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Am I Gender Fluid or Trans?

Everett Dietzler

Created by Everett Dietzler and Daphne Thomas

If you’re currently investigating your gender or looking to explore your identity further, take a moment to quiz yourself with these questions that we’ve prepared! Remember that there’s no wrong answer, and be sure to click on each question to reveal our thoughts and explanations on why each one may be important!

The age of the internet has changed the world completely in the last thirty years. We can sign online and find people that represent us in ways we may not have been able to before. We are being exposed to different concepts at much earlier ages and finding languages that speak to us outside of our immediate communities. Transgender characters are popping up all over television, with representation in media being at an all-time high. When was the first time you understood the word transgender/non-binary and how did you react? Which parts of you resonate with the experience? Which parts of you feel challenged by asking these questions?

The journey to understanding who you truly are is a long one that requires a lot of insight and oftentimes support along the way. The most important thing is that you treat yourself with compassion and listen to clues, no matter how subtle or obvious, with an open mind. You also don’t have to go through this alone. If you are struggling to find support amongst your family and friends, there are plenty of resources that you can connect to.

It’s undeniable that social media has become a large facet of our lives, especially in more recent years. Because this is the case, we may be exposed to identities, gender presentations, relationship styles, etc. that we never would have considered before! Plenty of gender transitions and coming-out experiences have even begun with a simple TikTok algorithm. If what you’re seeing on social media is sparking questions about yourself in your mind, or if the algorithm is showing you a bunch of trans or gender-nonbinary content and it’s making you do some deep thinking, here’s a little bit of advice: Just because you might be beginning your gender journey on social media, that doesn’t make it “cheaper” or “less authentic.” There are some that may argue that coming out as transgender or gender-nonbinary is some sort of “online trend” nowadays, but this is largely rooted in transphobic rhetoric. The truth is, the connection between transness and social media can be traced to the fact that if you don’t know what’s out there, you might not find it within yourself. Social media, in part, facilitates this.

The bottom line is, everyone’s experience differs in some way, and you don’t need to justify your process to anyone. More power to you in finding your true self no matter where that starts, including if your true self ends up being how you currently identify!

When you go out to eat at a restaurant, you may hear greetings such as, “hey, ladies” or “hello, gentleman.” When being directly addressed, your server may say, “and for you, sir/ma’am?” While your server’s intention is to be polite, they may not be picking up on more subtle or sometimes even overt cues that not everyone at the table identifies as gender binary. If this has happened to you and you experienced some level of discomfort, those feelings are worth exploring further. If the server had used a neutral term like, “hey y’all” or “hello, everyone,” how might that have made you feel?

This can happen a lot in chance encounters with a stranger on the street, in a coffee shop, or elsewhere. Someone might address you as “sir” when you currently use she/her pronouns, or “ma’am” when you use he/him pronouns, or even refer to you with they/them pronouns in the third person! Reflect on how those encounters made you feel. If there is something in those memories that makes you experience any number of emotions- euphoria, longing, conflict, comfort, etc., take some time to unpack that. Ask yourself why you felt that way, and if there is more to explore in that experience.

Even before we are born, the social construction of the gender binary begins to shape our lives. Gender reveal parties have become popular in recent years, as a way of unveiling the sex of a baby. The cakes are coded pink on the inside for girls and blue for boys. Babies’ rooms are often painted with these colors and adorned with other decor associated with their specific gender. Babies who are assigned female at birth will begin wearing dresses at an early age and boys will wear pants. Boys and girls are socialized differently to embody certain mannerisms that are deemed to be more masculine or feminine. In many ways, we subconsciously fulfill these roles without even thinking about it!

If you find yourself wanting to express your gender outside of the sex you were assigned at birth, we would encourage you to explore that further! Do you feel more confident in a pair of heels? Does painting your nails make you feel more fabulous? Do you question why some things are acceptable for men but not for women? While desiring to wear clothing or present more like the opposite gender do not necessarily make a person transgeder or non-binary, exploring this further along with the rest of your answers in this quiz could offer some valuable insight. Clothing, presentation and mannerisms themselves are not gender specific until society codes them in a certain way. 

Sometimes we can begin to introspect on our gender identity because of how we feel about certain gendered activities. How do you feel about stereotypically “feminine” or “masculine” professions or hobbies? Have you ever been discouraged from participating in one of your interests because of your perceived gender, and how did that affect you? Gender roles can often feel oppressive and constricting. While this may not always be indicative that your gender does not align with that which you were assigned at birth, discovering why certain things feel right and others don’t can be an informative and helpful experience. Everyone, including cisgender folks, have the right to reject restrictive gender roles and engage in the hobbies and activities that make them feel at home, regardless of identity!

As we discussed earlier, many things that are gender-specific were coded that way by people. Objects such as certain types of glassware and straws are not inherently feminine and yet some men refuse to use these items because they believe they make them look weak. Even wine can be considered masculine or feminine based on different characteristics. And what about marketing? Walking the aisles of any store, items that are typically gender neutral, can be seen marketed towards specific genders, e.g., pink hammers and wet wipes for men. What items do you encounter that make you wonder how they came to be associated with a particular gender? In what ways do you engage with gender-specific items that are not associated with the sex you were assigned at birth? What, if any, gender-specific items, roles, clothes, presentations, etc., do you wish to challenge? It is okay to dig a little deeper into those feelings and push back against the status quo!

Let’s say, for a moment, that you’ve discovered you hold a different gender identity than you currently do. What kinds of changes can you see yourself making that would help you feel more at home in that identity while engaging in “gendered” activities? For example, would using different pronouns help you feel more comfortable wearing certain articles of clothing? Would making modifications to your physical appearance (e.g. wearing makeup, binding your chest, etc.) help you fully engage in certain hobbies or social situations? It’s important, when considering gender identity, to not only focus on the difficulty that comes with dysphoria, but the joy that comes with euphoria. Think about what would make you happiest, most comfortable in your body, and most present in your daily life, as you ask yourself these important questions!

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