Question: Female Genderqueer

A reader asks…

I’m female-bodied. After not thinking about gender much for most of my life, I’m beginning to wonder if part of me is genderqueer. But the other part of me still feels like a girl. Is that even possible? Am I just a girl who’s overreacting/seeking attention/trying to be different?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on June 22nd, 2011 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 22 comments »

22 Responses to “Question: Female Genderqueer”

  1. Brian

    I think this can be completely legitimate. I will always at least identify with female largely because of my feminist leanings. And it’s part of who I am, even biologically. There’s no doubt that I’m female. But there’s also no doubt I’m NOT female-gendered.

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  2. Lian

    It’s definitely possible. I think part of being genderqueer is not having to choose a gender to be.

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  3. Nick

    I think you’re best capable of judging your own motivations. Who would you be if no one was watching. If you lived on a deserted island, how would you identify?
    Gender is a complicated thing so take your time figuring it out and feel free to change your mind a few times along the way.

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    Thomas replied:

    I totally agree with Nick on this one.

    And I really don’t think your motive for questioning your gender identity should be an issue. Quite frankly, in my opinion, it shouldn’t matter why you’re asking the question, just that you’re asking it. And when it comes to the question of gender identity, there is no wrong answer.

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  4. TC

    Overreacting/seeking attention/trying to be different are not necessarily bad things, Alice. Having all those seemingly contradictory parts of yourself at the same time in the same body and mind is OK. You CAN be male or female and neither and both all at the same time if that’s how you feel. It’s not you who has the problem, it may be others. It may not. I don’t have a problem with it. I just expand my mind and heart to accept all that stuff both in myself and others. Try this one for size: ‘If it doesn’t hurt anyone who doesn’t want to be hurt, then it’s probably OK’ It covers many, MANY tricky dilemmas. xx

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  5. j

    It’s okay to be genderqueer. It’s okay to be cis.

    Spend some time thinking about gender. Explore. Try wearing different things / different pronouns and see how you feel about it. Change your mind. Change your mind again. Change your mind again. Decide you’re , finally. Change your mind again.

    You don’t need to feel guilty about not being genderqueer enough, or about not being cisgendered enough. Try some things on, see what works for you. That’s all we can do.

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  6. Rainicorn

    Did I write this and just forget that I did? No? Glad to know I’m not the only one, then…

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  7. Damien Jay

    Some times i feel the same way. Some days i KNOW im a girl and others i feel kinda queer. Somedays i feel i just don’t want to be a girl, like i’m certain im fully girl but depressed that i’m not trans cuz it feels like me. Gender is confusing, work ur way through.

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  8. Anonymous

    Luckily, ‘genderqueer’ has no concrete definition, which means you can identify however you like. If being a ‘female genderqueer’ makes sense to you, that’s all that matters!

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  9. Anonymous

    I can’t remember if I wrote this or not. It really does describe me… I’ve been exploring gender stuff for about a year and at the moment, I’m trying out the description ‘girl/other’. Basically, that part of me is a girl and part of me is something else (mostly neither), and I move fluidly between them. But sometimes, I wish I felt more male, or at least more masculine, so I could feel more validly genderqueer. Sadly, I am more ‘non-girly’ than ‘masculine’ and I don’t really feel male. Sometimes I think I should just be a girl, since at least part of me is, and that I should leave the term ‘genderqueer’ to people whose genders are more incompatible with their bodies. Sometimes I wonder if there is a way to feel completely like a girl, and I just haven’t found it because I want to be genderqueer for some stupid reason. I feel so presumptuous sometimes… the nerve, to think that I of all people could be genderqueer! Ugh…

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  10. Jessica MacGilvray

    What real live woman never wished she wasn’t one – growing up in a world where you’re slammed into walls of “you can’t do that” because you’re a girl. It hurts.

    Very few boys never ever wished sometimes they were girls. Girls get to do things boys don’t get to do, too.

    Most people never get from the wishing to the being. The realization never happens in some people that we’re all just human. And that is sad.

    Gender is not what you are, gender is what you make of it.

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  11. Anonymous

    (Emphasis mine)

    I feel like a lot of times when I read similar statements (on this site, at least), being “a girl” means fitting an extremely narrow set of parameters, and this frustrates me. Why is not really feeling male a bad thing? Why the need to place validity parameters on the designation of “genderqueer”? Why is being “masculine” a more valid litmus test for genderqueerness than “non-girlyness”? If you don’t feel particularly “girly”, and yet you “don’t really feel male”, why is this a problem? I just don’t feel that the two are mutually exclusive. One can not feel like a male and yet still be non-girly.

    Also, I’m not trying to speak for the OP, or the person I quoted, or anyone else. I just feel like I read a lot of people asking a variation of the question: “I’m female-bodied but I don’t like lace and dolls and being Susie Homemaker. I MUST BE TRANS, RIGHT? Even though I don’t really feel like a dude…” When in reality, gender performance/presentation is not necessarily strongly correlated with psychological/mental/whatever gender. There are plenty of “non-girly” folks who ARE trans or genderqueer, just as there are plenty of “girly” trans or genderqueer folks. Same for “manly”. Just….argh.

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  12. Ryan

    No, my dear, you are not just trying to find attention.. Trust your gut, and remember, you don’t have to fall under a lable to just BE. You’ll probably figure out where you’re comfy in time. No worries. :)
    Also, if it helps, I myself identify with “third gender” and “two-spirit”, the latter being a common expression used in the Native community that can apply to individuals who harbour both male/female spirits, but have one that is more predominate (sometimes) and are still comfy with their body the way it is.
    (please no offense is meant throguh my definition, I only explained it in a “blanket term”, and it is not entirely accurtate for everyone, I’m aware :))

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  13. Regen

    I’ve often felt like maybe I was “secretly straight” or was just deceiving myself by “trying to say I was Trans” (My mother often cemented this by saying “see, you *are* a girl!” whenever I did anything feminine). But even though, honestly (no offense meant) I do like lace and dolls and being Susie Homemaker, I’m not a girl and there’s nothing I can do about it. Maybe you’re discovering this about yourself, and maybe not. They say it is normal for everyone to think about exploring gender, but does that thought excite you or frighten you? When you think “maybe a part of me is genderqueer”, does it feel right? One really good question I was asked once: What gender are you in your dreams? Do you have a gender? Is it always the same?

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    Morgan replied:

    I haven’t thought about it before, but now you mention that question it strikes me that a lot of my questioning of my gender actually did relate to the fact that when I have a gender in my dreams it’s nearly always male. I don’t feel like I can be completely female when my subconscious doesn’t seem to agree.

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    Jessica MacGilvray replied:

    Some people dream themselves to be some other gender… people who have never heard of transgender or transsexual. Psychologists love to give this significance, but I am uncertain whether it means anything.

    An old friend of mine, who transitioned a quarter of a century ago, was thrown for a complete loop a while back when she was really, really dead tired, went to bed, got up in the night and found she’d lifted the seat and was standing before the toilet —

    Just relax and be who you think you are – make other people happy and some of that will rub off on you eventually.

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  14. Vicky

    I guarantee that some people will believe you’re just trying to get attention. These are the people who most feel threatened by the LGBTQ community, whether for religious reasons, paranoia, politics, or simply the human aversion to anything alien to our own lifestyle. These are also usually the people who are hardest to ignore: family, friends, hecklers on the street, loved ones, politicians… The list goes on.

    The simple fact of the matter, though, is that their perceptions cannot be changed by you. You can try to explain your situation to them, but unless they allow themselves to be open-minded they will continue to believe as they choose. The only person you can change is you. If you honestly and fervently believe that this is just a phase, then it is. If you believe that this is actually you, then it is.

    I guess what I’m saying is that no one can tell you who you are but you. If someone tries, either they are wrong, it is coincidence that they are right, or they are you. You are who you tell yourself you are when no one else is watching. If you tell yourself you’re a genderqueer female-bodied female, you are! If you tell yourself you’re a cisnormal female with some minor genderqueer tendencies, you are! If you tell yourself you’re completely androgynous, you are! Who are we to argue with your perception of yourself?

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  15. Mycroft

    I’ve had this problem with both my pansexuality and my genderqueerness, especially as I’m in Texas in an old, traditional family and while they try to accept whatever I am, they do tend to think I’m just saying it to get attention, or because I’m flighty and overreactive and tend to think in extremes, or because I’m a psychological hypochondriac, or because I just want to find some group to stick myself in.

    I’m definitely female, and I accept that (after a while, and despite the fact that I rather wish I’d been born male – physically and societally, they seem to have it easier). I’m also definitely something else too.

    I’m not sure what’s really going on, yet, and I’m not sure it won’t change; that’s the nice thing about “genderqueer” – it’ll include you no matter what. There’s nothing wrong with still feeling like a girl, and it certainly doesn’t mean you’re not also something else. There’s room for a lot in these strange, complicated heads of ours.

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  16. Adair

    Yes, it’s definitely possible. Look at how you feel. That’s true–that’s really your gender identity. It’s probably pretty complicated. And that’s alright. Now, how you want or need other people to understand and define you might be the hard part–but remember that you know who you are because you’re in your own head, watching each of your thoughts and feeling each of your emotions, and that’s really the most important part.

    “Am I just a girl who’s overreacting/seeking attention/trying to be different?” sounds like you’re listening to internalized judgmental bigotry from people who *aren’t* in your head. Try to stop that. Step back and defend yourself and listen to yourself whenever you feel stressed out about the points where your self-concept comes into contact with people who won’t (want to) understand.

    If you were seeking attention or trying to be different, you wouldn’t *worry* that your gender identity might be “wrong” and merely a way of seeking attention/trying to be different (which are valid reasons to redefine yourself, anyway). You’re clearly concerned about who you really are.

    And suddenly questioning an idea–binary, biologically-determined gender–that has dominated your life and your culture? It would be hard to *over*react to that. It might take some time and some hard emotional/intellectual work to settle things down. I do think you’ve internalized some normative assumptions about what your gender “should” be, if the part of you that’s female identified is giving you grief. Being genderqueer isn’t an all-or-nothing proposition. And it’s definitely not about rejecting some parts of your identity and your experience because they don’t fit some particular narrative about what gender is or should be.

    You can be bi-gendered not-girl and girl. You can be multi-gendered (like me) and have more than 2 major genders. You can be gender fluid and change between your genders over time or context. You can find your biological sex a useful part of your identity and reject all social gender constructions. I think that trying to decide you’re all girl, 100% cis, or that you’re all not-girl is only going to bring you grief, given what you’ve already said about your identity. On the other hand, it might turn out that you gravitate toward one end of the girl/not girl spectrum–but you’re not going to figure that out if you’re trying to *force* a decision.

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  17. Anonymous

    I feel exactly the same

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  18. jessi

    I think the “desert island with no one watching” model is a bad one.

    Nothing exists in isolation. Absolute authenticity is not one that disregards the way you interact with people. Meta-ception (meta perception) is a very valid part of one’s existence… especially if you don’t happen to be cracking coconuts on an island.

    I think the question you need to ask yourself is: am I ok presenting publicly this identity I’m playing with? Is it worth it to be seen as gender queer? Do I have Pride? And most importantly, “do I feel comfortable when I’m presenting like this?”

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  19. Drew

    So glad I found this question! Female genderqueer is definitely something you can be; I feel this way too, although I didn’t have a word for it before, so thanks for that. I’m female, and I feel female, however there’s also a nagging sense that I’m simultaneously not female in an indefinable way. I usually describe it as “not entirely female.”

    P.S. I also struggle with the question of whether I’m attention seeking or following the trend at the moment any other thing that would invalidate my evolving sense of my gender. I don’t think I am, because I don’t think I would put this much thought,time and effort into something that I wasn’t more invested in than that.

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