Gender Exploration

Hey folks!

This is a discussion space for gender exploration. Gender presentation, internal gender feelings, pronouns, navigating unfamiliar systems.

Some of us are very secure in our identities, and some of us have no idea where to start. Topics can include (and are not limited to!):

  • Grooming
  • Clothing
  • Pronouns
  • Therapy
  • Personal relationships
  • Dysphoria/euphoria

Some ground rules:

Please use the spoilers function to hide information about diets, weight, trauma and any response to spoilered text. Please also feel free to use this function if you (like me on occasion) don’t always want to have your personal text shown.

On mobile, you can use the text [Details=“Text”][/Details] to use the spoilers function. Formatting doesn’t always work the first time on mobile, so please make check back on your published post and make edits if needed.

In the web browser, you can find it under the gear icon above your text box. Just highlight the text you want hidden, select the feature, insert your title in between the quotation marks.

As much as possible, I want this to be a conflict-free area, for folks to feel safe posting about their identity, their concerns, their questions. I don’t know what this will look like going forward, so I’d like to reserve the space to make changes to ground rules as needed for the group.

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To kick things off:

I recently attempted to cut my own hair! It’s a hot mess but it’s a work in progress (pandemic haircuts, right?). I was looking through pics in my phone last week and realized that when I had short hair, I was so much more confident and comfortable in my skin.

Seeing pics of me with long hair prompted the thought “Oh, she looks nice.” which hit me as odd, because uh, hello, that’s me not someone else. But those images felt like someone else.

I’m also trying to build a wardrobe filled with clothing that makes me feel good about my body. I really don’t want to unearth my Pinterest account, but it may be necessary. Any tips/tricks?

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Following. Both for my own self analysis as a person, and with the large responsibility of raising another human.

Some me background

Ive always considered myself fairly secure in my gender identity, but I also really don’t “perform” a lot of femininity. I definitely had times growing up where where a male identity seemed appealing because so much of my brothers daily lives seemed easier- but it was in more of an abstract sense and not in a deeply dissatisfied way. Overall, my parents were pretty good at not making me conform to gender stereotypes except for my hair (that’s always been A Topic for me, more than anything else). I primarily wore hand me downs from male brothers and cousins and was heavily classified as a “tomboy”, but rarely felt like that was disappointing to anyone, if that makes sense.

The hair thing is one area I need to introspect more, frankly. It’s a big source of aggravation in my life. But the one time I chopped it all off, the cut was horrifically unflattering, I was 10 or 11, and it was one of the worst chapters in my life. Intense bullying about the way I looked because my gender presentation was way too neutral. I got in a few fist fights with other kids. It was a whole thing. But now that I have the baby and live somewhere with hard water, my hair is extra aggravating for me. I often fantasize about cutting it all off, but end up in a weird doubt/shame tail spin. It’s the one area where I feel pressure to “perform female” and don’t enough. My husband is wonderfully supportive- he supports whatever I want to do 110%- but I just can’t commit to anything radical.

Also the part I’ve angsted about putting in- hi guys I’m bi! I don’t actually know if anyone on the forum knows this? It’s never seemed relevant since I’m married and we’re in a closed relationship currently. And so it would be like, a Thing to Announce somehow. And it’s not even a vital part of my dating history, all my serious relationships have been with men. BUT it’s relevant here because I definitely fall into that classic “do I want to be her or be with her” trope that can feel so very Angsty. I generally find I have a much stronger internal desire to look feminine when I’m crushing on someone femme, if that makes any sense.

ANYWHO that’s a bit more self revelation than I’ve done in a while, fun! Please no one quote in case I decide to delete everything in a fit of Angst.

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Oh I meant to address this. I don’t have any good feedback, except to say major sympathy for trying to deal with this right now. I feel like any sort of clothing shopping right now is a headache. :confused: even more so than usual.

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Some me background

I can definitely relate to growing up tomboy! I do remember at one point forcing my two best friends to teach me “how to be a boy.” I think this was two-fold for me: I didn’t like what a girl was or was supposed to be, and I didn’t like how girls were treated.

At first I wasn’t sure if it was just how society views and treats women, or if maybe my gender isn’t what I thought it was. So I’m exploring that. My therapist was great at affirming that both are just as valid - patriarchy and capitalism suck.

I also just want to congratulate you on coming out here! And please ping me if you want me to delete this response later :purple_heart:

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Shopping is a headache right now! I’m trying to come home with two or three pieces at a time (from the places I also do my grocery shopping) and return them if they don’t work on my next grocery trip. Keeping a slow and steady mindset had helped!

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This is roughly my approach. Costco especially I like for clothes. They make returns really easy, and have a very limited selection. By virtue of their purchasing, a lot of my clothes end up matching haha. And because of my stature I can easily shop both their men’s and women’s clothes- but they also don’t make a huge separation between the two, which I REALLY like. And there’s no pictures of people above stuff. It’s just a table of clothes. No commentary provided by the store lol. We get a lot of groceries and gas there so I’m there once or sometimes twice a month.

And they have no dressing rooms, so returning clothes isn’t weird AT ALL to them.

Eta writing that out actually gave me WAY more introspection about how I feel about clothes shopping than I realized. They don’t even have mirrors very easily available.

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Ugggggh I miss Costco for this 100%. After this pandemic is over, I’ll accompany my partner’s mom so I can pick up some clothes.

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If you have tumblr and feel comfy using that instead, you might get some good stuff browsing in the tumblr tags. There’s lots of regular folks posting selfies, so it’s not just marketed aesthetic.

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I haven’t been on Tumblr in ages, but I just may need to reconsider that!

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Another place that approximates the experience if you haven’t been is a feed store like Wilco. Or coastal. I never got a single weird look trying on men’s clothes there either, I think people accept that they’re more sensible. They do separate their gendered sections pretty clearly, but the clothes are pretty practical on the whole.

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FWIW I too vibe with “growing up tomboy” (I think I learned how to use a saw before I learned how to crochet?). I have the opposite hair thing of you, B_J – I go back and forth between long hair and a very short pixie cut pretty constantly. I just can’t.stop.changing.it.

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Alchemist does that. She lets her hair grow way out and then gets it chopped back to a pixie or shorter cut.

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Can you have a pixie cut and NOT use any product in it? I hate doing anything other than brushing my hair and putting it in a ponytail or braiding it back. I suppose my preferred hair existence is “not think about it”

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I’ll join in! I was AMAB but in a personal whirlwhind of a year (beyond baseline 2020) I am now very out as a non-binary/agender person that wears dresses nearly 100% of the time but does nothing else to present as femme (kept my beard, no makeup, no feminizing of body shape, etc). Have experienced multiple instances of gender euphoria since coming out, and also lots of negativity from my family of origin.

I’ve written so much about this on my journal I don’t know what’s worth adding as background, but I guess if anyone has questions just ask :slight_smile:

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I never use product ever, and pixie cuts are my absolutely lowest-effort haircut – I literally buzz it myself (using a very long guard) and don’t need to brush it. It just… does its ish. If you want it to swoop/spike/whatever, you’ll need product, but if you just want it to be short and on your head, you’re good to go. :rofl:

Caveat that hair texture varies a lot and I can do this because my hair is wavy-fine, there’s a good amount of it, and my front cowlick mostly behaves. YMMV based on these factors.

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Hi. I’m quite solid in my gender identity (cis woman) but I’m here to support my friends. I like hanging out with fellow queer folks and I generally think it’s delightful to watch people explore their gender identity!

@rabbitarian I don’t read your journal (though I had a sense of your gender explorations from comments elsewhere) and your sum-up made me so happy to read! Thanks for sharing that! Dresses are so great :smile: What are your pronouns?

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Dresses are awesome! I am surprised at how seldom I see them worn casually. For me they’re so much more comfortable than any kind of pants/leggings. Only time I don’t wear them is when doing dirty farm work, though I threw a work top over my dress a couple days ago and moved 500lbs of rabbit feed in the house no problem. I don’t understand all the programming I got as a kid about how unpractical dresses were/“you can’t do that in a dress”.

Still using he/him but thinking about switching to they/them.

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I have had the experience of other people either sexually objectifying or just in general giving me unwanted attention while wearing a dress. I think styles are more casual at present, even having pockets, but wearing a dress also often came with an expectation of wearing “dress shoes”, especially heels because those make legs look “better” or other gross commentary on the way I was expected to present my body to the world.

Growing up, I was definitely socialized that dresses were for “dressing up”.

I usually feel very unrelaxed in dresses. I do sometimes wear dresses, but I very much need to be in the mood to do so.

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Has anyone had any experiences with neopronouns? There’s a particular set that strikes me as fitting, but I’ve never heard anyone in my area say them or use them before.

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