How do I deal?

Someone wrote…

I’m a genderqueer who has birthed two children and now feel all kinds of messed up about my gender, not that I ever felt comfortable with it.

My hetero male partner loves me to bits, but doesn’t understand why I “want to make myself less beautiful”. I have started getting fit, and love the way the muscles look on my body. The sharp angles that are appearing as I approach a body fat percentage that suits my image of myself – not male or female, somewhere in the middle.

He tells me that he wouldn’t mind me “role-playing” as a man (or maybe he thinks I’ll be role-playing as a butch dyke? I don’t understand), and thinks I’m trying too hard to label something that isn’t important because I’m in a straight relationship anyway…but if it isn’t important, why do I want to care so much about what these conflicting feelings and thought patterns mean?

Most people who know I’m not straight (even though I’ve been in a long-term monogamous hetero relationship) just think I’m bi, a term which sits as well with me as “woman” does. For some reason, female doesn’t seem so bad?

I don’t know how to deal. I need to do some thinking, but it’s very hard when my partner keeps reinforcing my femininity when I don’t want him to.

What’s your experience?

And what are you thinking about gender right now?

Posted by on March 12th, 2014 at 08:00 am

Category: questions, your voice 3 comments »

3 Responses to “How do I deal?”

  1. Charlotte d'Arcangelo

    If you were to mention this to Dan Savage, he would most likely say that your partner is being an asshole.

    I personally wouldn’t such strong language, but I totally agree with him. Your partner is ultimately not respecting you. Don’t just passively “deal” with it, instead, bring it to the table, if this means anything to you.

    BTW, the reason you’re okay with “female” is because it’s (with overwhelming likelihood) biologically true. Female and woman are not synonyms. This is the difference between sex and gender.


  2. Mel

    I’m a genderqueer with two young boys and a male partner..
    I was actually actively working at going full on FtM when we met. But after finding someone that loved me for me I stopped and settled into the on the fence mode. I was worried that he might not like me as a man. What if he just changed his mind one day? It was all very scary. For a long time he would not really talk about it even with me. Then he tried to tell me that I was just unhappy and trying to find a way out. I had to sit him down and tell him all my painful stories of childhood before he started to see that this was not a way out.. This was just me. We have been round and round with my feelings many times. An yes, even when I tell him I don’t want to be feminised by the way he treats me he many times still does. It’s kind of like being a cis person just keeps him from ever really getting it.. Like he has a hard time believing people could really feel like I do. Many years have gone by and its been a whole new ball game after we had kids. My boys call me father/daddy all the time without me having ever even told them too. I think being as little as they are they just see me as being just as manly as their father. Still I struggle with a lot of parenting and even just day to day life with my better half. I’m not sure how one deals with this for a lifetime. I’m just taking it day by day myself.


  3. XylophoneGender

    Thanks for the open message. I like the phrase “constant environmental invalidation” to describe the state of going through the day being treated as an identity that doesn’t sync up with the person one knows oneself to be. When this comes from a loved one, it can strike particularly deep. There’s often an hope that the people who spend the most time with us – parents, partners – will be able to really *see* us.
    Now that you’ve repeatedly explained to your partner who you are, it’s on him to grasp that his invalidating attitude is toxic, and that it does you real harm. If he sees himself as a straight person, it can be particularly challenging for him to think that he may have to revise that label, or that other people around him might revise the label, upon seeing you. Those types of insecurities and fears have broken up plenty of relationships. If you can find him others to talk to who have been through partner transitions or are with gnc partners, that might help him move forward. But he needs to understand that, as long as he doesn’t move forward, he is harming you, pushing you away, and risking losing you. He needs to decide what is more important to him.


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