Author Topic: terminology - 'gender expansive'?  (Read 609 times)

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Offline voidbird

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terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« on: July 30, 2020, 01:38:46 pm »
I have a loving and supportive partner who has dealt remarkably well with me turning out to be a different gender than the one we both thought I was.  She's done her homework (and probably more reading about trans life and issues than I have).

She sometimes feels troubled using the term 'non-binary' for me, since it's a negation rather than a statement of positive identity.  I get it, I think, though it doesn't really trouble me.

Recently we happened across the term 'gender-expansive'. I could see relief on her face and readiness to embrace it as a term for me.

The definitions I've found for 'gender expansive' feel very close to common definitions of non-binary.  Here's the definition offered by pflag:  "Gender Expansive - An umbrella term sometimes used to describe people that expand notions of gender expression and identity beyond what is perceived as the expected gender norms for their society or context. Some gender-expansive individuals identify as a man or a women, some identify as neither, and others identify as a mix of both. Gender-expansive people feel that they exist psychologically between genders, as on a spectrum, or beyond the notion of the man/woman binary paradigm, and sometimes prefer using gender-neutral pronouns (see Personal Gender Pronouns). They may or may not be comfortable with their bodies as they are, regardless of how they express their gender."

That sounds just about right to me!  It's very open-ended, but honestly I'm in a bit of an open-ended space these days.

But, people seem to almost always use the term 'gender expansive' for kids & teens who have something gender-y going on, but haven't had time to figure out what exactly it is.

What does everyone here think?  Have you ever heard it used as a term for adults?  Do you know anyone who self-identifies this way?  Does it feel like something distinct from being non-binary? 

Offline AllieSF

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #1 on: July 30, 2020, 02:18:05 pm »
I really like PFlag's definition and it says "people".  You and I and everyone else here are people.  There is no separation for age, etc., so I say, if you like it use it.  I do get the negative side of non-binary, "non = not" instead of "is", which does sound much better and definitely more positive.

Just my 21/2 cents here,

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Offline Jessica_Rose

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #2 on: July 30, 2020, 02:36:11 pm »
Just think how limiting 'binary' is. You can only be one or the other, and you can't stray out of either gender box. Seems a bit stifling. 'Gender expansive' does sound much more inclusive.

I'm reminded of a bumper sticker I saw several years ago...

There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

Offline RandiL

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #3 on: July 30, 2020, 06:51:28 pm »

I'm reminded of a bumper sticker I saw several years ago...

There are 10 kinds of people in the world, those who understand binary and those who don't.

Lol, even I, a long time software developer didn't get this joke at first! Hint: base 2! Thanks for (en)lightening my day Jessica

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Offline Asche

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #4 on: July 30, 2020, 09:23:03 pm »
She sometimes feels troubled using the term 'non-binary' ..., since it's a negation rather than a statement of positive identity.

"Negative" need not be a bad thing.  I'm thinking of the term "negative space" in art.

For me, calling myself "non-binary" is a way of asserting my freedom.  It doesn't define who I am, only what I am free from: the slavery of society's rigid binary conception of gender.

"Red" is a specific color.  "Not-red" can be any color it wants to be.
"...  I think I'm great just the way I am, and so are you." -- Jazz Jennings

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Offline EZ Linus

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #5 on: August 02, 2020, 01:57:46 pm »
I have never heard of this, but I think I like it. Though (and I know this is a problem I have yet to conquer), I get hung up a bit on what others accept. I feel like they are just beginning to accept non-binary and trans. I am 52 and these terms weren't really around when I was younger. I really like gender-expansive because it's way more positive and it sits right with me because there are days when I want to wear a little makeup, or wear a pink shirt.

However, there's a part of me that kind of resents the fact that "pink" or makeup is considered only for females. That shouldn't be. All males should be able to wear these things if they want, even if they don't feel trans, right? Society is such a mind-game.

Anyway, I do like this term and will start using it and see how it goes over with my friends. I still live with a lot of fear and need to get over it.

Offline DebbieB

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #6 on: August 15, 2020, 02:50:12 am »
Over the last 50 years, I've seen several different terms used.
Which ones are appropriate may depend on where you consider yourself to be along the spectrum and how much does it shift?
Gender-fluid is often used for someone who can slide across the gender spectrum.
Gender-queer is often used for someone who likes to exhibit both genders at the same time, in a way that makes their birth gender unclear.
Femme, and Queen are often used by those assigned male at birth who present as more feminine but not as a girl.
Butch or Soft Butch is often used by those assigned female at birth who present as more masculine but not as a guy
Gender-fux - an unusual form - usually assigned male at birth, trans, and presents as female, but still has a beard or other distinctly male traits.  Some of the spellings of this trigger alerts and censors.

There is no wrong term, you want to find the term that best fits who you want to present as at this time.

For many non-binary people, the presentation and the terminology evolves over time, often as their comfort level with their birth gender decreases or their true gender becomes more clear.  It's perfectly OK to be anywhere on the spectrum and to shift any direction as you feel comfortable.

Through High School and College I was non-binary.
The Katie Perry song "You're so gay and you don't even like boys" really captured where I was.
I was accepted by the gay community because I was a femme boy, but when they would ask me if I was gay I would go effeminate and say "yes, of course daalink, I'm a lesbian".  It was as honest as I could possibly be at the time, but most of my friends just thought I was joking and was straight.  Only a few of my girlfriends realized how honest I really was.

Of course, even when I tried to "butch up", for a public appearance or a business meeting with a new person, it was often awkward.  At best I was "a bit gay" and at worst I was the "faggot".

The homosexual communities are actually much more tolerant of trans non-binary people than the straight world, but much of this depends on your birth gender and sexual preference.  With a group of gay men, my femme personality went over great, and I was even popular, but with a group of lesbians who knew I was attracted to women, many of the women would become jealous and possessive, especially soft-butch lesbians.  The most threatened were the girlfriends of bisexuals.  Often the bisexual girl was attracted to a soft-butch girl, but the partner's fear was that the bi girl might find an openly femme guy who liked girls to be too much of a temptation.

The good news is that you already have a partner who loves you and accepts you as you are, and the two of you can explore different communities to see where you are comfortable.

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Offline Rakel

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #7 on: August 15, 2020, 04:54:01 am »
Over the last 50 years, I've seen several different terms used.
Which ones are appropriate ...

I am also someone who has been around for quite a while. People like us have seen the terminology change dramatically over the years. I expect this to continue until we run out of words.  ::)  :laugh:

Every generation has their own ways of expressing what they feel is something new. God bless them.  :angel:

As we expand our vocabulary, more people come to understand our condition. Thank you all for your contributions and continue to help the world understand us.


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Offline Froodah

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Re: terminology - 'gender expansive'?
« Reply #8 on: December 03, 2020, 02:33:53 am »
Yay hurray for gender expansive! Viva revolution.