Social Expectations

Someone wrote…

I’m starting to realize that there is a difference between feeling safe with my current gender presentation and feeling comfortable with it. Adhering to social expectations that come with my sex may give me a sense of protection and safety, but that doesn’t mean that it feels like an authentic representation of myself.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on September 12th, 2012 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 5 comments »

5 Responses to “Social Expectations”

  1. Anonymous

    This is so so true sometimes…unfortunately.


  2. Meike

    I wholeheartedly agree. It’s breaking free of that need to be safe, and recognizing that being your own person can lead to a new sense of safety, that’s important.


  3. Aubri

    It is unfortunately true. Depending on the level of danger, I act differently. In some situations, I’d much rather be perceived as a woman and deal with the internal discomfort than be perceived as someone who is genderqueer and feel constantly unsafe. I think it really depends on you and your situation. I do desperately wish safety didn’t have to be a factor when I decide what to wear that day or which bathroom to use.


    Lane replied:

    Right there with you- and regarding the bathroom, unless it is blissfully Unisex, it can go poorly both ways and I feel equally vulnerable: I have had men attempt to stop me from entering the women’s and then received odd looks from the women once inside, or had them leave and come back in , but if I go into the men’s, I have to hope it is empty or that I can be left alone there as well- sigh.

    In my experience, I find that women notice me and act on it subtly like double checking *themselves about which restroom they walked into, but men notice too, and tend to more aggressively double check *me, and that feels less safe…however, it has come across in a Hey Buddy kind of way, so I kind of (want to let myself ) think maybe they are just helping another bro out?

    I don’t use any hard’n’fast pronouns, though I do prefer male/masculine ones; if someone addresses me either way, I respond in kind, particularly in public- whatever the obvious perception is at that moment is what I go with and I think going with the flow helps me feel the best understood (and safest) in most situations.


  4. EFB

    The first comment on this page could have been written by me. That’s exactly how I feel. I allow people to assume I’m male to allow me to go about my daily business without getting funny looks or rude comments, or abuse, but privately I see myself as part male, part female. Most people, if you tell them that, will act as if you told them you had two heads. I’ve tried transgender transitioning before (I identify more closely with women than men), but it felt just as uncomfortable. But just because I present as male doesn’t mean I’m going to act butch. Luckily I live in a city with a very liberal, tolerant culture, and I take full advantage of it. Few people ever comment on the way I walk, the way I take off a pullover, or my handbag, and no one cares that I read Cosmo during my lunch break (brought in regularly by one of the office girls), tho’ people do tend to express surprise if they see me filing my nails, so I do that in private. And we have just one gender neutral bathroom, thank goodness. Men’s restrooms I only use if I have to, and I never use urinals – but I won’t use the women’s, because I don’t want to make trouble.
    But I’m still not happy. Something inside me constantly screams , “You’re female! Be the woman you are!” And it’s counterpart always replies, “Shhh! Don’t tell people!”
    But at least I know, from this website, that I’m not the only one.


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