Advice with Bee!

Bee Chaudhury

Staff Writer

     Content Warning: I will be talking about gender dysphoria in this.

     Hi everyone, I’m Bee! I like whales, soup, and snack food. I’m also part of the LGBT community! I identify as non-binary and use he/they pronouns, which is very comfortable for me. Of course, that doesn’t mean I’m androgynous, which is completely ok! You are allowed to express yourself however you think feels right. That’s the whole point of gender expression. 

     Before we get too far into things, here are some definitions which will be helpful. Don’t worry if it’s confusing at first; it’s a lot of new information.

     Gender dysphoria (noun): the feeling of not having your gender assigned at birth not match how you see your gender

     Cisgender (adj): when someone identifies with the gender they were assigned at birth

     Non-binary (adj): when someone identifies somewhere in-between the gender spectrum

     Agender (adj): when someone identifies with having no gender or not fitting in the spectrum at all

     Don’t feel too overwhelmed with all of this right now, it will be defined again later just in case. 

     “How long did it take for you to figure your identity out?”

     For me personally, it took a long time. I never really felt like a girl in my head, but I just recently acknowledged that feeling. I never really felt like a boy either, but I’m comfortable being somewhere in the middle. It did take me 3 years to get to this point, but this isn’t the same for everyone. Some people figure it out right away, and for others it takes some time. You’re allowed to take your time, especially with big things like this. Figuring yourself out is like a big puzzle, and rushing is only going to make you frustrated.

     “How do I know that I’m not cisgender?”

     That’s really up to how you feel. Being cisgender is when you identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. It’s helpful to experiment, especially if you’re not sure of yourself. You can just experiment with different pronouns to start, and then take it from there. Of course, there’s more to it than just pronouns, but how you go about that is up to you. There are different types of gender dysphoria, which are all experienced differently. There’s social, mental, and physical dysphoria, which are all different but still indicators that someone might not be cisgender. Gender dysphoria is when your gender assigned at birth doesn’t match the way you feel. It might be through the way your body looks, the way your mind perceives you, or through how other people perceive you. Of course, how you figure all of this out is up to you. I personally started with pronouns and then realized I’m not a girl, but you can go in any order you want. 

     “How do I figure out my pronouns and how do I get people to respect my pronouns?”

     For pronouns, you just wanna try things out and see what you like. You can try the standard pronouns like she/her, he/him, or they/them, and then see how you like those. If you don’t like any of those, you can always try neo pronouns, like ze/zir. However, if you use neo pronouns make sure to be respectful with which ones you use. There are ones like BLM/BLMself and fae/faeself which are disrespectful to different cultures, but that doesn’t mean you can’t use neo pronouns. Just be careful which ones you use, and make sure that they aren’t going to be disrespectful to different people.

     When people aren’t respecting your pronouns, try to be upfront about it bothering you. If someone is trying and they accidentally slip up, you can always gently correct them or see if they correct themself. I personally try to make my pronouns clear when I first meet someone, so they know before they get into a habit of using the wrong ones. Of course, if someone you’ve known for a long time slips up you can correct them and remind them. It’s best not to be rude or mean about it unless someone is misgendering you on purpose, then I’d say handle that how you want to. When using new pronouns, make sure to give the people close to you in your life some room to grow and learn, as it can be a big adjustment for them.

     “What is the difference between gender identity and gender expression?”

     These two are commonly mixed up, which can make things much harder for people to understand. Identity is how you identify. For example, I identify as a non-binary, bisexual person. Expression, however, is how you feel represents you as a person. For example, expression would be me binding my chest but still being comfortable in a skirt. Identity is how you feel internally while expression is how you present to others. Although they are completely different things, they get mixed up a lot and can be hard to distinguish sometimes. 

     “Is it possible to be in-between different identifications?”

     Of course! In fact, a lot of people are, including me! Gender is a spectrum, and it’s possible to be in-between the two ends of it. It is perfectly ok to figure things out and not be one gender or the other, but somewhere in the middle.

     “Is it possible for someone to be completely neutral on gender?”

     This is also perfectly ok! Some people might find themselves completely in the middle of the spectrum, and some people might find themselves not really identifying with any gender at all. Being agender is when someone doesn’t have any gender at all; they ran out. Either way is perfectly good and it is completely up to you how you want to identify.

     “How did you choose your new name?”

     Choosing a new name is generally a different experience for different people. Some people might have a name picked out that they already like, and some people might have to spend a long time trying out different names until they find one that feels right. Other people may not feel a need to use a new name, because they are ok with the one they were given, and that’s ok! Personally, I didn’t like my deadname and didn’t want to use it anymore, but didn’t have anything in mind so I asked a friend for help. They gave me the name I use now, and it will always be important to me because they gave it to me. If you do want a new name, you should go about it however works best for you, as this is a personal experience.

     Remember loves, it’s important to be you! You are whatever you identify as because that’s what makes sense to you and it feels better for you, not because of what you were born as or how you were raised. Please keep in mind as well that I didn’t mention a lot of different things in detail, like the gender binary or too many different identities. If you don’t think you identify with the specific labels I mentioned, it’s ok, there’s a whole lot more in the world. Experimenting is natural and fun, and you don’t have to do it a certain way if it makes you uncomfortable. Have fun, be safe, and I love you! Have a good day!

There is both a white button-up (left) and a red dress (right) laying flat on a bed, suggesting someone is picking out clothes for the day. Clothes are confusing sometimes, but that’s ok as long as the person wearing them feels comfortable and good about themselves.

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