Genderqueer self-evaluation resources
May 23, 2020 9:15 AM   Subscribe

I am seeking safe spaces to explore non-traditional gender issues. Not necessarily transgender issues but non-normative gender identity questioning. So less "I'm a man trapped in a woman's body" and more "the gender that goes with this body doesn't fit right but I'm not sure exactly in what way it doesn't fit right and I need questions to ask myself to help me figure this out."

I did see some previous Asks on this issue but it was more about trans resources and I'm more looking for "non-binary questioning" type of resources. Thanks.
posted by crunchy potato to Society & Culture (12 answers total) 13 users marked this as a favorite
You want How to Undertake Your Gender and/or My (New) Gender Workbook. They're basically the same content two different ways, but some people bounce hard off the latter.

Yes, they're perpetually recommended in trans threads. They are not specific to people who are trans-identified, binary-identified or contemplating medical transition. (I'm strongly trans identified and have medically transitioned and was never trapped in a body of any gender, coincidentally.)
posted by hoyland at 9:30 AM on May 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

Gently, I suggest first forgetting the old stereotype of "I'm a man trapped in a woman's body", because few, if anyone, subscribes to that sort of thinking anymore. Your second thought, "the gender that goes with this body doesn't fit right but I'm not sure exactly in what way it doesn't fit right" is more typical of the trans/nonbinary experience.

I can't speak to more specific suggestions, but search for "gender questioning" and "nonbinary" experiences or communities. Most nonbinary/questioning community spaces will probably be subset of trans communities, and most people will be kind and helpful. You may want to do a lot of reading first, and focus on asking questions that don't rely on outdated stereotypes. Not sure if it's an outdated stereotype? It's ok to ask if it is or isn't.

Good luck! This journey can be long and confusing. I'm available by MeMail, or the email in my profile, if you'd like to reach out!
posted by MuChao at 9:36 AM on May 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

C.N. Lester's Trans Like Me is about trans issues in general, but does centre the non-binary perspective, and is frequently recommended as a starting point for considering trans stuff in a non-binary inclusive way.
posted by xchmp at 9:39 AM on May 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

hoyland, should that first one be “How To Understand Your Gender”? (Not “Undertake”.)
posted by madcaptenor at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Thanks for correcting my comments about the trans experience. I always thought you had to feel that your internal gender identity doesn't match the parts to be considered trans.
posted by crunchy potato at 9:48 AM on May 23, 2020

If you like podcasts, you may like Gender Reveal (recommended to me by another mefite when I started down this road). I find the interviews hit and miss, but if you just stick to the Q&A episodes (the 101, 201, 301 etc eps) you'll probably get a lot of good questions.

re: trans: if you use a different gender identity than the one you were assigned at birth, that's trans. This was a really difficult thing for me to get used to, personally, since there's also a lot of trans culture that I didn't really identify or connect with. But trans resources are exactly where you should be looking, by definition. =)

I would also highly, highly recommend reaching out to a queer resource center in your general geographic vicinity. I'd had a lot of conversations with friends, I did a lot of reading, I talked with a therapist, but what really finally helped me was going to group discussion with other people who had been somewhere on this trip. The ones in my city are continuing their meetings on Zoom, and I'm assuming that's pretty common everywhere.

Feel free to memail if you have other questions!
posted by curious nu at 10:16 AM on May 23, 2020 [4 favorites]

All the resources I would have recommended are already here. The one thing that helped me most was trying put labels and diagnoses aside and just try stuff. Try some clothes, jewelry, and makeup if you are drifting towards femme. Bind with an ace wrap if you are edging towards masc. Test drive pronouns and names with trusted friends or online communities. How does it make you feel? What are you worried about now?

All of these are tricky things, and some of us won’t have a lot of spaces to try these things safely, but if you do, there’s nothing wrong with trying knowing you don’t just have one shot to figure it out.
posted by advicepig at 10:44 AM on May 23, 2020 [1 favorite]

Autostraddle has a lot of trans and genderqueer articles, including advice and also including lots of other stuff. "I'm not sure if I'm a woman and I'm not sure what I'd be instead" is something that comes up regularly. I like that a lot of their writing on gender is personal instead of universal. I like that it acknowledges the messiness of firsthand experience instead of trying to package everything up into a tidy and uniform set of labels that you could teach someone from a Powerpoint slide (though "what label should I adopt in the face of all this messiness?" is definitely another thing that comes up a lot).

And FWIW, I agree that "trapped in a" language is tricky. There are a lot of people who eventually do some trans medical stuff or eventually transition socially in some way who never felt like an anything trapped in an anything. Like, yeah, making some medical changes to my body was really good for me. But I'm not a woman, I never was a man, and I definitely never felt like "a woman trapped in a man's body." When I started thinking about gender goals and body goals in a serious way, "Am I an X trapped in a Y?" was a total unproductive dead-end of a question, and I got a lot more mileage out of questions like "What would I want to try if I knew I could get away with it?" and "What are some real-world experiments I can do to see what feels right?"
posted by nebulawindphone at 12:18 PM on May 23, 2020 [5 favorites]

For me, helpful and revelatory questions were along the lines of "if i could snap my fingers, and instantly X... would I?" (where X for me was things like have more womanly body? even if nobody could ever see me... like I was isolated or had to wear a full body covering?) Thought experiments, but not so abstract.
posted by kokaku at 12:34 PM on May 23, 2020

Yes, How to Understand Your Gender.
posted by hoyland at 12:44 PM on May 23, 2020

Hi! I am a nonbinary person. If you're a person of color, I have specific Facebook groups I would recommend joining to get support for this, and can send you the links through DM. (I think I also have links for all nonbinary folks but I would have to doublecheck)
posted by yueliang at 2:57 PM on May 23, 2020

There are a lot of links to resources (some of them already mentioned) at "am I nonbinary dot com".

I also recommend just finding nonbinary/genderqueer chat spaces to hang out in. Trying on different identities and comparing experiences in a supportive social setting can be very helpful when figuring this stuff out.
posted by polytope subirb enby-of-piano-dice at 3:21 PM on May 23, 2020

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