On Conformity and Turning 30


It’s been a while since I’ve written a more personal post here on Nerdy But Flirty, and the last time I did, I think I mentioned that I wanted it to be a more regular affair. Well, sometimes life intervenes for better or worse, and things like that just end up taking a backseat. Sometimes, I also forget about them too, LOL. Nevertheless, this is a community aimed at geek culture and a progressive way of thinking, and I like getting to see into the minds and experiences of other people.

I recently turned 30 on December 7, and milestones like that usually have a way of making one think about a lot of things regarding their life. For starters, it’s taking me a little time to adjust to no longer being able to say that I’m in my 20s, but after talking to a few older friends (not “old,” but older than me), their general consensus was that in a lot of ways, life doesn’t start getting good until you’re in your 30s. One friend said that in your 30s, your body is at its peak, and you have a lot of experiences and wisdom to go with it. And, thinking about it, that does seem a bit true. When I look back at being 20 and thinking I was an adult then, I can’t help but laugh at my younger self. Then again, sometimes you have to wonder if when people say things like, “30 is the new 20,” if it’s just their way of justifying to themselves that they aren’t getting “older.”

In a previous post this year, I talked about my struggles with gender identity, my rejection of strict gender binaries, and my own journey as a transwoman. There was a time when I wouldn’t have wanted to talk about these subjects in any sort of public manner. In fact, I used to think that these were shameful topics, that it was bad enough that I had to deal with them. But…that’s no longer the case. I’ve made a conscious choice to talk openly about these things, not just for my own benefit, but also for the benefit of those who are having a similar experience. A friend of mine exemplified this in a recent conversation, in which he said that prior to having direct knowledge of my past, that he “always thought I was 100% genetically female by birth.” He never questioned that. And in a lot of ways, a lot of trans people would love that, and they would build on that by never really getting into their pasts.

What I just mentioned there is representative of a problem that exists in the LGBT community in terms of advocacy. A lot of transmen and transwomen seek to completely change who they are and break all ties with their past. While they would naturally be supportive of others in the community, because they want to distance themselves from the person they used to be, they don’t talk much about their past, their journey, or anything of the sort. In some cases, their goal is to meet and settle down with someone who would never know who they used to be. But, while that might suit them, this is problematic when it comes to “paying it forward” and helping others who are experiencing struggles similar to those you’ve once experienced.

In a lot of ways, our society still operates under the concept of a strict gender binary. This isn’t to say that such views are correct; rather, it means that the average person still tends to think that way. This way of thinking leaves out lots of people, including those who enjoy cross-dressing (straight or gay), being androgynous, or those who simply don’t feel they must always conform to a strict gender role. It’s sad, but yes, there are still people who want a woman to wear a dress while cooking and cleaning house. But what if you don’t feel like you want to fill one of those gender roles? What if you’d just like to have fun and challenge accepted norms a bit?

In the last year or so, I’ve met a lot of people who have used the term “genderqueer” to describe themselves, saying they didn’t feel like they adhered uniformly to one gender role or the other. Others have used the term “pansexual” to describe their interests in other people. A lot of that describes me too. I actually don’t put a tremendous amount of stock into someone’s chromosomal arrangement or outward gender expression when it comes to who I’m attracted to. Yes, of course I do have preferences on some level, and there are things that excite me more than others, but there are a lot of things that I’m able to overlook when other qualities outweigh them. And, when it comes to being genderqueer, I think that fits me pretty well too. Though I’m transgender and identify as female, I also know that I can pull a good gender neutral look or fit in at nearly any end of the spectrum by choice and it won’t be problematic to “pass.” As my friend’s comment previously indicates, it really isn’t an issue for me at all.

Still, there are lots of people I’ve encountered who just don’t understand too many of these issues. They think something is wrong with me if I don’t want to fit in with a strict idea of what femininity or anything else is. Moreover, there are some folks who are downright rude or nasty about it. Online, people can hide behind their “veil of anonymity” and spit whatever venom they want behind the comfort of a computer screen, but people can be rude in person too. For the most part, however, the majority of the people I’ve dealt with are very cool about all of it, even here in Mississippi. I’ll admit though that in my experience, when revealing elements of my life and past to others, sometimes the people I thought would be strong supporters proved not to be, and other people I was certain would cast me off were most accepting (like my military family).

I do personally feel like Nerdy But Flirty has been a great place for me. I’ve met some truly amazing and wonderful people here from being with the site (for almost two years now, I think!), and I’m certainly grateful for all the friendships and support that have come from the site. I’m also thankful to Kelsey, Sarah, and the others for encouraging me to write posts of this nature.

In 2015, I think I’d like to do semi-regular posts about sex, sexuality, and other topics (in a tasteful way, of course). I may even take questions and the like too, and hopefully get other people (if they feel comfortable) to contribute to those sorts of posts.

Thanks for a great 2014, everyone. Let’s hope that 2015 is just as wonderful!

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