1. morphghost
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    morphghost New Member

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    Gender Fluidity and Identity

    Discussion in 'Research' started by morphghost, Feb 12, 2016.

    Hello all, after having to decide between a male or a female protagonist for many, many stories over the past few years, I found myself indecisive this time around when I came up with a fantasy idea. After pondering this, I decided that the character will be gender-fluid (GF), adding a little diversity to my shared fictional universe and allowing me the opportunity to step into the shoes of different people; in this case, gender fluidity. I am an asexual cis-male so I don't know much about gender fluid individuals, what their pronouns are, what their mentality is (not in an offensive way), and how this affects their behavior and lifestyle.

    I chose a gender neutral name that the character has given themselves: Alex. Furthermore, they will wear a customized band (like those charity ones that were popular many years ago) with a pink and a blue side, allowing the character to express their current identity. Aside from this, I still lack knowledge on gender fluidity and identity. If there are any resources available for me to research with or a user on here who is GF and wouldn't mind messaging me, the help will be appreciated.

    Thank you in advance.
    MG. Allen
     
  2. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    This confuses me. Among several other issues, it seems to assume that the person is ALL MALE one day and ALL FEMALE another day. From what very (very) little I've read about gender fluidity, that doesn't seem accurate.
     
  3. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    It's one of those Tumblr things, like using spoons to represent how much energy you have left. I don't think it's taken very seriously outside Tumblr.

    I'm agender, which overlaps more than you might expect. Both come from knowing who you are and recognizing that other people's ideas of "male" or "female" don't map onto you. I think when you don't fit into "common sense" boundaries, there's an element of choice involved--I choose to reject boundaries, while others choose to blur and break them.

    (I'm not sure how much I should go into detail, since I'm not genderfluid per se and don't personally know anyone who is. I don't want to be misleading.)
     
  4. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    If gender is separate from biological sex, what actually defines it aside from connotation?
     
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  5. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    I personally think the only "universal" way to define gender is in relation to body image and dysphoria. Any other definition of gender is contextual to how gender has been framed within a specific culture. (If you were to try to come up with an objective gender for every single person, you'd probably wind up with hundreds or thousands of genders.)
     
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  6. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    What defines it is medical science. We know that someone's experience of internal gender is not necessarily matching with external gender= sex. Some people don't feel like the body they have because they have a confusion= non-binary gender identities. Of course, this is not to say they have delusion, far from it; the confusion is biological. Really, the solution to your problem boils down to " look it up". It's as simple as that.
     
  7. izzybot
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    izzybot Human Disaster Contributor

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    Spoon theory isn't a tumblr thing.

    The idea of the blue and pink band seems a bit simplistic to me personally, but it does make me think of these necklaces I saw on etsy a while back, so I suppose it's the kind of thing that'd work for some people.

    As far as pronouns go, it's dependent on the person. You could alternate between 'she' and 'he' if - as I'm assuming - you essentially are aiming for a character who's both male and female (using whichever's applicable as backed up by the band), or you could use singular 'they' or a nontraditional pronoun like 'ze' or 'xe'.

    Honestly I'd just google genderfluidity and see what you can find, especially looking for things written by actual genderfluid people. It's not so much a writing issue as it is an understanding a type of person issue.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
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  8. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    I'm observing from the outside, so there are certain to be nuances I'm missing, but I think there's an interesting dynamic with a lot of transgender/non-binary people - or at least a lot of them as I read them on the internet! (The few I know in person seem less interested in the theory, more interested in just living their day-to-day lives).

    I think maybe it's an element of "gender as performance" (although it's been too long since I've read Butler to be sure I'm using her term the way she intended). But when I see trans women spending a lot of time on makeup and hair and wearing dresses and skirts and lots of jewelry and everything, it does seem like a very surface level of stereotypical "femininity". I understand that at least some of this effort is because it's important for them to "pass" as women, or to not give anyone a reason to question their woman-ness, or whatever - a sort of defensive thing, I think? And that makes sense to me.

    But then I read about a gender fluid character using a pink or blue bracelet to indicate current identity, and again it seems like a sort of... like the character is embracing gender stereotypes at the same time as rejecting them?

    When it comes to individual people, none of this is my business and I absolutely support the rights of people to express themselves however they want (as long as they aren't hurting others). But when I try to wrap my mind around the theory, I get pretty confused.

    I'm a woman, and on weekends I wear clothes that are indistinguishable from men's clothing (jeans or sweats, Tshirt and hoodie, etc.) I don't consider this unfeminine.

    When I see trans men, they don't often seem to be going over-the-top in their expressions of stereotypical masculinity, but then I wonder what they'd have to do to appear as stereotypically masculine as a woman in a dress and hair and makeup appears stereotypically feminine. Maybe there's just a lot more range in the ways women express their gender?

    I don't know. I guess what I'm saying is really just a long-winded and disorganized version of @NeighborVoid's question - without the stereotypes and societal expectations, what does gender even mean, once it's removed from biological sex?
     
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  9. Inks
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    Inks Contributing Member

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    I think that the over-the-top or stereotypical expressions are a matter of self-validation and an attempt to forge an identity when their is no longer a clear boundary. Identity is an importance concept and does not always match our physical forms.
     
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  10. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Dysphoria can be classed with pre-op transsexual and post-op transsexual. If someone actually manages to change their chromosomes to that of the opposite sex, then they're simply the opposite sex.

    edit: If I identify as a robot but have nothing in common with a robot, then I'm a pre-op transrobot. If I identify as a robot and go through cyborg surgery, then I'm a post-op transrobot. If I make the full transition, then I'm just a robot.

    Same goes with pre-op and post-op <ace/bi/etc>sexual.
     
    Last edited: Feb 13, 2016
  11. BayView
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    BayView Contributing Member Contributor

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    And that kind of makes sense to me with trans people. But in my mind at least, someone who's non-binary is... isn't that person kind of happy there's "no longer a clear boundary"?
     
  12. Mckk
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    Mckk Moderator Staff Supporter Contributor

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    Why would he wear a band just to proclaim he's gender fluid? First of all, marking yourself out like that is usually a bad thing - think of the Jews and the yellow stars they were forced to wear by the Nazis. Second of all, being gender fluid would be such a normal thing to them that they probably wouldn't feel the need to make sure everybody knows, especially someone who is confident in their sexual identity, I'd imagine.
     
  13. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    First off, what's your point? Is that supposed to counter what I said? Because it doesn't, it's part of the same understanding
    Secondly, there's an operation for sexualities?
     
  14. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    There is still a boundary. There's always a boundary. If you can define your identity, there is a boundary for it, and if there isn't, your concept is shit. As much as we want to super-tolerant and accepting, there is the need to take people's identities with a grain of salt. I only accept those I can see a clear medical support for, because otherwise we're just enabling people to come up with whatever labels they want without fact or clear consistency. (Not to say I reject non-binary, I'm just suspicious of some variants that clash with other more established ones)
     
  15. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    They might wear a band if he/she/xe? is quite proud. I happen to be the kind of person who is very open about my own gayness, I feel the urge to tell everyone eventually. I would totally wear something that is expressive of that if it weren't for my shy, insecure side fight relentlessly with my assertive, confident side. I'll probably do it once I have a boyfriend to support me and stuff.
     
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  16. ChickenFreak
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    ChickenFreak Contributing Member Contributor

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    You say that as if there's a clear reason why it's a bad thing. I'm not seeing that reason?
     
  17. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Because labels exist to communicate categories. Imagine if we let people use whatever terms they wanted for race. For example; it would make no sense for me, as an Australian with heavy Irish background, to identify as "Part African" or something. You have to have an element of fact and consistency simply because they are part of the the issue. Do you want to accept that some guy with Jerusalem Syndrome is the saviour? No, just because it's nice to be accepting doesn't mean we can afford to always do it. It is for the ultimate benefit of the person that they suffer having to lose that identity because the identity is false.
     
  18. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    You propose that gender is valid and is the sex one internally identifies as. Simply identifying as a thing does not make one that thing. I do not become Abraham Lincoln just because I identify as Abraham Lincoln. For the second point, I was referring to those who wish to be biologically ace/bi/whatever. I've seen glimpses of those kinds of people on the internet.
     
  19. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    First, I'm saying that gender is separate from sex, is more important to who we are, and is in fact biological, as being made at least partially from your nervous system, particularly hormones which are important to gender and sex. I would agree you can't be Abraham Lincoln internally. If you read one of my other posts; "I only accept those I can see a clear medical support for, because otherwise we're just enabling people to come up with whatever labels they want without fact or clear consistency."
    Secondly, how can you be made biologically bisexual? Your attraction is generated by your nervous system, with some genetic and/or epigenetic decider, it's already biological. There's no surgery possible and no surgery necessary. You mean surgery to be hermaphroditic or something maybe? That's not orientation changing surgery, that's a form of gender-reassignment.
     
  20. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    I do not doubt that some desire to be a different sex. However, that desire is simply a desire and nothing more, unless they take action to transform themselves.

    Many desire to be part of the wealthy upper-class, but unless they have great wealth and power, they are not part of that class.

    No kidding, there are people on Tumblr like that.
     
  21. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    I agree that surgery is good, but gender is not sex, and gender dysphoria; the sensation of having a different gender than your sex, is by no means a choice. I just explained how gender is equally as real as sex; you seem to have ignored my explanation.
     
  22. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Yeah, this is more about classification than whether or not people can feel like they're a different sex; again, I don't doubt the existence of dysphoria. I just think the labelling of gender is redundant. People who feel that they have a different sex than their biological sex is simply transsexual, regardless of whether they're pre-op or post-op. Pre-op transsexual means that one feels like a different sex; transgender means that one feels like a different sex. Post-op transsexual is just transgender with surgery.

    Bottom line : Pre-op transsexual and transgender are synonymous.
     
  23. Oscar Leigh
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    Oscar Leigh Contributing Member

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    Then what was the point in saying it if you really weren't disagreeing with me? And why did you act like a transphobe? "You propose that gender is valid and is the sex one internally identifies as. Simply identifying as a thing does not make one that thing.' That sounds like disbelieving the truth of gender dysphoria, despite your assertion that you don't disbelieve. So what were you doing?
     
  24. NeighborVoid
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    NeighborVoid Active Member

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    Miscommunication caused by us using different terminology compounded by the fact that I don't frequently involve myself in discussions about subjects like this. My initial opinion on the matter wasn't very concrete.
     
  25. Feo Takahari
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    Feo Takahari Active Member

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    Yeesh. I figured this would get ugly, but I didn't expect it to get quite this ugly. :eek:

    To try to rerail this topic, I don't think it really matters what the character is. What matters is what they consider themself. I once wrote an otherkin protagonist, and while I personally wouldn't say he was "really" a dragon, the fact that he considered himself one was what mattered in how I wrote his character.

    I don't have any good resources beyond basic Google searches, but to consider this character in the abstract, I think you need to figure out what "male" and "female" mean to them personally. If they're between male and female, or more male sometimes than other times, what are the things they're between or moving back and forth from? What is it about "male" and "female" that make them think "those aren't me"? (Or at least "those aren't always me"?)
     

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