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#1 Edited by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

And now, I've questioned everything.

I was actually bullied in school for being late to learning that "girls don't have penises". I think it was only like 10 years old that I finally learned. And for some reason, my peers, the other schoolkids, already knew, and mocked me for it. In fact, I was generally considered pretty underdeveloped and immature, even more my age as a child, and this was just another piece of evidence. But that's off topic.

Anyway, I was so ashamed that I didn't know. And if you asked 13 year old me, for instance, what separates boys and girls. I would have given you the sex ed answer, "the only thing that makes a girl a girl is a vagina and xx chromosomes" and "the only thing that makes a boy a boy is a penis and xy chromosomes". I might have even skipped out on the chromosomes partly due to not being that that learned in biology yet. Though I might have been, while I was considered undeveloped in terms of common sense and appropriate behavior at that age, I was pretty precious when it came to vocabulary and trivial and learning studies.

But, I didn't know anything about transgender for the longest time. Except for that when I was a teenager, I knew that that raunchy show I wasn't supposed to watch, Jerry Springer, would have trans people on for shock value all the time. I still don't like any talk shows to this day because of that sort of early bad experience. They all seem vapid to me.

Today, trans issues are very well known and discuss. But goodness me if it hasn't been a shock and something difficult to wrap my brain around.

Everything I was taught about gender as a child, and made fun of for not knowing, what wrong. It's still hard to unlearn what was pushed onto me. Even when I got older and had been introduced to feminism and similar worldviews, the one I was familiar with was "yes, don't let anyone take away your man card or tell you to "man up". There is literally only one thing that makes a man, a penis. And literally only the only thing making a person a woman is a vagina. Everything else is sexism. Gender is a social construct, women and men are equal because gender is a social construct."

And now from two angles, childhood common sense and coming of age knowledge "everyone" goes through, to egalitarian gender politics and sociology stuff. Everything was pointing me to there being only three components to gender, penises, vaginas, and gender roles/sexism.

Trans politics throws all of that out. Everything I've ever known. And as a result, I don't even know what my gender identity is, and what it is based on if I even have one.

Too much information warning, but I have a penis. I never questioned the idea that made me a boy or man. When I was a 11 year old with a penis, I was a boy. When I was an 18 year old with a penis, I was a man. If someone questioned that towards me, my immediate thought was they were just being a sexist bigot. They were being sexist and trying to make my gender about something frivolous and shallow like my behavior, rather than my penis.

But if my gender is indeed not based on my penis, what is it based on? What is my gender identity, what is it based on and what causes it. If I have to take my penis out of the equation, I literally can't think of a single thing that would get me to label myself male that wouldn't be a gender role or gender stereotype. Things were so much easier when it was as simple as penis/vagina and everything else was just my individual personality and self expression.

So, what is my gender, and how to I find it?

Until discovering all this, I just thought I was a gender non-conforming male, as everyone should be gender non-conforming to destroy and eviscerate gender norms. I do a lot of feminine things, because I'm a person and there's no point in whether anything I want to do is feminine or masculine, just that I want to do it and it looks fun. Fun is more important than feminine or masculine expression. I wear lots of pink, it reminds me of lots of anime girls I admire. I saw this rivethead style dress at Hot Topic yesterday that looked super comfortable (always important) and a bit like wearing a pair of overalls. I want it.

But as far as gender expression, the only thing I feel like I'm expressing in myself is misanthropy when I do feminine things. When I do something femme or non-conforming, I feel like I'm giving a gigantic middle finger to society, and it feels great. Am I expressing some innate biological gender identity, that I dunno about. I'm either expressing myself as an individual or making a contrarian statement.

I guess you could say I'm just secure in my manhood to be non-conforming. But I'm really not. When I'm non-conforming, as always, and someone would challenge my manhood because of that, I would condescendingly think of them as sexist, and possibly respond by something like "yeah, but I have a penis". Or more gentle, I might say something like "I don't think my penis should determine my behavior". I mean, it's a bit uncouth to talk about my penis publicly, but I feel like someone kinda has it coming when they try to enforce my behavior based on my penis. They're referencing my genitals whether they outright mention them by name or not.

And when you take the whole penis/xy chromosomes, the later of which I think I have but have no idea since I haven't tested that.

There's nothing left at all to base a manhood on, and I no longer feel like a man at all. I couldn't give you a single thing to prop up a male gender identity of myself on that wouldn't be transphobic, or conversely, outright sexist and based in retrograde stereotypes. If you peel back the whole "male equals penis" thing, there's nothing left. I'm not sure I have a gender identity afterward. In fact, I think discovering and becoming learned in trans politics, has given me a bit of an identity crisis. It's taken away what little gender identity I seemed to have.

Now I don't know what I am? Some parts of MtF transition sound like a marginal improvement with pursuing. A higher pitched or more "feminine" voice(I'm pretty sure "feminine" in this context is just a lazy way of saying high pitched, as that's really the only thing separating the average male or female voice, or what is passing), would be pretty nice. I wanted that when I felt like a penis identity person or whatever. I was a penisdude, but I did want a cuter, higher pitched voice that wasn't exactly considered "male passing" or masculine by my society.

On the other hand, wouldn't spiro take away my sex drive? I have heard it does. I don't want that. Also, I like my flat chest. Flat is Justice!

I can't just go away throwing away my Justice with hormones, now can I?

Low sex drive and big tits sounds like a nightmare. Like, I'd be giving up one of the only good things about my body. Spiro + Estadiol would take away my literally only good feature. I'm not averse to HRT, at least in theory, but for my body it sounds a bit unwise. Every other part of transition doesn't sound as a bad thing, though. In fact, I was already doing all of this stuff as a man, feminine voice practice, laser hair removal(gosh facial and body hair itches so much!), make up if that counts? I just didn't think it made me trans, I thought I was just being a contrarian individual and counter-cultural.

In VRChat I definitely only want to walk around as an be a cute anime girl. I don't know that means I'm trans or what it means. It's just the skin I'm more comfortable in and is a major upgrade over reality. And of course I try to go for that cute anime girl voice when speaking in VRChat like Tosha and others do. But that probably doesn't say as much about my gender identity as it does about me being an otaku, that is all into those parts of otaku culture normies don't get and are skeeved out by. In fact, even if I have a gender identity, I probably identify more with being an otaku than with any gender.

And again, even if I tried, I honestly can form an image of what a man or a woman is in my head outside of genitals that doesn't rely on outdated sexist stereotypes.

So, I don't know. I think I have an identity crisis now. The Jenga tower of my gender identity came crashing down as soon as I learned the whole thing I was basing it off of was considered transphobic and problematic.

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#2 Posted by izzygraze (942 posts) -

I am still wrapping my head around gender politics as well. Like how being gender non-conforming or non-binary relates to being trans. If gender is only performative then why do people transition? Why do they say they just feel 'better' after the transition or feel like the real them? Are they just trying to fit society's idea of what they should be? Or is there an intrinsic benefit for them?

Honestly for you I would post in a forum for people transitioning and ask these kinds of questions well...the last few paragraphs at least. But maybe people have some books for you to read. Otherwise the idlethumbs forum or the Waypoint forum might be better to ask the difference between being gender non-conforming and transitioning.

For me personally, If you think being male is a construct then being female is a construct too, then why would it matter what genitals you have? So yeah, I would ask some advice from some trans people before deciding to transition.

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#3 Edited by OpusOfTheMagnum (647 posts) -

As someone who has second hand experiences with various methods of transitioning I just want to say: do your research. I feel the current politicization of the issue from both sides is doing folks a lot of harm. Behavior is one thing but when you start messing with your body, there are real consequences to consider. I know of successful transitions and tragic transitions and a few in between. Don’t look to political stances to make a decision about your body. How you behave and dress and speak and all that is something you can change if your feelings change. Some things you can’t take back, or take a very long time to undo.

This isn’t me saying “hey don’t do that,” or taking a stance on the issue, just suggesting that you take time to consider and research the issue without a personal or social bias pushing you to make or give up on a change in a way you might regret.

Personally, I feel that our issue in society is that both sides are ultimately unwilling to give up on gender conformity. As a result they either vehemently oppose any such behavior or transitions or they blindly encourage and defend it without context.

Unfortunately I don’t think there is a lot of data out there on the matter due to the relative youth of the trans community on a large scale, and what data might be can be inaccurate or misleading.

If nothing else, if you find yourself in a crisis, find your way out of it before making life changing decisions that might impact your life. And don’t look to society for an answer because ultimately it is you who needs to discover the best path forward for you as an individual.

Best of luck!

My personal feelings line up with Izzy grace: If it’s a construct then you can be comfortable with your body as it is while still realizing your personality. If it’s more than that (and it absolutely can be, and the question of how to approach that has more sides than what one might consider the “mainstream” solution is), do a lot of thinking and make a decision.

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#4 Posted by HarbinLights (179 posts) -


My personal feelings line up with Izzy grace: If it’s a construct then you can be comfortable with your body as it is while still realizing your personality. If it’s more than that (and it absolutely can be, and the question of how to approach that has more sides than what one might consider the “mainstream” solution is), do a lot of thinking and make a decision.

I don't think I'm quite satisfied with my body. But I don't think that means I'm a woman.

I think there's a complicated degree of looking at my own body as a canvas, being a transhumanist, my aesthetics and ideals, having body issues and low self esteem, all sorts of things like that.

As long as I'm healthy, I'm fine. I do think reading about trans stuff did make me curious and more interested in body modification as a whole. And I'm a proponent of body modification in general. That that is by no means the same as the way I like to express myself in terms of clothing and hobbies and ect.

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#5 Posted by AdorkableAlice (3 posts) -

I think it's a quickly changing landscape, gender in society and how we as individuals label (or refuse to) ourselves in what used to be a binary.

To give some context, I an a MtF transperson, and grew up in the same era as I feel you did. Transgender, or even transvestite, guests on talk shows were just grouped in with the 'freakshow' sort of guests, and I think that whole genre of television has been seen as the exploitative and dehumanizing charade that it is. But that was also one of the first exposures some of us had in that era to the blurring gender lines in society. As the transgender movement has progressed and taken a front seat in sociological discourse, I think we as a society have become more comfortable with expressions of self that don't conform to the binary set before us. We as a societal whole are in a transition, if you could call it that, from the strict straight and narrow world that we were born into.

I think it becomes pretty complicated when you, the individual, tries to figure out where you fit into all of this. In your post, you seem to have already had a lot of thoughts about the gender binary and how it applies to you, wearing pink as a big middle finger to society's roles for example. This is where I think it's up to the individual to decide where they fit, by looking into it themselves. Just know that you may struggle to find a place, and that place may change with time!

I also empathize with you on how the gender binary affects you, and how you see yourself. Who I am, as a person, is someone who relies on the gender binary to attain the label I personally want. I present as female in my everyday life, which shouldn't mean anything, but effectively it means I wear dresses and skirts, do my makeup, and put my hair up. This is me following the binary of what a female should do in our society, so that I am treated that way, but also because that's what I want. And what you want, I think, is the most important thing. I also, like you, prefer to play as a cute anime girl in video games, but I also am the kind of person who wants to play as a cute anime girl in real life. So I dress, and act, in a way that mimicks the mannerisms and style of characters I aspire to be like, because I personally find that appealing. They just so happen to be characters that subsribe to traditional gender roles (as Japanese games and anime are terribly traditional in how they present society).

To get this back to you, I think you should look more into the penis. Consider that a penis can also be feminine, if you want it to be, as you already seem comfortable stripping the gender binary off other things. Think of the sexuality of things as well, further on, if that's something you think you might want to explore. These are questions and ideas that many of us still haven't figured out, and there are a lot of academics centered around this issue, because the only correct answer for you, is the one that works for you.

Also know that there are so many people out there going through struggles similar to yours. Don't feel alone!

(anecdote, HRT didn't do really anything to my chest, so, still full of justice over here)

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#6 Posted by Marcsman (3790 posts) -

This will end badly

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#7 Edited by kcin (969 posts) -

Hey OP, this is an interesting approach to this point in your life! Your perspective is an unusually ambivalent way of looking at gender from someone who is uncertain of how they personally identify. Since you are already being true to yourself, I don't have any advice for you. I hope that you find what you need to find, and thanks for sharing this!

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#9 Posted by Atlas (2719 posts) -

Wait, "normies"? Is that really how otaku people refer to people who don't like anime and aren't Japanophiles, or at least not to that degree? Is there really that degree of tribalism, of "us and them", in that community? Sorry, I know this is a heartfelt thing you wrote and there's obviously a lot going through your head right now, but this is the one part of what you wrote that really gave me pause. Not trying to be hostile, although I will admit I probably fall into the "normie" category of being "skeeved out" by otaku, and I have un-ironically used the word "weeb" before.

Normally, I'm wouldn't presume to offer you advice, because I've never felt like this about my own gender. I'm 28, and so I was totally ignorant of non-binary gender identification, or "penis=male", when I was at the age where one would typically ask such questions, and can't say I was interested in asking questions. I certainly spent more time thinking about my sexuality than my gender, before comfortably settling on heterosexual cis male.

But I kinda get the impression that part of the issue is that you seem a little stuck on the idea that there is a "right" answer to the question of your gender identity, or that you need to make a decision or have a right answer now. There doesn't have to be a right answer, and I'm sorry if that's a scary thing to hear, but it's true. It can be fluid, and it can change. When you're young, you often feel like you are making decisions that are determining the entire future course of your life, but that's not the case. You can still grow, still change the way you think, the way you act, and yes, the way you are. And that doesn't mean that any way of thinking about yourself is the "wrong way", either.

Don't feel like you have to lock yourself into any sort of idea or decision now. Take time to think about it, ask lots of questions, read, explore, experiment. Maybe you don't end up changing a goddamn thing, maybe you do. Just try not to look at it in an all-or-nothing way, and try not to let yourself be too influenced by one particular source, or be too affected by the discussion of transgender issues in the news or anywhere that's likely to sensationalise the idea. And maybe this isn't something you want to hear as well, but don't use anime and otaku culture as your main window into gender identity, sexual identity, sexual politics, etc. That's likely not going to end up well.

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#10 Posted by breq (107 posts) -

whatever you do, just do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Cause holy jeeze do people have STRONG opinions about every facet of this topic, both negative and positive and they all will tell you they're right. Oh, and try to stay away from twitter.

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#11 Edited by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@theoriginalatlas said:

Wait, "normies"? Is that really how otaku people refer to people who don't like anime and aren't Japanophiles, or at least not to that degree? Is there really that degree of tribalism, of "us and them", in that community?

Some of them, others no. And at least half of them using it in a tongue-in-cheek fashion. For others it's a way of biting back about being treated as a total weirdo, creep or outsider for being so into those "Japanese cartoons" or whatever.

I was basically outing myself as the total weirdo I am. Or rather that I feel like, finding a gender identity is hard because I wouldn't know what to base it on. And because I feel like there are other parts of me that moreso reflect my "identity" whatever it is than gender.

On an off-topic side note, I do think that the way some communities or fandoms treat the more outsider parts of geek culture or whatever you call it as a bad negative thing, the more insular said fandoms tend to become.

@breq said:

whatever you do, just do your own research and come to your own conclusions. Cause holy jeeze do people have STRONG opinions about every facet of this topic, both negative and positive and they all will tell you they're right. Oh, and try to stay away from twitter.

I do agree that there's a lot of strong opinions on this topic. It's honestly a little bit intimidating.

@adorkablealice said:

I think it's a quickly changing landscape, gender in society and how we as individuals label (or refuse to) ourselves in what used to be a binary.

To give some context, I an a MtF transperson, and grew up in the same era as I feel you did. Transgender, or even transvestite, guests on talk shows were just grouped in with the 'freakshow' sort of guests, and I think that whole genre of television has been seen as the exploitative and dehumanizing charade that it is. But that was also one of the first exposures some of us had in that era to the blurring gender lines in society. As the transgender movement has progressed and taken a front seat in sociological discourse, I think we as a society have become more comfortable with expressions of self that don't conform to the binary set before us. We as a societal whole are in a transition, if you could call it that, from the strict straight and narrow world that we were born into.

I think it becomes pretty complicated when you, the individual, tries to figure out where you fit into all of this. In your post, you seem to have already had a lot of thoughts about the gender binary and how it applies to you, wearing pink as a big middle finger to society's roles for example. This is where I think it's up to the individual to decide where they fit, by looking into it themselves. Just know that you may struggle to find a place, and that place may change with time!

I also empathize with you on how the gender binary affects you, and how you see yourself. Who I am, as a person, is someone who relies on the gender binary to attain the label I personally want. I present as female in my everyday life, which shouldn't mean anything, but effectively it means I wear dresses and skirts, do my makeup, and put my hair up. This is me following the binary of what a female should do in our society, so that I am treated that way, but also because that's what I want. And what you want, I think, is the most important thing. I also, like you, prefer to play as a cute anime girl in video games, but I also am the kind of person who wants to play as a cute anime girl in real life. So I dress, and act, in a way that mimicks the mannerisms and style of characters I aspire to be like, because I personally find that appealing. They just so happen to be characters that subsribe to traditional gender roles (as Japanese games and anime are terribly traditional in how they present society).

To get this back to you, I think you should look more into the penis. Consider that a penis can also be feminine, if you want it to be, as you already seem comfortable stripping the gender binary off other things. Think of the sexuality of things as well, further on, if that's something you think you might want to explore. These are questions and ideas that many of us still haven't figured out, and there are a lot of academics centered around this issue, because the only correct answer for you, is the one that works for you.

Also know that there are so many people out there going through struggles similar to yours. Don't feel alone!

(anecdote, HRT didn't do really anything to my chest, so, still full of justice over here)

I'm still trying to formulate a response to this. But this was a very thoughtful, and nice post, that has given me a lot of thought. Thank you, I wish I had something immediately more to respond with but I'm kinda speechless at the moment.

Not adding much to a response yet, but when you said feminine penis I thought of all those otokonoko memes and also this video:

Loading Video...

Also, it sounds like you have fantastic taste, that's one thing I can be sure of!

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#12 Posted by Darknorth (221 posts) -

For the human organism, the "ideals" of physical sex and behavioral gender are just a means to the end of reproduction. It's not that there's a "correct" male or female body, much less a "correct" male or female behavior -- just that some are more effective at meeting up and producing offspring. There will never be a perfect template of male or female because sexual reproduction mixes and shuffles traits from each parent, including the ones influencing body form and behavioral tendencies. Sometimes that shuffling deviates from a simple binary physical sex, and you get physically intersex individuals. More often, you get a mix of behavioral traits that are partially feminine and partially masculine.

The ideals that dominate are the ones that generally produce the largest number of offspring -- the rest will be a minority. That's not right or wrong, just reproduction.

But for an individual, there's no value -- no right or wrong -- associated with the set of traits you ended up with. In history, people have feared and attacked what is strange -- these days a lot of us are smarter than that. Trans identity is one way people have come up with for coping with being "different", and I have a couple friends whose lives improved greatly by transitioning. But mostly we're all just different degrees of weird, and you need to find the way you want to live. The fact that "trans" is now a defined choice opposite "binary" doesn't mean there isn't plenty of room in the middle.

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#14 Edited by tds418 (365 posts) -
@harbinlights said:
But if my gender is indeed not based on my penis, what is it based on?
A set of societal expectations, largely. I find performative explanations of gender to be helpful. Think of "maleness" and "femaleness" as "scripts" of behavior, attitudes, etc. that we reinforce on a daily basis through the actions we take as we "act out" these scripts. There is nothing inherent to gender, it's just something society creates each day as people act in scripted ways dictated by history/tradition/etc. This theory of gender is largely associated with Judith Butler. A quick web search led me to this page, which is unfortunately quite dense with philosophy jargon, but this quote does capture some of the essence of her theory: "The act that one does, the act that one performs, is, in a sense, an act that has been going on before one arrived on the scene. Hence, gender is an act which has been rehearsed, much as a script survives the particular actors who make use of it, but which requires individual actors in order to be actualized and reproduced as reality once again." Here is a link to her seminal paper on the topic, and another key quote from it: "In this sense, gender is in no way a stable identity or locus of agency from which various acts proceede; rather, it is an identity tenuously constituted in time-an identity instituted through a stylized repetition of acts."
I should note that her theories get plenty of criticism, even from the "academic left," if you will (she would identify as a feminist thinker, I believe), but I find there's something intuitive about her thinking and it's a good starting point for thinking deeply about what gender actually is.
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#15 Posted by OurSin_360 (6070 posts) -

Honestly it seems like you are basing who you are way to much on what other people think, whether it's what they think a man or woman is or what they think is sexist or transphobic. Maybe take some time and consider what you think outside of other people opinions?

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#16 Posted by Whitestripes09 (910 posts) -

I was a pretty late bloomer into knowing about the difference of sex organs too, but I feel like the cultural characteristics of identifying what is male and what is female were so heavily ingrained into me that the physical aspect almost didn't matter to me. By the time I learned about vaginas it was just like "ok, there are more physical differences than I thought and that's how babies are made." I had my suspicions and obviously knew that something needed to happen to create a baby, so it was a relief of curiosity once I was taught about reproduction. Learning about those differences though made me more interested because it was something that I couldn't comprehend physically as a male, especially sexually later on in my life it was something I really wanted to know more about. I remember with girls that I was close to and intimate with I would always ask these gender/sex study-esque questions about how they felt about gender roles in society or how their sex created their perception of the world around them. It was just so different in comparison to the conforming male attitude life that I was raised in, especially growing up with mostly male friends a brother, and a father. The only real female figure that I had as a constant growing up was my mom and that's a very particular stereotype, so my outlook on what being a woman is like was very skewed until I had closer relationships with other women.

I'll be honest and say I didn't know much about transgender culture or politics until my first year of college. The whole exploration of gender was pretty foreign to me until I took an anthropology course that briefly had a segment on transgender people. I felt it was important, because from my own ignorant stance on anything being transgender was surely the result of a joke. It also really answered a lot of my questions about "What is gender?" To me, I take more of an anthropologist approach to that and say that it's all a fake construct meant to make society go by a little smoother, but that doesn't mean that in our modern society that we need those constructs. Similar to how religion is used to shape a society to a set of morals in fear or joy of what the afterlife may hold. They're antiquated ideas that at one time may have worked better. But now we live in societies that place a greater emphasis on the individual where we have the choice to decide for ourselves what makes us comfortable.

You ask a really profound question that I don't think you're going to find on a forum like this other than just discussing with other people that might be in similar situations or about the topic. I think if you want the best answer, it should be one that you figure out without someone on here forcing one down your throat.

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#17 Posted by soulcake (2220 posts) -
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#18 Posted by TobbRobb (6473 posts) -

Hey you had it right the first time. You have a penis so you are biologically male. Everything else dun fucking matter unless you want it to, just live life however you want.

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#19 Edited by TheRealSeaman (133 posts) -

Being an Otaku is not a good thing, it's often obsessive and obnoxious. A lot of girls here play games (far more than in the west, IMO) and read manga, it's very common but they won't identify as an Otaku...there is a more negative connotation.

I cycle through Akiba 5 days a week to go to work and I still find the Otakus skeevy, especially the westerners (crying laughing emoji).

I try and block out a lot of this stuff. I've been here long enough to share the more negative reaction to Otakus.

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#20 Posted by FlashFlood_29 (4156 posts) -

Hey, so I just want to preface this by saying that I am not ascribing any feelings to you, just describing what I think I may be seeing, based on your post. I truly hope I don't cause any offense, and if I do, I sincerely apologize.

I support transitions for the people who truly feel trapped in the wrong body, and it's great that we have that option. If you truly feel that you are a women trapped in a man's body, then keep researching and giving that option with some thought. But a lot of what I saw in your post seemed to be more about disagreeing with the male gender role and its societal norms, which is something everybody should think about.

But as far as gender expression, the only thing I feel like I'm expressing in myself is misanthropy when I do feminine things. When I do something femme or non-conforming, I feel like I'm giving a gigantic middle finger to society, and it feels great. Am I expressing some innate biological gender identity, that I dunno about. I'm either expressing myself as an individual or making a contrarian statement.

Expressing yourself how you want to, regardless of norms is a great thing, even when it feels like giving a big middle finger to society, but you should know the difference between that and feeling that you are psychologically and biologically at odds with your gender. Someone mentioned earlier how it's not exactly an all or nothing deal and there are a lot of parts in the middle. Which is to say, you don't have to go completely in any one direction with your feelings.

Rejecting the notion of gender role and societal norms, and being comfortable with expressing your femininity (to any degree) doesn't automatically mean you need to reject your body. It's okay to be a feminine biological male while continuing to express what society sees as feminine, whether that be clothing, behavior, etc.

Hormone therapy and gender transitions are a great tool available and an option worth considering to a lot of people. If you truly feel that you belong in a female body, continue giving it some thought. But if you simply feel that you don't belong in society appropriated male role and want to express yourself in what society sees as feminine, I implore you to continue doing that as well.

In the end, just be true to yourself, whatever it may be, and good luck going forward! I wish you the best!

Online
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#21 Edited by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@marcsman said:

This will end badly

But I leveled up a bunch and got the Chrono Trigger. I'm ready for the good ending!

@travisrex said:

Reading what you wrote...i see a lot of naivety. You need to be very careful.

I'm curious, please tell me more.

@flashflood_29 said:
If you truly feel that you are a women trapped in a man's body

That's the thing, I don't. When you take away the penis=male idea as a valid one. I'm not really left with any feeling of meaning in gender. Definitely not for myself. And honestly I'm just left confused.

Maybe I'm agender? I have no idea at this point. I don't what I would base a gender identity on if I have one. I'm a person with a penis, and that's about it.

@flashflood_29 said:
Rejecting the notion of gender role and societal norms, and being comfortable with expressing your femininity (to any degree) doesn't automatically mean you need to reject your body. It's okay to be a feminine biological male while continuing to express what society sees as feminine, whether that be clothing, behavior, etc.

Very true!

Personally, I have no issue with body modification, though. And many cis men, for instance, get laser hair removal. I think that people should do whatever they want with their bodies, especially if it's healthy and will lead to happiness and longevity. There's nothing wrong with modifying your body if you're not cutting your life short. I think that, regardless of gender identity, people can look like whatever they want to look like. Sadly, with our current level of technology, there is only so much agency over what people look like. But there's nothing wrong with doing what you want to and what you can. Bodily autonomy and freedom and all that.

Personally, I see my body as just another avenue for self expression. And I don't really hold anything sacred in whatever birth genes gave me.

I don't feel a particular pull that I just have to do something. No matter what I look like or my body is, what's most important is that I have a pair of eyes, and a vessel to experience the world. But I don't think that changing my body would ever cause me any kind of dysphoria. So I'd might as well go for whatever sounds fun. Btw, 16K augmented reality contact lenses or even better, eye implants in my lifetime, please.

@flashflood_29 said:
If you truly feel that you belong in a female body, continue giving it some thought.

I'm not actually sure I truly know what a female body is.

So things I like for myself or admire are considered by human society to be facets of the "female" body, while others are considered facets of the "male" body. I'm not sure that a such thing as a "male" or "female" body exists outside of genitals and chromosomes and reproductive anatomy. Women and men come is so many different shapes and sizes, that there's really just statistic tendencies and probabilities to male and female bodies. I don't really think of them as male or female, just statistically probable.

Like breasts, for example. Is that an example of the "female body". Some men have them, some women don't. There's a statistical likelihood favoring women having them. And thus they are considered more a female passing feature. But I don't personally consider breasts the "female body". But rather an aspect of the human body statistically correlated in a certain way with women.

Or body hair. I think when people say things like "the male body", they're implying things like lots of body hair. But many women have lots of body hair, and many people don't. There may be a statistic tendency towards body hair in maleness, but that doesn't mean that having body hair is the male body. In fact, saying that "men have body hair" may not be any more reasonable or meaningful than saying something like "white people have body hair".

@therealseaman said:

Being an Otaku is not a good thing, it's often obsessive and obnoxious. A lot of girls here play games (far more than in the west, IMO) and read manga, it's very common but they won't identify as an Otaku...there is a more negative connotation.

That's your opinion and you're entitled to it. But I personally disagree and don't find being an otaku any worse than being a gamer. Also, bad or good, it's an accurate description of who I am as a person.

The other day, I went to work, completely felt like I was going through the motions and alienated. Came home, played VRChat, represented myself as a fantastic anime avatar, until I fell asleep, felt truly alive. Didn't want to have to stop and go to work the next day, but have to work in order to live. If that's not an otaku, what is it?

On the positive side, I don't think Japan is some perfect country or a paradise I would ever be accepted, welcomed, or loved in. And have no plans to live there or anything like that. I don't have any delusions that there is any real life place or culture that an otaku like me will ever be welcome or normal in. There is no paradise on Earth. And that's why I'm an otaku.

Japanese 2D culture, on the other hand, is my paradise. Fiction and the virtual can be as much of a paradise as it needs to be or is designed to be. Is that not the otaku manifesto itself?

Reality is a dystopia. A sordid miasma. That's the whole point and the whole reason 2D exists.

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#22 Posted by TheFlamingo352 (297 posts) -

I've never really had to question my own gender too much, but I think the main thing I've learned over the past couple years is that people shouldn't feel like they have to stress too much over finding the correct label for themselves.

Everyone probably sits somewhere on a giant, four-dimensional graph that explains their gender, but that doesn't mean everyone needs to fit into a preexisting gender label, whether it's female or male or anything else. You're gender is just you, and that's A-OK.

I know that's kind of a non-answer, so I'll echo that if you have more questions swing by the Waypoint forums, they're super friendly and probably much more knowledgeable about this.

Good luck!

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#23 Posted by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@darknorth: i dont think this person wants to be rational about this and have a discussion. Very well written response though.

I'm trying my best. Not sure what to make of or respond to all that stuff about reproduction or what they even mean, though.

Honestly it seems like you are basing who you are way to much on what other people think, whether it's what they think a man or woman is or what they think is sexist or transphobic. Maybe take some time and consider what you think outside of other people opinions?

Maybe so. So, what's the special formula to not caring too much what others think?

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#24 Posted by TehBuLL (807 posts) -
Avatar image for harbinlights
#25 Posted by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@tehbull said:

@darknorth: That sounds accurate.

I wish I understood it as well as y'all do. I want to consider all the perspectives being brought to this thread. But that whole post goes way over my head.

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#26 Posted by Turambar (8244 posts) -

Maybe so. So, what's the special formula to not caring too much what others think?

Age.

Despite all the people in the thread saying you're putting too much stock in the views of others, the reality is we're social creatures. All of our self identifications come from, at least in part, how the society around us accepts or rejects us. The entire process of growing up isn't just about discovering what makes you comfortable in a social vacuum, but rather finding comfort in the world you live in, and being okay with whatever acceptance or rejection society has to offer. The older you grow, the more defined and entrenched that comfort zone will become.

So it might less accurate to say "don't care what others say", and better to call it "being perfectly comfortable with how much or how little you care about what others say."

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#28 Posted by soulcake (2220 posts) -

@harbinlights: Don't Read Twitter :P and delete all your social network acount's. I feel like a free person !

@travisrex said:

@darknorth: i dont think this person wants to be rational about this and have a discussion. Very well written response though.

I'm trying my best. Not sure what to make of or respond to all that stuff about reproduction or what they even mean, though.

@oursin_360 said:

Honestly it seems like you are basing who you are way to much on what other people think, whether it's what they think a man or woman is or what they think is sexist or transphobic. Maybe take some time and consider what you think outside of other people opinions?

Maybe so. So, what's the special formula to not caring too much what others think?

Don't read twitter and delete all your social network account's. It changed my life for the better.

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#29 Posted by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@soulcake said:

@harbinlights: Don't Read Twitter :P and delete all your social network acount's. I feel like a free person !

To not have a Twitter is to not have a voice!

If someone has a thought, and it wasn't preserved on Social Media, should it have ever even existed or was it a waste of energy?

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#30 Edited by FlashFlood_29 (4156 posts) -

@soulcake: People joke about the impact of that but holy hell, when I deleted my Facebook, my mental health increased so much. I truly felt liberated to be who I wanted to be instead of trying to keep up with my peers in public perception of my identity. It was absolutely amazing and helped my anxiety a lot.

@harbinlights: (re: people telling you to be comfortable with yourself and not care about others) I think you've actually figured out the part about not caring what people think about you, and expressing yourself how you want. But you have to be careful in going too far in that direction to the point where you're doing things just to spite others. In the end, being true to who you are and who you want to be is what's most important, no matter what people think about you or what you want them to think about you. Be the best you that you can be, and don't let others influence you much. It's hard but that's what we're all trying to figure out as we grow up, at every point in our life.

Online
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#31 Edited by TheRealSeaman (133 posts) -

@harbinlights: It's not my opinion. It's reality. going around calling yourself an Otaku in Japan does not have the "cute" connotation people in the west have given it lol.

Westerners calling themselves Otaku are not really the same, they're just taking a Japanese word and using that instead of calling themselves nerds (well a lot of them).

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#32 Posted by Lazyimperial (478 posts) -

...

To get this back to you, I think you should look more into the penis. Consider that a penis can also be feminine, if you want it to be, as you already seem comfortable stripping the gender binary off other things. Think of the sexuality of things as well, further on, if that's something you think you might want to explore. These are questions and ideas that many of us still haven't figured out, and there are a lot of academics centered around this issue, because the only correct answer for you, is the one that works for you.

Also know that there are so many people out there going through struggles similar to yours. Don't feel alone!

(anecdote, HRT didn't do really anything to my chest, so, still full of justice over here)

Um... huh. *shrug*

Look, original poster: you get one life. It shouldn't be a miserable affair. If you find yourself questioning your identity and thinking that you'd be happier presenting as something different than you were born as, fine. You're not hurting anyone. It's an individual choice and you're within your rights to make it. Just make sure you really, really, REALLY think things through before you undergo any irreversible physical surgeries or hormone therapies. There's a broad spectrum of tastes outside the standard normal curve of human sexuality, and you don't want to transition only to find out that you were actually a transvestite and not a transgender (there is a difference). I've had friends that jumped the gun, and it's a miserable thing for them when they realize it and a miserable thing for their friends and family who, frankly, often have no idea how to comfort them. I've often felt guilty that I've been at a loss of words.

But yeah. Just make sure to do your due diligence. Crossdressing is different from transvestite leanings, and those are different from gender dysphoria. I might recommend counseling to figure out the lay of the proverbial land. There are plenty of providers in every metropolitan area. Good luck to you! I hope you find the answers you're seeking.

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#33 Edited by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@harbinlights: It's not my opinion. It's reality. going around calling yourself an Otaku in Japan does not have the "cute" connotation people in the west have given it lol.

Westerners calling themselves Otaku are not really the same, they're just taking a Japanese word and using that instead of calling themselves nerds (well a lot of them).

According to ZUN at least, times are changing, definitely a lot of people self identify as otaku there. It is a counter-culture. So of course most people there or here don't respect it. I feel like people who say that Westerners who self identify as otaku don't understand what the word means, don't quite understand.

Loading Video...

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#34 Posted by css_switchfoot (233 posts) -

No one has it "figured out". When I was a kid I assumed the adults in my life had things figured out, but the older I get the more I realize that we are all just guessing. Be what you want, label yourself, and let your neighbor do the same.

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#35 Posted by HarbinLights (179 posts) -
@therealseaman said:

@harbinlights: It's not my opinion. It's reality. going around calling yourself an Otaku in Japan does not have the "cute" connotation people in the west have given it lol.

Westerners calling themselves Otaku are not really the same, they're just taking a Japanese word and using that instead of calling themselves nerds (well a lot of them).

According to ZUN at least, times are changing, definitely a lot of people self identify as otaku there. It is a counter-culture. So of course most people there or here don't respect it. I feel like people who say that Westerners who self identify as otaku don't understand what the word means, don't quite understand.

Loading Video...

So I've tried to edit my post to add more effort and thought and such, and every time I have, I've gotten this error. It probably has something to do with the video getting stuck in loading when I try to edit.

No Caption Provided

So, while I know it is a bit bad forum etiquette to double post like this, I don't feel like I have a whole of of choice at the moment. So, pretend this is an edit please and that I'm not just posting again to add what I could have edited. I know this is off-topic and derailing, but I feel like it deserves an effortful and fair rebuttal.

https://otakumode.com/news/52ae46f5ff943d707900009d/Interview-with-Touhou-Project-Founder-and-Creator-ZUN-Part-2

ZUN: When compared with older stereotypes, I get the feeling that recently the term “otaku” has more or less gained a positive image. Before, to say “I’m an Otaku” was almost masochistic and self-deprecating. Now otaku has become a status to be proud of. I remember first hearing the term “light otaku” and thinking, “Huh? Otaku isn’t a bad word anymore?”

TOM: It seems that while otaku cultural staples such as anime, manga, and video games are still thought of as “things for children to enjoy,” that perception is not as strong as it used to be.

ZUN: Simply put, the people who encountered otaku culture as children and experienced it growing up are now reluctant to give up these activities even as adults. As a result, the population of otaku continues to increase, and that has affected former perceptions. Similarly, kids today raised with smartphones, which are new to us, will likely develop their own set of values because of their relationship to this technology.

TOM: To put it bluntly, would you call it a fad?

ZUN: Fads or fashions have the sense of being limited to an extremely short span of time. What I’m referring to is a much longer span of time. I think “culture” would be an accurate way to describe it.

I don't necessarily even totally agree with the above. But I do see how ZUN could see that the stigma around otaku culture could seem to be decreasing around the world.

If you mean that being an otaku is considered bad by society? I absolutely agree. I just don't care. I am not going to pretend that I am someone who would be accepted anywhere or in any culture.

If you simply being that being an otaku is bad, then as an otaku, I have a vested interest in disagree with that. And whether it is a good thing or a bad thing, it is who I am, bad or not.

Anyway, what would you call Momochi Minami?

Loading Video...

Is she an otaku? I am like her and look up to her in many ways. Except I am probably less normal and well adjusted as she is.

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#36 Posted by indure (99 posts) -

To the OP:

Like you, I also have trouble understanding transgenderism, because unlike sexually I can't logically explain mine. I was born male and I've never thought any differently, but when ask to explain why I'm male, I can't logically define it without referring to gender stereotypes, or just saying because. My understanding of transgender individuals is that there is a clear disconnect between their mind and body; to the extend that their body and mind don't share the same identity. Trying to explain this disconnect to someone who doesn't have it is like trying to explain colors to someone born blind.

If you don't have this clear disconnect, which judging by your post you don't (neither do I), then I think you are just making a mountain out of a mole hill.How does it help you to better define your gender, if you are not suffering from gender conflicts? Ultimately you are just creating a word that helps you define something that you have always been, just so other people can categorize you better.

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#37 Edited by Giant_Gamer (679 posts) -

Men don't have a holy book that tells them what to do to be men and the same goes to women. What is considered manly in your culture could be considered feminine in others. So, it's mostly a cultural thing.

However, i believe that there are three things that the whole a world agrees with as manly. Which are mascular body, facial hair and deep voice.

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#38 Edited by TheRealSeaman (133 posts) -

@harbinlights: Uh I'm not going to write a thesis on Otaku in response, I was just saying after living in Japan (and still am), being an Otaku isn't really something you should be screaming from the hilltops and I've not seen any change in this

Avatar image for harbinlights
#39 Edited by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@therealseaman said:

@harbinlights: Uh I'm not going to write a thesis on Otaku in response, I was just saying after living in Japan (and still am), being an Otaku isn't really something you should be screaming from the hilltops and I've not seen any change in this

That's fine, I'm not going to Japan. And don't particularly desire to go.

From everything I know, you must be dealing with a pretty tough life by living in Japan. I feel pretty lucky that I don't have to deal with living in Japan and all of its downsides.

@lazyimperial said:

Look, original poster: you get one life. It shouldn't be a miserable affair. If you find yourself questioning your identity and thinking that you'd be happier presenting as something different than you were born as, fine. You're not hurting anyone. It's an individual choice and you're within your rights to make it. Just make sure you really, really, REALLY think things through before you undergo any irreversible physical surgeries or hormone therapies. There's a broad spectrum of tastes outside the standard normal curve of human sexuality, and you don't want to transition only to find out that you were actually a transvestite and not a transgender (there is a difference). I've had friends that jumped the gun, and it's a miserable thing for them when they realize it and a miserable thing for their friends and family who, frankly, often have no idea how to comfort them. I've often felt guilty that I've been at a loss of words.

But yeah. Just make sure to do your due diligence. Crossdressing is different from transvestite leanings, and those are different from gender dysphoria. I might recommend counseling to figure out the lay of the proverbial land. There are plenty of providers in every metropolitan area. Good luck to you! I hope you find the answers you're seeking.

I appreciate the advice. I also don't think anything like HRT would be particularly for me. My closest guess to anything halfway correct for myself is that I might be agender anyway. At least, I haven't found an identity yet. So, possibly? Until I find a gender for myself based on anything tangible, I guess agender?

As for the laser hair removal I've been getting, I don't regret that at all. In fact, I'm not personally the type to regret a body modification. But I do appreciate the concern.

I like my sex drive, though. I only want to change my body in any way that would seem like an enhancement, a lowered sex drive sounds like a massive downgrade.

@indure said:

To the OP:

Like you, I also have trouble understanding transgenderism, because unlike sexually I can't logically explain mine. I was born male and I've never thought any differently, but when ask to explain why I'm male, I can't logically define it without referring to gender stereotypes, or just saying because. My understanding of transgender individuals is that there is a clear disconnect between their mind and body; to the extend that their body and mind don't share the same identity. Trying to explain this disconnect to someone who doesn't have it is like trying to explain colors to someone born blind.

If you don't have this clear disconnect, which judging by your post you don't (neither do I), then I think you are just making a mountain out of a mole hill.How does it help you to better define your gender, if you are not suffering from gender conflicts? Ultimately you are just creating a word that helps you define something that you have always been, just so other people can categorize you better.

Even if I might not be trans, I'm just trying to understand the reality of gender. Either the claim that having a penis makes you a boy/man like I was told as a child is true, or it is not. I want to know the answer to that.

And the answer to that question applies to me personally as someone with a penis.

Maybe it's still to be so curious and to want to know, but I do. The commonly accepted replacement for penis as the cause of gender is now brain structure, similar to sexual orientation, except for gender identity. The idea that both cis and trans people have a part of their brains that causes them to have a sense of gender identity.

Never have I had such a neurological sensation. And since I haven't, maybe that means I'm not actually cis. I want to follow all of the claims about gender identity and sexual orientation and follow them to their endgame. There is a truth to be understood here, and I want to know it. There are conflicting views on gender identity. Either having a penis makes you a man or it doesn't. Either there is a part of the brain causing gender identity, or there isn't. And for some reason I just really want to tease out the truth of this.

@giant_gamer said:

However, i believe that there are three things that the whole a world agrees with as manly. Which are mascular body, facial hair and deep voice.

Muscles are like, the girliest thing ever, though.

Real women lift.

Um... huh. *shrug*

I remember stuff about the feminine penis mostly as otaku culture memes. It's only until recently that I've just started hearing trans people say feminine penis. It's been real interesting.

Otaku are always talking about how a character they like has a feminine penis, lol

To go into a possibly unwanted and lewd amount of detail, I think that a lot are talking about how a penis, particularly under the influence of estrogen, can be rather soft. "Feminine" in this case, often refers to the social constructs of gender which define softness and smoothness with femininity. At least in my experience, a person saying "feminine penis" is probably calling it soft and smooth.

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#40 Edited by TheRealSeaman (133 posts) -

@harbinlights: "From everything I know, you must be dealing with a pretty tough life by living in Japan. I feel pretty lucky that I don't have to deal with living in Japan and all of its downsides

Was that some kind of passing diss?

I live in the best city in the world as well as one of the safest. I absolutely love living here and wouldn't trade it for anywhere else (best city being highly subjective of course).

Biking around Tokyo on my way to work is a pleasure. So safe, so convenient, so awesome.

I'm not LGBT or gender...curious so I can't comment on what being in that category is like here.

Avatar image for harbinlights
#41 Edited by HarbinLights (179 posts) -

@therealseaman said:

@harbinlights: "From everything I know, you must be dealing with a pretty tough life by living in Japan. I feel pretty lucky that I don't have to deal with living in Japan and all of its downsides

Was that some kind of passing diss?

Certainly not at you. At Japan as a place to be a citizen and work, maybe.

Japan just doesn't seem like a great place to live.

But then, I'm an otaku, not a Japanophile.

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#42 Posted by TheRealSeaman (133 posts) -

@harbinlights: It's great here, a lot of the "crazy Japan" stuff and weird tales online are cherry picked examples or straight up disingenuous.

That said, it's not perfect (like anywhere) but it's a very interesting, safe and exciting place. I might be lucky as I don't have to work long hours (I'm unsure how accurate people overworking is here)

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#43 Posted by someoneproud (256 posts) -

For me a mix of physiology (reproductive organs/hormones/genetics) and culture (masculine/feminine qualities and cultural gender stereotypes) are the only distinct features of gender differences. Luckily it's easier and more accepted than ever for people to live their lives and identify in whichever way they feel most comfortable. Unfortunately science isn't at a point yet where the physical changes can be done as completely as some may wish, although I'm sure we'll get there in time.

Imo all that matters in the end is whether you're comfortable with who you are. Your identity's yours alone, you can only find it for yourself (not terribly helpful I'm sure) but good luck.

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#44 Posted by fatalbanana (998 posts) -

This is an overly simplistic post do to everything you wrote but it's true to what I'm feeling at the moment. Look duder, you are who you are confused feelings and all. No one can tell you what binary to fit into or even if you are binary or something completely different. Human beings are complicated some way more than others but that's ok. Part of the beauty of life is being who you are and feeling the way you feel whether it fits into social or political norms is completely beside any of that. Not to undersell what it is your feeling but everyone is complicatingly, confusingly, beautifully fucked up in their own way. And not to make assumptions but I personally see the concept of "finding yourself" to be bullshit. You are who you are and if you're having trouble being who you are then that's what you need to work on not finding out what gender you fit into.

All that aside this is why conversations like these need to keep happening and the stigma of gender identity needs to be flushed down an effing toilet. My personal feelings on it are we need to stop worrying so much about what we call ourselves or what we identify as. People are people no matter how they differ and that's all there is to it for me but maybe I'm being overly simplistic about it. It's not different people that need to conform to society, society needs to conform to them. That's my two cents anyway.