Can I be labeled a girl or a boy or something in between?

Hi Elisa,

In your question you express the idea that you may be happier as a boy and wonder what you could identify as.

My short answer would be: you can identify yourself however you wish to.

Labels are usually a quick and easy way to put oneself into a category. Whether it is gay, straight, bi, male, female or trans, labels can help (or hinder) describe one's identity to the world. Many of us feel that it is necessary to be a part of a category or group in society. Yet, there are some who do not support the idea of labels and therefore reject any sort of classification based on gender identity or sexual orientation. I mention this because if you feel like you do not need a name or category, then you are more than welcome to not use one.

By your question, I gather a few examples of combining both the masculine and feminine aspects of gender together. For instance, you mention that you like typical female clothes (minus the skirts) but have an idea that you may feel more comfortable as a boy. This draws me to think of an androgynous identity in which one has both feminine and masculine characteristics. It is often used to describe individuals who do not look strictly male or female. Such individuals may be genetically female, yet present themselves in a masculine way, but not to the extent where they “pass” as males.

Furthermore, there are those who identify as male or female, but also embrace the other gender just as much. For example, some females may have more of a masculine or ‘butch' aesthetic, such as preferring more masculine styles of dress and mannerisms. Alternatively, males can also feel comfortable being more feminine than the average male.

The ideas I have mentioned here are just to give you a brief glimpse into the enormous possibilities of gender and sexuality. I would encourage you to think about your experiences and what they mean to you. Think about how they would be different (if so) as a boy? What is your strongest feeling about wanting to be a boy? What aspects of your femininity do you like? With time, these answers may guide you in your perception about your identity.

I am providing you with some web links about the topic of atypical gender identities. One is from a Canadian health association and the other is a multimedia blog of androgynous people. I hope that these can also serve to help you discover more about gender.

Thank you for writing in to Alterheros. I hope that I was able to shed some light on this topic for you. If you have any further questions or comments, please don't hesitate to write back!

For Alterheros,


About Kelley R

Kelley is currently in her last year at Concordia University, studying Psychology and Interdisciplinary Studies in Sexuality. For two years, she lived and worked in the university residence halls as a Resident Assistant where she played an active part in aiding the residents as they made the change from high school to university life. In high school, Kelley was a member of her school’s gay-straight alliance. She held the president role in her last year where she led meetings and organized events to foster the growth of a tolerant campus.

I’m interested in being apart of AlterHeros because I have a passion for helping others. I feel that it is important to have an online resource where people can come to with their questions and have them answered in a relatively private setting, especially for those who may face discrimination in their home setting for coming forward with these types of questions.

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