfortable.

I can’t hold a conversation with anyone because they’re more preoccupied finding out “what” I am instead of what I have to say. It’s gotten to the point where it’s the first thing I worry about in the morning, and the last thought in my head at night. How can I get myself to stop focusing on this outside judgment?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «


Posted by on April 30th, 2010 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 10 comments »

10 Responses to “Question: I think It’s a boy…”

  1. Meike

    Do you have friends who don’t care about what gender you are? Or in general do you have a group of people around which you can really be you? Focus your attention on them. Of course you need to interact with everyone else, but when it comes to them remember that they’re bound by a binary system and can’t fully comprehend who you are. In the long run, it’s your close friends and family who you should have to please, not everyone else. But above all else, stay true to yourself. You can never be faulted for doing that.

    And if it’s still a problem, don’t hesitate to tell people how you feel about their whispers. Explain to them it’s not your gender that’s important, but who you are and what you have to say.

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  2. Jessica

    It IS a problem. When you see their eyes on your breasts and they are only kinda sort of paying attention to what you’re saying. Sometimes you want to slap them and say, “Stop Wasting MY time with YOUR hangups!” Just smile. Keep smiling. It’s like working with children. While treating them as real people, you do have to make allowances for their level of comprehension. Just smile.

    It depends on your level of interaction with them. If you’re important to their process, you may find that they cut you out of the process because they doubt you – not for any valid reason, but just because of their discomfort with you. That’s hard to take. It’s fucking unjust and all, but what can you do? Just smile.

    You are a gender outlaw. You can either play by their rules or you can deal with their stares and their mute criticism. When it happens you’ll have to accept their crappy unjust decisions and you’ll have to pretend to understand (I hate that). Take courage. You’re not alone, for what it’s worth. If you can’t keep them out of your head, maybe you’re moving too far, too fast for your own sanity. Relax. Do what you need to do, be who you need to be, take care of the people you care about and let the chumps land where they may.

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  3. Chelsea

    The same exact is happening to me. However, in my case people won’t associate themselves with me because of who I am. I often wonder what’s the point of living if no one will like you? Regardless, of how I feel I’m not going to let them ruin my life. I am me and I will not change for anyone or anything.

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  4. Jessica

    amelia Earhart responded to a report one time who asked her what she was going to do with all the money she made. She said, “I’m going to endow a prize for people who are different – you need some compensation for all the crap you had to go through because you’re not like everybody else.”

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  5. Char

    I just had to stop basing my worth and opinions of myself on what other people thought. I base who I am and what my worth is on Jesus Christ and no one else can change that or try to convince me I am not worth it.

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  6. Anonymous

    It’s difficult.

    In my every day environment (where I live, my friends, where I work) the way I dress and behave is of no consequence – people don’t pay attention and I’m free to be who I am/want to be. This is more than enough to make me feel at ease with myself and not mind the occasional comment in the street or person who doesn’t know how to deal with me.

    If I’m away from that environment for a while (say a week or two) then it becomes much more difficult – I feel the pressure of outside judgement, and I become prone to self doubt and self hatred. Reverting to the gender role I’m supposed to follow (in terms of dress and behaviour) does not help this.

    I see my immediate reaction to someone being judgemental as being a symptom rather than a cause – it happens if I’m not at ease with myself, if the outside pressure is to much. The way I deal with such outside pressure is by keeping in touch with a queer environment – through books, internet, by engaging people on the subject of gender, doing graffiti, etc.

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  7. Oliver

    I’m a giant hypocrite here, as, before I was read as what I am, I only rarely followed my own advice. But if you can be courageous enough, this is worth doing:

    Be firmer. Be more combative. Don’t let people know it upsets you, necessarily, just let them know that what they’re doing is wrong. Embarrass them.

    A calm, loud “Don’t you think you’re being creepy, considering that you care more about what’s in my pants than what I have to say?” or (for example, if this is your pronoun) “Please refer to me as “they” rather than “he” or “she”. And stop gossiping about my gender. Showing me basic respect in this way is not hard to do.”

    This approach works. And I wish I had done it more.

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  8. Rike

    I don’t see it as a problem that people gossip about my gender, bescause I think my gender identity affects other people’s identities. I see it like this: people look at me and think I’m attractive. I’m very androgynous and often get confused for a boy. If a straight male identified person thinks I’m attractive, they often get scared that they are somewhat “gay”, because they find a “masculine” person appealing.
    I used to date a gay male. He always wanted me to dress more masculine, because that way he was able to say: “Yes, I’m dating a girl, but she’s almost a boy. I’m still queer, right?” :)
    A straight male I once dated started complaining about my short hair and hairy legs when I first slept in his bed, because it made him feel “gay”. He tried to convince me that I look great in dresses (which I do, by the way, it’s just not my cup of tea) and kept telling his friends that I do have very girly attributes. xD
    My girlfriend likes to point out that I’m pretty strong (physically) and calls me male first names for fun, because she likes me to be a little more masculine than her (even though I have longer hair and bigger boobs than her xD). I’m her first girlfriend after many boys. I think she feels more comfortable with be being “almost a boy” without a penis.
    So… I think that’s why people try to put you in a box when they talk to/about you. Your gender is one of the many fences that encircle somebody else’s personality. Does finding you hot make them gay/straight/bi/whatever…? If “the boy” does have a vajayjay, we’re cool. Life can be sooo easy!
    Don’t take it personally. It might be a compliment ;)

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  9. Jessica

    If that straight friend felt gay, the answer’s easy: he should become a trans woman, and therefore feel straight. Sometimes I wonder whether some trans women did not arrive at their destination via this route.

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  10. sophi

    stranger: are you a boy or a girl?
    me: i’m a kitty, and any questions that doesn’t answer probably aren’t any of your business. :p

    ok, so i’m not cleaver enough to actually think to add the last bit. and i think my kitty ears totally distract people from my gender. ’cause my gender indicators are all over the place, light scruffy facial hair, a deep manly voice (that i think still sounds masculine even when i speak softly) short hair, breasts…. a tubby belly that i’ve been told makes me look pregnant… :3

    though i do seem to usually get gendered as female by the random strangers i meet anymore. and i don’t really know what has changed….

    i hope you can find a way to not let it bother you. and that the people in your life who care about you (or that you have to work with) can come to respect you and your feelings on this.

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