Recently, across both the community and politics, gender identity seems to be a hot topic ~ and not always in such a positive light. In this article, we hope to share some of our personal experiences along with share some information on gender identity all in one place. We’ll also be tackling the ever so common phrase “There’s Only 2 Genders”.
As you may or may not know, Neko Palace is an all inclusive community. This means we accept those of all genders. No exceptions. Everyone is welcomed, and loved. Even our Palace Pets have all sorts of gender identities - and that’s okay!
Before we get into all the nitty gritty stuff, we thought we’d introduce ourselves and share our personal stories with you guys! (As no two stories are really the same!)
Overall the difference in a boy and a girl didn’t make sense to me until high school.
In my early teen years, I did end up identifying as genderfluid for a short while, I believe this to be my experimental self discovery phase. After a while tho I realised I was just a guy. On some days I just feel like a blob of nothingness but for the most part, I am a guy. I don't actually have the most supportive family behind me, but luckily I have a strong support system of friends and that everyone here at Neko Palace accepts + supports me too!
I remember around 13 was when I was starting to have a bit of an identity crisis. It was when I really began to feel the sort of ‘girl’ role placed onto me. I was being introduced to the idea of being transgender and hearing these stories of people that didn’t fit into the box that they were being pushed towards so they transitioned, and at the time that was the only identity I knew as far as gender, I thought that if you weren’t comfortable in your box then you put yourself into the other, I had no idea about non-binary identities at the time so that wasn’t something I was able to connect to. So, I thought that I was meant to be in the other box and I slowly started down that path and I remember around maybe 15 I told my friends and they were so supportive. Then I told my father and he was supportive as well. My mom was a bit harder, she refused to use a new name or new pronouns but still said she would accept me which was a bit rough because that didn’t seem like acceptance to me and I didn’t know how I’d live like that. I just remember not talking about it a lot but she bought me all of these books on being transgender and gender studies and I think that was a sign of a kind of ‘I don’t understand but I still love you.’
Around this time I was becoming aware of gender-nonconforming and nonbinary identities, people that didn’t fit in the binary. My best friend at the time had actually come out to me as nonbinary and I felt like it all kind of clicked in my head, that I didn’t have to leave one uncomfortable box for the other when I could stop trying to label everything about me and stop feeling like I was so lonely in the world. I never really came out as queer or nonbinary after that but it was almost just a known that didn’t need to be said and I didn’t see any reason for formalities. I remember in the car my mom asking about how I dressed masculinely but still wore makeup and she said maybe I’m a little bit of both and that was honestly a really good chat and I think that really brought us together. I knew my mother knew nothing about non-binary identities but it was something that was comforting to me because it was better to hear that than something about how I was invalid.
Fast forward to now (2 years since I initially came out as trans, wowie), gender for me is not something I focus on and I look at more as a fluid thing than something solid and stationary. I don’t feel the need to pinpoint an exact label or definition for myself but rather live as a human being in this world, there’s so much more to me than gender. I love art, I love writing, I love horror movies. I’m so much more and it’s just another thing about me rather than being the whole story of my existence.
Misconceptions and misinformation are incredible common when it comes to transgender and non-binary communities and people. The biggest misconception for non-binary people (other than that gender non-conforming people don't exist) is that people think that non-binary people are for the most part people that were assigned female at birth and not really anyone that was assigned male at birth are non-binary.
Salem - To that I introduce you to Jinkx Monsoon, Violet Chachki, and my love Sash Velour who are all winners of the Rupaul's Drag Race that were assigned male at birth but identify as gender non-conforming/genderqueer/non-binary. Though it is cool not to have a label for your gender identity or even sexuality if you don't want to or don't feel theres one that perfectly describes you. There are so many nonbinary people making a difference in the community and it's so beautiful to see them grow and create visibility and bring light to different members of the LGBTQ+ community.
Omo - Another misconception is that you have to gone through surgery + hormones to be transgender, however, this isn't quite the case.
Hormones and surgery can be...well, expensive AND scary to some people. Although they their body may feel "wrong" to them, having that completely changed can be quite a daunting thought. Some of us also just want to focus on our education and careers rather than go through endless appointments and spend thousands of pounds/dollars and have months off work at a time.
Surgery + hormones are an "end goal" for most trans people, but sometimes it can't just be a main focus in their lives, and they can still be trans without having gone through them yet, as gender identity isn't to do with your body and more to do with how you feel.
Sex vs Gender
Sex and Gender are different. Generally, they are used interchangeably, however the definitions and scientific explanations of each word, are not the same and can’t be used interchangeably.
Sex is what is assigned to you at birth based on your sex characteristics.
Gender is how you identify and express yourself.
Theres 3 sexes.
Male, Female and Intersex.
(this immediately busts the myth of “theres only two genders” - if there are 3 scientific sexes, there has to be at LEAST 3 gender identities)
Intersex is when your sex characteristic struggle to match the description of male or female. Whether this means you have characteristics of both, or neither.
Mental Health Aspects
Gender Identity vs Gender Roles, Dysphoria etc
Salem - Dysphoria for me has always been something that confused me. For the longest time I used to think if I didn’t hate every feminine part of my body, then I wasn’t valid (though I do get body dysphoria now and then but as I will discuss, social dysphoria is the most constant for me personally.) The thing that always made me the most uncomfortable was social interaction when I was referred to as girl or woman, or just really feminine terms. Which I think can be confusing to some people because, like me, they may only see dysphoria as a completely physical thing and think all non-cis people hate their bodies, specifically genitals, and that’s what makes them transgender or nonbinary. Which to be fair, a lot of trans people are uncomfy with their bodies but another large part is the social aspect. Social dysphoria includes being seen as and spoken to as a gender you aren’t. So using the wrong pronouns for someone, or referring to them as an old or ‘dead’ name. I think a common thing is people saying they don’t experience dysphoria because the physical aspect isn’t there, but they are uncomfortable with being socially seen and referred to as the gender they were assigned at birth.
Omo - Dysphoria isn't always black and white (as Salem mentioned in their part!) Theres several "types" of dysphoria and people witness it in different ways. Gender dysphoria is usually summed up as a type of anxiety over certain parts of yourself.
This may be some this may be all.
I tend to suffer from social dysphoria, although I can accept myself when I'm alone, speaking and being in social situations make me rather cautious and anxious of myself. On dark days tho I do get a more general dysphoria where it creeps up on me even in none social situations - and this is normal!
Its normal to not have dysphoria everyday, it doesn't make you any less valid as a trans bean! You can't go everyday filled with anxiety and hatred, its normal to be okay some days too!
Gender Identity vs Gender Roles
Gender Identity is a personal concept of yourself.
Gender roles come from society based on how they believe each gender should act (both behaviour and appearance).
A cis-male may identify as male, but have long hair.
Despite the gender role for male being short hair.
Same goes for a trans-male.
Omo - Its okay to experiment with your gender in both gender identity and gender roles.
For those unsure if someone is 'faking it' or not, I recommend keeping a mindset of, "letting people do what they want as long as it isn't harming anyone else". Allow them to try and figure out who they are and if it makes them happy, allow it to be.
You don't have to believe extra identities exist, but you do not have to attack them for this ~ them having an identity that fits them, that isn't a negative thing. It shouldn't be up for debate. Just respect them and go about your day. I promise that'll help make the world a better place!
Salem - Don't feel pressured to know exactly who you are or rush into knowing everything about yourself because we're always growing and learning more and more about ourselves every day.
Useful links + Resources
For safe binders, please check out Gc2b who make binders specifically intended for transgender people, by transgender people.
If you have any questions, feel free to comment them below or email us at email@example.com
Any hate in the comment section however will be removed.
We are here to help and offer advice and point you in the right direction but we are not professionals.