Many people like us know how it feels when we do not fit in. It can be hard when we do not fit in because of our gender. It can be very hard for young people.
There are many gender questioning people like you. The only person who knows the answer to your own gender question is you.
There are many trans+ and gender diverse identities. It is your choice how you identify and express your true self.
Every journey to being your true self is different. Some people are very sure, while others may not be. If you are not sure, you are not alone!
Kinds of questioning
You may be questioning any or all of these things:
- How you feel about yourself and where you fit in within the gender roles of your culture.
- How you choose to look and act around others. Some people have a strong sense of their gender identity, but they can not express it. They worry that it will cause problems for them at work, school, home, or in public.
- Your personal sense of what groups best match your sexual attractions.
- These are non-sexual attractions like friendships and other relationships. Social psychologists divide these into three types of attitudes:
- behavioral (interest in connecting)
- cognitive (positive beliefs)
- affective (positive feelings)
Why they are not happy
- Some people want to make a gender transition even though they do not feel any distress. They may even like their current gender identity or expression.
- You do not need to have distress or “dysphoria” to make a gender transition.
- Many people wonder if they are not happy because of their sex and gender. Some people question if it may be something else. See the list below.
Should I transition?
You are not a fake if you are not sure. Gender transition is a leap of faith, and it is good to look before you leap! Being unsure is fine. Some people will say you are just confused, or it is a fad, or you want attention. Do not listen to them.
Listen to yourself. Listen to your hopes and dreams. Listen to your doubts and fears. Better yet, find someone you can talk with about your thoughts. Talking out loud is much better than sitting with your own thoughts or communicating by text. Some people find it helps to talk with a therapist. I did.
It is important to ask yourself each day what will make you happy. Your gender identity and expression can move around over time. There is nothing wrong with that!
Some things to think about
Below are some of the doubts other people have had when questioning their gender identity.
- Some wonder if their age is a problem. They wonder if they are too old or too young to transition.
- Some wonder if passing or attractiveness will be possible, and they wonder what will happen if they do not “pass.”
- Passing and attractiveness are two different things. Some attractive people do not “pass.” Some people who “pass” are not attractive. Some attractive people who “pass” are not happy. Some unattractive people who do not “pass” are very happy. See “passing” for more.
- Some wonder if they will ever find happiness if they transition. They may worry they will be unhappy.
- Transition does not make you a new person. It can make many (but not all) people happier. Being happy is its own journey, though. It starts with self-acceptance.
- Some wonder if they will ever find love if they transition. They may worry they will be lonely.
- Many (but not all) transgender people are in loving long-term relationships after transition.
- Some wonder what would happen at school if they transition. They worry other students or educators will not accept them.
- Some (but not all) young people have transitioned in school. You may need help from trusted adults if you are not an adult yet. Some (but not all) decide it is better to wait.
- Some wonder if they will have a place to live if they transition. They may worry they will be kicked out of their home or will not have money for a place to stay.
- Many (but not all) transgender people have a place to stay after transition. In some places where people are not fair to us, some people need help finding a place to stay. See the housing section.
- Some wonder if they will have a job if they transition. They may worry they will be unemployed or will not have the kind of job they want.
- Many (but not all) transgender people have good jobs after transition. In some places employers are not fair to trans people. That can make it harder for some trans people to get a good job. See the employment section.
- Some wonder if they are mixing up their sexual orientation with their gender identity.
- Some people think it would be easier to attract the kind of people they like if they transition. In some (but not all) cases, it may be easier. In some (but not all) cases, it may be harder. It is hard to say for sure without knowing your own situation.
- Some wonder if having a “straight” or “heterosexual” sexual identity in the past means they should not transition.
- They may not know that many people who transition are in same-gender loving couples.
- Some wonder if their erotic interests like kink, cosplay, anime, or transformation stories make them want to transition.
- Some (but not all) people have transitioned as part of their erotic interests. It is important to balance your erotic life with the rest of your life.
- Some wonder if autoerotic interests like their fantasies make them want to transition.
- Some (but not all) people have transitioned as part of their autoerotic interests. It is important to balance your fantasies with the reality of transition.
- Some wonder if they have a sexual issue, like a tough time being aroused, or distress about the amount or kinds of sexual thoughts they have.
- Some (but not all) people transition to change the amount or kinds of sexual thoughts they have. For some (but not all) people, this can help. The amount of sexual thoughts are more likely to change than the kinds of thoughts.
- Some wonder if being married means they should not transition. They worry their spouse will leave them.
- Some (but not all) married couples stay together through a gender transition.
- Some wonder if having children means they should not transition. They worry it will hurt their children, or their children will not accept them.
- Some (but not all) people transition after having children. Some (but not all) people wait until their children are older. Many (but not all) children accept their parent after transition.
- Some wonder if wanting children means they should not transition.
- Some (but not all) people who transition also want children.
- Some wonder if making a gender transition means they will never have children.
- We have many reproductive choices we can make before starting a medical transition. Some (but not all) of us adopt children after transition.
- Some wonder if they mostly just like the social parts, like the clothes, hairstyles, name, etc.
- Some wonder if they just do not like the gender role they are expected to perform.
- Many people throughout history have rejected their gender role. It is important to be yourself!
- Some wonder if they have a body image issue about a trait or part of their body they do not like.
- Some people who do not like the size or shape of their body may wish to make a part or all of their body more masculine or feminine. There are many ways to change how you look, and not all of them are medical ways.
- Some wonder if their experience of trauma, especially sexual assault or abuse, makes them want to distance themselves from their bodies or parts of their bodies that were hurt.
- It is important to find ways to heal from trauma. It can be helpful to talk about it with other people you trust. This can include friends, family, spiritual leaders, and therapists. Some (but not all) people who experience trauma make a gender transition.
- Some wonder if their own past behavior that was bad or against the law makes them want to distance themselves from their names, lives, bodies, or parts of their bodies.
- Your past is always part of who you are. You must make peace with that before you can move forward. You want to avoid making the same mistakes again. Some (but not all) people who have done bad things in the past make a gender transition.
- Some wonder if drug, alcohol, or chemical use or misuse gave them the idea they should change.
- Some things we take can make the world feel different. They can bring feelings to the front that you have had for some time. This can last a short time or a long time. It is good to make big choices when you are not using drugs, alcohol, or chemicals.
- Some wonder if they are having a crisis due to stress, loss, midlife, or other stressful event.
- Stress can bring feelings to the front that you have had for some time. It can be helpful to talk with other people you trust. This can include friends, family, spiritual leaders, and therapists.
- Some wonder if they want attention from friends, family, classmates, online followers, coworkers, authority figures, or healthcare professionals.
- Would you still want to transition if no one noticed or cared?
- Some wonder if peer pressure from friends and social groups makes them want to make a gender change.
- We all do things to try to fit in. It is important to make sure transition is about accepting yourself and not acceptance from others.
- Some wonder if media figures like a favorite trans social media star make them want to transition.
- We all have role models. Most (but not all) media figures focus on good or fun parts of their lives. It is good to think about how transition will affect all parts of your life.
- Some wonder if they will regret transition.
- This is a very big thing to think about. While regret is rare (about 1 in 100), it does happen. Many people have made additional gender changes and are happy. If you are under age 18, it is very important that you think very carefully about why you want to transition.
- Some wonder about the risks and side effects or other bad things that can happen.
- This is a very big thing to think about, too. Hormones have risks and side effects that you need to know about before you start. You need to be sure you understand all the good and bad things that can happen.
- Some wonder if they are not neurotypical, and that makes them feel this way.
- There is overlap with gender diverse people and other kinds of neurodiverse people. You may have one or more ways you are neurodiverse.
It is very good to find people you trust who can help you sort out your feelings. We all want you to make the choice that is best for you!
My general suggestions:
- Have fun with it all! Do not beat yourself up. Do not get caught up in fear and worry.
- Play with gender in private, or maybe in safe and supportive spaces.
- It is never “too late” to transition. There is no deadline and no rush.
- Try before you buy. If you want to try something for a while, even something like hormones, you should do it! You can always stop if you want to. It is not all or nothing.
- I do not recommend “gender tests” and other online quizzes. There is no simple test on how to tell if you are trans.
- We all have different reasons for transition. The thought of growing old as a man was so dreadful to me. I love being a middle-aged woman!
- Some people will accept you. Some will not.
- There is no typical trans person and no “right” way to transition. Many people did not always feel this way. The were not always sure why they felt different.
- Transition may not be not right for you. That does not mean you are not part of our community! Many people who wish they could express themselves differently decide not to. They have all kinds of reasons. Some want to wait until they live by themselves, or have enough money, or get out of school. Some may have to wait because of family issues.
- Transitioning may be right for you. That does not mean you have to start right now!
- Your feelings and needs may change over time. There is nothing wrong with that!
- Some people start a gender transition, then decide to go in a different direction. That is great! It is your life and your happiness.
- You are still part of our community even if you can not transition right now.
- You are still part of our community if you decide to go in a different direction with your gender transition.
- I used a map theme for the site because everyone’s journey is different. It starts with your journey to self-acceptance.
Everyday Feminism (everydayfeminism.com)
- Great explainers on gender.
Twenty 10 (twenty10.org.au)
The Toast (the-toast.net)
Man Today (mantodayblog.wordpress.com)
- Archive (2010–2014)
Note: This page is for people ages 13 and above.
Disclaimer: This is talk, not advice. Some of this may not apply to you. It is presented without warranty. It may contain errors or omissions. You must do your own research.