A misconception about being androgynous/genderqueer/other

August 20, 2012 § 13 Comments

As an alternative to the binary categorisation of  gender (and/or sex), there are many who prefer a ‘gender spectrum’ model – women at end, men at the other, other genders somewhere in the middle. An improvement in some ways – but contributing to a misconception that I’ve heard used against trans people who are neither men nor women (or perhaps both, or variable) – that, not being women, we must have moved ‘up’ the gender spectrum in the eyes of the world, and have acquired some degree of male privilege in any dealings with society at large.


I can only speak from my own life, and from that of friends – but the number of times I’ve been granted male privilege is tiny, in comparison with my quotidian experience. Where the majority consider ‘male’ and ‘female’ the only two options, being an openly androgynous/GQ person doesn’t bring me closer to ‘male’ in their eyes – it means that I’ve utterly failed at gender. Losing cis passing privilege means being treated, regularly, as a freak – one who has failed at being a woman and failed at being a man. This isn’t an attitude I’m guessing at – it’s been explained to me in explicit detail. You see, I’ve failed as a woman by ‘mutilating’ my body – and I can’t succeed at being a man, because of not having a penis – so I’m consigned to a veritable (forgive the pun) no man’s land. My own feelings on the subject are frequently dismissed as deluded.


When I say I live outside of the gender binary I don’t say it lightly – it’s not simply a convenient phrase, or an expression of being male but not quite – it’s a very real and often painful summation of what it’s like to live outside of the gendered norms of most of the world. I don’t want to start a fight about who has more gender privilege – simply to acknowledge the fact that gender privilege/oppression is not a straight line running from woman to man – because some of us don’t fit onto that line to begin with.

§ 13 Responses to A misconception about being androgynous/genderqueer/other

  • sixagilefingers says:

    Well put 😦

  • Thank you for this! I’m currently in what I tend to refer to as the gender-blender; I identified as basically female until I realised I was asexual, but that opened a very big can of worms regarding why I needed a gender at all. I’m now trying to work out exactly where I fit on the line between female and neutrois. Sometimes I feel as if I’m performing simple harmonic motion between the two end points.

    I don’t consider myself trans, though. At some point, with reasonable luck, I may work out exactly what I am.

  • stefonknee says:

    Thank you for sharing, very true.

    We are extremely blessed to live in a culture that seeks perfection, trusting that it only exists in a perfect world, continually waiting for a judgement day after death to get there. Unfortunately at this time the unique ones like us, that move beyond rigid gender (and/or sex, and/or sexual) stereotypes created by a minority to oppress, are rejected and despised. Rather than believe in the unique beauty of all creation (including humanity) some look backward for guidance and put complete trust in the perception of “male gods” that have been misunderstood and misquoted since conception.

    I often wonder if “God” truly wanted religion to be used this way?

    Perhaps “God”, neither male or female, created us like “Him” (three parts?). Kinda like two islands, unique yet dependant on each other for different things, separated by refreshing and life giving water. Rather than move into water to grow closer to each other and become one, man continually crosses over to woman, taking from her what he wants leaving her with less. Perhaps this is why anyone that honours the space between male and female lives in fear of judgement, not from “God” but from Man.

    Keep sharing, someone is watching! (((((Hugs))))) Stefonknee

  • As someone who is rather firmly female (certain tests telling me I think androgynously aside), this makes sense. Since male is the privileged gender, anything not-male is problematic to the system. And woe betide the nail that sticks out. Whether “uppity” woman or genderqueer, the latter its own rebellion just by being.

    And thank you for the part about the line. I dislike that analogy myself, since gender can’t be even that simplistically rendered. And it does engender sloppy thinking as you describe.

  • Dennis Queen says:

    Awesome article thanks 🙂

    Miss Dennis Queen

  • […] A misconception about being androgynous/genderqueer/other (cnlester.wordpress.com) […]

  • Hello my friend You were born beautiful and are beautiful so Be Your Self. Find and focus on the sense of inner joy and peace then all outside things will appear. Happy feelings will attract more happy circumstances. So what ever make you happy that’s who you are. Treat yourself the way you want to be treated by others .. love yourself and you will be loved. #BeHappy. Once you get the hang of this, before you know it you will KNOW you are the creator of your own #happiness. listen to the music that calls to you from your heart and go where it takes You. Performing inner work, such as meditation and concentration, will ultimately turn peace of mind into a natural habit. #VisualizeHappiness because at the end of the day You are who you are so Smile, Laugh, Love, Give, and Be YourSelf we are all beautiful.

    “Androgynous” is not a sexuality it’s a way of life be yourself. Androgynous is 1, Androgynous is everything in the organic world manifesting both genders–there is always the Masculine present in the Feminine form, and vice versa #Duality. Androgynous is the mind containing both a male and female part, and for “complete satisfaction and happiness,” the two must live in harmony. The androgynous mindŠtransmits emotion without impedimentŠit is naturally creative, incandescent and undivided ,Shakespeare is a fine model of this. remember that androgyny does not imply a total absence of gender, complete fusion that obliterates any gender-consciousness =frees the mind. A good cooperation of the dual energies would create positivity and prevent imbalanced emotions from emerging. #BeHappy. Happiness is a main characteristic of the androgynous flow. And those who hold such a flow are skilled in being happy. #BeHappy. Quotes From the lovely Virgina Wolf and Samuel Taylor Coleridge “The truth is, a great mind must be androgynous. 1 September 1832.” meaning the unification of the left side of the Brain and the unity of the right side of the Brain gives you the complete satisfaction of Happiness.
    follow me on twitter https://twitter.com/#!/androgynyscents. Have a great day.

  • […] A misconception about being androgynous/genderqueer/other (cnlester.wordpress.com) […]

  • […] written before about the hazards of shopping while trans – and of the ways in which people who disrupt gender norms are punished by society for doing so. But I was in need of a sweater today, and the nerve-wracking […]

  • […] men who were once [and perhaps still are] treated as women, or of being people whose gender is not even culturally legible); people who are disproportionately at risk of domestic abuse and suicide; and people who may not […]

  • Charli says:

    Being a cis woman with a tomboy/rectangular body, es in no noticeable chest nor curves, can also be a negative experience. Unless I wear my hair down, if it’s in a beanie or bandana (which is often) or tied up in a ponytail, I look like a post pubescent male teenager. And I can’t wear almost any woman’s clothes other than athletic wear, because they don’t fit my body! I am relegated to the mens department, which does not help my situation, because my and hips have the same diameter, same circumference.

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