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Not sure how to feel about my friend


Marv    

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So, last night my friend and I had a really respectful and grown up conversation about gender and sexuality. I came out as genderfluid to him and we had a chat about stuff. All was well and we're on good terms and honestly, I massively appreciate and respect how respectful he is/was. But some of the things he said are playing on my mind. He believes gender and sex are the same thing, that we haven't created gender, that there is a binary and it's only male/man and female/woman, and he doesn't believe in genderfluid and non-binary and all that fall under the non-binary umbrella. He said that he doesn't view me any differently, he just sees me and always will and believes that I believe I'm genderfluid, but doesn't himself believe it's a thing? I don't know how to better explain it. I explained that,  for example, my cat doesn't have a gender, it only has a sex, whereas we've made gender up/it's a social construct. I also explained that, yes there is male/man and female/woman, but the who idea of non-binary and everything under that umbrella is that those people don't fit into woman or man. I hope I'm explaining this right. So, on the one hand, it went well, he respects me and my pronouns if they might change and respects my identity, but just knowing that he doesn't believe in it kind of makes me feel invalid? He did also say that he isn't sure about genderfluid, non-binary, etc, because he wouldn't identify as it (of course I butted in and said 'that's because you're a cis-het guy though who's happy with their identity') which I kinda get but like what he's saying is, yeah cool you're genderfluid but you were born female and you'll always be female, or at least that's what it feels like. He isn't actively homophobic or anything, he is genuinely one of the most respectful people I know, but I'm struggling with the fact that I, and some of my friends and thousands of people around the world, are literal evidence of these other genders? He said that being anything other than man or woman isn't something we can prove and it is an emotional experience personal to a person, but I was like, okay but how do you prove that you're a cis man then? I don't know if this makes sense. I've been his mate for 4/5 years now and we're pretty damn close, I don't want to drop him and I don't think I could do that, but this keeps playing on my mind and the fact that he's only 23 and not willing to learn and observe what's in front of him (my genderfluid ass) baffles me. I don't know what to do really. 

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Hey Marv,

Thanks for telling us about how the conversation went. I completely get why you don't know what to do; it can really stop us in our tracks when we hear something as surprising as this from someone who we consider a friend. As you say, your existence is a reality which disproves his belief. For some people, it can take having a conversation like this for them to start seeing things differently, but it can take a while. Maybe he needs some time to reflect on what he has said. I think that with things like this, have some space, and then talk about it at a later date. What do you think? 

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Hi Monsoon, 

Yeah, I'm sure we'll end up talking about it again at some point. You're right, and I need to remember that my existence proves his belief wrong, I need to remember that I'm not invalid or faking it just because one person isn't sure if it's real or not. He contradicted himself a lot during the conversation; I feel like if he reflects on it or if we talk about it again, or if I really went for the counter argument, he might start to see the other side of the coin. I dunno, part of me wants to keep trying until he gets it, the  other part wants to stop putting in the effort to prove myself to people. I'm here, I'm valid and that's all that matters, right? I guess it's hard because we chat quite regularly and the conversation just plagues my mind 😕 

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Hey @Marv

Yeah, I completely get how something like that would be in your mind when having conversations with them; it's quite unnerving to have someone dispute your existence, and your feelings are totally valid and normal. As you say, you're valid and that's all that matters. There is power is not making it your mission to convince everyone, but then, we do also have that need for acceptance, especially from those who are close to us. I think it's always good to take a bit of a breather to plan your next step. What do you think? 

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Hey @Monsoon

A breather from them would be good. Like I said before, they're still totally respectul, he just have really contradictory and controversial opinions on these things. He asked me about my pronouns last night too, asking me what I prefer, and I said it's tricky because being genderfluid means it changes so usually my friends just switch between pronouns so I get some variation unless I specify otherwise, but I said at the moment I'm feeling more masculine, and he replied with 'okay cool, I'll probably keep referring to you as she but yee' which didn't make me feel great...

But yeah, I think I need some space from him for a bit to just understand that I've tried and that I can't change everyone's minds unfortunately. Thanks Monsoon. 

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Hey @Marv

Yeah, I think that it would be good to have a breather. I think he needs some time to think about the situation and how he could handle it better. It's good that he asked for your pronouns, but it must be frustrating for you that he then said that he's going to keep referring to you as she. Can I ask, how did you react to that? Also, I'm wondering, could one of your other friends maybe have a calm and respectful conversation about the situation with him? It might be good hearing it from someone else. 

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On 6/26/2021 at 4:56 PM, Marv said:

So, last night my friend and I had a really respectful and grown up conversation about gender and sexuality. I came out as genderfluid to him and we had a chat about stuff. All was well and we're on good terms and honestly, I massively appreciate and respect how respectful he is/was. But some of the things he said are playing on my mind. He believes gender and sex are the same thing, that we haven't created gender, that there is a binary and it's only male/man and female/woman, and he doesn't believe in genderfluid and non-binary and all that fall under the non-binary umbrella. He said that he doesn't view me any differently, he just sees me and always will and believes that I believe I'm genderfluid, but doesn't himself believe it's a thing? I don't know how to better explain it. I explained that,  for example, my cat doesn't have a gender, it only has a sex, whereas we've made gender up/it's a social construct. I also explained that, yes there is male/man and female/woman, but the who idea of non-binary and everything under that umbrella is that those people don't fit into woman or man. I hope I'm explaining this right. So, on the one hand, it went well, he respects me and my pronouns if they might change and respects my identity, but just knowing that he doesn't believe in it kind of makes me feel invalid? He did also say that he isn't sure about genderfluid, non-binary, etc, because he wouldn't identify as it (of course I butted in and said 'that's because you're a cis-het guy though who's happy with their identity') which I kinda get but like what he's saying is, yeah cool you're genderfluid but you were born female and you'll always be female, or at least that's what it feels like. He isn't actively homophobic or anything, he is genuinely one of the most respectful people I know, but I'm struggling with the fact that I, and some of my friends and thousands of people around the world, are literal evidence of these other genders? He said that being anything other than man or woman isn't something we can prove and it is an emotional experience personal to a person, but I was like, okay but how do you prove that you're a cis man then? I don't know if this makes sense. I've been his mate for 4/5 years now and we're pretty damn close, I don't want to drop him and I don't think I could do that, but this keeps playing on my mind and the fact that he's only 23 and not willing to learn and observe what's in front of him (my genderfluid ass) baffles me. I don't know what to do really. 

I think that the issue is over and I really shouldn’t butt in, but in the off chance it’s it, contrapoints has a video called transtrenders that might help you explain better. Just search up “contrapoints transtrenders”. It explains performity theory really well, and how gender is a social construct.

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Hey @Monsoon

It was definitely frustrating.  It made me feel quite sad actually, and a little disappointed in him and like my experience isn't valid. It stills plays on my mind from time to time too. Since the other day when he asked, he actually hasn't messaged me at all (we usually message every day to ask how we are so it's a little out of the norm), so maybe he picked up on my discomfort. But yeah, it mainly just made me feel kinda sad and actually a little bit fed up too :(

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53 minutes ago, Marv said:

Hey @Monsoon

It was definitely frustrating.  It made me feel quite sad actually, and a little disappointed in him and like my experience isn't valid. It stills plays on my mind from time to time too. Since the other day when he asked, he actually hasn't messaged me at all (we usually message every day to ask how we are so it's a little out of the norm), so maybe he picked up on my discomfort. But yeah, it mainly just made me feel kinda sad and actually a little bit fed up too :(

Hey Marv,

I completely get why you're feeling this way. It's especially hard when you speak to someone everyday and that then changes. It's normal for something like this to play on your mind. It sounds like he probably has picked up on your discomfort, so I think that once he's had some time to think about this, hopefully he will come around to your news more. I'm wondering, to help yourself feel better in the meantime, could you write a letter to him telling him how you feel? You can really go for it and show how upset you are, and then, you can rip the letter up and get rid of it. Doing something like this can help to process these kinds of feelings until you actually get to speak to them about it/find the right time for it. On the other hand, it could also be good to tell him how you feel now. Let me know what you think. Speak soon. 

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  • 2 weeks later...

Hi @Monsoon

Writing it all down and then ripping it up sounds very satisfying! I think I might do that! We've been chatting a bit lately, I video called him the other night and it was fine. I guess, overall, he needs to learn to be more open, and I need to learn that I can't change everyone's mind and that as long as he isn't actually directly horrible to me, it's okay. He's quite good at telling when I  feel uncomfortable, so I'll give him that. The other tricky thing is I've told some of my other friends about his views and I feel like they'd rather me not be friends with him, which is a little tricky to digest but I dunno. 

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Hey Marv,

It's great to hear from you again. How are you doing? It's interesting that you are finding it tricky to digest. Can I ask, what do you think about what they said? 

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