Why I won’t be changing my gender on Facebook (just yet)

I’m just as excited as everyone else on the (queer) internet that Facebook has added a bunch of new gender identity options, plus they/them/theirs pronouns! But unlike a lot of people, I’m not ready to dive in and change my settings just yet. If you’d asked me a year ago, or even a few months, I’d have been happy to label myself as a cis woman. Now? I’m not so sure.

I mentioned a few days ago that I’ve been going through some personal changes of late. One component of that has been allowing myself to acknowledge that I have some confusing feelings about my gender. On the one hand, I’m a DFAB* person who has always operated relatively well as a girl/woman. On the other…I feel like my grip on that identity has been slipping over the last few years. (Ironically, this happened after I chose to attend a women’s college.) Some days I still feel female, but I have the occasional day where I kind of feel like a guy. And a lot of the time, I don’t feel very gendered at all.

Even though I’m dealing with all this, I feel kind of guilty not labeling myself as cis. Because I’m not sure. And even though I know intellectually that having to be “sure” about being trans is a crock of cissexist bullshit, it’s hard not to buy into. I struggle to remind myself that it’s okay to question, to try things on for size. I can be far too hard on myself, especially when it comes to the difficult questions. I’m too attached to my need to be sure.

But for now, I’m trying to do what’s right for me. And that means having the same compassion for myself that I would offer anyone else struggling with the same things. It means being as honest as I can be by not explicitly labeling as cis, and guarding my safety by not coming out as gender questioning, either. I won’t be changing labels visible to people I know in real life, because I’m not ready. Not just yet.

*Designated female at birth

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7 thoughts on “Why I won’t be changing my gender on Facebook (just yet)

  1. Wow! I really thank you for being open about your struggle here. It’s something I’m struggling with, too. At first, I felt silly replying that I even relate to this at all, but then you wrote this: “Even though I’m dealing with all this, I feel kind of guilty not labeling myself as cis.” Although me wearing most anything in my wardrobe would not be considered very feminine by some standards, I’d still look hell of a lot more feminine than some people on the more masculine end of the scale.

    But there are the days where I don’t know what gender I feel like, days where I feel more masculine, and days where I just feel sort of in between (like a male, even while dressed in clearly female-labeled clothing; or like a girl, while dressed in male clothing). I feel like I haven’t really found my comfort zone, maybe because it keeps moving. Yet, with all my experimentation and uncertainty, I feel uncomfortable and guilty calling myself anything except cis. It’s all a bunch of crap! I feel like I shouldn’t feel guilty for that, but I don’t know what else to call myself.

    • Ahh I feel exactly the same! It seems like my experience of gender fluctuates so much that I can’t find my “comfort zone” either. Some days it’s almost like I don’t have a gender, and the rest of the time I slide around between feeling like a guy, a girl, or something in between–often I’ll feel like a really feminine guy, or like I’m kind of a girl, but not totally. Also I basically always pass as a cis girl, even when I’m having more masculine days. I’m trying to stop feeling guilty about even thinking of myself as maybe not cis, but it’s hard, probably because there’s this arbitrary standard of “trans enough” that I feel like I have to live up to. But I’ve been playing around with the label “genderfluid,” and I think it might fit?

      • Ahh, you totally hit it on the head. The whole concept of being trans enough to be accepted, though I don’t call myself trans. Mostly because I’m still experimenting/figuring things out. Never thought about the labels. Maybe labels don’t matter. That’s the whole concept behind nonbinary/genderqueer labels anyway! So yeah, I’ve thought of genderfluid, too. I know how you feel though about being a feminine, but not really, kind of girl. Not feminine enough to where the girly girls think you’re “one of them”, but “too feminine” to feel comfortable identifying as non-cis. You summed it all up nicely though, and I’m glad you shared this. 🙂

  2. Thank you for sharing your feelings and thought process here! The comment thread was fascinating to read too. I feel like I understand completely where you’re coming from, despite not relating to it myself on a personal level. 😉 I just wanted to let you know I read this and I appreciate you sharing your point of view.

  3. I relate to this too; I don’t consider myself cis but I feel like some people would, and that makes me hesitant to take on labels that are generally used by people who are more gender-divergent than I am–I don’t want to claim to fit into a category I don’t actually belong in or take space/focus away from people who need it more than I do. Thanks for posting about this.

    • Thanks for commenting! I’ve actually come to be more firmly nonbinary-identified in the year or so since I wrote this, but I still struggle with how out I want to be about it. I also second-guess myself a lot. Still, I ultimately don’t think it takes anything away people to use labels that make you more comfortable, as long as you can recognize differences in experience. Does that make sense?

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