#non binary
6 August 2008

I don't want to be considered a boy or a girl. What am I?

I would not like to be considered a boy or a girl. I am not sexually attracted to just boys or just girls, in fact neither. I feel as though physical attraction can turn me on and I do enjoy “sex” (or in my case masturbation). However I feel confused as to what this exactly means. I don’t feel as though I should be judged upon my sex.
I feel comfort in feeling as though I fit into a group but right now I’m more or less just outside any group circles. I’ve searched for a word to describe me to others, instead of having to say this every time. So what exactly am I? I’ve never been sexually attracted to male or female parts. Because I am still a virgin, people think this is just a phase or I haven’t experienced life enough to know but I know this is who I am, its just all so confusing! I just wish I could scream out at the top of my lungs exactly who I am, but what am I?

Kay Wo

Hi Mickey,

Thanks so much for writing in to us at AlterHéros. From your post, it seems as though you are questioning the labels you use to describe yourself with respect to gender identity and sexual orientation. Let’s go over both while considering the factors you expressed above.

Gender identity

You begin your description by saying that you do not like to be considered a boy or a girl. Typically, a person that does not like to be identified with a particular gender describes themselves as agender or non-binary. Beign non-binary refers to someone who feels that they do not fit into the typical masculine and feminine roles as defined by the society that they live in. They may feel in between male and female, or simply genderless (agender). Some other labels that are sometimes used are ambigender, non-gendered, intergendered, bigendered and genderfluid.

Sexual orientation

From your self-description, it sounds as though you may be one of two different kinds of sexual orientation: asexual or pansexual. You say that you are not sexually attracted to either boys or girls. If this is the case, people in this category are usually labelled as asexuals. Asexual people, in general, do not experience sexual attraction. However, later on in your post, you go on to say that you do experience physical attraction that can turn you on and that you enjoy masturbation. In this case, it sounds more like you fit into the category of pansexual. Someone who identifies as pansexual can generally be described as a person who feels physical, romantic or sexual attraction to an individual regardless of their gender identity. This basically means that you are attracted to someone based on who the person is as a whole package and factors such as their gender and body parts do not dictate your feelings. Pansexuals may also call themselves anthrosexuals or omnisexuals.

At your age, it is typical to feel a bit out of sorts when it comes to gender identity and sexual orientation. This is the time when many individuals may be confused or are generally questioning their feelings, figuring out who they are as a person and how their identity fits in their social circles. This process will take time. The bottom line is that no one can really tell you who or what you are; this is something you have to figure out with your life experiences.

What you can do to help this process along is to examine the things you are certain of about yourself and work from there. You seem sure that you do not identify as a boy or girl, so express yourself accordingly. Act the way you feel is most true to you and feel proud about who you are. Don’t let people who try and use the excuse of your virginity or “lack of experience” influence what you know about yourself. When it comes to sexual orientation, figure out exactly what you like to think about to help you masturbate? Specific people, objects or situations? What exactly do you fantasize about? Going over this will help you work through any confusion you may have regarding your sexual orientation.

Finally, labels have their own sets of pros and cons. In one way, it’s great to have a word that describes you in a simple and efficient manner; it saves you from having to explain yourself in a lengthy fashion and makes you feel like you’re part of certain groups of people. However, all labels are somewhat limiting, in the sense that they do not capture all the nuances that come with your particular personality. Most labels will require some additional explanations so that you can justly describe your self-identity. Even with the terms described above, you may still have to go through the process of explaining what pansexuality or non-binarity is!

Hopefully, this answer has helped you out, Mickey. If you discover that you have any new questions, please feel free to write to us again. Good luck and thanks again for writing in!

K-Wo for AlterHéros