For the second post in my interview series, I’ve been exploring the topic of gender fluidity and trying to educate myself on the issues surrounding it. If you missed the last interview post I did on veganism, you can find it here.
I try to live my life as an advocate for equality and fairness for all people, but it’s also important to recognise where my own privilege limits my understanding of certain issues. Gender, and our society’s wider understanding of
To delve into the subject of gender fluidity properly, I wanted to speak to real people who identify as being gender fluid about their lives, their experiences and what they’d like to communicate to people who don’t have any insight or understanding on the topic. It’d be really easy to assume that everyone takes the time to learn about the diversity around them, but that’d be both lazy and untrue. We’ve got a huge mountain to climb before society at large has a solid level of understanding of gender issues.
I reached out to Effie, a Twitter friend and new blogger who was kind enough to discuss her gender fluidity with me and provide some insight into her life as a gender fluid person. Read on to learn more about what being gender fluid means to her, and what it’s really like to live your life as a gender fluid person.
Hi I’m Effie. I try to call myself a blogger but I struggle to write anything. I’ve simply become a blogger that lies to myself about being a blogger and believes it.
Thanks for agreeing to talk to me about all this. Today we’re talking about gender fluidity and some of the issues surrounding that. Can you tell me a bit about your own definition of gender fluidity – what does it mean to you?
Gender fluid to me means being able to express both genders in different measures. Gender is on a spectrum. People are on either scale of being male to female and being gender fluid means you recognise that you move fluidly between them. Some days I can feel more male (the sex I was born) but then others I feel more female which allows me time to express my femininity.
What do you think are the most common misconceptions about gender fluid people?
I would say its understanding of it and knowing how to approach it with people. We are, as a human race, tuned in to seeing the characteristics of what is male and female and led to believe this is how we should see gender. Gender fluid people can’t help the way they are and feel. Gender fluid need to express this and the problem is people just assume you are gay or trans or cross-dressing.
How long have you been aware of your own gender fluidity?
For the past year I have finally embraced and came out to friends and family about my gender fluidity. By doing this it helped with my mental health and how I express myself. If I’m honest by opening up to more people it meant I didn’t feel the need to express so much my feminine side as I was being more comfortable with who I am and I didn’t need to constantly dress as a woman or create a separate alter ego etc. Expressing my femininity in male presentation is easier now and can be down to simple conversations or activities that I would consider a more feminine activity.
Was it a difficult thing to come to terms with or has it brought you greater happiness?
Very difficult because for years and years I assumed I was crazy, weird and possibly transgender. I assumed I needed to pick one gender and accept it. Understanding that I am a mixture of both genders and move along the spectrum allowed me to love who I am more. I stopped fighting it and embraced it. I can truly understand who I am now and own it.
Are your family and friends supportive of your gender fluidity? Do you think that they understand it really well?
My close friends and family have been amazing. It’s been easy to tell them because once I did I felt like I could be myself more. If anything it made it easier to relax and be me regardless of gender as they get me. If I come across more feminine one day they understand. It also removed the urge to constantly dress up in front of them as the sense of approval went away.
How do you deal with the opinions of those who don’t understand gender fluidity or are hurtful about it?
A year ago I would have cried and let it affect me, but now I’m really open and can swipe away negativity. Ignorance will always exist and only education can help them. I’m happy to explain my happiness and if it isn’t good enough for them, then that’s not my problem.
Do you think there’s enough support and resources out there for people who might need help coming to terms with their gender fluidity?
Honestly? No. I feel that gender fluidity is hard to sell as people are sceptical and can use this as an opportunity to go down a mental health road and use gender fluidity as an example of something that disproves gender identity with trans people. Gender fluidity is a hard thing to grasp, even for me, because on the outside it is confusing and often does sound flaky if I’m being truthfully honest. The only real people who can understand it are those who are gender fluid.
Not insensitive at all. Like I’ve mentioned above, it’s different as transgender people associate themselves to one gender, whether that’s male to female or female to male. Gender fluidity is more of a fluctuation between expression of gender because essentially you associate with both genders or sometimes no genders.
What would you tell your younger self, having experienced what you have now?
Express and accept yourself early on in your life. This way you can maybe work harder at getting a more feminine body and not eat so much and get fat 😉😉
Do you think the attitudes of the wider public have been welcoming or negative towards your gender fluidity?
I think it’s a balance of positive from people who accept all LGBT people. But it’s more a scepticism I notice surrounding the term gender fluidity. Because it’s a very new term and it’s difficult for people to understand something that isn’t concrete – it can be hard for them to accept.
What would you say to someone else who was struggling with these issues and didn’t know what to do about them?
Just listen to your heart and feelings. Research on the internet and find others out there who are similar to you. You are not alone and you are only you. Own it and be the best you that you can be.
Do you feel most confident as your feminine self or as your masculine self?
If I’m honest, I’m confident as my masculine self as I’ve had years to find out how to express it best. My feminine self allows me to be more aware and understanding. Being feminine I have been told I’m more socially aware and can be more caring. This isn’t something I switch on it just seems to be the way I express myself when I’m being my feminine self.
Is there anything you’d like people to really know and understand about gender fluidity, above all other things?
Gender fluid people are still people. First and foremost. It’s not a mental illness and not something that will change who the person is to you. If anything, gender fluid people offer more understanding of both genders.
I’m so glad that Effie was able to discuss this with me, although I was worried that I might phrase things awkwardly or say something insensitive. I do think its important to try and learn as much as you can about the people who live in your world though, and really broaden your understanding of the diversity in our society. I hope that you’ve found this interview interesting and can take lots of positives from it, as I know I will.
Thank you so much Effie for taking the time to do this with me!
If you’d like to discuss the issues raised in this interview or have any comments on the experiences Effie’s shared with us here then please do leave a comment in the box below and I’ll forward them on. You can also catch up with me over on Twitter or Facebook, and please do share this post if you think it might be helpful to someone you know.