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Tuesday, March 31, 2009

Gender what?

When I tell folks A. is gender fluid I am most often greeted by a polite smile and an uncomfortable pause. Understandable really... I just learned the term about a year ago at the Gender Spectrum Families conference in Seattle (www.genderspectrumfamily.org). It fit so perfectly to A. and her current gender identity. S/he agrees too. A. was one of the few kids at the conference who did not feel trans-gendered, trapped in the body of the gender they did not identify as. Some days she feels male, others more female.

I found this great definition;

gender fluid
Gender Fluid is a gender identity best described as a dynamic mix of boy and girl. A person who is Gender Fluid may always feel like a mix of the two traditional genders, but may feel more boy some days, and more girl other days.
Being Gender Fluid has nothing to do with which set of genitalia one has, nor their sexual orientation.
No, I'm not a boy, and I'm not a girl either. I am gender fluid.

I frequently ask A. if she prefers being referred to as he or she.
"I don't really care," is her most common reply.
As a parent, I have to say this in between place is hard. From birth you are asked if you had a girl or a boy - a decision is made and an identity is assigned (whether we like it or not.) I often catch myself feeling impatient, just wanting her to decide on a gender. It's clearly not that simple.
I remind myself that its not about me - its about Anneke. S/he is gender fluid and happy. How hard it must be to be 12 and be gender fluid. How brave it is to firmly, and with certainty maintain that gender fluidity despite the intense pressure from society and peers.
At the conference midwife, author and educator Stephanie Brill said it best - "Listen to your child, they know who they are, it it often won't fit into our preconceived notions of gender - they know who they are, we just have to listen and learn."

3 comments:

  1. kinda hope a. never outgrows the fluidity...i haven't! i feel the same way, a woman some days, a man others..even minute to minute more accurately, i feel like myself, somewhere in the middle and no need to split into one or the other. i like who i am , how my body looks, the broadness of my shoulders and my confident step. i love that i've never been taught i can't do something because it's for boys, that my body and how i present keep men from suggesting i am not as capable as they are. i love being a mom, and nurturing wee ones, making a home, and that i cry at the drop of a hat. i get to just be me, without having to conform to the 'norms' of one gender or another. it pretty much rocks.
    until you have to use a public bathroom.
    thanks for doing this!
    sir

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  2. I am very confused about gender fluidity. Is it only about how the person feels or does it have to be about sex as well? For example, can a gender fluid individual still be gender fluid if he or she doesn't want to have sex with the opposite sex but - well for example a gender fluid woman prefers checking out women but doesn't have the desire to have sex with a woman. Or doesn't want to have sex with either, but thinks, acts, and feels (if that is possible because if one has never been a man how is it possible to know how a man feels?) like a man sometimes and like a woman at others?

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  3. For the first time in years, I'm crying right now. I just started reading this blog - from the beginning - and here I am only a few posts in and suddenly my entire world makes sense.

    For the past few years I've struggled with who I am, only within the past year recognizing I have some sort of issue with my gender. For a while, I thought I was trans - no, that didn't feel right. Then I thought I was just androgynous - and for a while, that did feel right - but over the past few months it just... didn't feel right anymore. I've spent the last few months feeling more confused and alone than I ever have.

    Now I sit here, 1:30 in the morning, reading this, and it just clicks. This is what I am. I stumbled upon this blog on accident, and now here I am, a young adult, crying tears of RELIEF because finally I think I know what I am, and I don't feel "wrong" anymore. And finally, I find people who know what it's like, and that it's NORMAL. Even though I've never met you, I don't feel alone anymore. I don't care if I have work in the morning, I'm staying up and reading the rest of this blog. Thank you so much for making it. <3

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