Tag Archives: identity

The Importance of Coming Out

Coming out is important to me. I know for some people, it’s not a big deal — they can really take it or leave it. For others, it’s this awkward thing that would perhaps better be circumvented by dropping hints, letting people draw their own conclusions, or an offhand remark about their past (prior to transitioning or coming out as not being cisgendered).¬†And all that is fine; however people choose to come out, or not come out, is their business.

For me, though, it’s important to directly, explicitly come out as trans. Part of this is for people who knew me before — before I started to use different pronouns, before I started going by Ryan, mostly before I moved to Chicago. I can drop all of the hints I want, I can go on for ages about how awesome GQC is, and unless I specifically tell them that I’m trans, they’ll still consider me a woman (after all, the clothes can be attributed to me being a “lesbian,” and the interest in trans issues can be attributed either to my involvement with the LBGT community or to my concentration in Gender and Sexuality in college, including my thesis on dismantling the binary systems of gender and sex). Continue reading

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I Want To Be Fabulous

I guess I’m still trying to figure out what my gender is, or rather, how to express that. When I started identifying as trans, it was largely because I realized I didn’t “feel like” a woman, I didn’t identify as a woman. That led me to reassess so much about my gender presentation. I stopped wearing make up, nail polish, sparkly anything, fitted shirts, flared jeans. It wasn’t really because I didn’t think female-bodied transfolk could wear that. Partly, it was because I didn’t want people to see me as a woman. And partly, I’ve realized, because it made me feel like a woman, and I couldn’t handle that. I never stopped liking it; I just stopped liking it for myself.

I’ve recently (very recently, a week ago recently) realized, though, that I want that back. I want to be able to wear sparkles and makeup and flared jeans sometimes and not feel like a woman and not be seen as a woman. Plenty of gay cisboys do it. There are even transfolk and genderqueers who pull it off, too, which I’ve just realized and sort of taken to mean that I could, too. Continue reading

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A Week of Looking Like Someone Else

I started today on a roughly week-long family vacation. Destination: Florida. More specifically, that happiest place on earth, Disney World. I am, of course, really excited and absolutely do not want to seem ungrateful for the no-doubt fabulous vacation for which my parents are paying.

I am, however, also apprehensive about the trip. It’s Florida (which means hot); it’s Disney (which means we’ll be outside a lot); and it’s my family (which means that there are some things, gender-wise, that I’m not yet sharing). More to the point, my wardrobe is drastically different from what I would otherwise wear (mostly due to the fact that it will be extremely hot out, but also partly because we’re sharing luggage, and that calls for a bit of self-editing). Continue reading

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I Feel Like I’m Losing Myself

I feel like I’m being pulled in so many different directions. I don’t know how–I’ve never know how–to deal with multiple identities in a way that doesn’t cause one of them to be neglected and ignored. I’m a Korean adoptee, but I’m also queer and trans, and I haven’t yet been able to figure out a way to unite those identities, instead of simply pushing one to the foreground and the other to the back.

I was at the Dragon Festival today. My old dance group (Korean traditional dance, mainly for Korean adoptees) was involved in hosting an exceptional group of professional Korean dancers, as well as two b-boys, all from Korea, at that festival. It was an amazing performance. Despite the heat, the sprinkling of rain, and the outdoors location, it was one of the best Korean dance performances I’ve seen (including several in Korea). Continue reading

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Listening to the Right Voice

It sometimes seems as though there’s this societal insistence that gender can only be either personal or social. It’s either directly due to people as individuals, or it’s solely the result of socialization. Furthermore, I, at least, have felt a message that it needs to be individual, in order to be “real” or “authentic” or “legitimate.”

There’s this idea that how I feel about my gender, or how I present myself, isn’t real if it’s influenced by society. It’s only considered legitimate if I do something because it’s what I want for myself, not because I want others to view me in a certain way. And while I understand and respect the importance of staying true to oneself and not being too bothered by the rest of the world, it’s an undeniable fact that we’re influenced by society. And that’s okay. That’s simply how the world is. Humans are social creatures; we do not exist in a vacuum. We cannot act as though we’ve never noticed, or been affected by, how society treats us. We can’t ever truly know how we’d feel about gender if we hadn’t had any sort of social influences–societal pressures, messages, and expectations are such a part of our lives that to do so would be impossible. It would mean having been raised without other people around (particularly impossible, given how dependent human infants and children are), without human-made clothing, without books and toys and so many other things. Continue reading

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Feeling Dapper

I’ve needed to dress up five times this past weekend and week for graduation and senior week, and I’d been absolutely dreading it. I’m not good with dressing up–it’s a combination of not knowing what to wear (given that all of the messages I’ve received about how to look nice involve dresses and heels and such) and not having clothes to wear (given that menswear is expensive and generally is ill-fitting on me). Additionally, I get really self-conscious because I know that for dress-up events, most of the people around me will be wearing dresses, skirts, and other girly clothes (at the very least, really fitted pants and blazer), and that makes me stick out.

However, my fellow classmates at my college are incredible, and I’ve actually had a blast this week. I’ve been wearing varying combinations of ties, vests, button downs, pants, and a blazer, and it’s been great. I’ve gotten so many compliments–from my friends, yes, but also from people I’m not actually that close to. My class is wonderful: they’ve just been so amazing for my confidence. Continue reading

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Please Don’t Call My Drink “Girly”

Today was the boat cruise. Every year, after all papers and exams are done, the seniors at my college have a tradition on going on a dinner cruise on the river with some of the favorite faculty and staff. This was it, and overall, it was awesome.

Parts of it were less awesome. My friend looked at our drinks (she had a Sex On The Beach; another friend and I both had Cosmopolitans) and said, “We’re so girly!” Awesome. Great. Thanks. So not what I want to hear. The next drink I ordered was a vodka tonic. Continue reading

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