I feel framed.

Someone wrote…

Remember those detective stories where an innocent man is framed flawlessly?
Everyone has their own theory about what my transness “means”; emotional dysfunction, projected father issues, something that can be explained in clinical terms.

I feel framed. I can’t prove them wrong, all I can do is ask them to have faith in me.
Sometimes I feel like they’ve already decided, and I’m already convicted.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on May 3rd, 2011 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 16 comments »

16 Responses to “I feel framed.”

  1. Lane

    I know that feeling. Thats how things are with my parents and several of my other family members. It sucks to feel so powerless to convince people.


  2. radical/rebel

    sometimes when it comes to trying to be authentic to our gender/sexuality, I think it can be helpful to think of this Quaker adage: “let your life speak.” instead of using our words to try to explain, convince, and persuade people that we really are as we say we are, that we feel as we say we feel, perhaps there’s a way that we can just live out our truth as best we can and hope + pray for the day when people come around to see things our way? I say this as someone who has spent a lot of time defending their sexuality and gender identity recently, and I think I am finding a way to be happier accepting and supporting myself than looking for other people to say they “get” who I am. but that’s a privilege I have, I know.


  3. Hope_WA

    It frustrates me immensely when other people assume they are on an expert on the subject of “me” but I’m not allowed to be.
    When I was a teacher one of the first questions I would hear from parents was, “Do you have children?” and the implication was that unless a person was a parent they couldn’t understand the experience of raising children. Only the viewpoint of other parents was given any validity.
    When it comes to trans folks, or anyone who identifies as other than cis and straight, their viewpoint is automatically disregarded and it seems that only someone with no experience questioning their gender or sexuality is automatically more of an expert on the subject than the people they are talking about.


    Charles replied:

    “It frustrates me immensely when other people assume they are on an expert on the subject of “me” but I’m not allowed to be.”

    This. UGH!!! So frustrating.


  4. Jessica

    I am sick and tired of people saying that I am not genuine, that I am an imaginary construct, that I am a collection of pretensions, a pantomime, a masquerade…
    I am me, damn it. I don’t fit in. I don’t conform. I don’t care. Well, I’d like to keep my job.
    I am real. I know this because it is hard. It would be so much easier to just stop all this horseshit and give in. But I want to be ME damn it! I am not ashamed of who I am. I am careful.
    OK, so I got here by a circuitous route and sort of fell into it – I did not get here by deliberate design.
    Having other people disbelieve in you makes it so much harder to believe in yourself.


    Charles replied:

    “I am sick and tired of people saying that I am not genuine, that I am an imaginary construct, that I am a collection of pretensions, a pantomime, a masquerade…”

    Well put!


  5. Ever

    A self-actualized person will always be challenged by those who live an unexamined life.


    Anonymous replied:

    it is true in many senses


  6. Anonymous

    totally understand, I get this a lot the time. “You’re not actually androgynous, clearly it’s just because of childhood trauma.” um, no, the past has nothing to do with my gender identity.

    then there’s my personal favourites, “You’re saying you’re trans because you feel guilty about not wanting to date me.” and “You’re too pretty to legitimately be genderqueer.” classy.

    the only thing you can do is hold your head high and try not to let it get to you.


    Lee replied:

    Oh yeah, the second one. Reminds me of my mother “Your face is so feminine, no one will ever believe you’re not a girl!”


    Adair replied:

    When I came out as bisexual to my father when I was 15, the first thing he told me was my face wasn’t gay enough. I now find this hysterically funny.


  7. RBG

    I understand completely! I feel like I have to prove to my family that I can live a fulfilling and great life as a transguy, and then they’ll come around.

    They make me feel so powerless, and arguing is useless because I have no arguments, only feelings.


  8. Clare

    no-one in the human race is ‘genuine’ – we all have secrets, and we are not straightforward. you shouldnt have to prove anything – but maybe they are just struggling to catch up. Even if your trans-ness is a coping mechanism, and the result of emotional dysfunction – so what?
    What’s wrong with a transitional phase – even if its a little more unusual – we go through them all the time in life, only we dont call them that or recognise them as such


  9. Adair

    One way I deal with this is by thinking, “So what?”

    Either their theory is ridiculously wrong and couldn’t possibly apply to me (recently I’ve been hearing about people who think genderqueers are just in a transitory state before becoming transsexuals, and I laugh about that because I’m really closer to cis–well, multi-gendered with a currently fairly prominent dose of my assigned gender) or their theory is possible–but so what?

    So what if my gender identity is something I’m choosing or drawn to because of my life history and socialization? So what if it’s partially caused by my age or emotional state when I encountered the concept of genderqueer? So what if it has to do with internalized sexism? I’m being myself. I fight prejudice, including sexism. I’ve explicitly identified this way for three years, was coining terms like “agendered” and “bigendered” before that, changed my name to something gender neutral, can make a good narrative of dissatisfaction with my assigned social roles as a young child. But I know that narrative feels a little forced, so at some point I let myself laugh and relax and realize I’m more important than any given idea of what causes transness.

    Even if you have a narrative that fits your experience exactly, that feels right but that other people don’t believe–do you need them to understand it? They’re inconsiderate if they’ve heard your full story and still insist it’s daddy issues, but that’s their problem, not yours. No one has to “prove” their gender. No one has to prove that they’re “trans enough”, not to cis people, not to the community.

    Plenty of people (the majority, I’d say) live their lives deeply influenced by emotional troubles or childhood circumstances. Just because someone thinks you’re trans because of a cause like that doesn’t mean it invalidates the way you live your life. People often have sympathy of a sort for behavior caused by mental illness or childhood trauma. There’s no reason to feel like it’s a “conviction”.

    It sucks that not everyone can accept you for who you say you are, but people do that every day about all kinds of things. Misunderstandings happen. In a few people, it might be worth it to wage a campaign to change their minds–get them books on being trans, send them to websites, whatever. But the rest? It just doesn’t matter. It’s okay. You’re okay. No threat.

    They’re the ones missing out if they don’t get it.

    (Not trying to minimize the oppression involved in having your identity invalidated–I know that hurt, too. Just trying to model and practice a way of dealing with the hurt that’ll let us hold our heads up high–so one day they’ll realize it’s not a mental illness at all.)


    Jessica replied:

    I wrote some poems about this some time ago…



  10. James

    I guess my question is: do you feel that being framed makes you powerless? Does being framed define or redefine you on any level? Or is this self-perception? Or do you feel that being framed provokes you to prove your ‘innocence’ regardless of the charges or who made them?

    Thank you for being so open. Your ‘framed’ comment was profound in simplicity and depth.


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