Portfolio of Hope

Gender identity and gender expression are very much ‘separate‘-
whereas gender expression is external
(as its name suggests, its how we express our gender to the world, most notably through our choice of clothing, hairstyle, behaviour, etc.)
our gender identity is very much internal
it’s how we feel on the inside
(whether we feel that we are a woman, a man, both, neither, or anywhere along the gender spectrum)-
it’s our personal sense of self…

And so, it can be said that; how a person appears on the outside in terms of their gender expression, it does not indicate anything about what their gender identity on the inside actually is, for, a persons gender expression does not- will not- always match their gender identity,
this being proven by, for example, the likes of David Bowie,
(Bowie may not have been transgender, but he was definitely trans: transforming and transgressing and traversing all of the boundaries and norms and ideas of gender),
as well as by people such as;
Harry Styles,
& Cara Delevigne-
all of whose gender expression differs from their gender identity
(gender identity= cisgender,
gender expression= ‘non-binary’/gender non-conforming)

Based on this then-
based on the fact that our internal gender identity and our external gender expression can differ so much, it is so important that we are all familiar with each others pronouns-
so that we can all better understand where we sit on the spectrum-
whether we are cisgender and follow the binary,
or whether we are non-binary-
thus allowing us to feel more understood,
more accepted…

Now, in terms of what these two concepts- ‘binary’ and ‘non-binary‘- mean
The gender binary is the idea that there are two separate genders: man and woman, and so, someone who identifies as non-binary then (or, ‘gender-queer‘), exists outside of the binary of man and woman- i.e., they are not cisgender, and sit somewhere in the middle of the spectrum…
In fact, for some non-binary people (‘ENBY’s), they don’t sit on the spectrum at all*
*though, this comes with a label of it’s own– ‘Agender‘- meaning; ‘to have no gender identity.’

This is why it’s so important to know everyone’s pronouns, you see? It’s so important because; the way that someone presents themselves on the outside (their gender expression), does not necessarily align with who they are on the inside (their gender identity). I know this first-hand…

You see, I am cisgender (I was assigned female at birth- AFAB- and I identify as female- she/her) BUT I am gender non-conforming/gender-queer/gender-fluid. If someone were to look at me, though, without knowing my pronouns, then they would probably assume that I were non-binary, as opposed to what I actually am- just a woman who enjoys playing around with her gender, wearing men’s clothes, and ‘bending’ societies expectations and self-imposed ‘rules’ of what we think it means to be either a man or a woman…

Why do I, one could argue, make stuff ‘harder’ for myself by expressing myself in the way that I do? I do it because, whilst I very much relate to the female experience- I find great strength in being a woman/I wouldn’t not want to be a woman- I also find a great deal of strength in experimenting with my gender expression-
wearing a mans shirt with a skirt and pink socks,
a dress with a tie-
(& yes, it really does make me feel more ‘powerful‘, no matter how illusory that power is)…

I wear ‘masc’ (masculine) clothes to make myself feel good in the same way that most other 21 year old women wear makeup to make themselves feel good…
It really is that simple.
It makes me feel good, so I wear it*…

*Well, for this reason (because it makes me feel good), and because; I like seeing people look twice. I like to intrigue people by what I wear/to make people question their, often long-held beliefs, of what it means to be a man or a woman. I like the ambiguity it creates around who I am…

I am a woman, but I sometimes like to wear men’s clothing, to act like a man, to be…

Call it greed, if you want. I like having the best of both worlds, what can I say…

To conclude, it can be said then that; gender expression is a choice,
whereas gender identity is fixed.
I can wear traditional ‘masculine’ clothes
but not identify as a man,
for, Gender
my gender-
is fluid


And so, this is why I use the term ‘queer‘-
an umbrella term encompassing both my gender and my sexuality-
not for the sake of pleasing anyones gaze…

How freeing.

~ <3 ~

One response to “Gender Identity VS Gender Expression- Understanding Who I Am.”

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