Embracing Gender Identity and Cultural Identity: A Deep Conversation

In a world of ever-evolving gender identities and cultural norms, it’s crucial to explore how these facets of our lives intersect and shape our experiences. In a recent episode of the “Queer Relation Tips” podcast, host Isaac and guest Jamie delved into the intricate relationship between gender identity, cultural identity, and the complexities of navigating society’s expectations. This engaging conversation shed light on the joys and challenges of being non-binary, gender non-conforming, and embracing one’s true self.

Jamie’s Journey:

Jamie, a visionary figure at the I Am Clinic, began by sharing their personal journey of self-discovery. While their early experiences hinted at a non-binary identity, they didn’t fully grasp the concept until later in life. It was a friend who identified as non-binary that helped Jamie better understand their own gender experience, eventually leading them to embark on a profound gender discovery journey.

Her recollection of childhood play offered fascinating insights into the fluidity of gender expression. They reminisced about their affinity for Peter Pan, a character who exemplifies a non-binary gender expression. Jamie’s ability to seamlessly shift between different gender expressions as a child hinted at their future understanding of gender fluidity.

Sexual Orientation and Cultural Identity:

As Jamie grew older, they began to realize that their gender identity didn’t neatly fit into binary categories. They shared that they felt most like themselves when their gender expression was balanced between masculinity and femininity. Jamie’s emotional connection to this fluidity highlighted the importance of embracing one’s authentic self, even when it doesn’t align with societal norms.

The conversation also delved into the intersection of sexual orientation and cultural identity. Jamie identified as bisexual but culturally gay, explaining how this distinction allowed them to navigate their unique experiences. They emphasized the importance of creating spaces where individuals could authentically express their gender and sexual orientation without judgment.

Navigating Misunderstandings and Microaggressions:

One significant challenge discussed was the frequent misunderstandings and microaggressions faced by non-binary individuals. Jamie highlighted the struggle of constantly needing to explain or correct pronoun usage and the societal reluctance to accept gender diversity. They underscored the need for broader understanding and acceptance.

Cultivating Inner Circles:

To cope with these challenges, Jamie emphasized the importance of cultivating inner circles of supportive friends and loved ones. Having a safe space at home and close relationships where pronouns and gender expression are respected helps mitigate the discomfort experienced in wider society.


Jamie’s heartfelt conversation with Isaac shed light on the complexities of embracing a non-binary gender identity within the context of cultural expectations. Their journey of self-discovery and the wisdom they’ve gained along the way serve as a testament to the resilience and authenticity of the LGBTQ+ community. It’s a reminder that true acceptance and understanding can only be achieved when we make the effort to embrace and celebrate our differences, allowing everyone to live authentically and find love and connection.

Episode Description

In this episode, Isaac talks with Jamie about their experience with being being gender non-binary. They explore gender identity, gender expression, culture, sexuality and how it all intersects to create an experience that is individual for each of us.

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Jump To:

As A Therapist

For Me

This Era

Todays Language

Building Awareness

Holistic Understanding

It is often seen in films and shows, that existential, authenticity tug of war for queer people: I am too straight for my queer friends and too gay for my straight friends. Being bisexual, in many ways, mirrors that sentiment. The queerness that I embrace gives me access to the LGBTQIA+ community, but when I have dated someone of the opposite gender, I have had to prove my queerness in overt ways. 

As A Therapist

As a therapist, I often talk about the spectrum of sexuality: what it is, why it exists, but more importantly, what it encompasses. To me, bisexuality was a way of articulating my attractions to all genders on that spectrum. To many, it may be argued that what I describe here is actually ‘pansexuality.’ Fair. Good point.

For Me

But for me, someone who was born in 1983 and established my public sexual identity many years ago, ‘bisexual’ was the best term to which I had access. And now, in a new era with more sophisticated terms and more mature understandings, the label that feels like my emotional home, Bisexual, has become a bit outdated and limited in what it used to say about me.

This Era

So in an era of both fighting for what is true and curating language to accurately describe who I am in the world, ‘bisexual’ is more a term I grieve and reflect upon with immense gratitude. The sexual identity, ‘bisexual,’ gave me orientation in a chaotic world and belonging when I felt isolated. ‘Different’ or ‘same-sex attracted’—a hideous term given to me by a homophobic religion that persecuted me for who I am—were no longer acceptable. Being bisexual during they days when I was just finding my footing was a life boat that carried me from novice to expert.

Todays Language

In today’s language, I am certainly pansexual. Gender has no barring over my attractions. Personalities do. And in this light, I need to represent who I am with more articulate language, not just because it is my truth, but because sexual identities are also our weapons against homophobia and transphobia. To say that I am pansexual is to describe the normal, biological variations that are possible within human sexuality. The implementation of the term ‘pansexual’ is a way to normalize that which is often stigmatized and hated.

Building Awareness

This may be an off-color blog for bisexuality awareness. But as someone who has found so much comfort in the term ‘bisexual,’ I have to give thanks where thanks is due. Bisexuality saved me from life-threatening shame and allowed me to find a home when I was utterly lost.

Holistic Understanding

Although I have come to see my attractions in a more holistic way, it certainly does not mean that others should or need to follow my path. Bisexuality is a legitimate sexual identity, and more so a valid sexual orientation. If ‘bisexuality’ is your home, may this time bring a sense of hope, pride, and self-confidence. We need you in the world. What is a rainbow that’s missing a section of its colors? It’s no longer a rainbow.

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Jump To:

1. What Does Genderfluid Mean? 

2. What It Means To Be Genderfluid?

3. Gender Identity | Gender Expression | Sexual Identity 

4. Common Questions 

What It Means To Be Genderfluid 

As with all things gender related, the term genderfluid may mean something a little different to everyone. 

Why is this? 

Gender itself means something different to everyone, because each person has a unique experience of gender. For some, it’s an inner feeling. For others, it’s much more of a physical experience. Not to mention that gender identity and gender expression are separate aspects of gender that may or may not be the same. 

Definitions and Terminology

Here are some key gender identity terms:

  • Genderfluid: A person whose gender identity shifts between male, female, both, or neither. Their gender expression may also be fluid.
  • Non-binary: An umbrella term for those whose gender identity falls outside the gender binary of male/female. Genderfluid falls under this umbrella.
  • Genderqueer: Similar to non-binary, this describes a gender identity other than man or woman. Some genderfluid folks identify as genderqueer.
  • Gender expression: How someone externally presents their gender through behavior, style, etc. This can be fluid for genderfluid people.
  • Gender identity: Someone’s internal sense of their own gender. Genderfluid people experience shifts in their gender identity.

History of Gender Fluidity

While gender fluidity has gained more visibility recently, it’s not a completely new concept. Many cultures have long acknowledged identities outside the Western male/female binary. Examples include Two-Spirit people in some Indigenous tribes, and hijras in South Asia. However, colonization and Westernization suppressed many of these identities. The term genderfluid originated in trans communities online in the 90s/early 2000s. Gender diversity is becoming more widely understood and accepted today. Find the LGBTQIA+ therapists in Denver?

What Does Genderfluid Mean? 

According to the Oxford and Merriam-Webster dictionaries, identifying as genderfluid means your gender identity is not fixed; it’s capable of changing over time. The very definition lends itself to various interpretations. Some sources include shifting from male to female given your mood in their definitions, while others state that it’s the feeling of being both male and female. A genderfluid individual has the potential to identify as male, female, both or neither on any given day. 

Genderfluidity doesn’t necessarily have a fixed point on the gender spectrum, as by its very definition, it’s fluid. It fluctuates and has its own spectrum. An individual may feel 10% female and 90% male, or 40% male and 60% female, or any range in between. Leaning one way or another, shifting along the spectrum, or having a unchanging experience of gender does not make a genderfluid identity any less valid.

Discussing Gender Fluidity with Loved Ones

Coming out as genderfluid can be difficult if friends and family lack understanding. Be patient, educate them, and provide resources to support them. If they use the wrong pronouns, gently correct them. Help them separate their preconceptions of gender from your lived experience. Remind them that you are still you, regardless of how your gender identity shifts. Give them time to adjust. Having ongoing open conversations can help. If issues persist, seek support.

Navigating Pronouns

Many genderfluid people use shifting pronouns, alternating between he/him, she/her, they/them, etc. When first meeting someone, share your current pronouns. On days when your pronouns change, inform those in your life. Gently correct anyone who misgenders you. Carrying a badge or card with your pronouns can help prompt correct usage by others. practicing using your own pronouns can help your mental transition.

Scientific Research and Data

While gender identity research is still evolving, some key findings include:

  • Data indicates gender fluidity is not just a phase. One study found over 80% of genderfluid youth still identified as gender diverse years later.
  • MRI scans show genderfluid individuals exhibit neural activity aligning with their expressed gender, rather than their sex assigned at birth. This adds biological evidence that gender exists on a spectrum.
  • A UCLA study found up to 27% of youth identify as gender diverse in some capacity, indicating higher prevalence than previously assumed.

Gender Identity | Gender Expression | Sexual Identity

These three aspects of who someone is—gender identity, gender expression and sexual identity—often cause confusion for those who aren’t really sure what each one means. Let’s remedy that. 

Gender identity is your personal sense of gender. For example, as a genderfluid person, sometimes I feel female, other times I feel male, and sometimes I feel like I’m neither. My personal experience with being genderfluid means not experiencing my gender as static. 

Gender expression is how you express your gender identity. This can be done through your appearance, such as with clothing choices, or even through behaviors. Identity and expression are commonly confused, largely due to stereotypes or societal expectations. For example, identifying as genderfluid comes with an expectation of presenting masculine and feminine at separate times, but these are two different things, and a genderfluid person may or may not wish to vary their gender expression. 

Give yourself permission to express your chosen gender in any way YOU see fit. Explore what identity and expression mean to you, and then go for it. Be who you feel you are in whatever way feels most natural to you. 

Finally, sexual identity is often confused with gender identity; however, they are not the same thing. Sexual orientation is tied to the gender of who you are or are not attracted to, romantically interested in, or want to have sexual experiences with (if you experience romantic feelings), while gender identity is your personal experience of gender. This means someone can be genderfluid and straight, bisexual, or any other sexual orientation that is congurent with their internal experiences.

Practical Tips for Genderfluid Individuals

  • Experiment with your gender expression through clothing, accessories, grooming, mannerisms, etc. Find what makes you feel most aligned.
  • Seek out genderfluid and LGBTQ+ online communities to find support and resources. Connecting with those with similar experiences can help.
  • Consider coming out to close friends and family. This can allow more flexibility in safely expressing your gender. Provide educational resources to facilitate their understanding.
  • Try new gender-affirming names or pronouns privately at first to see what feels most suitable before asking others to use them.
  • Set boundaries if you feel pressured to identify a certain way by others. Your gender is defined by you alone.

Common Misconceptions

Some common myths about gender fluidity include:

  • It’s a trend or “fad” – No, gender fluidity has likely always existed, only the terminology is new.
  • Genderfluid people are confused or going through a phase – Not true, genderfluidity reflects diverse gender experiences.
  • Physical appearance dictates gender identity – Gender expression can align with identity but does not define it.

Common Questions 

Are you male or female?
Simple answer? Yes. Identifying as genderfluid means embracing being both male and female, either somewhere on a spectrum or separately at different times. There isn’t a right or wrong way to experience genderfluidity. It’s unique to each person. 

What does Mx stand for?
When I began to embrace my identity as a genderfluid person, I was asked this quite frequently. Mx is the gender neutral equivalent to Mr., Ms. or Mrs. Unlike the gendered salutations, Mx leaves space for being male, female, both, neither or anything along the gender spectrum. This term is not exclusive to genderfluid individuals. 

How is genderfluid different from nonbinary?
Nonbinary is considered an umbrella term for various nonconforming identities, including genderfluid, genderqueer, agender, and others. As an identity, nonbinary simply refers to someone who doesn’t identify with the previously used gender binary (male/female). It is possible for a genderfluid person to also identify as being nonbinary. 

Do genderfluid individuals experience gender or body dysphoria?
Maybe. There isn’t a clear cut yes or no to this question. Some people may experience varying degrees of dysphoria, while others may not. People often have an image in their mind of what they “should” or want to look like, and when reality doesn’t match that image, dysphoria can occur. Stereotypes, societal or cultural expectations, peer or personal pressure, and hormones can all impact the presence or intensity of gender and/or body dysphoria. 

What is it like being genderfluid? 

Again, there’s no single answer to this question. It’s an incredibly personal experience. Personally, being genderfluid offers me a sense of freedom. I don’t have to fit in a box, meeting expectations or definitions created by other people in an effort to define who I am. It’s flexible. I can wake up each morning and express myself however feels accurate for me that day.

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