Visibility for the gender non-conforming community

I have not met most of you unless you were one of my FB friends before I decided to pull the plug on my nearly 1,000 “friends.”  I am now rethinking that decision after a session with my counselor who has helped me come to grips with my genderfluid self over the past three-plus years.  She is a “butch lesbian” (her description) and pointed out that the CD/gender non-conforming community will never be accepted if we do not at least have visibility within the LGBTQ community.

I work from home and I can be Carrie virtually whenever I want.  I am lucky to have a supportive wife.  I shop for groceries, go out to eat and spend time as Carrie pretty much at will.  In the past year I have pulled back from the local groups, Denver’s Gender Identity Center, the GBLT center in Denver, Out Boulder County and our local Tri-Ess group just because I felt some conflict in all of the groups.  I get the, “So, you are genderfluid, huh?  When are you going to transition/pick a side/get comfortable and admit you are a woman?”  In the LGBTQ community I would say gender non-conforming people are the least understood of any group and by pulling back I added to that.  In the general community, I am very visible – except nobody notices because I have a nice wardrobe and I dress to blend even though I am 5’10” and 185 pounds.

What I mean by this is that by staying closeted and on forums where all of us feel safe we run the risk of our community becoming even more marginalized. While there is the serious concern for safety, especially with today’s political climate, there are “safe harbors” in virtually every city across the US in the form of LGBTQ centers.  As genderfluid (sorry, I just do not like CROSSDRESSER as my label – when I am Carrie, I am Carrie for days or weeks and do not feel like I am crossdressing, but I know I AM part of the community) I need to help other LGBTQ people see that there are a LOT of others like me.

I have heard from more than one in the CD community that THOSE LGBTQ PEOPLE “creep me out!”  Even the leaders of Tri-Ess feel that way, as I found through personal communication with them.  We are always in the shadows even though there are way more of us than anyone realizes.  The thing is, the LGBTQ umbrella covers us.  The T even looks like an umbrella and, yes, we are part of the transgender community whether you identify as genderfluid as I do, CD, gender non-conforming, transitioning or whatever label you choose for yourself.  Do not like the T? How about the Q?  The Queer community encompasses a wide range of identities and personalities.
If gender non-conformity is to ever come out of the closet (thank you Jaden Smith!) we need to follow the lead of the Lesbians, Gays, Bisexuals, Trans and Queer folk who blazed that trail.  How would your life be different if you felt comfortable as a heterosexual male being able to just present however you want, whenever you want?  Even though many of our cis-gender friends know Carrie and were at the 62nd birthday party my wife threw for me over the winter, there are still times I am not 100% comfortable.  The younger crowd does not feel the stigma those of us in the Boomer generation feel, but it is still not mainstream for assigned-males.
My goal with this article is not to point fingers but to ask any of you who can to start going outside your comfort zone and get involved with your local LGBTQ community.  Let’s see if we can make our community better understood!
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Carrie Lynn

I am a male-assigned genderfluid 60 something. I tend to spend about 20% of the year as Carrie and the rest as my boy-mode self. After 60+ years I am finally comfortable in my own skin!

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Zoe KayCarrie LynnPatricia Marie AllenSassy Stacy*skippy1965(Cynthia) Recent comment authors
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Zoe Kay
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Thank you so much Carrie Lynn! Yes, I will try!!! <3

Patricia Marie Allen
Member

A very interesting article. With most of it I’m in total agreement. I firmly advocate that we, in the trans community, quit hiding. I say this after years of hiding myself. The LGB community got no where when they were being as secretive as possible. It wasn’t until a significant number of them came out publicly that any of them were able to establish rights and acceptance from the general public by convincing the general public that they were upstanding citizens who’s only difference from the general population was their sexual preference. We likewise need to be visible so that… Read more »

Sassy Stacy
Member

I much prefer the term genderfluid than crossdresser because genderfluid describes what I am while crossdresser describes what I do (sometimes?). And I totally see genderfluid is being under the Q umbrella in LGBTQ. Nevertheless, it’ll take more time for the stigma to be lessened in the public sphere.

*skippy1965(Cynthia)
Member

Sorry this is a test to see if I can comment given the performance issues I am experiencing.

Tasi Zuriack
Member

Nicely said Carrie. We use labels so we can relate to other people but it’s a shame that those same labels also act as a filter and sometimes run unwanted interference. It’s almost unconscionable that any in the T community would use labels to separate others from our community. I identify as crossdresser but I could just as well be gender non-forming, genderfluid or just plain transgender. What difference does it make. I’m still a part-time girl when I want to be. I’ve been exploring the use of these different terms for some time so this is a most helpful… Read more »

Mia West
Member

Carrie, I am a trans woman and have known for quite some time. I started my transition a little over a year ago. I have not gotten involved in the local LGBTQ community where I live currently. I was more active in my early 20’s when marching for gay rights than I have been for my own. This last weekend I went out to protest what has been happening out west with the migrant / child issues. While in the same month I did not participate in pride. I don’t feel guilty for it and for the most part it… Read more »

Maggie
Member

Thanks for the insights Carrie. What I take away from your article is that no matter the label we should be more willing to get out there in the world and support differences in people whether gay, lesbian, gender non conformist etc as they all have many various labels as well. These communities of people esspecially the LGTBQ folks are the ones that have paved many paths already. I have the pleasure of going to an LGBT lounge and the folks there are wonderful and very supportive. I also had the pleasure of meeting and talking to Helen Boyd who… Read more »

Paula1
Member

Another great article thank you so much

Rozalyne Richards
Member

Hi Carrie it shouldn’t be up to other people how you live your life but it seems that more and more people think that you should live by their ideal’s and not your’s, if some people are happy staying in the closet then that’s their business and nobody else’s, in all walks of life whether if you are gay, straight, bi, or transgender they want you to fit in a box and wear a label, shoes are what you put in boxes not people and the only label you should wear is my name is!!!!!! Hugs Rozalyne x

Terri Anne
Member

Carrie, Very nicely written article. Thank you for your insight and candor.
-Terri Anne

April (Pacific Princess)
Member

Very nice article Carrie. I have to say I am personally fine with the “Crossdresser” label, but I know others aren’t, and if I spent more time as April I might also find it less apt for my situation. In general, I don’t worry too much about labels these days – let people call me what they will. I know that once I got comfortable with who I am, what people called me didn’t seem to matter anymore. And I have found your observations about young people versus us baby boomers to be spot on. Most young people (especially women)… Read more »

*skippy1965(Cynthia)
Member

Carrie Lynn, Great article-you have a gift for expression! As a former ambassador once said-“Labels are for cans, not people!” I am not certain where my path lies, but I do know I am enjoying the journey and that Cyn is and always will be a part of my life and what makes me who I am. She shines through at times no matter how I’m dressed. Transitioning may or may not be possible due to work and some family complications, but I find myself feeling more comfortable being out and about as Cyn after spending my first 50 years… Read more »

Dame Veronica Graunwolf
Member

Why oh why must people label others who are not out of the same mold as the lableler? Is it because they think they are better or are the perfect role model or does it make them feel better about their own inadequacies? Confuscious said…..Empty barrel makes loudest noise. A wise man speaks when he has something to say….a fool speaks because he has to say something. Maybe the LGBTQ should drop the labels and go with We are just Ordinary people. I really hate the word queer as well. Lots of people wear so called female apparel….Africans….Tailanders, Shaolin Monks,… Read more »