Gender variance ≠ Transgender

When I see posts like this, it infuriates me, because an important idea is lost on all the talk of the transgender phenonenon. Using “snow” as a comparison doesn’t help:

I’m gonna venture to say, if you use the word snow, it will mean something different to someone who lives in Denver, than it does to someone who lives in upstate New York, and yet something different to someone who lives in Houston.


Most of us know drag preformers aren’t trans. There, out of the way.

Gender variance is an age old concept, the idea of people who don’t adhere to the usual cultural norms for men and women as dictated by the predominant culture. Growing up, before I knew about the trans community, I was extremely tomboyish, to the point I wanted to be a boy. Lots of creative pieces in school had me pretending I was a boy. In Spanish class, I argued with the teacher that I wanted to use the -o ending (to describe myself in the masculine), not -a (in the feminine). As a teenager, after coming to realize I was attracted to women and not men, I identified strongly as butch, but the concept of still identifying as a “gender-variant” woman bothered me, and hated being left out from guys-only events.

Despite what LGBT organizations like GLAAD try to promote, most if not the majority of gender-variant people don’t identify as transgender.

The difference between guys like me and my butch friends is that we identify as male, want to live as men, while my butch friends, as masculine as they are, are still women.

Gender variance does not promote the idea to negate gender societal norms, nor does it seek to reinforce them. It states that there are general trends, and people who choose differently are just offshoots. While for men gender variance often end in humiliation or discrimination, for women it’s often encouraged if not celebrated, while allowing women who want to choose to remain femme.

A good majority of gender-variant people do not identify as trans, maybe even as part of the larger lgbt community. Many of them are allies, and many are not. We can’t have it both ways, saying there is a difference between gender identity and presentation, but then consider anyone who is gender variant as “transgender”. In our journey for visibility and acceptance, we need to accept the identities of our allies, too.

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