I want to cut off my breasts!
I hate my breasts and I don’t know what to do about it. I think a lot about cutting them off. I don’t like the way shirts look on me because of them. Also I don’t like being female and cringe when I hear people refer to me as she or by my first name. I wear baggy clothes and have short hair so strangers frequently assume I’m a boy until I tell them my name. Most people don’t understand my problem and make fun of me for dressing/ acting like a boy. This makes things difficult at work. Also I’m gay and worried that girls won’t find me attractive anymore if I decide to cut my breasts off. Please help.
Thanks for writing in to us at Alterhéros.
It sounds like you’re having a tough time with your body right now. You write about not liking your breasts and about some issues you’ve run into with an non-traditional appearance. I’d like to assure you that you are certainly not alone with these feelings, as many young people like you are in similar situations. What you describe about your appearance sounds like what is sometimes referred to as androgyny, which is usually a state where you appear neither traditionally male nor female.
Firstly, your dilemma about appearing male while being biologically female is more common than many people believe. Not everyone fits perfectly into the body they have, but some people feel stronger about the differences between their identity and their bodies. Only you can find the identity and community you belong to (or you can also choose to reject the ideas a certain community has). I’d like to tell you about a few communities I think would interest you to learn more about or to connect with. Keep in mind that many people disagree with certain definitions, so it is important to keep an open mind about specific « requirements » to be a part of a group. For example, transgendered and transsexual individuals are those who feel that their gender is not the one assigned to them at birth biologically, and/or choose to express their gender in a different way. Some choose gender reassignment surgery but it is just one alternative, and a big decision to make. Another group to learn about is what is termed genderqueers. These individuals may reject a gender binary or choose to fall outside of it. Sometimes people also engage in what is called « genderfucking », purposely dressing in a way that is gender-ambiguous.
According to Wikipedia:
** »genderfuck » refers to the self-conscious effort to « fuck with » or play with traditional notions of gender identity, gender roles, and gender presentation. uses parody and exaggeration to call attention to its transgression of gender roles, seeking to expose them as artificial, often by manipulating one’s appearance to create gender dissonance or ambiguity in stark opposition of the gender binary. In this way, genderfuck shares many characteristics with genderqueer, although they are two separate concepts. Examples of genderfuck in relation to physical performance or appearance include people prominently displaying secondary sex characteristics of different sexes together, such as breasts and a beard.**
In your case, this may include breast binding, wearing a bandage, elastic, control top or tape to minimize and constrict your breasts. A quick search on the internet or your local LGBT group can have great resources for more information on all of the above.
It is perfectly fine for you to explore the way you’d like to dress and express yourself – there are no rules when it comes to what you wear! Choose what you feel suits you and you feel comfortable in. If you dislike when people refer to you as your name or « she », try requesting they use a nickname you’ve chosen, or a gender neutral pronoun like « hir » or « ze ».
You mention you hate your breasts, and that you’ve considered cutting them off as a solution. Keep in mind that anything like plastic surgery (a breast reduction) is a permanent and expensive resolution. It would be worth it to think deeply and consider other options before choosing this one. One thing to try is binding, mentioned earlier.
You also mention that things are difficult at work. It is not acceptable for anyone to discriminate against you based on your appearance or gender expression, though these things do happen. You may want to share with your coworkers about your expression at a level you feel comfortable sharing, if you think they are receptive and this might help. If you are being discriminated against in a more serious way, report it to your boss or supervisor.
Finally, while some people may not understand the way you feel about your breasts, there is no reason that others will find you unattractive simply because of one feature. A significant other should see much more than physical appearance, and will want you to feel as happy about your body as they do!
I hope some of this information has helped you. Ultimately you’ll need patience and introspection to apply this advice to your own experience.