Before I start talking about why I love being gender fluid, I want to shed some light on the term. Society is changing to an expansive degree; some changes are positive and some, not so much. In this time of change, there have been a lot of new terms thrown around regarding gender. I wanted to break these down.
First off, gender and sex are two separate things. Sex has to do with your body physically, and gender has to do with your male or female energy—how you are as a person. The term “cis” (an abbreviation of “cisgender”) means your gender and the sex you were assigned at birth coincide. For example, if you were born anatomically male and you emotionally identify as male, that would mean you are a “cis” male. Some people are born with their sex and gender clashing, and this is where the terms “transgender,” “genderqueer,” and “gender fluid” come into play.
Transgender means your sex you were assigned at birth is different from how you feel you are mentally and emotionally. Although you may appear one way, you do not feel your body is an expression of who you truly are. The way gender fluidity is different from transgender lies in the details. Individuals who are transgender typically have dysphoria, or discomfort, that can be resolved through transitioning mentally and/or physically.
For those who are gender fluid, things aren’t so black and white. Being gender fluid means some days you identify one way, and perhaps your body and spirit are in harmony, but other days you can wake up and feel the complete opposite. Sometimes you find yourself in a gray area, which is where the term “queer” acts as an umbrella term to classify gender that can neither be identified as strictly male or female. Whether this refers to a “third gender” or a mix of the two, depends entirely on each individual. Your gender can change constantly, or randomly, and it is different for each person.
One important thing I have learned from others and myself in the LGBTQIA+ community is that gender can become far too important in society. Once we learn to identify as simply ourselves, we can become truly happy. Personally, I feel my own gender compass switching poles all day. My environment can influence how I feel significantly. Sometimes I feel more free and liberated, but other times I am pushed into greater feelings of discomfort. What is most important in these moments is to know myself, regardless of gender. Although I may not feel comfortable explaining to an employer the details of pronouns in order to be referred to as “they,” I can still express myself the way I want to. I can know that whether or not I am accepted, I am my true, authentic self. This is all that matters at the end of the day. People can be harsh, judgmental, and downright rude. Knowing in truth that I have a heart full of love and pride in myself will win against any opposing force. Even if I am unhappy with how my body may physically be some days, I can always love my spirit. This is the difference between a negative and a positive life and supports my overall well-being. One important reminder when you sense discomfort in your own body is to give thanks for the miracles it performs daily. Recognize the fact that your body is a massive machine: processing information, fighting bacteria, converting chemicals and thinking profound thoughts all at once all the time. Be thankful for this, and it will help you associate positivity with your body as opposed to negativity.
Through the years, I have learned to be happier with myself, and as a result, I have had countless people reach out and share with me how I have inspired them to express their own spirit more freely. Although you should never live your life completely for others, I have found that those moments hold more value than money can buy. I have learned through this that even if you are not trying to show others how to express themselves in a more self-redeeming way, you are still going to stand out as a model. Regardless of if it is how we wish society worked, we are trained to observe and react. With the number of people we come across each day, the chances are high that two people with gender dysphoria will cross paths without even knowing it.
I grew up in Orange County, California. Although it may not have been as unaccepting as southern states, or other countries, the area has never been known for being very liberal. Many people were harassed in the areas I lived in for being gay, cross-dressing, and other things outside what was deemed as “normal.” The overall attitude just wasn’t open-minded. This being said, whenever I saw someone who might have dressed or acted “out of the norm” they always stood out to me. I was always inspired by the fact that these people could express their individuality. It is these people that made me question gender roles and to first explore my own true self. You should never allow your environment to control you completely. If you live somewhere that you feel you have to conform to strict gender roles and are unhappy there, do your best to get out of that atmosphere.
Being gender fluid doesn’t have to be a negative thing. I love having the ability to express myself in more ways than most feel comfortable. I love being able to wear a dress and feel girly one day, but also wear a tux and feel girly another day, and vice versa. I am grateful for the chance to push gender roles and express myself with a higher sense of individuality. Anything I want to consider “non-binary” or non-conforming to gender, can be just that as soon as I consider it such. I feel like I am much more limitless now that I have broadened my horizons. I encourage each of you to do the same, and challenge societal roles. You will find greater feelings of liberation as well as creativity along the way.