Why I Hate Being Gender Nonconforming


I came across this video today: https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ADPr247G1hs. I think there is a certain amount of self-hate felt by anyone who does not see themselves as normal. Unfortunately, society teaches us that there is something wrong with who we are and we should be normal. It is society that tells us we should hate ourselves. It has taken me a long time to be comfortable talking about my own gender nonconformity. I’ve written posts on it before, including posts about how society views those of us who don’t conform to gender stereotypes, but I thought that this would be a good project too. So these are my reasons for hating that I’m gender nonconforming.

I hate that I’m gender nonconforming because I know that it is not something my family will ever full understand or accept. When they make comments about how I should dress better, or care more about my appearance, or do my hair and wear make-up, it hurts. They don’t care about who I am. They don’t care about what makes me comfortable. They just care about who they think I should be. My family should be the people who support me for who I am, they shouldn’t be the ones who judge me because of who I’m not.

I hate that I’m gender nonconforming because a woman once stopped me at my university to tell me that I “can’t wear track pants at a university.” I had never met this woman before. Why did she care what I wore? Yet she felt that it was her right to tell me what I can and cannot wear. My own opinion about what I prefer on my body didn’t matter to her. She only cared about her own preferences.

I hate being gender nonconforming because two years ago when I took my partner out to dinner on his birthday, I had to go to the bathroom. When I walked through the bathroom door, I overheard two waitresses laughing about “the boy who just walked into the woman’s bathroom.” I was glad that the waiter who was serving my partner and I corrected the waitresses before I had to leave the bathroom. The waitresses cared more about which room I went in to pee than they did about who I actually was. A room with walls that prevents me from seeing what anyone else is doing and that prevents everyone else from seeing what I’m doing. And the scary thing is it could have been much worse.

I hate being gender nonconforming because of the looks I get. People scan my chest carefully before addressing me, they look at me twice just to be sure they saw correctly the first time. They avoid talking to me because they don’t know how to address me. I worked in retail for seven years. I dealt with it all a lot.

I hate being gender nonconforming because I’ve experienced first hand people treating me better when they assume I’m male than when they assume I’m female. I’ve had people see my name tag with my obviously female name, ask me a question, and then assume I’m wrong and ask the same thing to my male co-workers. That got old very fast. But I’ve also had people avoid asking my female coworkers questions and come over to me, assuming I’m male, to ask me questions. They felt that I was due more respect as a male than as a female. I’d even had people forget who they dealt with and take me for male on one trip and for female on the next. Those were the people who made it the most clear to me that they respected me more for my assumed maleness than for my assumed femaleness.

I hate being gender nonconforming because my co-workers were more offended by the people who assumed that I was male (even the nice ones) than they were about the people who treated me like shit because I’m female. In their minds, it was more important that people acknowledge my femaleness than it was that they acknowledge my ability to do my job (which wasn’t that difficult). Personally, I’ve always been more pissed off by the people who assumed I’m too dumb to know what a PS3 is because I have boobs.

I hate being gender nonconforming because I want to have kids. Between the horror stories I’ve heard from other gender non-conforming people who have kids and the physical changes that I will be forced to experience, the prospect is terrifying. I don’t want to deal with the stares while I’m sitting in the doctors office, I don’t want to deal with the “pregnant man” comments. I don’t want to feel like I need to be kept a secret. But I also don’t want to deal with the feminization of my body. I don’t want to look more female. I’m already self-conscious about how female I look.

I could go on all day, but I think I’ll end it here. I hate being gender nonconforming for many reasons, but not because I actually hate being gender nonconforming. What I hate is how society treats me because I’m gender non-conforming, and how I’m made to feel about being gender nonconforming. Everything is gendered. I can’t shop for clothes without feeling uncomfortable, I can’t use a public bathroom without feeling like I’m breaking some rule. At times I’ve even felt like I can’t hold my partners hand without wearing a sign that says “female.” I wish people would stop labelling everything for boys or girls. Why can’t we just like what we like? Why can’t we wear what we want to wear? Why can’t we pee without being segregated? Why does society even care?

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31 responses to “Why I Hate Being Gender Nonconforming

  • iisabanana

    Reblogged this on iisabanana and commented:
    Brilliantly written blog post! Thank you for sharing x

    Like

  • dianaashworth

    Don’t you think that perhaps it is you that is normal and everyone else that is taken in by all the gender crap!

    Like

  • mitchteemley

    Appreciate your sharing your feelings, Hessian, from a very different perspective than my own. Dialogue enlarges our lives. Happy New Year!

    Like

  • New Year, new goals | Cross Caroline

    […] This is probably the hardest part for me. Someone recently quoted Bernard Baruch in another article on gender: “Those who mind don’t matter and those who matter don’t mind.” Well, […]

    Liked by 1 person

  • Amber Danette

    Welcome to my world as a Feminine guy. I absolutely refuse to use the word ‘camp.’ And I agree; why do people seem to think it’s somehow okay to tell others what is right or wrong about their appearance ? I would never say things like that to any-one. A very good article.

    Like

  • Katherine

    I love the concept of “Who cares what they think? Just be who you are!” Would that it were so simple. You can be who you are, and it still matters that people want you to be something else, that they want to define you according to THEIR comfort.

    I’ll tell you what… I was raised with the hard-and-fast gender binary and I’ve lived in it for over fifty years. So I may still even get that “Hey now, there’s something different happening here” – but that’s my big clue to check out my assumptions. I will never, ever stop learning about the huge spectrum of who and what people are, and I only hope that I can avoid being hurtful while I grow.

    Like

  • Nicole Inostroza

    Society will always discriminate you for something. I think you just have to get used to it, and somehow become immune to it. I did.

    Like

    • hessianwithteeth

      Ya you know when the man’s being you down, you should just lay down and take it. I mean society will always discriminate you for something. Why bother getting angry about it, trying to make change.

      I know that
      probably not what you mean, but saying it’s going to happens so you should just get use to it, is very much like saying roll over. Yes sometime you just have to ignore it and everyone who is and remains a functioning human does just that. The question is do we do anything about it or do we just take it, and the people of this blog are not going to sit back and take it.

      Liked by 1 person

      • Nicole Inostroza

        I get it. I didn’t say you should sit and let people treat you like shit. But there’s other ways to change this. I just wanted to say that you shouldn’t feel bad because of comments and gazes of some ignorant people. In general, we are better than they.

        Like

  • RedXShoes

    I have to acknowledge that I have tried to work out peoples gender by looking at their chests too. It’s true; why do we need to know whether we are talking to a man or a woman? It seems to be something so deeply programmed into us, from childhood in fact, when we were dressed in pink for girls and blue for boys and given ‘gender appropriate’ toys. I wonder how it feels for your boyfriend? It definitely makes me think about how it feels from your position and how I will respond to people in the future.

    Like

  • RedXShoes

    Thanks for this, its really good to understand your perspective.

    Like

  • INCOMESCO/Jagadish

    Hi,

    Thank you for the follow INCOMESCO as the blog is working for ‘fair share and humanity for sustainability’. I went through your blog posts and found exceptionally brilliant work. I would like to appreciate, respect and follow your great mission. Keep it up, you are not alone!
    Wish you all the best and Happy New Year.

    Like

  • notcertain

    Just let yourself be happy with who you are – how can anyone else possibly matter – the only reason they are pointing at you is because they don’t want to have a good look at themselves – that would be too scary. You are who you are – be kind to yourself!

    Like

  • jodiethalegend

    If people stopped caring so much about what gender other people were, the world would be a much better place. But if there were no obvious, rigid divide between men and not-men, how would the men know which ones to dominate? The only reason to divide people into groups is so you can treat one group differently to the other. And those different treatments are never ‘equal’.

    Like

  • notesfromthenorth75

    Reblogged this on Notes from the north and commented:
    Very interesting post on gender nonconformity….

    Like

  • mom2ferals

    I am so sorry that you go through this. I am sorry my daughter will. It is not okay, and though I haven’t any words to actually make the situations you are forced into better, please please know that society does not even fit in with itself. And it does not matter to anyone who should matter which restroom you use 😦

    Liked by 1 person

  • flighty101

    *hate, not hat. Sorry about that haha

    Like

  • flighty101

    Thank you for this post and posts you’ve made in the past. Society expects you to assume a quota, or else their system breaks by you not wanting to stick to that quota. Be comfortable in your identity. Love yourself; you can’t hat someone you spend the most time with. Screw society! You’re intelligent, beautiful, and straight-up awesome!!

    Liked by 1 person

  • equippedcat

    Yep, as a class, people seem largely unreasonable.

    Looking for that ray of sunshine in a very gloomy area, it does not sound at all pleasant, but it might be useful to have proof of the personal ways which transgender people are discriminated against. Never having been a woman or appearing to be one outside of formal costume events, I have no personal experience of this discrimination. Which means there might be things I could do to help combat it, but don’t do.

    Oh, and the male/female area is not the only place people are eager to show what asses they are. How about walking around a renaissance event and being told your costume is not “period appropriate” along with all the things which are “wrong” with it. Nowhere near as unpleasant as the constant abuses you have suffered, and in this case easily dealt with by “hmm, yeah, you do look old enough to have experienced the middle ages firsthand”. Still, further proof that humans can be seriously flawed in their approach to others.

    Liked by 1 person

    • hessianwithteeth

      Well it’s certainly a good saying, but sadly people who do mind sometimes matter. Some times you can ignore them. Some times you can, and sometime they won’t let you.

      You need to remind the word that people of minorities exist, that your particular view exists because one of the worst forms of oppression is not only those people attacking you for who you are, but when you have to defend your very existence. Often to otherwise well meaning people.

      Liked by 1 person

      • litzwired

        I understand a little bit. I came out of the closet after two marriages and two children. I live in a hyper-conservative town that was witness to my emergence. It’s not easy, it’s not fun. I am frequently paranoid and have to be careful not to assume that everyone is against me. I do know that I am in charge of my happiness. No one else. You cannot indoctrinate people by bashing them over the head. You know that, right? It goes both ways. Your actions will tell who you are. Nothing else.

        Liked by 1 person

        • hessianwithteeth

          Indeed you generally can’t indoctrinate people just by bashing them over the head. Though you can via torture, isolation and manipulation (definately not something I advocate, but certainly something that happens). That said Indoctrination is generally subtle, with spikes of the obvious. “this is wrong” followed by a thousand little attacks and aggressions follow later by “See how wrong this is? You do? Good! Here is a reward.”.

          I disagree that your actions alone determine who you are. Life is really that simple. It’s a major component certainly. But your upbringing the ideas your exposed too, your opportunity for education and learning. The beliefs you hold a fundamental. These each feed into your actions and back again. Your narrative does not exist independent from the world and how others see you also does not exist independent from those external narratives.

          This is why we often need to strike out and point out the flaws in these narratives to allow others to better see us for who we are, who we think we are, and who we want to be. Just as some times we need to point out the flaws in our personal narrative, or have them pointed out. Our actions help define us, but they alone do not control or dictate us or a value. Because those values and narrative relate to are connect with those actions.

          Actions generally act as our true measure, but our will to act in certain ways are determined by other many other factors, many of which are not fully in our control. All of these factors be them, culture, upbringing, education, etcetera, are important and all of them play a role in who your are who you where, and who you might become.

          Like

          • litzwired

            You are more optimistic than I am in your belief that directly correcting others’ narrative has much effect. You are probably much younger than I am and better able to oversee the incredible complexity that our life decisions entail. I live in an environment where there is little hope of educating those that think differently. And perhaps I am less willing to put up my dukes at my age. So I am left being a compassionate person, even with those who oppose me and my points of view. I sense that you have experienced a great deal of pain and are tired of dealing with it. I wish you the best.

            Like

  • Caroline

    “I hate being gender nonconforming for many reasons, but not because I actually hate being gender nonconforming.”

    I identify with this whole post, but most especially this line – I’ve realised I love being transgendered, apart from the whole bit about having to deal with other peoples’ attitudes to it.

    I just want to take your last paragraph and broadcast it to the world.

    Liked by 1 person

  • marcigordon1

    Excellent post. Never hate who you are, gender is nothing more than made up ideals of what a person with a penis is supposed to be and what a person with a vagina is supposed to be. Just be you. Society may never catch up to the concept of individuality….and who cares, that is their loss. Hold your partners hand, use whichever restroom you are comfortable using and be true to yourself!

    Liked by 1 person

  • entropy

    This blog leaves me in the conviction you are very special in being gender-nonconforming, and having much to contribute to society because of that, but perhaps that’s exactly what you don’t need to hear, because, for instance, you want to be seen as you -despite- being gender-nonconforming. I don’t know that. I think that because I was shocked about the ‘being treated like a male/female’ aspect you described. Also everything you describe is very remarkable to me. I would probably have responded the same in some cases. I, for myself, think very much in male/female-categories, maybe because of my male hormones. But I think if I understand gender-nonconformity better, that might nuancate! I totally agree with valueing each human being as he/she is! I am also flabbergasted with how most people react to people who are regarded deviant (pardon my english). I don’t understand them. To be complete I have to say that I am deviant in a official manner myself, so I have experience 😉

    Like

  • littlegladys

    Reblogged this on littlegladys and commented:
    I’m not gender nonconforming. However, I’ve had friends, haunted by that. I’ve had friends mocked for that. And I love how this issue says it all, with such few words.

    Why does society even care?

    Reflect.

    Like

    • equippedcat

      I think it is animal instinct to fear what is different. If only we as a species had the brains to overcome instinct, as opposed to using what intelligence we have to catalog every thing which can be considered a difference.

      Like

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