Articles / Feelings / Gender fog

What gender fog is and is not

Gender fog is a state of mind experienced by many people in response to a significant gender event. It is characterized by intense excitement and a focus on the gender event.

Last September I couldn't hold the phone straight long enough to take this selfie.
Last September I couldn’t hold the phone straight long enough to take this selfie.
The event that brings about the gender fog can be anything; its significance is entirely personal and specific to the moment. It can be something that happened in the recent past, like being referred to with a particular pronoun, or something in the present, like wearing a particular outfit, or even something in the future. like a planned party. It can even be just thinking about something that happened in the past, or planning something for the future. What produces gender fog one day in one person may be totally uninteresting to another person, or even to the same person a month later.

Some indications of gender fog include shallow breathing, sweating, butterflies in the stomach, and a lack of interest in anyone or anything outside of the context of the event. In extreme cases, people (okay, I) have reported insomnia, buzzing in the ears and nervous tremors. The most common feature is that the person will simply not shut up about that event and how wonderful they feel.

Here are some things that gender fog is not:

  • Gender fog is not a sign of your gender identity, authentic self, inner woman, masculine side or any other part of your essence.
  • Gender fog is not specific to people who transition. From what I can tell, it is found throughout the “transgender umbrella,” among transsexuals, transvestites, drag queens, butch lesbians and others.
  • Gender fog is not happiness. I hope some day you’ll experience enough happiness to be able to tell the difference.
  • Gender fog is not relief from dysphoria. It is not sustainable. It will fade soon enough, unless another significant gender event happens. And if the same event happens too often, its significance will fade and you’ll have to do something more significant, and so on.
  • Gender fog is not safe. The intensity with which we focus on the event and our gender issues when we’re in the fog make it hard for us to maintain perspective and to keep our safety.
  • Gender fog is not pleasant for those around you. Just ask them.

Be careful out there, folks…

See also: How I deal with gender fog.

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