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Not Another Aiden

Life of A Non-Standard Gay (trans)Guy

FtM 101: Sex, Sexuality, Gender, Gender Expression

This is something I probably should’ve posted months ago since it’s so useful for explaining not just transsexuality, but also how I can be a gay, effeminate FtM transsexual.  Back when I started this blog it was everywhere though so I figured I didn’t have to.  Apparently the trans community has changed a lot since then.

Everyone take out a piece of paper.  On that paper draw 4 horizontal lines.  Label the top line “Sex”, the second line “Sexuality”, the third line “Gender”, and the final line “Gender Expression”.  So now your paper should have something like this on it:

1

Now we need to add descriptions for the end points.  So on the Sex line label one side “Male” and the other “Female”.  Sexuality gets a bit tricky because people get confused by “gay” and “straight” when the person is trans.  So in this case we’re going to put “attracted to men” (or just “men”) on one side and “attracted to women” (or “women”) on the other.  Gender gets “Man” and “Woman” and Gender Expression has “Masculine” and “Feminine” (or butch/femme, masculine/effeminate, whatever similar words make you more comfortable).

Go ahead and add a marker in the centre of each line.  For Sex we’ll assume this is what most people would consider “true hermaphroditism” (horrible word, use “intersex person with ovotestes” instead).  In terms of sexuality it could be bisexual, pansexual, or whatever new word for “I like people, not parts” is in vogue at the moment.  The midpoint for gender would be genderqueer, bigendered, two-spirit, etc.  For gender expression we’ll call it androgynous.  Label these if you want, I’m not going to because it takes up too much space.  Now we have something like this:

2

Time to define our terms and fill in where we fit.  Sex is the physical sex we were born as.  Most of us were given an easy male or female and have found no reason to question that.  Some people have an intersex condition and therefore fall somewhere along the line.  In my case, my sex is considered female (though I’ve started to wonder).  Dot goes all the way at the far right end of that line.

Sexuality encompasses the people we are sexually attracted to.  Transmen are included with men and transwomen are included with women.  If you like “women and transmen” you really need to go read this because that’s a controversial (at best) view to have.  If you only date people who identify outside of the gender binary go ahead and put your dot in the middle or even somewhere off the line if you feel that fits you better.  I’m pretty boring, I like men.  So my dot goes all the way on the far left end of the line.

Gender is where it starts to get fun.  This is your internal sense of whether you’re a guy or a girl.  If you identify as non-gendered put your dot off the line.  Genderqueer leaning towards guy?  Somewhere towards the left of the middle.  Once again, I’m boring.  My dot goes all the way at the far left because I identify as 100% male.

Now we’re onto gender expression.  This is where people get confused.  Gender expression is not gender identity.  Just because I like glitter and stuffed animals does not mean that I’m something other than male.  I simply have a different way of expressing my gender.  I’m a bit of a queen, much like my non-trans friends.  My dot goes towards the far right, but not all the way to the end.  So now my paper looks like this:

3

One thing I see more and more newly out kids doing is saying “well, I’m not FtM because I’m not really guy-ish enough…”  You don’t have to be macho to be a transguy.  Just because you’re not a perfect 1950s image does not mean you have to identify as genderqueer.  If you really do feel like you’re not a guy or a girl then that’s great, but don’t say it because you think there’s only one way to be a guy.

By the same token, just because you like sports and cars and…I dunno, spitting doesn’t mean you have to be trans.  Plenty of tomboys exist in the world.  My mother is one of them, she’d be vastly offended if anyone implied she wasn’t a woman.  That’s why gender and gender expression are split, it all comes down to how you feel inside rather than how you present outside.

6 Responses to “FtM 101: Sex, Sexuality, Gender, Gender Expression”

  1. [...] This post was mentioned on Twitter by Quinn Waters. Quinn Waters said: Mega Cocks FtM 101: Sex, Sexuality, Gender, Gender Expression | Not Another Aiden http://bit.ly/Pbept [...]

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  2. Kian says:

    I find myself coming back to this post every now and wondering how I can combine the three gender and sex attributes in one graph with each one being its own axis.

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    • Not Aiden says:

      I’ve been trying to figure it out forever. I can’t seem to come up with a way that can be understood by the average person.

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  3. kian says:

    I have been drawing my own graphs on this subject for about two months now. I know what I want it to look like and how to make it readable, but I haven’t figured out the software yet. Plus, I keep procrastinating, what with the forums and all. :)

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  4. Pace Smith says:

    Aiden,

    Here are the graphs I drew on this subject. It sure is hard to get across in an easy-to-understand way.

    http://freakrevolution.com/2010/08/25/transgender-101/

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  5. [...] on by now that I just love labels oh so much.  Really, I do.*  So I came across this amazing blog yesterday and I’ve been slowly catching myself up with the posts, and I ran across this [...]

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