For gender questioning people

Many of us know what it feels like when we don’t fit in. That’s hard when we don’t fit in because of our gender.

There are many gender questioning people like you.

The only person who knows the answer to your own gender question is you.

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 the following:

Gender identity

  • How you feel about yourself and where you fit in within the gender roles of your culture.

Gender expression

  • How you choose to express yourself to others. Some people have a strong sense of their gender identity, but they can’t express it because it will cause problems for them at work, school, home, or in public.

Sexual identity

  • Your personal sense of what group best matches your sexual attractions.

Interpersonal attraction

  • 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)

Cause of unhappiness

  • Some people want to make a gender transition even though they don’t feel any distress. They may even like their current gender identity or expression.
  • You do not need to have “dysphoria” to be transgender.
  • Many people wonder if their unhappiness is related to sex and gender, or maybe something else. See the list below.

Should I transition?

You are not a fake if you’re 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. Don’t listen to them.

Listen to yourself. Listen to your hopes and dreams. Listen to your doubts and concerns. Better yet, find someone you can speak with about your thoughts. Talking out loud is much better than sitting with your own thoughts or communicating by text. Some people find it helpful to speak with a therapist. I did.

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 will be possible, and they wonder what will happen if they don’t pass.
  • Some wonder if they will ever find love if they transition. They may worry they will be lonely.
  • Some wonder what would happen at school if they transition. They worry other students or educators won’t accept them.
  • Some wonder if they will ever find work if they transition. They may worry they will be unemployed.
  • Some wonder if they will ever find happiness if they transition. They may worry they will be unhappy.
  • Some wonder if they are mixing up their sexual orientation with their gender identity.
  • Some wonder if they mainly just like the social aspects, like the clothes, hairstyles, name, etc.
  • Some wonder if they just don’t like the gender role they are expected to perform.
  • Some wonder if they have a body image issue about a trait or part of their body they do not like.
  • Some wonder if they have a sexual issue, like difficulties being aroused or distress about the amount or kinds of sexual thoughts they have.
  • 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 victimized.
  • Some wonder if their own past behavior that was bad or illegal makes them want to distance themselves from their their names, lives, bodies, or parts of their bodies.
  • Some wonder if they want attention from friends, family, classmates, coworkers, or healthcare professionals.
  • Some wonder if they are not neurotypical, and that makes them feel this way.

It’s very important to find people you trust who can help you sort out your feelings. We all want you to make the decision that is best for you!

My general suggestions:

  • Have fun with it all! Don’t beat yourself up. Don’t get caught up in fear and worry.
  • Play with gender in safe and supportive spaces.
  • It’s never “too late” to transition. I know people who transitioned when they were over 80 years old. 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! It’s 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!
  • Being accepted by others if you transition is not an all-or-nothing binary. Some people will accept you. Some will not.
  • There is no typical trans person and no “right” way to transition. Many people didn’t always feel this way and were unable to explain why they felt different.
  • It’s possible that transitioning is not right for you. That doesn’t mean you’re not part of our community! Many people who wish they could express themselves differently decide not to for 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.
  • It’s possible transitioning is right for you. That doesn’t mean you have to start immediately!
  • I used a map for the site because everyone’s journey is different. That starts with your journey to self-acceptance.

Resources

Genderbread (genderbread.org)

  • Great explainers on gender.

Twenty 10 (twenty10.org.au)

Everyday Feminism (everydayfeminism.com)

The Toast (the-toast.net)

Man Today (mantodayblog.wordpress.com)

Tranarchism (tranarchism.com)

Trans*Enough (transenoughblog.tumblr.com)