Someone wrote…

I “finished” my transition a few years ago (meaning I had bottom surgery and have since, more or less, settled into a consistent gender presentation). I am a tomboyish trans woman.

I do not know why, but I really want to be more feminine; however, every time I try to achieve a more feminine presentation I end up feeling really uncomfortable–I feel like I am a phony. I feel maybe I should give it up and just accept that I am not the “pretty” type–I’m the tomboy type. That thought makes me feel pretty crummy, though. Anyone else feel that way?

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on February 21st, 2013 at 08:00 am

Category: your voice 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Type”

  1. Anonymous

    Hmmm. My experience is likely very different than yours, but I sort of know what you mean. I’m a fairly feminine-presenting FAAB nonbinary-gendered person. I often feel like I need to be more masculine, because I feel like I am “too female” or I need to prove my non-femaleness or something. I realize that this is silly, but I often catch myself doing something stereotypically feminine, which if society saw me as a man, I would maybe not feel so dysphoric about, and I end up feeling like I’m betraying myself…Even though I know I’m just being myself. I think there’s just too much of a false dichotomy in the way we see gender.
    On another note, I wonder if maybe there isn’t some kind of compromise you could find…maybe play into archetypes of rough-and-tough tomboyish women out there who also are into intense femininity? I know they exist, and they are pretty awesome. Best of luck to you in your quest!


  2. Jesse

    Well, you see, there is nothing female about feminine and there is nothing male about masculine. These are constructs. These are fakes. If you strive constantly to conform to a fake, you are fake. If you are who you are and be yourself and you happen to be judged by others to fall into on of these categories, mostly, then you’re real.

    You’re not alone. We live in a real world populated by people trying to be fake. Do you want to lead your own life or follow others?


  3. Anonymous

    I’m maab, on hormones, and a nonbinary gender person.

    I don’t think it’s phony if it is how you want to present. Your appearance is not a promise to society, it is an expression of who you are, it’s your style.

    Maybe the feeling of “phoniness” comes from the sudden change you are making, and you feel that people will notice and think you are no longer being the person who they assumed you were based on your previous appearance.

    People will get used to your new appearance and tend to forget what you looked like in the past (they are usually preoccupied with judging themselves verse their past) unless they actual care (family, friends, enemies).

    I’ve made both sudden changes and gradual changes to my appearance (I am still evolving) and I find that a mantra helps to calm myself when I start freaking out a bit “f*ck em, f*ck em, f*ck em, …”


  4. W

    I understand completely. I am still very much in a questioning/genderqueer place – but the more I allow myself to feel myself, the more male I recognize that I am (I was born female). And I feel very masculine-ly male. But when I present as female, I come off as pretty dang girly. The same folks who call me “a man” after I lift heavy things or whip out my big a** toolbox, will call me a “girly girl” over my long hair or my nonsensical fear of spiders. I am definitely not “in the middle” – but there’s no way I could “pass” as a masculine man – at least, I don’t see how. So I continue to present as female, because it feels like “the best I could hope for” would still be “fake.” And I feel like, if I’m going to be fake, I may as well be the fake I’ve always been. But the *one* time I ever, excuse the phrase, had the balls to go out in public presenting as close to male as I could assume without major structural changes (see: long hair, surgery, prosthetics)… that was the happiest I’ve ever felt as myself. The best I’ve ever felt in my own skin. So maybe “closer” is better than “completely on the other side of the spectrum,” even if it still isn’t quite right? I feel like a bit of a coward for not going for it. Maybe the lack of perfection is just an excuse for me.


  5. Dana

    I haven’t gone through physical transitions, but I understand what your saying. But for me I was expected to be a feminine female, so now that I recognise myself as male, I’m uncomfortable when my quirky personality comes through, and I may be misunderstood as female. As for trying to be more masculine, sometimes I feel like I’m trying too hard, and feel like crap. In this instance my masculinity confirms my male identity, so I don’t see it as striving to be fake, I see it as striving for a comfortable fit.


  6. Lane

    I’ve been struggling with this same thing. I’m a gay trans man, and I feel like my gender presentation has always been ruled by alternating between two things; trying to act way more masculine than I feel so people can recognize my “male side” and giving up and trying to be happy being the feminine person I am. I kind of assumed that once I transitioned, I would just settle naturally into a gender presentation that felt right, but I haven’t entirely. Some things have come together. For example I discovered pink isn’t really my color but I like how I look in purple. Other things feel less natural. I’ve discovered that moving in “feminine” ways make me feel uncomfortable, but it takes a lot of mental energy to undo old habits, which is uncomfortable in a different way.

    Now I sometimes feel tempted to just fold all femininity under “I’m a gay mama’s boy,” just because it’s easier, but I don’t entirely want to. There are some areas where I really want to relearn old habits and present in a more masculine way, even if I don’t identify as a total macho man.

    I’ve decided there isn’t anything wrong with putting conscious thought into how you present and how to change that presentation. It’s important to be mindful and ensure you change to align with what you really want, as opposed what other people want for you. That can be tricky, because sometimes other people’s expectations or preconceptions do figure into what you legitimately want for yourself, and sometimes you are just being bullied. It’s hard to learn to distinguish between different kinds of uncomfortable and decide what to do with them, but on the upside I don’t think there’s a wrong answer.


    Jesse replied:

    You have about the hardest row to hoe. Gay men are among the most difficult to get to recognize you for who you are. I can so relate to having to act way more masculine than I feel… and old habits are the hardest to unlearn.

    There’s so many layers to this onion. We all go through changes… to quote TS Elliot: in a minute there is time for decisions and revisions which a minute will reverse. And there’s so much in the current culture of gay and trans that is held to be absolute and forever, when it just isn’t so.

    Or Lao Tzu
    A person of sure fitness,
    without making a point of their fitness,
    Stays fit.
    A person of unsure fitness,
    assuming an appearance of fitness,
    Becomes unfit.
    A person of sure fitness never makes an act of it
    Nor considers what it may profit them.
    A person of unsure fitness makes an act of it
    And considers the profit of every action.
    However a person with a kind heart proceed,
    They forget what it may profit them.
    However a person with a just mind proceed,
    They remember what it may profit them.
    However a person of conventional conduct proceed,
    If they are not complied with,
    Out go their fists to enforce compliance.

    Here is what happens:
    Losing the way of life,
    people first rely on their fitness;
    Losing fitness, they turn to kindness;
    Losing kindness, they turn to justness,
    Losing justness, they turn to convention.
    Conventions are loyalty and honesty gone to waste;
    They are the entrance of disorder.
    Therefore a sane person dwells on what is real
    And not on that which is on the surface –
    Stays with the fruit
    Beyond the flowering:
    They have their no and they have their yes.


  7. Cat

    I understand where you’re coming from.
    Before I learned about genderqueer-ness, I always thought that I had to be “feminine” to everyone else because that was what they expected of me (I am faab, after all). I admit that I would even daydream about wearing cool feminine outfits. However, when I actually wore feminine outfits, I would feel uncomfortable, like I was trying to “pass” as female, hiding the way I really was on the inside.
    When I started calling myself genderqueer, I did pretty much the opposite. I wanted to act “like a guy” so that I could prove it to everyone, and I tried to wear masculine outfits, ditching clothes that I had previously loved so that I would be accepted as a “not-female”.
    Finally, I stopped myself. No matter what I wore, I noticed that I was still the same person on the inside. There shouldn’t be a certain way of acting that accompanies my clothing on one particular day. Now I just try to wear what makes me comfortable– and occasionally, that is my “female” clothing, too.
    It’s hard when people don’t understand who you really are, but remember: “Be who you are and say what you feel, because those who mind don’t matter, and those who matter don’t mind.” [Dr. Seuss}. Hardly anyone can be understood at a glance by most people. The meaningful people in your life will get to know the real you, no matter how the rest of the world views you.


  8. Cat

    Note: the quote I gave above is actually partially attributed to Bernard Baruch. Just thought I’d let you know.


Leave a Reply

Can I show your picture? If you have a Gravatar associated with this email address, it will be displayed as your photo. If not, I'll just put a picture of a fork next to your comment. Everybody likes forks.

Be nice. Judgmental comments will be quietly deleted and blacklisted. There's plenty of room for those elsewhere on the web.

For legal reasons, you must be age 13 or older to post a comment on Genderfork.

You can use some HTML tags for formatting, e.g. <em>...</em> for emphasis (italics) or <strong>...</strong> for strong emphasis (bold) or <a href="http://(url)">...</a> for links.

Back to top