Genderfluid – is it real?

There’s a lot of debate right now about the notion that a person can be genderfluid.  Many take the opinion that it’s made up – that people who identify as genderfluid are just trying to be “special snowflakes”.  My experience is that it is quite real, and I am by no means a “special snowflake”.

Every day I wake up with the potential for my gender to be masculine or feminine. I don’t have any control over which, yet (though I’m trying).  Just like Schrodinger’s cat was presumed to be both alive and dead until the box was opened and the cat was observed, you can presume me as both male and female until I wake up and observe my gender identity.  And here’s the magical part: sometimes I’m still both male and female after I wake up!

To try to give others a peek into this strange world of genderfluidity, I’ve created this blog. Please feel free to ask genuine questions or add your own experiences.  I want to educate and maybe even entertain, but I will not tolerate trolls.  And no concern trolling, either.

I’m not out to anyone except my spouse, so I will be keeping identifying information off this blog. Names will be anonymized and information that could be used to identify me or anyone I mention will be similarly sanitized.

13 thoughts on “Genderfluid – is it real?

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  1. I am Genderfluid and my perants say it changes my personality but I’m still the same person just that I am not always a girl most times I feel like boy but then there are periods where I just want to be a girl and some times like non of both and then both

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    1. Thank you for sharing. I’m still figuring out how my gender interacts with my personality. I don’t think that I’m a different person now that I’m transitioning, but I can’t deny that some aspects of my personality have changed. I’m much more able to overcome my introversion to meet new people, I’m more likely to stand up for myself and what I need, and I’ve largely given up on many of the masculine behaviors I’d maintained as a way to “prove” that I was a man. But the core – most important – traits and parts of my personality are still there.

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  2. I’m gender fluid but my dad disagrees he says I was born female and I’ll always be a female. It sort of hurts, do your parents disagree with you being gender fluid? I wanna know if there is people like me

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    1. I arrived at that conclusion after a lot of online research. At the time, what I was experiencing was that my feelings of being a woman would ebb and flow, and I found being a man more tolerable during the ebb periods. So I searched for experiences similar to that – sometimes a man, sometimes a woman – and found a variety of terms which might fit: gender flux, gender fuck, and gender fluid. After more research into each term, gender fluid felt the closest to my experience.

      Since you’ve already found the term, I’d recommend working with a good gender therapist to explore what you’re feeling. It isn’t to try to change your label, but to explore it and find all the nuances which can help you to live more authentically; because in the end, that’s really the goal – to live authentically.

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  3. I feel like I am, but I don’t want to assume it. I’m not old enough to get a gender therapist, and I haven’t talked to my parents about it.

    As a little kid, I used to think I was a boy and a girl, and that’s slightly carried onto me today.

    So please help me figure this out and how did you?

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    1. Hi! I do believe a gender therapist would be very useful for you, and I disagree that you’re not old enough. If you’re old enough to perceive any aspect of your own gender, you’re old enough to work with a gender therapist. Depending on your age, you might need to do a little extra work to find a good therapist who *also* works with people your age. But they are out there – some of the therapists I’ve worked with (and that my family has worked with) work with young people on gender issues.

      As far as how to figure this out (without a gender therapist), I’d recommend doing more of what you appear to be doing: look for stories of other peoples experiences and see how those stories resonate with your own. I’ve found that writing about what I’m feeling helps me to sort those feelings out and find connections which previously were hidden to me. If you don’t yet journal, I’d recommend trying it out to see if it works for you.

      You mentioned you haven’t talked with your parents yet. Is there a reason why? Do you have a sense how they might respond? While stories of parents responding poorly are still all too common, the increased visibility and awareness of transgender people has helped make coming out a little easier and better received for some people. If you think you can safely come out to your parents, they might be able to help you access resources (such as a qualified gender therapist). But if you have reason to believe that your safety could be compromised by coming out, by all means take care of yourself!

      Some of the things I did when I first came out to myself included writing about what gender meant to me, and how I perceived my own gender. I wrote about what I was feeling, why I thought I might be feeling it, and how that affected me. I wrote about what being a man and what being a woman meant to me. I expressed my confusion over how I perceived my gender changing (the fluidity) and fears for what might come of all of these things. I explored the triggers of my own dysphoria and things I might do to reduce the effects of those triggers, or possibly getting rid of the triggers altogether. I created a scale to measure and monitor how I perceived my gender shifting – whether I was feeling more masculine or feminine at any given time. Basically, if I was thinking it, I was trying to write it down.

      As you’ll see as I got further into my own transition, I eventually determined that what I was experiencing wasn’t genderfluidity, but that I am a binary transgender woman — what I’d perceived as feeling feminine was when my dysphoria was stronger, and feeling masculine was when my dysphoria was weaker. This doesn’t mean that I was *wrong* to think that I was genderfluid – I look at it as a necessary and enlightening step on my journey. Calling myself genderfluid gave me something tangible to describe my own identity, and my experiences through that period of my transition helped positively shape the woman I am today.

      So I guess the takeaway I’d most like to give you is to keep exploring your own gender, get help wherever you safely can, and don’t let the labels define you – use the labels to describe yourself, and if you begin to feel like one doesn’t fit you, don’t be afraid to find a different one and let go of any labels which don’t fit you anymore. The goal with transition isn’t to end up in a specific gender /gender identity, but to become as authentic as you can be.

      Please feel free to ask any questions you might have – I’ll do my best to answer them or point you to resources which might help.

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  4. I have had this same feeling ever since I could remember. I told my mom and step-dad and they were very supportive, even letting me get a binder and cut my hair. But I haven’t told my biological dad that I am pansexual and gender-fluid. He is a little homophobic, but he really is a nice guy. I just don’t want him getting upset or being uncomfortable by this. What do I do?

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    1. Hi Sky,

      Thanks for sharing your experience and asking for help. I am glad that your mom and step-dad are supportive and are helping you explore and bring yourself into better alignment with your gender. That’s a really good place to be, and please pass along my appreciation of their support to your mom and step-dad – “you’re doing a good job supporting your kid,”

      As for your dad, that’s a bit tricky. You indicate he has displayed some homophobic tendencies, but also that he is a nice guy, which makes it difficult to predict his reaction to information like yours; and it’s never easy to predict – even the people who seem the most open and affirming are capable of becoming non-affirming when someone close to them comes out, and, the most rigid and gender-role-enforcing people are capable of becoming super affirming and supportive when someone close to them comes out. There are no guarantees, ever… which is why coming out is such a nerve-wracking experience when it’s people you’re close to.

      The things which come to mind for me when thinking of your dad is, first, gather allies around you – if you have people holding your hand and supporting you while you come out to him, you won’t feel as alone and vulnerable, and they can help explain/defend your news if he does have a negative response.

      Next, if you’re able, feel him out on the topics of genderfluidity and pansexuality. Perhaps mention an article you’ve read about someone else’s experiences with being genderfluid or pan and see how he responds. You don’t need to argue or confront him if he expresses negative views, but take note of how he responds – it’s a decent predictor for when it’s you. You can also ask someone else (such as your mom) to do the same – ask them to keep it casual and not tie it to you.

      Educate yourself on these topics – learn more about genderfluidity (and gender in general), as well as pansexuality. Find authoritative sources (such as ones I link to in other blog posts) and keep them handy. If you feel up to it, look for debates on the topics and see what kinds of arguments the non-affirming sides use, and how the affirming sides respond and build their own cases. Build a collection of links or a document where you collect the ideas, quotes, citations, arguments, and explanations you find most useful and compelling. If there are sources which your dad might be more inclined to respect, see if you can find affirming and supportive sources from there.

      Write a letter to your dad. You don’t have to send it, but by writing it, you’ll outline the important points you want to make sure you hit. You can even take a copy of the letter with you when you go to finally tell him as a way to remind yourself of everything you want to say.

      Talk with a therapist if you have one available – they often have helped people come out in similar and even worse situations than you face, and can help you determine what you’d like to share and how to share it. You might even consider having your dad join you at a therapy appointment so the therapist can help moderate the whole conversation.

      Ok, so let’s talk logistics of coming out:
      1. Make sure you are safe. Your safety is the #1 concern. If you aren’t in a safe place to come out, don’t feel pressured to come out.
      2. Make sure you either have control of the space, or have an escape route prepared. Coming out in a neutral public place is a fairly decent option, as being in public will tend to keep negative responses moderated. If you do it in a private space, make sure you have control of yourself. Coming out to him in the car while he’s driving isn’t a good idea, because he’s in control of the space. Coming out to him at his place is a little bit better, as long as you make sure you have someone with you (or at least waiting in the driveway) to help you retreat back to your mom’s if things don’t go well.
      3. Have your facts ready, and practice them if you can, so you don’t freeze up or forget them if you are challenged.
      4. Speak in closed-ended statements. “I am transgender. I am transitioning. I am genderfluid.” Don’t let your statements become questions or requests for approval. You don’t need anyone’s approval to be your true self. Don’t ask “is that ok?”, but instead “are you ok?” The first asks for his permission, the second doesn’t, but instead asks for his feelings.
      5. Along the same lines, tell him what you want/expect from him. “My pronouns are ‘they/them’, and my name is ‘Sky’. I understand that this will be an adjustment for you, but I do expect you to work at using my correct name and pronouns. If you make a mistake, just quickly say ‘sorry’, restate what you just said using the correct name/pronouns, and then just move on – don’t dwell on it.”
      6 Once you’ve said your piece, give him time and space to process your news if he needs it. Some people will have poor reactions in the moment, but once they have some time to process, they quickly come around. You might need to explicitly say to him “I realize I just gave you some really big news and a lot of information, so I’m going to step outside and talk with my friend who is out there. Please take the time to think about what I’ve told you, and come join me when you feel ready to discuss this further.”
      7. Know your boundaries and enforce them. If his response becomes negative and then becomes toxic, tell him “the things you are saying to me are very upsetting, and I want to make sure that I can hear what your trying to say to me, so I am going to leave for an hour so that I can sort through my emotions and that they don’t prevent me from hearing you, nor lead me to respond in way I will later regret.” Saying it this way keeps it about you remaining in control of yourself and wanting to fully respect and receive what he has to say, instead of it being about “you’re hurting my feelings”, which can easily be construed as blame.
      8. Remember that you are valid and worthwhile, and you deserve to be seen and heard for who you really are. Don’t ever forget that.

      I hope this is helpful. Perhaps I’ll take my response and turn it into a full post about coming out, and maybe we can get feedback and suggestions from other people, too.

      Good luck!
      Me

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