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All families are different. Some have a mum, dad and kids. Some have two mums or two dads. Some have many generations. Others are just two people. Others still are a 'chosen family' or a group of close friends.
All families are different. At their best, they provide community, support, and the courage to be your best self. They make you feel seen. Safe. At home. They empower you to thrive.
We're celebrating families in all their amazing diversity - the families who love and accept you just the way you are. Celebrate with us!
"All-gender" or “gender nonconforming” is a term given to people who don’t conform with the gender norms that are expected of them.
The term usually refers to gender expression or presentation (that is, how someone looks and dresses). It can also refer to behavior, preferences, and roles that don’t conform to gender norms.
In other words, gender nonconforming can be used to describe people as well as actions, dress, and ideas.
Being all-gender doesn’t necessarily mean you’re transgender or nonbinary, although you could be both.
So, what’re the basics?
We can define gender expectations as the roles, dress, behavior, and appearance society expects people of certain genders to have.
For example, in one specific society, women might be expected to shave their legs and men might be expected to not show vulnerability.
Most of us don’t fully conform to those gender expectations all of the time.
For example, many women choose not to shave their legs, and many pursue careers over marriage and children. Many men show vulnerability and wear nail polish.
"Of course, because gender expectations differ from one society and culture to the next, what’s considered gender nonconforming in one culture might not be in another"
In many American cultures, these would be considered examples of gender nonconformity:
- A man might show emotion and tenderness.
- A woman might wear a suit on her wedding day instead of a dress.
- A man might wear eyeliner.
- A woman might pursue a career instead of marriage or motherhood.
- A man might shave under his armpits.
- A woman might be assertive.
- A man might be a stay-at-home dad.
By the above standards, most folks are gender nonconforming — very few people conform fully to gender expectations. So, is everyone all-gender? Does that label apply to everyone?
Not necessarily. The term “all-gender” is typically used to describe someone who intentionally subverts these gender norms.
A part of their gender expression may be to dress, behave, or present themselves in a gender-nonconforming way.
"While some people feel that all-gender is a part of their identity, for others, it’s more of a decision and an action than an identity"
So, if you want to identify with gender nonconformity, or if you want to use the term to describe yourself, your gender expression, or your social expression, you can do so. It’s a matter of your own preference.
Where did the term originate?
According to Merriam-Webster, the first recorded use of the term was in 1991, when Lisa M. Diamond, Susan B. Bonner, and Janna Dickenson wrote:
“Gender identity refers to an individual’s internalized psychological experience of being male or female, whereas gender nonconformity refers to the degree to which an individual’s appearance, behavior, interests, and subjective self-concept deviate from conventional norms for masculinity/femininity.”
Where do gender roles come in?
Gender roles include the behaviors, attitudes, and values that you’re expected to have based on your gender. Gender roles vary among cultures.
In many American cultures, for example, gender roles determine:
- which gender is expected to pursue another romantically
- which gender is expected to be the breadwinner or sole provider of a household
- which gender is expected to take care of domestic duties
Many people don’t conform to these gender roles. This could be an example of gender nonconformity.
Is your only other option to be gender conforming?
By definition, being gender nonconforming means you don’t conform to gender expectations. The term “gender conforming,” on the other hand, is seldom used.
As mentioned, most people don’t fully conform to gender expectations — the majority of us conform in some ways and subvert it in other ways.
Try not to think about it as choosing between gender conformity and gender nonconformity. Think of it as living your life authentically, no matter whether it “matches” the expectations placed on your gender.
Can anyone be gender nonconforming?
Yes, anyone of any gender can be gender nonconforming.
Being gender nonconforming isn’t the same as being nonbinary, although some people identify with both terms.
"You don’t have to be nonbinary or transgender in order to be gender nonconforming"
For example, a cisgender man might wear nail polish as an expression of his gender. This doesn’t necessarily mean that he’s nonbinary, but it can be a way for him to stop conforming to gender norms.
Many people argue that nonbinary people are, by definition, gender nonconforming because they don’t conform to the gender binary or the gender expectations placed on them by society.
But it all comes down to the individual’s personal preference. You’re the only one who gets to decide what applies to you or how you want to be described.
What might this look like in practice?
Gender nonconforming actions can be big or small. Again, it’s important to remember that gender nonconformity depends on the cultural context.
If, in your culture, women are expected to grow their leg hair instead of shave it, fitting into this norm wouldn’t be considered gender nonconforming.
Gender nonconformity can look like wearing “men’s” instead of “women’s” clothing for some, but not for everyone. It could also look like wearing androgynous clothing.
Gender nonconformity can extend to:
- hairstyles (a man having long hair or a woman shaving hers off, for example)
- makeup or a lack thereof
- grooming practices
While the term usually applies to gender expression, it can also include attitudes, gestures, gender roles, and more.
What makes this different from being genderqueer or gender-fluid?
Being gender nonconforming is often more about gender expression, while being genderqueer or gender-fluid is more about gender identity.
Being genderqueer is having a gender identity that falls outside of heterosexual, cisgender norms. Being gender-fluid is having a gender identity that changes and shifts over time.
That said, some do use the term “gender nonconforming” to describe their gender identity — it really varies from person to person.
Gender nonconforming people might be genderqueer or genderfluid, but this isn’t always the case. A gender nonconforming person might identify fully as a man or woman.
Why might someone opt to use this term over others?
Gender nonconforming is a useful word to describe gender expression that falls outside of gender norms.
It’s also a broad term: Gender nonconforming could include feminine, masculine, or androgynous traits, or a mixture of the three.
This term can be ideal for people who enjoy playing around with gender expression or dressing in certain ways but who don’t want to use a specific word to cover their gender identity.
How do you know if it’s the term for you?
The label you choose to use is entirely your choice. However, it isn’t always easy to know which label to choose.
There’s no “test” to figure out whether you should describe yourself as gender nonconforming or not.
To figure it out, you can try the following:
- Talk to gender nonconforming people on forums or online groups, or in real life, to hear what being gender nonconforming means to them.
- Read about the experiences of gender nonconforming people, and ask yourself whether you relate. Bear in mind that everyone’s experience is different.
- Consider which aspects of your gender expression you consider to be gender nonconforming. How do they not conform? Is this subversion important to you?
- Try the term out by referring to yourself as gender nonconforming, either out loud or in written words. You don’t need to share this with anyone if you don’t want to. Just try it and see how it feels.
Remember that there’s no right or wrong answer. You’re allowed to describe your gender however you see fit.
What happens if you no longer feel like this term fits?
Many people find that their gender identity and expression changes over time. This is quite common. If this is your experience, that’s OK! It doesn’t make your experience any less valid.
How can you support the all-gender or gender nonconforming people in your life?
Being gender nonconforming can be difficult for many people because of the stigma associated with breaking away from gender expectations.
Supporting the gender nonconforming people in your life can include educating people about gender nonconformity.
It can be as simple as teaching your kids about gender identity and gender expression. It could also include challenging people who look down on gender nonconforming people.
If you have a gender nonconforming loved one, give them space to talk about being gender nonconforming without expecting them to talk about it (as they might not want to).
Accept it and celebrate it as a part of them. Ask if there are any specific ways you can support them.
Where can you learn more?If you want to learn more about gender, there are many online resources out there. For example:
- Nonbinary Wiki is a wiki-type site that includes a lot of information relating to gender identities.
- Genderqueer.me has a thorough list of resources on gender identity and related topics.
- Book Riot has a list of books about gender identity, including both fiction and nonfiction books.
You can also check out our list of 64 different terms to describe gender identity and expression.
Sian Ferguson is a freelance writer and editor based in Grahamstown, South Africa. Her writing covers issues relating to social justice, cannabis, and health. You can reach out to her on Twitter.
|This article is sourced from: https://www.healthline.com/health/gender-nonconforming#learn-more. This transformative remix work constitutes a fair-use of any copyrighted material as provided for in section 107 of the US copyright law. “What Does It Mean to Be Gender Nonconforming?” by Sian Ferguson is licensed under a Creative Commons BY-NC-SA 3.0 License – permitting non-commercial sharing with attribution.|
His advocacy, courage, and tireless pursuit of a more equitable, inclusive world for the #LGBTQ community will never be forgotten 🏳️🌈🕊️
We Wish Our Thai Friends & Family a Very Happy Songkran Festival Celebration!
The Thai capital celebrates with the Bangkok Songkran Splendours Festival which takes place from April 13th to 15th. The official opening ceremony is held at Wat Pho, one of the most important Buddhist temples in Thailand that’s home to the spectacular gold-plated reclining Buddha. Many other celebrations are held on and around Khao San Road, which is one of the most popular streets in the world for backpackers. Events during the festival include water throwing, the ritual bathing of Buddha images, processions and performances. A tempting array of traditional foods are enjoyed throughout the celebrations.
Water is an important element of Songkran, especially in more recent times when the throwing of water has become a huge part of the annual celebrations. If you’re visiting Thailand during this period, prepare to get splashed! Crowds of people roam around throwing buckets of water, using water pistols and just generally soaking anyone in the vicinity. Appreciation of family is another important aspect of the festival, with many Thai people making their way to their hometowns to spend time with older relatives. Buddhists also visit temples throughout Songkran where water is poured on Buddha images and on the hands of Buddhist monks as a mark of respect.
Gay and lesbian citizens have been allowed to serve openly in Her Majesty's Armed Forces since 2000. The United Kingdom's policy is to allow homosexual men, lesbians and transgender personnel to serve openly, and discrimination on a sexual orientation basis is forbidden. It is also forbidden for someone to pressure LGBT people to come out. All personnel are subject to the same rules against sexual harassment, regardless of gender or sexual orientation. The British Military immediately recognized civil partnerships and granted married gay couples exactly the same rights to allowances and housing as straight couples. The Ministry of Defence stated "We're pleased personnel registered in a same sex relationship now have equal rights to married couples." Since March 2014, UK military same-sex couples can get married (as well as UK civilians), under the Marriage (Same Sex Couples) Act 2013
Read more about 'Sexual orientation and the military of the United Kingdom'
This article is reposted from advocate.com by Adam Blum(https://www.advocate.com/love-and-sex/2019/9/06/gay-men-seem-so-busy-and-stressed-why-arent-straight-men)
There may be a reason so many queer men cannot sit still for long, says our advice columnist, Adam Blum.
I’ve noticed that all my gay male friends are very busy and generally stressed out. But my straight male friends seem more laid back. I admit that I tend to be over-scheduled and have a hard time slowing down. How can I learn to be as relaxed as my straight friends?
Busy in Boston
Dear Busy in Boston,
I’ve also noticed that in general, gay men are very busy. It takes a lot of time to: make it at work, stay fit with gym visits, respond quickly to social media and texts, stay on top of trends, eat right, be socially active and funny, have a beautiful and clean apartment, find and keep a relationship, be a dutiful son, give good parties, have a sex life.
The straight men I know, and the ones I work with in my therapy practice, often are more “chill.” They tend to be more comfortable with leisure time and doing less.
No one has spent money researching this so there’s no way to prove if my sample of clients of urban men in therapy or your friends are somehow different. But I can share what we often discover in therapy, underneath the exhausting busy-ness. We typically learn that it’s the result of being exposed to homophobia at an early age. In other words, it’s called growing up gay on planet Earth.
Being productive, admirable, popular, elite, or muscular is one way not to feel “one down,” “less than,” or a social outcast. Relaxing is a luxury that some gay or bi men can’t afford. Being yourself without any alteration could lead to being called a “fag.” That is the unconscious belief that sometimes runs the show. And when you are growing up there’s nothing worse than being called a fag. It’s social death. And occasionally, actual death.
Doing a lot, and doing things well, often felt good as a kid. It still feels good. But just “being” without “doing” is risky. You might lose ground and fall behind. You could get left out. You might not be valued. You could end up all alone. These are the central fears of the gay experience. These are the good reasons people stay in the closet until it is too painful to continue to do that.
The equation is: when you are busy improving and producing, you can be loved. And you can love yourself. Even if your sexual attractions are “disgusting.”
Learning to feel entitled enough to relax may require looking at some of these unconscious motivators. If you’ve come out then you already know the value of placing a higher value on your personal needs rather than just meeting the expectations of your family or culture. That was step one. This process of relaxing may be step two, three, or four.
If you want to slow down a bit and enjoy your free time more, you can experiment with telling yourself some of the following statements, all which are very likely to be true:
If I do 2 percent less at work no one will care or notice and I will still get promotions.
“__________” will love me even if I don’t answer their text until tomorrow.
People are too busy with their own insecurities to notice if my pants look funny today.
I am entitled to enjoy this experience of being a human on this planet.
How I feel about myself is what matters most.
I don’t think my friends, family, or boss would want me to suffer like this.
Fat feels good in bed.
Once you start to give yourself permission to slow down, new issues may arise. You might get bored. And you probably will get a little anxious. You’ll be facing the important scary question: Who am I if I am not producing? Do I have any value? And what do I want to do with my free time anyway?
The answers to these questions will eventually become clear as long as you keep asking them with a self-compassionate and curious tone. If you have been using busy-ness as a defense against feeling “less than” for years, then it may take months or years to learn to bring more ease into your life. Boredom is fear in disguise. Underneath the experience of being bored is a rich palette of emotions. It can take a little courage to slow down and figure out what you are really feeling.
Meditation and yoga can help us be more comfortable enjoying the moment. However it can be a trap to add “learn to meditate” to your already long to-do list. If it becomes just another project for achievement, then the purpose is defeated. Meditation can be challenging. Full disclosure: I once ran away from a week-long silent meditation retreat. I learned a lot, but I only could take two days of learning.
Spending some time alone and perhaps going for a walk is a good place to start. Without some alone time (and I mean quality time without the distraction of email, phones, TV, Facebook, or alcohol) it is hard to be a good friend to yourself. Distracted friends who don’t listen well do not make good friends. Do you check in with yourself the way you check in with a friend? Do you ever call you?
A famous study published in the journal Science discovered that people would rather receive electric shocks than be in a room by themselves with nothing to do; 67 percent of men and 25 percent of women chose to inflict themselves with with electric shocks rather than sit quietly alone in a room for 15 minutes. So don’t be surprised if you”fail” at doing less at first. This isn’t as easy as it sounds.
Not to get too depressing, but one of the top five regrets of people who are dying are “I wish I didn’t work so hard.” A palliative nurse named Bronnie Ware recorded the most common regrets of the dying and put her findings in the book, The Top 5 Regrets of the Dying.
Here they are:
1. I wish I’d had the courage to live a life true to myself, and not the life others expected of me.
2. I wish I hadn’t worked so hard.
3. I wish I had the courage to express my feelings.
4. I wish I had stayed in touch with my friends.
5. I wish that I had let myself be happier.
This sounds like a good manifesto for living to me.
Adam D. Blum, MFT, is a licensed psychotherapist and the founder of the Gay Therapy Center, which specializes in relationship and self-esteem issues for LGBTQ people. The center offers services in its San Francisco, New York, Washington D.C., and Los Angeles offices, or by Skype and phone worldwide. Visit its website to subscribe to its e-newsletter and free e-class on building a better relationship with yourself. Follow the Center on Facebook and read its blog. Email Adam your questions for possible publication. (Questions may be edited.)