Question: How to cope?

A reader asks…

Sometimes I get very depressed that gender exists at all. It seems society is going in the right direction (what with more acceptance of genderqueer folks and whatnot), especially considering where we are in history, but it still really bothers me. Any suggestions about how I should deal with this?

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on October 17th, 2011 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Question: How to cope?”

  1. Cameron

    I’m not exactly sure what you mean by gender’s existence. Is the problem that people have/do/whatever gender, or that it’s imposed on basically everyone? In either case, you can always pretend that it doesn’t exist. I know that might not seem too helpful, but it can be really soothing to listen to agendered music (e.g. classical, jazz, stuff w/out vocals), make art, etc. For me, words are often tied very closely to gender, so avoiding them helps me avoid gender. Then I can sort of relax and bask in pure humanity.

    It’s also really important not to let the rest of the binary-gendered world get you down about gender. That is, try to resist believing people who say that nonbinary people are “less than” in any way. Remember that we are still strong and beautiful. Believe in yourself and our community! On the other hand, binary-gender people are not (inherently) “less than” either–there is nothing wrong with experiencing happiness from one’s binary gender. Problems only arise when people try to stick others in boxes.


  2. shakes

    reading all that stuff about the existence/non-existence of gender made me compare this (and for me it is helpful and makes sense this morning, might change tomorrow…) to my view on god and if a god exists.

    I do believe we have a….some kind of masterplan, a personality, a spirit, a motherly and fatherly mixture of spirit and worldly facts of evolution….(I don`t know if i can explain it accurate, I am german and it is even in german a weird thing to explain…)

    What I am trying to say is, I do NOT believe in a god, in a “he is up there, wathing…” form of god. But as I see that so many peple are christians, and they believe so and it helps them that a god exists, who am I to say, he doesn`t exist?? So…I can find my own view on gender, I can be free to explore what it means to me, I can decide if it exists for ME, and I can let other people think and believe whatever they want.

    I did not think of this way to see it until now. I thought, there is the binary, believe it or not, and if not, fight it. But I must not fight it, I must not get upset by people who believe in the binary. It helps them, and what helps me can be different.

    Maybe I am just confused this morning, but I thing I realised something I did not see til now. And that makes me smile and gives me something to think about this day.


  3. radical/rebel

    read Gender Outlaw and Gender Outlaws.

    make friends with some radical people who understand the way that gender can be constructed played with fucked.

    it’s gonna be okay.


    Cameron replied:

    Gotta second that about Gender Outlaw & Outlaws. They’re wonderful books, especially the second.


    radical/rebel replied:

    I wish people would stop acting like “gender” is the problem, rather than what we’ve made gender out to be.

    (altho I actually think I prefer Kate Bornstein’s original to the anthology, simply in the way it continually busts tired ways of thinking about gender, sex, and sexuality, and for how incredibly revolutionary her thought is.)


  4. Jak

    I dunno about you but I’m quite attached to my gender identity and how I choose to express it.


    Elle replied:

    Agree. Gender isn’t bad, the restrictive rules about gender are bad.


  5. Jasper

    I have a lot of trouble with this as well.
    Something that helps me is going out into nature. Even if it’s just a little green spot with one tree near where you live, I feel like it’s restorative to spend some time with other non-human organisms. You never have to worry about how they might be perceiving your gender (or lack thereof). The sex binary even breaks down in (human scientists’ perception of) the plant world, as some plants are considered “female” or “male” but most are both / a combination. Watch a squirrel and notice how you can’t tell its sex, but how that doesn’t matter. Rest easy knowing that these organisms are aware of your presence, aware of YOU, but your gender or lack thereof does not bother them in the least. They’ll treat you the same no matter what.
    I hope that helps.


  6. Jesse

    It seems to me that many people think society and gender are like frozen in a 1960’s sitcom state. I look at people in my high school and you can’t tell what gender half those folks are and they don’t even identify as trans. Maybe it’s more 19th century where you live. Well, change it or move. The world is what we make it into every day.


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