24 October 2008

I never hated my gender, but I've never really liked who I was, I felt I should be different

Hello, I’m a sixteen year old girl. I recently have started looking at Youtube videos of FTM people and have been suddenly entranced.
I don’t have the ‘always liked boys stuff’ stories that they have, but when I was younger I was outgoing and happy. I wore dresses and played with dolls, but I played sports and got the dresses dirty, and played ‘zombies’ with my headless Barbies. Then as I got older I started to retreat within myself. I talked a lot less and felt more and more uncomfortable with who I was. I never hated my gender, but I’ve never really liked who I was, I felt I should be different.
Now I’m so confused. I do have a tendency to randomly give myself identities, trying to find myself. But I’ve never felt so confused or scared like this, and definitely never wanted to talk about it. I don’t know what to do and I desperately need someone to understand. I know this road is so much harder and I am really scared. Any help would be appreciated.

annabelle dupras

Hi Jordan! Thank you for your question.

The impression I get from what you are saying is that you are questioning yourself about your gender, maybe not knowing anymore which gender you identify yourself with. It seems that although you are a girl and do not hate your gender, you also feel comfortable giving yourself an identity that is more masculine, or then again, juggling between both gender identities, trying to truly pinpoint who you are or who it is you want to be.

I can understand why you would be feeling confused and worried right now, because it is a very complex issue to deal with. Sometimes we would like to be able to find a simple answer to our questions, when in fact, there is no simple or obvious answer. But we can try and help you look further into your feelings to try to sort things out.

Society tends to categorize and label a lot of things, like man and woman, masculinity and femininity, and the roles associated with genders. That explains why a lot of gender-questioning individuals may have a hard time figuring out where they fit into those categories. But the truth is that gender can also be viewed as a continuum, in the sense that different people may perceive themselves at any point on that continuum between masculinity and femininity. There are also other ways to identify outside that continuum. It could seem odd to view things in this way, but when it comes down to it, it may not matter all that much to be able to label ourselves clearly by gender definition. The essential thing is to be comfortable with the person you are and to be able to express your identity in whichever way feels right for you. And, through experience and time, you may be able to eventually define yourself more clearly.

Jordan, have you talked to anybody else about what you are going through? For instance, is there someone in your life that you trust enough to talk to about your feelings? Often just expressing emotions verbally can help to figure things out, or at least bring a bit of relief. Why not give that a try if you get the opportunity. Also, talking with a counsellor or getting professional help could be something else you may want to look into. Inform yourself to see if there are any support groups or organizations in your area that offer services to questioning youth.

Hoping that this has helped you out. Don’t hesitate to write again if you have other questions!

Anna, for Altereros