When I wrote and posted "My journey into gender fluidity (part 2) I expected to be posting Part 3 fairly soon. As it is, I'm finding it quite hard to write.
As I've said, these days I'm quite happy and content in my gender fluid identity but my journey here was difficult at times. I want and need to write about that journey but doing so, especially when writing about my early flirtations with "feeling like a girl", evokes memories of the transgressiveness, guilt and shame that I felt at the time. This was partly because I knew instinctively that what I was doing would be disapproved of deeply by my parents and the outside world in general.
It was also because I didn't really understand what I was doing. I knew I didn't want to actually be a girl but the need to physically "become" a girl for an hour or two was quite compulsive. It felt like it was a need that was hard to control. I didn't want to stop doing it but I also felt that it would be hard to do so even if I did.
I'm wondering if other young people experiencing gender ambivalence also felt this compulsiveness to explore the "other side".
Well, part 3 is nearly complete after many rewrites. I hope to be posting it soon.
Meanwhile, I've just posted another message on the "Why Do I cross dress?" thread on the MtoF cross dressers board. It's delving a bit deeper into how cross dressing functions for me as a biologically male but gender fluid person.
It's taken me a while to get round to writing this description of my earliest experiment in cross dressing. In retrospect, I now see it as the earliest indication of my gender fluid identity but at the time I saw and understood myself as a boy. It started as a boy's curiosity about girls but it became a boy wondering what it felt like to be a girl. At that age, though, and for many years afterwards, I had no real concept of the true nature of what I was feeling and doing.
I've checked this out the moderators who tell me that it is ok to write about it and even suggested that it might ring some bells with other TG/CD people. It's also been suggested that I start a thread in one of the forums. Maybe I will.
However - an alert. There are references to anatomical and other exploration here and in the posts that follow so, if you have a problem with that, maybe jump off the train here.
I'm trying to remember just how old I was when this began. I was born in 1949 and it certainly started well before the "sexual revolution" that began in Britain around 1963. Before that time, many children were profoundly ignorant about the "opposite sex" (I'm using the terminology of the day). Some children made discoveries through play ('playing doctor" etc) but I was not one of them.
I knew that girls and boys were anatomically different. I knew that girls did not have a penis and that was why they had to sit down to pee but I had only a very hazy idea of what they had instead and I was curious to know.
I was aware that boys' and girls' underwear had different names and, because of this difference, were made differently. Boys wore "pants" girls wore "knickers". (For those of you in the USA - in this country "pants" never meant "trousers", it was only used to refer to male underwear). In those days, boys pants (and men's?) had a peculiarity that has disappeared in male underwear these days. They had an opening slit at the front for use when you went for a pee.
I knew that girls' knickers did not have this opening. I would look at them in shops and try to imagine what it might be that they covered. I think I was about 11 years old (well before I experienced any "attraction" to girls) when, somewhat guiltily, the idea came into my head that maybe wearing a pair of knickers might give me a clue to this mysterious difference.
The problem was, I had no access to a pair of knickers that would fit. My mother had an underwear drawer full of them but they were far too large and looked quite different. So, one afternoon when I was alone in the house (you could be in those days), in the privacy of my bedroom, I set about secretly making myself a pair. I cut up some old pieces of worn out cotton sheet that my mum had put aside for rags and, using my mum's sewing kit, fashioned them into a pair of something that resembled knickers. It sounds quite mad but when I had finished them I was quite proud of my efforts.
I sat looking at them for a few minutes, working up the courage to put them on. I knew that I was being "naughty". I suspected that, if discovered, I would be in trouble. Eventually though, knowing that I was entering forbidden territory, I pulled them on. When I did, something quite unexpected happened. Up to that moment I was just a boy being curious about girls but in wearing them my knickers both looked and felt different. What flashed through my mind was "so this is what it feels like to be a girl".
It was quite momentary and I pushed it away almost before I knew I had felt it. I felt guilty for even imagining it. I took the knickers off and hid them away under the mattress of my bed fearful of what would happen if my mum should discover them. I even wondered whether I should tear them up. I didn't, though, because part of me knew that, in spite of feeling guilty, I wanted to put them back on and experience again "what it feels like to be a girl".
So that was my first foray into cross dressing and into a glimpse of girl identity. I want to say more about how it progressed but it took longer to describe than I expected so I think I'll leave it there for now.
My Journey into Gender Fluidity
I'm trying to trace my journey into what is now my gender fluid identity. I'm thinking that maybe writing a blog and asking for responses might illuminate both my own and other people's journeys into questioning our assumed gender.
I'm going to start by posting an altered version of my New Member intro - just to set the scene of where I find myself at my current age of sixty four years. As I said there, I don't feel "old" and yet I am also quite comfortable with my age. I'm far more at one with myself now than I was when I was thirty. I think I have a far greater understanding of myself and my gender identity now than I did even when I was fifty.
That's not to say that there aren't still some puzzles to be solved and I'm hoping that writing a history of my gender ambivalence might move me a little towards greater clarity.
I want to say clearly that my gender identity causes me no distress. I'm biologically male and, on the whole I'm relatively comfortable with my male body. However, I have an identification with both genders and also with something (I'm unclear just what it is!) that is outside the gender binary.
For many years I have identified more with my feminine psychological aspects than with my masculine ones. Ever since I was a young adult I have preferred the social company of women over that of men. However, over the last ten years I have become increasingly conscious that I also have a female (as opposed to feminine) aspect that has lain dormant for most of my life and who increasingly demands recognition.
As a teenager and as a young man, while heterosexual in my own attractions, I always found it difficult to believe that women would find me sexually attractive. I always found it difficult to enact the male behaviours that many straight women (apparently) do find attractive. I suspect now that I had some gender ambivalence from quite an early age, though I did not see it that way at the time.
These days, my gender identification is very fluid - it can move from male to female and back and rest anywhere along the connecting line and can do so in a matter of days, hours or even minutes. I regard myself as lucky to have an ambivalent gender identity and I celebrate it. If I had been biologically female then my life would have been different but, that said, I do not wish to transition. I have total support and great respect for those who do transition but that is not my pathway.
I very much prefer to use the acronymn "LGBTIQ" rather than "LGBT" as I feel that neither "trans" nor "trans*" describe my identity. "Androgyne"has some resonance for me but "gender fluid" comes nearer than any other identification I have yet come across.
My main outward expression of my female persona is to cross dress in private. So I am a "cross dresser" in some respect but then, once I put on "female" clothes I have entered my female identity so it could be said that I am no longer "cross dressed". I talked about this in my post in the "Why do I cross dress?" thread in the MtF Cross Dressers' Discusion Forum.
This is part of what I wish to explore in this blog and, since my earliest memories of gender ambivalence involved cross dressing of sorts, that is where I'll start my exploration.
Till next post.......