It’s not always to describe or explain who we are.
For some, gender is as simple as boy OR girl.
But it’s not always pink and blue, is it? Someone online posted that more people would identify as non-binary if they knew what it meant and I think there’s a lot of truth to that. I think there’s a lot of us that think and feel emotions and have desires that don’t completely fall into the traditional thinking of what a boy or a girl “should” have.
I think gender identity is as varied and as intimate and as personal as one’s religious beliefs. Some people struggle with their faith if what they believe doesn’t line up with what their religion teaches. When I was growing up I was told I was a boy (and I still am sometimes) but part of me wondered how I could be a boy if I wanted to wear dresses?
As I grew up I learned more about my own gender identity and made peace with who I was and what I wanted to wear. It didn’t always make sense and I didn’t always understand WHY I was who I was (and still am) but as time passed I became more comfortable with not having a reason for why I was born this way. It makes sense to me and really, that’s all that matters. When I entered my first serious relationship and was dating someone I thought I would be with for a long time I knew I had to come out to her. Explaining who I was and all the nuances and caveats that went with who I am and what I wanted was not easy. Coming out is rarely easy and you are never quite sure how it will go. Coming out for the first time EVER is not really something you can really prepare for. I was asked questions I didn’t see coming or even considered. She was confused, anxious, and a little upset. And looking back it’s understandable. I’ve been met with a similar response almost every time I’ve come out to someone. This side of us can easily overwhelm someone.
I did my best to answer her questions and reassure her with who I am, what I wanted and what I didn’t want. It didn’t go well. At all. But keep in mind this was twenty five years ago and all of the nuances of gender weren’t as understood as they are today. Plus we were both young. I am much more patient and self-aware today than I was when I was 21.
Coming out to her helped me prepare for future conversations about my gender identity. Of course she asked if I was gay. It’s silly to think this now but I was really thrown for a loop with this question. Part of me wondered what gender identity (and what I wanted to wear) had anything to do with sexuality. These days I still don’t think there’s a clear and straight (lol) line between gender identity and sexual preference but I know that every time I come out to someone THIS question will likely be asked.
Of course, this is just me. For some, there’s absolutely a connection between gender and sexuality. And that’s okay! I get it. I understand that gender is very nuanced and personal and that we are all different. Wearing lingerie or eyeliner doesn’t change who I want to sleep with but for others dressing opens up something inside of them that makes their sexuality a little more… flexible. This side of me has nothing to do with eroticism or fetishism. I feel confident and strong and beautiful when I am wearing beautiful clothes but I am not aroused by it. There’s a difference.
If we are going to come out to someone, we are going to be asked WHO we are and WHAT we want. At the same time we also need to be prepared to discuss who we are NOT. What don’t we want? There’s a lot I want (flying pretty, a beautiful floor length back gown with a sweetheart neckline…) but this side of me is not about sex. Again, I know for some this side of us is a fetish or at the very least there’s an aspect of arousal. I also know that girls (or boys) like us attract certain types of people. Whether it is a chaser or someone who fetishizes us, there’s often the expectation that we are who we are because of a sexual kink.
Because of this, it is not uncommon for someone like us to receive messages or emails or comments online about sex. I know I get them. And it’s exhausting. Thankfully it’s easy to ignore and block people on most forms of social media. But goodness it gets old to get messages like this. On some level I get it. I know that crossdressers and t-girls are fetishized. I wish we weren’t but it’s the reality. Comments, emails, and direct messages usually increase when I post or tweet a picture. The type of photo usually influences the language that is used in said comments. A lingerie picture will likely generate certain kinds of comments. It’s never okay to send a sexually charged message because of a lingerie shot, (or any type of picture) but I am prepared for it. But I am surprised when I get a similar message when I post a more modest picture of myself in a skirt and jean jacket. It might be a cute photo but it’s completely the polar opposite of a picture of a girl in a corset.
It’s like… read the room, guys.
I think readers of my website understand me and know where I am coming from. I may have an array of photos from intimate to sexy to casual but I think if you spend enough time reading my ramblings you’ll see that my gender identity isn’t about eroticism. Just because I post a lingerie picture on a bed it doesn’t mean I want a man in it. A photo on Twitter, tweeted without context allows a lot more interpretation (and generates a lot more assumptions). Because of these open interpretations, it’s not uncommon for the photo (or myself) to be misrepresented. I did my lingerie shoot because I felt confident and comfortable. I didn’t do it because I wanted to show off or anything like that. Posting a picture from that shoot is more about being comfortable with who I am and my body. I am not surprised that those types of pictures generate certain types of comments. Not because I think I’m sexy or anything, but that’s kind of how it goes. It doesn’t make it right but that’s unfortunately what happens.
I try to come off as classy. I really do. I know I wear short dresses but I’m a good girl. It’s not realistic to live your life without someone else, be it your partner or a stranger on the internet, forming an opinion of you. It’s easy for these assumptions to be wrong. Just like it’s not uncommon for someone to ask if we are gay when we come out to them, it’s not surprising for a girl like us to get sexually charged or unwelcome messages and emails.
I am not a sissy. I am not looking for sex. I am not confused. I am not a drag queen. I am not transitioning.
There’s a lot of things I am, but there are a lot more that I am not.
9 thoughts on “Who I am Not”
A really well written article and so true
Thanks for Sharing. It is such a confusing part of the larger spectrum that most outside the box simply don’t understand. I really enjoyed reading what you are not! You are an inspiration.
Good story, and something we can all relate to. Even an elderly girl such as I gets some unwanted attention sometimes. I especially like the closing; what I am not is much easier to understand than what I am. I will use that next time the subject comes up.
Sometimes I feel like I’m reading about myself. THANKS.
All good points an like for me once I did recognize I was non binary or bi gendered it made things for me easier and I became more comfortable in my own skin
I know Hannah you don’t like the word journey but in truth it is a journey of discovery because this is such a non conforming way to be
especially in today’s culture even though it’s slowly changing
What a wonderful reflection of those of us who are special enough to embrace all sides of our personality. For me it’s not sexual it is just who I am. I’m grateful for your support thanks 🙏
Unfortunately, insulting and inappropriate comments are all too easy to make with the anonymity of the Internet – comments that would get the sh*t slapped out of you if made in person! It certainly makes me question the judgment of people – people that may have influence over your life or others in their “day jobs”…
As always, insightful and transparent. Your messages are always thought provoking and helpful in showing ways to share who we are with the people we are involved with daily
Nice item, if that’s what you not, what actually are you ? Just how do you want to interact with everybody else ?