Someone wrote…

I feel guilty sometimes for identifying as genderqueer because even though I don’t feel like a woman, I pass as cis almost all the time.

I like to wear makeup all the time, I like dresses and skirts, and the men’s clothing that I wear is “softer” (pastel pink men’s skinny jeans, button up shirts with flowers on them, light pink ties) because I don’t want to be macho-masculine. I also have HUGE breasts and a big booty, so I feel like I can never be androgynous because I’ll never be super skinny.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on September 7th, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 13 comments »

13 Responses to “Softer”

  1. kaberett

    One of the things I am having Really Strong Feelings about at the moment, and want to write an essay on, is about how it is no less valid for someone who is genderqueer and FAAB to want breasts than it is for someone who is genderqueer and MAAB to want breasts. All of these things are legitimate. Being a femme dude is legitimate, be ye cis or trans; being genderqueer & femme is legitimate, ditto. I’m really angry about the idea that androgynity means looking like a skinny white boy (and I’m someone who *could* look like that), because fuck it, I don’t want to force myself into a binary model of gender and gender expression even as I’m claiming third genders for myself — I want to have a *properly* non-binary recognition of gender, and that includes people being recognised and validated as their actual gender regardless of their presentation, and “allowing” *everyone* more “leeway” in their presentation.

    Um. Lots of feelings.

    — this is in part because I’m starting to get seriously into perfume + jewelry and realising that these are important to my gender expression, AND SO IS wearing suits, AND SO IS wearing ridic femme/queer-coded t-shirts, and — I get all of these things at once. I get all of these things at once, and sodding NOBODY gets to tell me that I’m “not trans enough” because of my gender expression. (Of course, this won’t stop them, but it makes it easier for me to decide to write them off as a douche.)

    So please, no guilt, ‘coz you haven’t any reason for it. It’s not your fault other people read your gender wrong, and you shouldn’t be forced into expressing yourself in ways that feel unnatural or uncomfortable just to get recognised.


    Thomas replied:

    I would love to read your essay, should you get to writing it. I can identify with much of the frustration of the OP, and the whole “skinny white boy” image as the default for androgynous really bothers me.


    kaberett replied:

    I will see about bumping it up the to-write list, then. ♥


    Anonymous replied:

    I really love and am comforted by this comment.


    kaberett replied:


    I am so glad.


  2. fluffy

    “Passing as cis” is a pretty ridiculous concept. Cis is the default, the assumption, what everyone thinks you are unless challenged otherwise. There’s no physical biological marker that says “I am trans.” That is why trans is even a thing that people have to think about to begin with.


    Emmett replied:

    I don’t think it’s ridiculous. Cis is the default for sure, but in conversations about race, I’ve heard a lot of POC say that they “have white passing privilege,” or similar notions, even though white is the assumed default for many countries. Passing just refers to what people see you as. I think some queer folks pass as straight, even though straight is the default.


    shaedofblue replied:

    It is actually the more common use of “passing” in reference to trans people that is ridiculous/broken, because passing refers to passing yourself off as the dominant/acceptable group.

    “Passing as cis” parallels the original sociological sense of passing. People who are not perceived as trans will not have transphobia directed at them by strangers. “Passing” as your actual gender is a disgusting way of conceptualizing transness because it implies that the genders of trans people are inauthentic.

    And if you don’t believe there are ways people can look that will generally result in them being perceived as trans, you must be pretty ignorant or in denial.


    Hodge Podge replied:

    >There’s no physical biological marker that says “I am trans.”

    My jawbone is a good hint to people in the streets. If a cis woman looked like me, she wouldn’t “pass as cis” either. I’ve been using “pass as cis” because it’s an improvement to just “passing”, as shardofblue said.

    Maybe the issue is the word “pass” as much as anything, it sort of sounds like a test. In reality, the question of if you blend in or not is a practical one but not one that really matters in any moral sense (coz screw them beauty standards, yo).


    tigr replied:

    I quite like “being read as …” instead of “passing as”, as it transfers the ‘action’ away from the person who doesn’t do anything and to the people who do something. And anyway, I might be read by some people as male and by others as female at the very same time!


  3. dahzi

    “Passing as cis” put me off as well. I can’t compete with the intensity here. Maybe it was just a comment in the moment and the person that originally posted it didn’t edit. That, or they aren’t familiar with the notion of “passing” or are new to the world of genderqueer and terminology. Knowledge is key though.


    shaedofblue replied:

    “Passing as cis” is a conceptualization that comes from an intersectional and transfeminist analysis of what “passing” means in trans contexts. I have never seen it used by people who haven’t thought long and hard about their language.


  4. CHH

    I really feel with you. I’ve wide hips and a curvy body, and I feel that wearing clothes that are cut for women flatter me better than other clothes. But don’t feel like a woman. I’m not a women. I’m not a man. And I don’t feel gender-neutral either, in the waifish, androgynous way. I feel like all genders. I want bow-ties and large earrings, corsets and tweed coats. For me, freedom in gender is to be allowed to have everything, not to reduce myself because I will be read as cis (though that annoys me).

    Be true to yourself and try to find your own identity. Someone I know chose a masculine name but continued to wear the femme clothing that they liked – the name helped people understand that xe was genderqueer.


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