Jump to content
  • Welcome to the TransPulse Forums!

    We offer a safe, inclusive community for transgender and gender non-conforming folks, as well as their loved ones, to find support and information.  Join today!

Identity vs expression


Katelyn

Recommended Posts

I've just been wondering about some stuff lately, but among them is a question regarding how ones gender identity relates to your preferred expression (hobbies, appearance, possessions, etc). 

 

What I'm getting at is essentially a bunch of what appears to be contradictions in my own logic. 

Often I read people saying that there's nothing wrong with a man wearing a dress, it's just clothing, same as a woman in pants, it's not as if the clothing is gendered. It's just down to society and expectations. 

Hobbies and activities for instance as well, why can't a woman enjoy riding motorcycles or playing video games or reading comics and men enjoy knitting and shopping. 

Being emotional, why can't a woman be logical and a man emotional? 

Why does it feel feminine to create cute art pieces or play with your hair? 

Favourite colours, hair length, etc. 

 

Why I ask this is because if the only gendered things as such are your sex and gender, why does the steriotypical expression thereof matter so much? Why do these things feel reaffirming or in some cases like invalidation? 

 

Sorry if my ramblings seem confusing, that would be an accurate depiction of my mental state right now. 

Link to comment

To me, it's not the expression, it's the name, pronouns, and hormones. If you feel most comfortable being called a different set of pronouns, then you are trans. If you experience dysphoria with your body and the hormones currently coursing through it, you are trans. Whether or not you enjoy the color pink or motorcycles doesn't matter. For example: I LOVE leggings and jeggings. I am a man. I am fairly confident that I'm a man, lol, but I love leggings!! It's only because they're SUPER comfortable and make me feel confident. But, because I feel that way towards leggings doesn't make me less of a man. They're just clothes. As long as they cover up my stuff like they're designed to do, I'm fine. There are VERY VERY RARE occasions where I'll put on a dress and like the way it looks on my body, but that's because I've always had this experience that I'm in someone else's body. It's not that I like wearing dresses, because I would NEVER wear one out in public, they just aren't me, but it's because the body that my brain and soul is currently in looks good in the dress, if that makes sense.

 

So, bottom line, those things don't matter a bit as long as I and a few other people are concerned. As society's concerned, those things DO matter. But, hopefully, that'll change. What matters is the name, pronouns, and hormones. (And don't forget dysphoria!)

 

My messages are ALWAYS open!!

 

Stay safe and stay alive,

Aiden

Link to comment

Thank you Aiden, 

 

It just seems like we often validate the gender we identify as using these things. Like saying we always enjoyed more feminine activities or prefer feminine clothing or like feminine things or have female friends and thus it makes sense in retrospect but if those are all up to the individual and aren't an indication of your gender per say, why do we go there? Is it because the expression and participation in those conventions helps us "bring out" that side of us?

 

I mean if a cis woman wore a man's clothing and serviced a car and preferred sports to nail painting, it would be fine but she wouldn't necessarily question her gender because of it. Yet it feels like that's what I, for one, try to do. I am born male and my interests don't align with conventionally male or female activities but I have this nagging identity that keeps me feeling like I'm supposed to be a woman, and I validate that using my love for womanly fashion and more compassionate personality, with not liking sport for instance. But that's also not a means of identifying a gender  identity, right? 

 

As I said though, just like a thought I can't puzzle out. Why can't this stuff come with like a manual?

Link to comment

LOL! I and many other people wish this stuff came with a manual! But, yeah, I don't know. We can be a bit hypocritical sometimes, I suppose. We're wrestling with such a big topic and a big society that it's easy to slip. Also we're still part of society, and no matter how much we hate it, we have to somewhat give in to norms. Some of those being "using our interests AND pronouns to show how we're trans."

 

This is a very deep topic. Definitely lots to think about!!

Link to comment

Katelyn, the reality is that what we like to do and what we like to wear as individuals are simply our preferences.

 

Society as a whole has some very definite unwritten rules about what things are boys and what things are girls - it isn't that liking polished nails makes you girly and liking motorbikes makes you a boy, any more than what colour the bedroom wall is painted determines a baby's gender - it is simply that you are using those common measures to try and help justify your other (probably big) feelings about your gender.

 

By wearing makeup and clothes designed for women I feel more like the woman I want to express myself as at the time, if I could look in the mirror and see the same thing in my guy clothes - with or without stubble, then I would have no doubts at all about my need to transition. I can present as a man to a function in a kilt and woman find it attractive, even though technically it is a pleated skirt - if I turn up at that same function in an obviously female skirt I will either be laughed at or beaten up.

I would dearly love an instruction manual or some kind of A to Z of "how to know if you are trans and what to do about it". That's why I am here - I figure if anyone is likely to know if I am genuine or not it is a place where other people are asking or have asked the same types of questions.

 

Theoretically how you choose to express yourself should make no difference, but as Aiden says, we are just as susceptible to the hypocrisy and pressure of wanting to fit in to societal norms even if we know they should not matter. ?

Link to comment

Thank you Aiden and DD. It is a rather complicated topic. Your exiplinations definitely resonate with my own thoughts. I had a similar conversation with a friend of mine today. 

 

There's a friend of the family who spent a lot of money on an expensive designer dress and he wears it publicly but it's just because he likes dresses so he doesn't feel any form of femininity in it. But he's fine with it. While to me it's a way of expressing something else, a way for Katelyn to step out. Which is why I visited her and her boyfriend today, they encouraged me to dress however I'd like to and decided to treat me as if I were a girl. And it wasn't weird or uncomfortable. I almost felt like I was cross dressing when I got back in my male garb to go home.

 

Fun part is this friend of mine is of opinion that women should do whatever they like be it play video games and ride bikes or do make up or love art. She's kinda cool that way. She was encouraging me that I should do whatever I feel I must and want to and let society and its norms be damned, very much the individual character with a strong personality and provides great support. She's even willing to accompany me to group therapy of I decide to look for something like that. 

 

Anyhow, I told her too that I dont feel I have to dress up and be pretty for society, I want to because it helps express myself and makes me feel closer to the womanly identity in a way. Its not validating the gender maybe but more complying to what makes me feel in tune with it according to the standards society has instilled. 

 

Definitly hypocritical. 

 

Hugs

Katelyn 

Link to comment

Hi Everyone,

 

I must admit that I have worried about the fact that most of my interests would be considered masculine, even though I feel feminine.

 

One of the reasons for this is because I was obviously brought up as a boy, and I got involved with hobbies such as classic cars, because that is what my father and my brother were interested in, so that was a logical thing for me to do.

 

I have noticed that when some people transition, they wish to forget their past, and start again as a different person.  I enjoy my hobbies and they are part of who I am,  so I don't want to give them up, even though some people might think that my interests contradict my gender identity.

 

Robin.

Link to comment
  • Forum Moderator

I worried about this Robin but it soon passed as meaningless.  I have not given up my hobbies but I do participate in new ones now 

Link to comment

I don't think one should give up on them. Your hobbies are part of your identity, not gender identity specific, individual, so do what you like. My very vocal female friend would say society be damned, be a strong, independent woman and enjoy your hobbies, masculine and female alike, confidently. You are valid and worth while and are allowed to be happy, as long as you're not hurting someone else. And the more time I spend around her, the more empowered I feel and I tend to agree with her more. 

 

It's cool to find friend or supportive people who don't just wish you well, they straight up encourage you and make you feel like you can do anything. 

 

Hugs 

Katelyn 

Link to comment

The affirmations and invalid feelings come from social construct. Beat something into your head long enough and you start to believe it. But it’s a poppycock. We can all look, act, feel, do, and be whatever we want. But social construct has led us to believe certain untruthful ideas such as women wear dresses, men wear pants, or any other idea that has been cooked up over the years. 

Keep your hobbies. Do what you enjoy. I will say some of my interests have shifted because some things I’ve always liked but wasn’t supposed to do, I do now. So some other space filler hobbies have ended for me. But try not to let these silly things decide what you like and don’t like. You’re only hurting yourself cause you can most definitely do whatever you want. 

Link to comment

Without attaching them to my gender identity, I've always enjoyed traditionally feminine activities and interests. I played sports in high school, but so do girls. If I could have transitioned much younger, my lifestyle and activities would have been more congruent with who I am. I hated playing the male role and suppress my non-male interests. That's what it was, a culturally acceptable role play. So, in my case, my gender identity and interests have always aligned with culturally determined roles, not something I consciously decided to do in order to feel more affirmed as female.

Link to comment

Create an account or sign in to comment

You need to be a member in order to leave a comment

Create an account

Sign up for a new account in our community. It's easy!

Register a new account

Sign in

Already have an account? Sign in here.

Sign In Now
  • Who's Online   4 Members, 0 Anonymous, 46 Guests (See full list)

    • Carolyn Marie
    • VickySGV
    • Betty K
    • Birdie
  • Recently Browsing   0 members

    • No registered users viewing this page.
  • Forum Statistics

    • Total Topics
      80.4k
    • Total Posts
      765.2k
  • Member Statistics

    • Total Members
      11,845
    • Most Online
      8,356

    Chris54
    Newest Member
    Chris54
    Joined
  • Today's Birthdays

    1. Elishevak
      Elishevak
    2. thoustan
      thoustan
      (20 years old)
    3. Tony123
      Tony123
  • Posts

    • Carolyn Marie
      https://www.newwaysministry.org/2024/03/04/as-a-catholic-doctor-i-know-gender-affirming-care-is-essential-for-transgender-youth/     Carolyn Marie
    • Birdie
      I'm not sure for most, but in my case all my friends when out and about are cis women. I'm accepted right into the fold and we have normal 'girl talk' conversations.  We talked about everything from female issues (yeah I get some of those) to shopping and sales.  We talked about cute guys, and some of our dates as well.    I really don't have any 'guy friends', more like acquaintances.    Even when I was in boy-mode I was never accepted into the fold with the guys and always hung out with the girls. They could sense I was different. Of course the guys didn't have to deal with monthly cramps and such, but I did. 
    • KayC
      I'm with Vidanjali (... again! 😊).  I agree more with the first half of the statement than the last half.  'Fools and Fanatics ..." hold on to their delusional ideas with a death grip, in part when they are supported by their chosen tribe of similar lost souls. The truly 'wise' understand the human condition and could even have compassion for those who have lost their way.  Ultimately though, the wise WILL often speak out against intolerance.  If not vocally, then more importantly in the example they provide in how to live a Noble Human Life.
    • Davie
      More JK Rowling Transphobia: Rowling Calls Trans Woman Journalist "A Man...Cosplaying" Rowling took to Twitter on Monday to call trans journalist and broadcaster India Willoughby "a man," "cosplaying a male fantasy," the latest in a long list of transphobic remarks from the author.
    • awkward-yet-sweet
      I can't tell if the Moms for Liberty group is focused only on school libraries or if they look at general public libraries as well.  Because the purpose of those venues is rather different.  I see school libraries as a much more focused collection, especially for the younger grades. In this topic's headline story, the South Carolina library in question is a public library   I did check out some of the "60 Minutes" interview, and I'm suspicious.  Seems it was filmed in October but heavily edited and only released recently.  Typical establishment media stuff.  I think one of the worst things you can say about MFL is that they assumed the presentation would be unbiased and consented to participate.  I would have thought they'd be smarter than that.    It seems the book banning efforts aren't particularly coordinated.  They get together in a group and rate books on a 1 to 5 scale on issues like nudity or sexual descriptions.  Local folks then see what titles are on the shelves, and decide whether they want to get rid of everything that's a 3 or greater, or just a 5....something like that.  I doubt efforts are consistent from place to place. 
    • awkward-yet-sweet
      Being stuck with unfriendly parents and not having choices can really suck.  I lived in that situation until I was 26.  I even was forced to attend a "light" version of conversion therapy to get any support from my parents to get the art training I wanted after high school.  I was fine when my sister still lived at home, but she moved in with a girlfriend and left me with my parents.  That was the most depressed I've ever been.    But situations do change - sometimes that change happens to us, and sometimes we make it for ourselves.  Rather than focusing on the dread of what you think might be happening politically, why not make a list of things you'd like to change and how you might accomplish that?  For example, if you want to move out, you'll need money.  Focus on earning money in any way possible, and saving it up while you have the advantage of a roof over your head.  Is there somewhere you would rather live?  Check out what life might be like there.  If you don't know anybody there, maybe meet a couple of people online, or see if a local friend might want to go there with you when the time comes.    Sometimes having a good future means laying groundwork for that future ahead of time.  There are things you can do, and any little way that you can start preparing will make you feel like you have some agency in your life.  It sets a goal and a timeframe, and goalposts by which you can measure your progress.  There is hope, and you can do it!
    • awkward-yet-sweet
      Pretty sure there's a wide gap between how you and I see the world...which is fine, as it makes things interesting!  To me, sending a message to cis folks that I'm not like them is absolutely the opposite of what I try to do.  I'd rather be seen for my similarities than my differences at most times.  You mention people seeking their tribe - which has certainly been a big thing in my life.  But is a trans person's tribe necessarily other trans folks?  Would we expect the same from members of other minority groups?  Are Black people supposed to seek out other Black people to spend time with?  Are Greek people (like me) supposed to seek out members of the Greek diaspora in the US?  What about people of a specific faith - are they supposed to spend time only with their faith community?  What about those of us who are LGBTQ+, an ethnic minority, and of a specific faith?  Which aspect of a person's identity takes priority?    I wonder if by focusing on finding the LGBTQ+ tribe and emphasizing how different that tribe is from others, if some people might be missing out on greater acceptance that they might find otherwise?    Isn't it also a question of degree?  For example, one of my friends works as custodian in the main building of my husband's workplace.  She's trans, very feminine, and she looks really nice in feminine clothes and feels comfortable expressing herself like that.  But isn't there a difference between an outfit of subdued colors/modest cut/small accent jewelry vs. a different outfit that is in bright colors/revealing, or even something overtly LGBTQ+ oriented?  Both hypothetical outfits could be described as feminine, but one attracts attention and the other doesn't.  Which is the better choice for her in the workplace?  In the grocery store?  Is the hypothetical subdued outfit more likely to make my friend look and feel less feminine or experience dysphoria than the one that draws more attention?  (And to avoid the "false dilemma" fallacy, these are just two examples - avoiding vs attracting attention is likely a wide spectrum of options.)    There's also an issue in that we can be misunderstood or misidentified by the clothes we wear (or don't.)  For example, you mention me being a "nudist."  Actually, that doesn't identify me correctly....there's subtle differences in purpose and beliefs.  But I couldn't blame folks for assuming that if I showed up totally without clothing.  The principle applies to how folks dress when they want to express themselves.  Even if they mean to find their tribe and identity with it, what impression is left on those around them?    I think that activism and appearance are very linked in this way - that the intended meaning may be very different than what is actually communicated to those around us.  It is perhaps a source of much of the friction we deal with.        I wonder if people are different on this as well.  If I'm not feeling safe, the last thing I want to do is be noticed.  Since getting assaulted 18 months ago, I definitely am quieter and I don't put myself out there as much.  Is it a privilege to be quiet?  I kind of disagree.  I think the real privilege might be that when you aren't quiet, when you're attracting more attention than necessary, yet not experiencing something negative from that. 
    • Vidanjali
      So like a mathematician to think in binary terms lol. There is illogic in my boy's statement though as he begs the question (logical fallacy when an argument's conclusion assumes the truth of its premise instead of supporting it) by assuming first that there is (1) something wrong with the world and (2) only one thing wrong with the world. Besides that, he seems to denounce the natural diversity in human intelligence & assume that the wise should ideally assume some sort of active leadership or control (not to mention his assertion is elitist). Moreover, isn't it so that those who are full of doubt truly are not so wise? As a counter example, many enlightened sages have said that self-realization is the highest attainment and that exuded genuineness is what inspires others, not activity, per se. 
    • April Marie
      Hmmmm, following Carolyn Marie's lead......I'm not sure. 😉🤣
    • VickySGV
      The MFL group has actually been voted out of several school boards recently, which is a good start to undo their mischief.  How many of them are actually mothers of children, and which of them are under investigation by Child Protective Services agencies?? 
    • MaeBe
    • Ashley0616
      It's fun to do. I found a free editor called Camtasia. I'll start using that. Let me know when you do. I'll be a first subscriber. 
    • MaeBe
      I do not. I might have to with all you superstars putting yourself out there though!
    • Ashley0616
      Thank you! Do you have one?
    • MaeBe
      Good for you, Ashley! Subbed! 🤩   💜Mae
  • Upcoming Events

Contact TransPulse

TransPulse can be contacted in the following ways:

Email: Click Here.

To report an error on this page.

Legal

Your use of this site is subject to the following rules and policies, whether you have read them or not.

Terms of Use
Privacy Policy
DMCA Policy
Community Rules

Hosting

Upstream hosting for TransPulse provided by QnEZ.

Sponsorship

Special consideration for TransPulse is kindly provided by The Breast Form Store.
×
×
  • Create New...