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A Feminine male vs Transgender

SuzieO

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Hi Nancy, thanks for posting about this. I think about it quite a bit. Recently I watched a series of interviews with Pat O’Brian, writer of Rocky Horror Picture Show and Riff Raff in the movie. She identifies as transgender but doesn’t seem to have any hang ups about whether she is transitioning or not at least in the sense of trying to pass as a woman. She proudly rocks a shaved head and man boobs while wearing women’s clothes and not trying to feminize her speaking voice. Her fashion sense is eccentric to say the least but definitely feminine.
I identify as a transitioning transgender woman but almost everyone I know considers me as as an eccentric and hopefully feminine male. I’m only out to my wife, but if anyone ever asked I would proudly tell them I was a transgender woman who is transitioning albeit slowly, way too slowly.
As I start to see more and more transgender people in mainstream media, I’ve noticed some really strive to look like a natal female or male if ftm, but many develop their own unique look. For me I’m always trying to look, act, talk, move as girly as I can but I think most people would describe as an eccentric old hippie. Hugs, Suzie
 

Linde

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I’ve noticed some really strive to look like a natal female or male if ftm, but many develop their own unique look.
. Hugs, Suzie
Hello Suzie, I am not part of mainstream media, but I still try to look like a natal female. In fact I seem to pull it off pretty well, because yesterday, I was asked by some natal women, if I breast fed my kids (I have no implants, everything I have is home grown).
Some of us can pull this off very well, because nature was gentle to us, by not, like in my case, giving me enough testosterone to masculinize at all. I was not good at all trying to play a man, I am way better in playing a woman, and this female role feels way more natural to me.
It might very well be that those who look like a natal woman, have a similar medical condition I have. We don't really strive for it, it just happens.
On the other hand, most of us who are like this, had a really hard time trying to make it through a male life. My life as a younger guy was a pure piece of hell. I wish nobody to have to live a young guy's life I had to live. It is probably payback time now?


Hugs
Linde
 

Overalls Bear

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My parents are now long-since deceased. I never breathed a work of my gender identity issues to either one of them. When and where I grew up there were boys and there were girls. And if you didn't happen to fit neatly into one of those categories you darned well kept it to yourself if you knew what was good for you! I can just hear what my father would have said had I ever even mentioned what I was thinking (and doing behind closed doors) way back then: "Jesus, Bud. (He used to call me Bud a lot.) What the hell's the matter with ya?" (Sigh)
 

NancyBalik

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The men in my life in the 50’s and 60’s were, in general, horrible role models: often irritable or angry, demanding, emotionally distant. Not fun. I was surrounded by many positive and nurturing female role models: all of my elementary teavpchers, some of my best h.s. teachers, many stay-at-home moms in the neighborhood. I decided early that it seemed more fun to be a woman (plus their clothes were more interesting). Nancy
 

NancyBalik

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Susie, You just seem like the kind of gal I’d like to sit on the front porch with on a hot summer day, share a couple cold ones (ice tea or beer) and talk about life. Appreciate your thoughts. I probably get too hung up on labels. It shouldn’t be as much about what we call ourselves as who we are (no matter what kind of undies we wear). Nancy
 

Katie

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When and where I grew up there were boys and there were girls. And if you didn't happen to fit neatly into one of those categories you darned well kept it to yourself if you knew what was good for you!
Although I am much younger than you, this was the situation when I was growing up, too.
 

SuzieO

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Susie, You just seem like the kind of gal I’d like to sit on the front porch with on a hot summer day, share a couple cold ones (ice tea or beer) and talk about life. Appreciate your thoughts. I probably get too hung up on labels. It shouldn’t be as much about what we call ourselves as who we are (no matter what kind of undies we wear). Nancy
I’m up for a cold one with you anytime Nancy!
 

Maybe Cora

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I wanted to share my own perspective on the original question as a person who struggled with just these same labels (trans vs. feminine male) when trying to understand myself.


Gender is not sex. If by “feminine male,” you mean someone with male anatomy/biochemistry at birth who feels more comfortable and fulfilled in roles and behaviors our society codes as “feminine,” and generally expects of/from women, then this seems to me to merely be a kind of transgender. (I use both terms for myself now, for instance.) Whether you seek physical changes that affirm your gender or not isn't relevant.


But perhaps you don’t mean sex when you say “male;” perhaps by “feminine male,” you mean someone who feels comfortable, on balance, in the roles and behaviors our society codes as “masculine,” but with a generous helping of “softer-side” traits coded feminine. This was a core question I faced: Was I a man who happened to have a lot of feminine sensibilities or was I a transwoman who was trying to fit in to the social expectations assigned due to my biology? (By the way, “effeminate” actually does, literally, mean “feminine male” and always has. Historically, any word or term that means a man who is feminine becomes over time a pejorative in our society. This includes “feminine male,” which is not so neutral a description in many places.)


In the end, I think it really comes down to gender identity. Do you identify as a man or a woman? For myself, I struggled a lot with the ambiguity of the concept of "transgender" and the vague, inconsistent ways the term is defined and used, until my therapist help me back door the answer to the simple question: “Who do you want to be.”


Do you want to be a man or a woman? Not male or female in terms of your anatomy or biochemistry, but man or woman in terms of your daily life in, and experience of, the world? Many, perhaps most, people do not experience this question to really be a choice; their gender (not sex, gender) is so tied to their core identity and sense of self that the answer is a no-brainer; they deeply and reflexively feel that they are a man or woman—regardless of their sex. If you are unsure, it could mean a lot of things. The two most likely are: (1) You do know your gender but have trouble accepting it because it is contrary to your sex and tradition (and a lot of angry mean people) says that is wrong; (2) you experience gender (as I do) as something outside your core identity—so it isn’t a no-brainer for you, but a bit of a dilemma—and you have trouble figuring out what you really want and wonder if you are valid since you don’t know quickly.


But in any case, it seems to me that is the question, do you identify—either because you feel it deeply true or because you just plain prefer it—as a man or a woman; the whole “feminine male” vs. “trans” is not the issue.
 
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Melanierose

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Kathy, Yes. Thank you. I have decided not to transition for reasons posted elsewhere (and why this thread is in the non-transition forum). The friend is suggesting to me that, since I am never going to transition, accepting that I am a feminine male may help me come to terms with myself rather than continuing to wish for something (female body) that isn’t going to happen. She is suggesting that I may embrace my femininity in my male body. Seems like a mind trick — not sure if I can pull it off, yet I see some logic in it.
Hi
I would come at it from the question “ are you a woman or a man ? “ then you can come to terms with living a compromise life not transitioning or youre a man “
You can’t choose which one feels better. It’s what you are inside
 

OzGirl

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Welcome to our Refuge @Maybe Cora, and what a great first post! I always knew I identified as female at a core level, but I wanted to be male. I didn’t believe I could ever be female, so I tried to be the best male I could. My maternal nature was impossible to repress, and so for most of my life, I allowed myself to also behave as a woman with children and other women, while doing lots of manly things.

I was determined never to transiton as my life was very good as I had made it, but as I got older, my dyshoria increased so much, my survival depended on me transitioning. I learned from all of this that the Gender ID of my brain was always the same, no matter what I wanted. It got to the point where I needed to transition, but I believed it could cost me verything I held dear, so I fought it, but in the end it wasn’t my choice.

I had lived as a very masculine man, but with an obvious female side all of my life, and when I came out, everybody was initially shocked, but said it really made sense when they thought about it!

Looking forward to reading more from you, perhaps a short bio in introductions?
Hugs,

Allie
 

Linde

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And than you have outsiders like I am. I was told that I was a male, and I tried very hard to be one, but I never felt that I was one, but I did not feel that I was a female either. I was just floating without a defined gender right in the middle of this. My body did not meet either gender criteria either, but was leaning more to the female phenotype. I was considered to be a very feminine man, who tried to be as manly as he could be.
I was a OK man, I am told, but I was never a happy man. That changed once I decided to try my life as a woman. I am a happy woman nowe for some while.

I think that one cannot make any general statements, because every person and every case is so different.

Hugs
Linde
 

NancyBalik

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In the end, it really comes down to gender identity. Do you identify as a man or a woman? For myself, I struggled a lot with the ambiguity of the concept or transgender and the vague, inconsistent ways the term is defined and used until my therapist help me back door the answer to the simple question: “Who do you wantto be.”



Do you want to be a man or a woman?
Cora, Thank you so much for your thoughtful response. It strikes me that you and me (and countless others) have struggled with this -- a lot, perhaps too much. Perhaps for me, so much that I confuse myself. I do want to be a woman, have wanted to be, well, since I gave up wanting to be a girl, meaning since I became an adult. However, I also know that I will never anatomically be a woman, and realistically (because of my committed marriage and my life roles (husband, father, grandfather), I will never live the life of a woman. So I live a dual life -- thus the confusion continues.

I live my life as a man, dream of being a woman, "play-act" in some ways in terms of dress up at being a woman, but also try to emulate what I see as feminine traits without ascribing to misogynistic stereotypes -- meaning that I admire and emulate strong women, capable women, and everyday women. But, I am faced with the reality of my "male-ness" every day: my anatomy is only one factor, but my life also puts me into role expectations that accentuate the "dual-ness" of my gender roles and feelings. In my marriage, although I do a lot of what might be seen as traditionally female chores, I also do the "guy" stuff, the lifting, the "dirty" work, the outdoor work, etc.

Gender is more than something we tell ourselves we are. It is a way we live our lives, it is a way we behave day-to-day, and towards others. I feel like my "male-ness" constricts me. Perhaps this is a confinement of my own making, but I really can't have it both ways. I can't be entirely feminine and have my marriage, too. I know that staying means that I suppress some of what I want and how I feel.

I've decided (since I originally posted the question) that I just don't like the term "feminine male." I actually don't think it fits me very well. I don't believe that I act "feminine" in my male role. I prefer the term transgender. It fits me. I believe that how I feel inside transcends genders. Nancy
 
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Maybebaby56

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Wish I had seen this thread earlier. There are some really good posts here.

It won't matter to Nancy as my post is way after the fact, but asking why you can't be a feminine man instead of trans female is to completely miss the point of gender identity. I can't bea feminine man because I am not a male. Now I do admit this is coming from a gender binary perspective. I would not know how to answer the question as a non-binary person.

Totally agree with @Moni, @Katie , and loved @Lexxi 's post. The only difference with me and Lexxi, is I am a girly girl. I love dresses, high heels (although admit they can be very uncomfortable), makeup, nails and all the girly stuff. I probably spend $100/mo just maintaining my nails.

~Terri
 
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NancyBalik

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Wow Terri. I know I would not be married if I spent even half that on any aspect of Nancy. Obviously, I’ve made a choice. I don’t want to lose all that I do get from my wife. I love her too much to leave her. I love her too much to put myself first. (Don’t misunderstand. I’m no martyr. She gives me a lot!) Nancy
 

Lexxi

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The only difference with me and Lexxi, is I am a girly girl. I love dresses, high heels (although admit they can be very uncomfortable), makeup, nails and all the girly stuff. I probably spend $100/mo just maintaining my nails.

~Terri
Terri you know how I talked about my nails and that they're always painted? Well I'm just about embarrassed to admit that I've never had them done professionally. I always do mine myself. I've thought about going to a local salon, and now that I've changed my name and can present female all the time I suppose I really should go to one soon.

I totally wish I could be like you though. I'd love it if I were super girly girl. With my size I'm afraid I'd never be able to pull it off though. But that doesn't mean I have to stop trying. :)

I'm gonna tag you so you know I responded.

@Maybebaby56
 

Maybebaby56

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Wow Terri. I know I would not be married if I spent even half that on any aspect of Nancy. Obviously, I’ve made a choice. I don’t want to lose all that I do get from my wife. I love her too much to leave her. I love her too much to put myself first. (Don’t misunderstand. I’m no martyr. She gives me a lot!) Nancy
I think that's wonderful you have found that balance, Nancy. If I had to choose between a loving spouse and transition, I don't think I would have been able to transition, even if it meant living the rest of my days in silent agony, so I get where you're coming from.

As it was, my marriage was a complete train wreck and I was separated for several years before I even considered trying to transition.

BTW, didn't you used to be Dawn O'Day, or something like that?

I must say, you look wonderful in your avatar, very fetching. As far as spending money, you don't know the half of it. I'm also a Sephora Rouge member, which means I am stupid enough to spend at least $1000/year on makeup as well. I have a closet full of clothes, and on top of that, I own three pairs of designer heels, which is almost $2000 right there. It's crazy expensive being a girly girl..

With kindness,

Terri
 
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Maybebaby56

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Terri you know how I talked about my nails and that they're always painted? Well I'm just about embarrassed to admit that I've never had them done professionally. I always do mine myself. I've thought about going to a local salon, and now that I've changed my name and can present female all the time I suppose I really should go to one soon.

I totally wish I could be like you though. I'd love it if I were super girly girl. With my size I'm afraid I'd never be able to pull it off though. But that doesn't mean I have to stop trying. :)

I'm gonna tag you so you know I responded.

@Maybebaby56
@Lexxi I have long gel nails, which means they can't be painted after they are applied and the polish is polymerized on under UV light. You have to grind off the surface coat. Yes, it's expensive and a pain, but what you find is it just becomes your new normal.

Although I hardly think about it now, I have to say It is very satisfying to be a regular in a nail salon or spa, a female-dominated place where you are accepted as just one of the girls. I get manicures and pedicures and the occasional eyebrow wax.

I don't think twice shopping for dresses or lingerie, but I can remember years ago how I would furtively and awkwardly shop for women's clothing or shoes, like I was committing some kind of crime. It's so wonderful to be free from all that anxiety. I'm just another woman leading a woman's life. It was definitely worth going through the hell of transition. There are still glitches, but I've been legally, socially, and anatomically female for several years now, and I like my new life. I think the most remarkable thing about it is how unremarkable it has become.

With kindness,

Terri
 

Linde

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I have my own UV curing light, and do my own gel nails. I really like to do my own nails. Amber does my toe nails.
I remember the fear I had going to Victoria's Secrets to get bra fitted. That was almost as nerve wrecking as going into the female bathroom for the first time.
All this has become a normal routine of my life these days, just as Terri says.

Hugs
LInde
 

OzGirl

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I must be weird as I had no problems bra shopping in male mode, and salesladies were always very helpful. My ex was terrified when I took an armload of women’s clothes to the womens fitting room, but it was a non event.

Hugs,

Allie
 

NancyBalik

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I think that's wonderful you have found that balance, Nancy. If I had to choose between a loving spouse and transition, I don't think I would have been able to transition, even if it meant living the rest of my days in silent agony, so I get where you're coming from.

As it was, my marriage was a complete train wreck and I was separated for several years before I even considered trying to transition.

BTW, didn't you used to be Dawn O'Day, or something like that?

I must say, you look wonderful in your avatar, very fetching.

With kindness,

Terri
Terri, Thanks for the compliment! As far as spending $$ goes, having professional makeovers is one time I am willing to splurge on myself. That pic is about five years old now, but is the “me” I hold in my head. And I gave the name Nancy to my femme self (after a friend of my mother’s who I admired) and have used only that name for 40- plus years. Thanks for bringing a smile to my face.

Glad you posted here, but keep in mind, this is the non-transitioning forum — which I only highlight because those of us who have chosen not to transition have our own unique set of problems (which isn’t to suggest that we can’t and don’t learn from those of you who do). Kindness to you as well, Nancy
 
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