Community Conversation > Non-binary talk

Gender is a funny thing


Deb Roz:

I'm a AMAB person who has been questioning their gender for a number of years now without landing in any particular place.  This is why I'm posting in Non-binary now.  If that doesn't seem like the right place to post, please let me know.

Anyway, I had a moment today, which clarified something I've noticed for most of my adult life.  That is the learned part of gender.  I can't tell the difference between my learned gendered responses to the expectations of others, and my honest feelings. 

I just had a moment when a woman coworker needed my help with something on the computer, and I walked her through it.  She was very gracious, and thanked me profusely.  I ran into her again, and she made it a point to thank me again.  In my mind I had a very distinct feeling:  This is gender.  I know this.  She is performing her gender and now it's my job to gender back at her. 

And I keep thinking:  Do I know this because of practice?  Or is it something else?  I really... I have no idea. 


How we perceive social interactions is complex and, to be honest, I am not an expert in this area.

I would be more inclined to view your interaction with your coworker as a common curtesy or maintaining a good working environment, either of which can be done by anyone of any gender. Good manners are not gender specific.

There is a clinical definition of gender. The World Health Organization (WHO) defines gender as: “Gender refers to the socially constructed characteristics of women and men, such as norms, roles, and relationships of and between groups of women and men. It varies from society to society and can be changed.”

However you chose to remember your interaction with your coworker is your prerogative. I just want to applaud your sense of cooperation and willingness to help others.  :eusa_clap:

It's an interesting question, and I pondered it for awhile but without much clarity. I think many of us have wondered "What is a woman" or "What is a man" and few have answers that satisfy me. And of course non binary "genders" or non-genders are yet another conundrum.

Thanks for bringing it up anyway

Sent from my dual-floppy Victor 9000 using Tapatalk


--- Quote from: RandiL on February 24, 2021, 12:14:53 am ---It's an interesting question, and I pondered it for awhile but without much clarity. I think many of us have wondered "What is a woman" or "What is a man" and few have answers that satisfy me. And of course non binary "genders" or non-genders are yet another conundrum.

Thanks for bringing it up anyway

Sent from my dual-floppy Victor 9000 using Tapatalk

--- End quote ---

Just wanted to share a perspective that I have come to over time that I think might help those who have asked the same thing.

I think most people are well enough aware of the Societal definitions of Gender and Roles which even in the USA can vary incredibly depending on where you are from so while we have "Norms" there, and a diffusion of those especially in more metropolitan areas where you are more likely to have a "Melting Pot" of people of different backgrounds and conversely in many rural areas more fixed definitions (much to my Chagrin living rurally) The point is from a societal viewpoint there are many variables that make definitions somewhat murky.
But the "What is a Man" and "What is a Woman" that we feel inside, especially the feelings we have that feed into us from an almost subconscious level I believe are formed from birth through our formative years, with much of that not remembered in detail, but remembered as feelings and nuances from our early experiences with the men and women who were our role models at the time... In essence they become the subconscious pattern of what a Man or Woman is and what the Genders represent. At least that is what I have come to believe over the years from both my own experience and those of some people I have been close to who also fall into the LBGTQ community and even shows up in the behaviors (both good and bad) of many in the Straight Community... Deep subject Indeed.
Personally I've questioned who I am and why many times over the years, Have come to conclusions and then have had to go back to square one several times over as I learned more about my childhood and my parents. Too much to list in it's entirety but a couple of things that were Big were...

Growing up my Dad was often an Angry man who never really expressed Love to my Sister and I and when he did it was almost as if he had to "Force" himself to do so so it never felt sincere. He also had tremendous guilt and if we were to get hurt or he accidentally hurt us instead of reacting with care he reacted with Anger because he felt guilty, so when I started questioning / discovering myself I had to wonder if perhaps part of my "Rejection" of being a "Man" came from what I learned a Man was from Childhood.

Several Years Later when I had pretty much come to terms with who I was and amid a bad / dissolving marriage when I finally came out to my Dad (Mom had already passed), He came out to me that he was a CrossDresser and had been for most of my Youth (I was in my early 40's now)... Nature or Nurture? Am I "Me" because I was born this way or Because even though I was unaware consciously was my definition of a "Man" changed because of who he was besides what I already knew about my childhood? .... Back to trying to understand Why and How though I accepted that I am.

Ten Years of building an Understanding of "Me" and being in a pretty good place (now Mid 50's) And after some Trauma and Drama my Dad Passed, and my world changed, much more than I thought it would as I realized that even though I lived my own life, a bigger part of than I realized still revolved around wanting to make my Father "Proud" etc.  Anyway Lots of Discussions Later with my Sister about growing up and the realization that though I never felt there was abuse the truth of it was there was a lot of emotional abuse (much of it "benign abuse" where it wasn't done hatefully, but had the same effects on both my Sister and I). I also found out that my Father told / unloaded different parts of his life to each of us. What ended up coming out was that while my Dad told me he was Abused, Beaten, Derided and things of that nature he told my Sister that he was Abused Sexually by his Father and that three of the seven Siblings both male and female were.  The effect on my understanding of all of the How's and Why's were again turned upside down... Nature or Nurture, and am I who I am because of knowing what I don't want to be with my Father before me being who he was for Similar reasons? ....
Sorry for the lengthy post, It's just a Subject that has been a huge part of trying to understand myself and the world around me, which perhaps it shouldn't be. The real truth is at the end of the day like everyone else, I am who I am and I have chosen to accept myself, and I'm sharing this in the hopes that others on their own journey perhaps will find value in some of what I have experienced fwiw. 

One word answer


you either hold them open or they are held open for you


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