Question: How Do I Get My Family To Accept My Gender Fluidity?

Jai Wolfe asks…

So, coming up soon is the anniversary of my coming out as gender fluid to my parents and siblings… My older sister, and the friends that I’ve come out to since have understood and been amazingly supportive, but the rest of my “in the know” family has gone on using my old name and pronouns.

Those things feel like shackles now, and I can’t take it anymore. Does anyone have advice in how to make them take me more seriously on this matter?

Nothing I’ve tried has worked. I want them to stop calling me he, and start calling me Ni. I want to really be me around those I know still love me. Also tips for finding good neutral clothing would be amazing. Thanks all you beautiful people. Muah!

Please post your response in the comments below.

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Posted by on February 3rd, 2015 at 08:00 am

Category: questions One comment »

One Response to “Question: How Do I Get My Family To Accept My Gender Fluidity?”

  1. white lines

    Hi Ni!

    There are a couple approaches you could take depending on your family’s reasons for not respecting your pronouns+nouns. Obviously, I don’t know which ones will apply to you, but pick and choose :)

    My family carried on with my old pro/nouns for a while because they didn’t understand what I was feeling. The needed some basic lessons on non-binary in order to start figuring it out. It’s a bit like teaching children – you need a simple, easy-to-understand set of definitions. There are lots of sites that explain stuff like what non-binary means, how it’s different from binary trans, what is the binary anyway, etc. “It’s Pronounced Metrosexual,”, and the Tumblr blog Gender Queeries are all good places.

    Other reasons your family might not be getting it are denial – they don’t want to loose their son. This is a really hard one for the non-binary person, and also for the family. Because you know you’re not that son, and they’re not willing to let that son go. The best approach here, I think, is the be completely validating. Things like not pressuring them to make all the changes right away – slowly (but actively) getting them used to the idea of your non-biary status. This is probably hard for them, and they need you to respect that just as much as you need them to respect your pro/nouns and expressions.

    Or it could be “against their beliefs,” which is… hard. It’s kind of similar to the above one, but more deep-rooted and more stubborn. It can be cultural, it can be personal, and/or it can be spiritually ingrained in who they are, what they do, and how they feel. I’d use a similar approach as above, but be even more lenient and take even more time. Because religion is hard to “break.” Make sure they know that God can still love you for being you and that you’re not a sinner.

    There are “arguments” that people often make like “it’s a phase,” “God didn’t make you this way,” “why did you choose this,” “you’re going to be teased,” etc. There are lots of ways to deal with each of these specifically and I’d suggest looking up ways for each argument that applies to you. Read about common anti-trans arguments online, preferably ones directly written by transphobic people. This will be infuriating, but it will help you understand where these people are coming from and how to debunk those arguments.

    Make sure you’re consistent. I don’t know how consistent your gender identit(y/ies) is/are, but make sure that they know that it’s not a “phase,” it’s not a “cry for attention,” it’s not something you’re making up. If you are consistent and persistent, they’ll probably figure out that you’re not just “pretending.” That means correcting pro/nouns every time (when safe) even if it’s uncomfortable or awkward or causes dysphoria.

    In terms of clothes, there are lots of places depending on your style and budget. I’m more familiar with the butch-esque places, but there is a huge selection of gender neutral clothing at H&M if you’re looking. Places like Topman are designed for men – and will therefore fit male bodies – but sell feminine-leaning jewelry and clothing, again, if you’re looking. Forever 21 and The Loft are women’s stores, but have a lot of geometric/simplistic androgynous clothing. Designer brands like Alexander McQueen are often highly androgynous too, but are way out of most of our price ranges. Drop-crotch pants and joggers are a good way to hide male “junk” if that’s what you’re looking for. Similarly, there are lots of places that sell panties for tucking if you’re interested in “passing” as female at any point. Again, I don’t know what exactly you’re looking for but there are some options!

    Good luck!


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