Thursday, July 18, 2019

Is “Gender-Fluid” The New Cross-Dressing?

Absolute declarations -
Like painting yourself into a corner.
I remember my early day of venturing out as Rhonda in the early '80s. Attending support group meeting and conventions were a critical element in building confidence. On evenings when I was not well put-together I was asked:  “Are you transitioning?"  On good presentation evenings, I was asked: “How long since you transitioned?”

It seemed I could not escape, "The Question".  

Back then you were either a cross-dresser or a transsexual and transitioning bridged the two.  Everyone had to fit into either of those categories. There were support groups, of that day, that discriminated and excluded you from attending if you were transitioning or transsexual.  

Several groups that I attended were never comfortable with my presentation/attending and my not declaring which category I represented.  That is why the two groups I founded were open, allowing anyone to attend. No declarations needed.

As these two, “must-fit-all", terms finally fade into obscurity I personally like the transgender descriptor. We have all come to understand that gender is truly a spectrum and what may work for someone today, may not be best for tomorrow. Situations and desires change.  

I never thought I was a true transsexual (born in the wrong body), but always knew I was not just cross-dressing. My need for expression, acceptance and interaction runs much deeper than erotic relief.  

So is “gender-fluid” the new cross-dressing? 

Dictionary.com gives us insight into the etymology of gender-fluid.  

Gender-fluid is a non-binary gender identity that’s not fixed and is capable of changing over time.
The mid-1990's into the early 2000's was when trans identities, like gender-fluid identities, were finding their footing. Online communities, because of their private yet communal nature, were safe places for LGBTQ people and are where many first encountered the word gender-fluid.

The late 2000's and the 2010's were when the term truly began to be noticed, venturing somewhat out of online forums, especially in academic literature. This was also the time when millennials, of whom 12% identify as non-cisgender, were beginning to come of age. By 2011, gender-fluid had 37,000 hits on Google. In 2018, this increased to a staggering 2.3 million.

Social media has begun to catch up with the changing understanding, and growing acceptance, of non-binary gender. In 2014, Gender Fluid and gender-fluid were added as gender options to Facebook and OkCupid, respectively.

A person isn’t considered gender-fluid just because they like to wear typically masculine clothing one day and feminine clothing the next day—that is considered a form of gender expression. To be gender-fluid is chiefly a question of internal personal identity, and is, therefore, a psychological phenomenon.
Does "gender-fluid" fit for you? What is your opinion?  


  1. If I had to give myself a label, it would be "Binary Transgender Woman." I don't know, though, if I should now change that to "Gender-Solid Transgender Woman. Even though I spent the vast majority of my life walking the fence between being a man and being a woman, it was not due to gender-fluidity that I did so. In my mind, it was a necessary evil that I had created and to which I had succumbed.

    I don't think it's unusual for many young people to question their own gender or sexual identities. It's as true today as it was when I was young. It's just that it is much more acceptable by today's society to express and experiment openly.

    Yes, I did say gender and sexual in the same sentence. I've never subscribed to the old "gender is between the ears and sex is between the legs." If human sex were confined to only between the legs, purely out of animal instinct, and without involving the brain, it would be a terribly inferior experience. For many trans people, what's between the legs is a large contributor to one's dysphoria.
    For others, just putting on the clothing of the "opposite" gender can be a sexual experience in itself.

    I don't understand gender-fluidity any more than a cis-person can understand me. When I've been (sincerely) questioned about my transgender status, I always have said that I could never explain it so that they would be able to understand. I wasted far too much of my life trying to understand myself, after all. I now just say that my gender identity feels as natural to me as yours does to you. We don't need to understand the reasons for each other's gender identity or sexual orientation; just realize that we are all individuals, and we are made up of a lot of things that make each of us unique. We all have the inalienable right to be who we are. As someone said, if you've met one transgender person, you've met ONE transgender person.

  2. By the strict definition I am not sure I qualify. I am more the type that likes my basic male self but truly enjoys the feminine side of things so I guess what I do comes under the category as being a 'form of gender expression.'

  3. Do what you want with your life, no need to label yourself or give complex explanations to ppl. If someone doesn't accept you for who you are give him/her the middle finger and go on with your life. Don't wait for society's validation, it's about living your life and loving yourself, whatever your choices.