Social Anxiety and Being Genderfunny

Whether you’re meeting a group of people for the first time, spending time with relatives, or hanging out with friends you’ve known for years, being a genderfunny person can create some social obstacles. In what kinds of spaces do you deal with social anxiety?

Genderqueer Chicago always has fantastic topics. I’m always impressed by how creative and yet relevant they are — especially since I’ve facilitated discussion groups before, and I know how it difficult it can be to think of a decent topic of conversation. Being “genderfunny,” as GqC calls it, can make things difficult, particularly when I’m not in the company of other genderfunny people.

I cannot wait until the T kicks in a little more — right now, most people still read me as female, and it makes me invisible. And I really am impatient for my voice to actually drop and not just lower a bit: getting called “ma’am” and “Ms.” repeatedly today on the phone was disheartening. I knew I should’ve expected it, but I was a little taken back by just how much it bothered me.

That aside, spending time with people I’ve known for a long time can also be a source of anxiety. Am I going to be assumed “one of the girls”? I wonder whether people remember I’m trans — in some cases, if they know I’m trans. I’m definitely not in the closet, but I also haven’t specifically told everyone I’ve ever met. I’m never quite sure how much people know about me — what they’ve heard along the grapevine, whether they’ve read my blog, what they make of my gender presentation. Do they think me a girl? A dyke? A straight boy (because I used to be a gay girl for a while)? Awkward.

There’s this weird tension between wanting to show people that I’m the same person I’ve always been and also wanting to make it clear that I’ve changed. I inevitably feel like I’ve not managed to balance everything quite right.

With people I know and with strangers, I find myself wanting to be visibly queer and trans  . . . and also to blend in when I get apprehensive and overwhelmed and scared. I want people to not see me as a woman, but I don’t want to change who I am in order to have that happen — I don’t want to change how I speak, or sit, or stand, or whether I talk with my hands, in order to somehow “pass” better. If being read as not-woman means I need to be someone else, it’s not worth it.

I want to bring everything I am to the table — Mawrtyr identity and love for Broadway, fascination with sparkly things and need for hugs, soft spot for small animals and so much more — and still be called “mister.” It’s happened before, and I don’t want to compromise who I am in order to keep it.

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2 responses to “Social Anxiety and Being Genderfunny

  1. “With people I know and with strangers, I find myself wanting to be visibly queer and trans . . . and also to blend in when I get apprehensive and overwhelmed and scared”

    Oh gods, yes. I seem to have acquired passing privilege somehow, and I’m so conflicted about it… on the one hand, I don’t want to be stealth or invisible, and I feel unfortunately guilty about coming into it so easily, but also I don’t want to be harassed in the bathroom.

  2. Pingback: The Amazingness That Is Genderqueer Chicago | Beyond Bryn Mawr

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