thefairymelusine: line drawing of a knight lying by a bank of flowers (knight)
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Okay, this is personal and trying to stop projecting/egotism.

In secondary school, from my mid teens onwards, I was very queer. I did what I would term "quasi cross dressing" (wearing masculine womens clothes i.e. shirt, tie, mannish suit- i.e. Annie Hall) or cravats or having mad spinster hair because I had long hair. It wasn't much, but it helped with identity, and was healthier than some of the other ways in which I was lesbian identified (I was for a while a woman hating feminist lesbian. I am still deeply ashamed to say this- i.e. I appropriated a lot of unthinking popular straight male attitudes to women, and was very bitter. All of this got tangled up with mental health issues, and I am over that now.) I never used the female pronoun with reference to myself when writing in the third person, and disliked other people using it, preferring they, and my friends thought this was silly, because apart from the clothes, I looked femme.

Then I started a relationship with a man. I was still queer identified, self-defining as a lesbian-with-a-boyfriend. And over time I stopped dressing in a faux butch way, because of silly comments my parents and boyfriend made, which probably (almost certainly in his case) weren't meant. Over time I dropped the they from blog posts and internet comments, because I was sick of friends telling me it was silly. I became more comfortable with the idea of being/appearing conventionally female, partially because I had bigger things to worry about, partially the teenage misogyny wearing off, and because people thought it was odd. And then people stopped remembering I was queer, which is fair enough really as I was/am in a relationship with a man, and know that I'm priviledged in that respect and that I don't have to deal with prejudice regarding my sexuality every day, or get shouted at in the street for reasons other than having green hair. And because of this it seemed churlish or odd to append to a mention of my boyfriend that I identified as lesbian/queer (given as my identity became more queer) given that the response often was anything from "surely you mean bisexual" to that it was a teenage phase. And these came from many sources, an unaware teenager, my parents, my psychologist, the many doctors I saw over those two years.

And recently, as I got sick of this, and more aware, I started to want to present as queer more, both in being politically out again (or still but being louder) and in terms of playing with presentation, especially gender presentation. I miss the fun I got out of it, the confidence of going out looking like yourself but yourself being able to constantly change. And my partner and I are a lot more open now, and better at discussing things, and it turns out he didn't have a problem with it, and I'm no longer at home and that helps.

But alongside this there is the fact that this came after our relationship was established, and we'd become negotiated poly, and knew each other a lot better and around the time that I had my first successful sexual-romantic relationship with a woman. 

So the question is, and I am genuinely very interested in the answers, how have your sexual-romantic relationships and their presentation and your sexuality affected your gender presentation? Have they at all? And what else has? (n.b. anonymous comments are on, comments are screened unless you ask me to unscreen it)

Major thanks to [personal profile] garlicandsapphires, (amagiclantern over at LJ), and the fine LJ folk james_is_sorry and secondterminal for listening to the draft stages of this when it was much more vague, and secondterminal especially for telling me to post.

And please do reply, this was originally just going to be a survey

EDIT: Widened to include how your mental health/societal pressures have affected gender presentation. This is hideously vague, sorry.
There is 1 comment on this entry. (Reply.)
posted by [identity profile] at 08:41pm on 31/08/2009
Rufus Sewell icon appropriate?

Oddly enough, my previous bf favoured me being passive and feminised in general behaviour (he was startled to find me arguing certain points with him) and liked to apply sweeping statements to me (he couldn't understand that I don't want children and marriage particularly, or that I like sci-fi but don't like passively watching bad action movies with girls in tiny skirts), but also thought that my preference for often dressing in a formal and vintage way - i.e. as the epitome of heterosexual femininity - was clearly not making me happy, and that I'd probably feel much sexier and happier in a skirt and slouchy Ugg boots. But yet he loved corsets.

...I think you'll find plenty of common (and conflicting) attitudes to the way that women should display their femininity and 'het' status in public and beliefs about women's passivity/dominance right there. Bizarre.


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