Many of 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.
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 be transgender.
- 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.
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 do not “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 will not accept them.
- Some wonder if they will ever find work if they transition. They may worry they will be unemployed or will not have the kind of job they want.
- 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 their erotic interests like kink, cosplay, anime, or transformation stories make them want to transition.
- Some wonder if autoerotic interests like their fantasies make them want to transition.
- 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 being married means they should not transition. They worry their spouse will leave them. They may not know that some (but not all) 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. They may not know that many people transition after having children.
- Some wonder if wanting children means they should not transition. They may not know that many people transition who also want children.
- Some wonder if making a gender transition means they will never have children. They may not know about reproductive options, or that many of us adopt children after transition.
- Some wonder if they mainly 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.
- 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 a tough time 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 hurt.
- Some wonder if their own past behavior that was bad or against the law makes them want to distance themselves from their their names, lives, bodies, or parts of their bodies.
- Some wonder if drug, alcohol, or chemical use or misuse gave them the idea they should change.
- Some wonder if they are having a crisis due to stress, loss, midlife, or other stressful event.
- Some wonder if they want attention from friends, family, classmates, coworkers, authority figures, or healthcare professionals.
- Some wonder if peer pressure from friends and social groups makes them want to make a gender change.
- Some wonder if media figures like a favorite trans social media star make them want to transition.
- 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 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 possibly in safe and supportive spaces.
- It is never “too late” to transition. I know people who did it 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 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!
- 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 that transitioning is right for you. That does not mean you have to start immediately!
- 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.