15 octobre 2010

Am I androgynous or transsexual?

I’ve realized that I’m not stereotypically female, and don’t want to be. My vague masculinity and physical appearance have lead people to assuming I’m lesbian. I don’t feel a physical attraction to men or women, and know that I’m pansexual, but I don’t know whether I’m androgynous or not. I feel uncomfortable with my female body, but I’m not completely sure I should be male. I remember wanting to be a boy and believing I should’ve been as a kid. During high school, I felt reluctant to have the mistake the school made as labeling me male fixed. Recently, I’ve had the desire to bind my chest, and feel hesitant whenever I’m asked to identify my sex. When I have to, I want to say I’m male. I want to look masculine and have a flat chest, but not a penis. I don’t desire any kind of surgery beyond having my ovaries removed. I felt relieved learning of androgyny, but now I’m uncertain and scared. Am I really androgynous or actually transsexual?

François Paquette

Hi Donna,

First, our apologies for having waited so long to give you an answer.

You are writing to us that you are questioning if you are androgynous or transsexual. You feel that you are not stereotypically female, you want to say you are male, and you want to look masculine, but without having a penis.

Generally, the concept of transsexuality means that you are strongly identifying yourself with the other sex, meaning that, as a woman, you would like to become a man. But a lot of people who are going through that process don't go as far as having an operation to change their genitals. The reasons are multiple : money, fears about the operation itself, limits of the operation, but for some people it will be simply that changing their day-to-day appearance is necessary.

On the other hand, you might be always playing « in between » the two genders, somewhere near androgyny. In the end, you don't have to label yourself with any word if it doesn't make you comfortable! Labels are just labels. They are often inaccurate and can’t describe «exactly» who you feel you are as a person. For example, what would you call a woman who enjoys being a woman, but binds her chest because she prefers the way this looks as opposed to wearing a bra that attracts the eye to the chest area? Perhaps she dislikes her breasts. Perhaps she just prefers to play with the idea of androgyny. With binding, you are always free to go between showing off your womanly shape, or hiding it temporarily. It’s like women who wear padded bras on occasion, rather than going through the process of getting a breast enlargement, which is permanent and can cause complications.

Only you can really figure out if you are transsexual or not. It is also OK not to be 100% sure at the beginning of the process. A lot of people need time to question themselves. Feel free to reach out in your community to all the resources that you could have access to, support groups, friends, etc.

Good luck !

François for AlterHeros