DEAR DAN: I’m a 22-year-old nonbinary person and I’m debating whether to come out to my father as nonbinary. Complicating things is the fact that I tried to come out to him at 18 back when I thought I was “only” a hetero-leaning bi cross-dresser. He did not take the news well. Today we don’t talk about it, and I think he pretends it never happened. I’m wanting to move toward living in a less-gender-conforming way — including changing my name — and am considering making a second attempt. Pros: not feeling I like I’m hiding who I am, maybe I get him off my back about kids, being able to be out on Facebook. Cons: screaming matches, strong possibility of being disowned and losing the modest amount of financial support I get from him, small possibility of him telling my mom (they’re divorced). Any advice?
—One Foot Out
DEAR OFO: What’s more important to you, OFO, living authentically or living off your dad? If being your authentic self means giving up the money he sends you and you don’t desperately need his money, the choice is obvious. But if his money is all that stands between you and gender-nonconforming homelessness, you might want to think through your options, the risks and the rewards, before going nonbinary official on Facebook.
DEAR DAN: I’m a 25-year-old man who is mostly interested in women but I like to mess around with men sometimes. I also love wearing high heels and makeup — not to “pass,” but just because I love it. Most women seem to be instantly turned off by these two things. I usually do very well with women, but they bolt when I tell them, and some have been quite hurtful. My family is very understanding about the high heels and my sexuality — even my father — but the average woman doesn’t seem to like it when I do something that they deem “theirs.” Which is so unfair. Women can do anything they please — wear pants if they like, have same-sex experiences — but I must submit or face the life of an outcast. Any advice on how to deal with this while also dealing with the bitterness and envy I feel?
—Enraging Gender And Double Standards
DEAR EGADS: Let’s start with those feelings of envy, shall we? While it’s true that women can wear pantsuits without causing alarm (or winning the White House), and while it’s also true that women can have same-sex experiences without freaking out the men in their lives (because straight men are likelier to be aroused than repulsed), women’s choices and their bodies are subjected to much more scrutiny, control, and violence than our male bodies are, EGADS. Until politicians legislate against your right to control your own body (and wear your own heels), you can note the few areas where women enjoy more latitude than men, but you aren’t allowed to bitch about them.
And this should put your pain in perspective: According to a new report from the Centers for Disease Control and Prevention, more than half the women murdered in the United States every year — 55 percent — are killed by their husbands, boyfriends or exes. It sucks to be dumped for your sexual orientation or gender expression, I know. And people kink-shaming is more painful than non-kinksters realize. But none of your exes have stalked and murdered you.
Now the good news: There are women out there who dig men in high heels, there are women out there into bi guys, and there is a significant overlap between those two groups of women. If you succumb to bitterness at your young age because you’ve been dumped a few times — if you despise all women because you were dumped by women you wouldn’t want to be with anyway — you’re going to scare off the women who are genuinely attracted to guys like you. The women who bolted did you a painful favor, and you should be grateful. Because with those average women out of your life, EGADS, you’re free to go find an above-average woman who wants an above-average guy like you. Pro-tip: You’re likelier to find those women at a fetish party or club, or via a kink social-media site or dating website. Good luck.
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