Tag Archives: presentation

Shoulders

27 May

This might seem like a weird area of my body to focus on with regards to gender dysphoria, but recently I had to shop for clothing to attend a wedding in and I realized I have a thing about my shoulders and collarbone.

Bare shoulders and a bare collarbone are not neutral. Unlike other items of “women’s” clothing that happen to fit my body, I can’t find neutral/masculine details to tilt me away from an overall feeling of pretending to be a woman that I’m not. Exposing that part of my body in public is unabashedly feminine. Guys may go around with a couple of shirt buttons undone, but unless there’s exercise or sex involved, you don’t see dudes going into events with shirts that show their collarbone from shoulder to shoulder.

You might be wondering why I bothered looking at anything that would leave my shoulders bear. To be honest, I just don’t want to melt, and it was also the more economical option. The wedding is going to be on a hot summer night. Dresses expose skin in a socially appropriate way that also allow for greater cooling capability. Plus, I own no other formal clothes I can wear without a binder, and you would have to pay me a decent amount of money to wear a binder for an entire wedding on a hot Southern night. What can I say, I overheat easily. A dress was also going to be less expensive than finding an entire suit.

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Asexual and neutrois

30 Oct

Although there were about eight years between the time I started identifying as asexual and when I started identifying as neutrois, I don’t think I could separate my asexuality from my gender, now.

But first I have to talk about how being asexual tied into my identification as neutrois. And I can see this post getting rather sprawling, so I’m going to attempt to use headings. I’m also going to put a cut, because this is kind of a long post.

(Warning: I talk about physical sex and sex drive in here, though not in much detail.)

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Boxes

15 Oct

Lately I’ve been having a lot of thoughts about my presentation, as it relates to my gender. My gender is neutrois, as I’ve talked about before, and I consider myself neutral-gendered. Masculine and feminine presentation don’t make me masculine or feminine, they’re just what I found striking while getting dressed. When I’m able, I want top surgery to make it possible for my body to be more neutral.

But there’s always going to be the issue of clothes. Lately I’ve been trying to figure out how to comfortably incorporate the feminine details I enjoy in clothes into my wardrobe. I’m in the awkward situation now of almost never being able to go to the store; if I buy clothes within the next year, it’s going to have to be online. (Look at the confidence I hold in my ability to learn how to drive!)

Some things would be easy to buy. T-shirts, which already comprise 85% of my closet. I either measure myself, probably already own a t-shirt from the company, or can measure a t-shirt that fits comfortably to figure out what size to buy. Unisex t-shirts are also easy to find with masculine, feminine, and neutral designs and details.

When I wear my binder, I can wear men’s shirts without them gapping in the front. But I don’t want to wear my binder every day. I worry about long-term binding and I don’t like to bind for more than five hours at a time, although that might be partly because my binder isn’t broken in yet.

So while I’m working and until I have surgery, I’ll need women’s shirts. I understand this. In some situations, I prefer the women’s shirt. (For example, the other day I wanted a warm long-sleeved shirt to wear around the house in the winter. I ruled out the men’s because they didn’t have the pink flannel I liked best.) The surgery will just give me more options, and I’ll be able to buy women’s shirts because I like the design, not because I need the cut.

Obligatory momentary pause while I go all starry-eyed imagining never buying a bra again.

But then there’s … dresses. And skirts. I don’t know how to feel about these.

I used to hate them. I haven’t bought a dress since middle school — my grandma made me wear one to my uncle’s wedding. I’ve donated all my old Sunday dresses. I can’t remember if I wore skirts as a child or not. In undergrad, I never bought them, but I rarely bought clothes at all, and I blanched at the idea that I was expected to wear them. Now that I’m more comfortable in my gender, and at asserting control over what I wear, I … don’t know. And since I don’t own any anymore, I can just try one on for a day and see how I am.

It’s been causing me a bit of anxiety lately, not having any idea of how to express myself in clothing. I don’t want to be stuck in the men’s section of the store any more than I want to be stuck in the women’s section. I like things people consider masculine and I like things people consider feminine.

At the end of posts I like to come to some kind of resolution, but I don’t have one here. I don’t know how to fix this feeling I have, this anxiety that I’m going to get trapped into another box that I don’t want to be stuck in.

I don’t identify with masculinity any more than I identify with femininity. I just pick and choose the things I like, and I’m not in a position now where I can go and things on. So I’m just stuck … wondering, and fretting. I don’t know what my wardrobe will look like over the years, or whether skirts or dresses would help me feel better, help me feel less boxed in. I don’t know how I’m going to pick out clothes or makeup or accessories that let me look the way I feel when I wake up not wanting to be very masculine or very feminine.

Probably, I’m lucky that overall I don’t really care about fashion: if I could wear sweatpants and unisex t-shirts every day I’d probably be fine. But I can’t do that. So I have to … I don’t know. I have to wait, and see. And waiting is hard.

But I know that I don’t want to be trapped in another box.

Adventures in Binding Pt. 2

10 Aug

While Girlfriend visited we went shopping, and in several stores we were shopping, in essence, for the invisible man. The sales people would ask us things like “What does this guy look like?” and “Do you think this is too wild for him?” and we would glance at each other and I would try not to burst out laughing, because, of course, we were shopping for me. (And yes, that tie was far too wild.)

Honestly I didn’t mind being the invisible man. Though I’m absolutely positive that not everybody identified me as straight, it was smoother to shop for somebody who wasn’t there than to tell them that tie was for me. (One guy was clearly thinking “Look at the baby gays!” when trying to get me to open a store credit card account, though.)

Read more. (For review, it’s an Underworks’ 998 XL in white)

Haircuts

27 Feb

I just got my hair trimmed. It was about nine months ago when I decided to get this style, although it took a second cut to get it as short as it is now. I have a Rachel-Maddowish short cut. (Yes, my celebrity knowledge is so limited I have to reference newscasters for hairstyle examples.)

At the time I first changed from the long hair I’d had since childhood, I thought it was an ace presentation thing. Long hair on women, I reasoned, was read sexually by society. From what I’ve gathered, feminine characteristics are seen as flirtatious and sexual, and I as an ace person didn’t want to be read that way.

So shorter went my hair. At chin-length I was already looking at it and planning on going shorter at some point in the near future. Especially after I found a photo of myself from when I was little and had my “boy haircut” that at the time made me cry (I had very rigid perceptions of gender lines when I was little) and my hair didn’t look bad at all.

Then a few months later I learned the word neutrois through sheer dumb luck, and I realized that the hair issue was not just a presentation issue, but a gender issue. It wasn’t appearing feminine and therefore sexual that was bothering me so much, it was being feminine itself that was becoming less and less tolerable. I still think that femininity is often read sexually, but I think the majority of my presentation discomforts are gender discomforts rather than ace discomforts.

I find it interesting that I reasoned it as an ace thing rather than a gender thing, though. I think it’s because I had never heard of neutral gender identities. I am the person who looked longingly at top surgery in high school and never considered that I might have gender dysphoria (because I knew I wasn’t a guy, or androgynous, and those were my only reference points).

I really don’t think that I could’ve come up with neutrois on my own like I came up with asexual. Gender wasn’t something I grew up with thinking people could be different from the usual, not the same way you learn about sexualities different from being straight. I learned about binary trans and androgynous identities later on, but that information still didn’t pry my brain open enough to consider that there was still another option.

It does really make me wish that there were just better ways to expose people to all of this: other sexualities, other gender identities than the norm. What if I had found out I was neutrois in high school, instead of during my last semester at undergrad? Would I have been comfortable enough to go to my undergrad’s health center and ask their psych staff for information on transitioning, instead of being in murky waters like I am now?

I’ve had years to learn about and explore my asexual identity, partly because I self-identified that way in middle school, but mostly because I’ve been able to read asexual dialogues online and take my thoughts in directions they inspired. I think exploring my gender identity is going to be a lot rougher on me — there is, of course, the added dimension of transitioning. Starting with a haircut is, at least, starting. But I have a long road left in front of me.