Identity: Gender and Fluidity

When I was 15 years old, after hearing that my biological father was a cross dresser, I started looking into gender. At first it was just cross dressers and people who were MAAB and femme. But after that, I wanted to know more, and I started looking into the other side, specifically FTMs who were my age. After a few weeks, and a meeting with some people in my area. I came out as FTM. I changed my name to Jesse, started using he/him/his pronouns, and planning for my future with medical transition. I came out to people at my summer camp, my workplace, and my school. My parents didn’t like it very much and kept telling me it was a phase. I was mad because I thought it wasn’t and was sure they were just being mean. After a while as an out trans man, I began to miss certain things about being feminine. I missed sparkles and dresses and makeup. I missed looking pretty and talking in a high voice and feeling sexy in a femme way. I was still using female pronouns to refer to myself, and I still used the women’s bathroom. I asked other transmen about this and they said they used to do it too, sometimes it just takes a while for you to get used to your new self. When I got out of high school I started to learn more about me. I was not like other boys. I was not masculine presenting, I didn’t like sports or cars or finance. I wasn’t good at the technical fields I thought I was. Most of all, I learned that I was romantically interested in masculine people, mostly who were MAAB. This was something that shook my entire foundation. I had been out as a lesbian since I was 10. I had always thought that I only liked girls. But I was finding more and more everyday that it was a lot more skewed toward boys and masculine people than the other way around. That fall I learned about the genderbread person (which has come under fire recently as being appropriated recently), and that I my  gender, sexual orientation, AND gender expression were all separate. This made me feel better about my insecurities. I could still be a man, right? Things went on this way for months, until a couple of weeks ago. My roommate asked me to have a talk with him. He said that he noticed that I was uncomfortable with myself. He asked me if still identified as male. At first I said yes, of course, why not? But as he kept questioning me, my bottom lip began to quiver and my voice began to shake. I was so unsure of myself. He asked me what I was. I screamed. I said that I didn’t know. I said that I didn’t want labels, I said that I just wanted to be Emet. He explained that that isn’t the way the world works. He asked me if I might be cis. I said maybe. Between then and now I have been afraid. Been afraid that I was a trans trender, that my last few years were all a lie, that I was a horrible person. I am still afraid. I don’t know who I am. I am afraid to tell anyone about my feelings outside of the Internet. I don’t want my parents to think that transgender people are liars because of me. I am Emet. I have no gender. I have no pronouns. I am a person. A person who is lost. A person who is lonely. A person who only wants. Help me please. Help me to find me. 

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3 thoughts on “Identity: Gender and Fluidity

    • @ Lynnea Urania Stuart: I am Emet’s Aunt, and suggested this name for just that reason, as well as the fact that many Israeli/Hebrew names are gender neutral. Everyone’s journey is different and Em’s may be more circuitous than others. Yet I have no doubt that my ‘niecephew’ will arrive at an appropriate destination, and with great style! The first step in getting “unlost” is to recognize that one may may not be headed in the intended direction. Next one seeks advice, directions, or a map. There is no shame in losing one’s way.

  1. Hi Emet! I found your post while browsing the “transgender” tag. It sounds like you are in a lot of pain right now. Even though our stories are different, i relate to the pain and confusion in your post, so I hope you don’t mind if I go out on a limb in this comment.

    However your identity unfolds, you are not a horrible person or a liar. You are a fallible human being doing your best to live a good life with limited knowledge and resources–just like we all are. As a transsexual man, I’m just gonna go ahead and say I, for one, will not feel in any way slighted or betrayed if you realize you’re not trans–or experience any other change in your identity, for that matter. You absolutely can be a fluid or feminine, gay or queer trans man. Or, you might not be. I think whoever you are, you’re okay.

    Like the first commenter, I also immediately noticed your Hebrew name and its interesting meaning. Both my blogging name and real name are Hebrew and have great deal of meaning to me. My real name (שָׁלוֹם) has shaped my transgender journey. It seems like maybe your name is message that your job is to be honest, to a truth-seeker. Of course, truth-seeking is just that–a search. Does the search have a destination? Or is searching the point?

    I think your friend was insensitive to push you like that. Yes, the world is going to categorize you according to a rigid binary system. But that’s not the whole story. I think you can create spaces–in your heart, home, life, relationships–to honor and inhabit your gender however you experience it. You can also make choices about how you will negotiate the gender system in your day-to-day life. These could be simply pragmatic decisions. Given the limited options available, what is the most comfortable way for you to move through the world? You don’t necessarily have to surrender the whole of your identity to the details of those decisions.

    Good luck to you!

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