My brother came out as a transgender, and his situation seems similar to mine

Hello Daniel,

It sounds as though you really enjoy doing ‘girl’ things, such as having your nails painted by your female friends. You are young, and at an age where exploration and experimentation is very common.

At this point, it is very hard to say if you are transgender, or simply “different” than most people, as you put it.

Wanting to dress like a girl, or feeling more at ease doing things your female counterparts do, isn’t so strange. We have always had a term for girls who like to dress or act like boys, or who feel more comfortable around boys. TOMBOY. Why nobody has come up with an equal version for boys who are in touch with their feminine side, I’ll never know! In that respect, I don’t think there is anything wrong with the thoughts you are having. Perhaps society has decided that a male who feels more comfortable doing ‘girlish things’ (let’s call him a TOMGIRL for the sake of discussion) is somehow less of a man. So we are taught to feel shameful if our maleness doesn’t match the maleness of our peers.

Boys who like ballet, or baking, or shopping aren’t necessarily gay (as some people would think), nor transgendered. An individual can be one but not the other.

In your case, you might not yet have enough information to understand whether you are trans, or simply “different”. Probably your best bet would be to talk to your brother. (S)He might be able to share some useful information with you, with the same – if not more – value than any doctor or therapist’s info. Even if he has cross-dressed and you have not, there are different degrees of transgenderism and he might have some insight to share, which could help you understand your own unique situation.

There is one thing you can try to do as a game or an exercise. If you stand in front of a mirror, naked, what, or WHO do you see? Is that a girl staring back at you? Does she have female parts or male parts? Or is she made up of a variety of parts from both genders? If you feel the parts you are born with somehow don’t “fit” the person you feel you are inside, it might be an indication that you are, possibly, trans. Do you feel disgust at your own male body? Try to mentally picture each male attribute being replaced with female attributes, one by one, until you are satisfied with the virtual ‘you’. Who is this You?

If you aren’t particularly revolted by your own maleness, you might be somewhat ‘trans-minded’, and not necessarily transsexual. There are all sorts of words and variations on what makes someone trans and what does not. If you take a look at this link, I’m sure it will shed some light on certain differences between being transgender and being transsexual:

There are people who consider themselves to be gender-queer and/or transgender, but are completely happy in the body they were assigned at birth. This is what i mean by being trans-minded. For such people, cross-dressing may not even be appealing. Surgeries might not be necessary. It is more a state of mind than an outward appearance or way of acting. Before deciding that you are transgender, think of these things, and see where you feel you fit in best. Anyways, gender and sexuality isn’t about fitting into a category. It can remain vague, even if it might confuse outsiders who seek defined guidelines of what makes someone a man or a woman.

I hope this has shed a bit of light, and don’t be shy if you have more questions!

Dee, for Alterheros

About Dee Gamme

Dee holds a baccalaureate in Fine Arts in Cinema (Specialization in Film Animation). She's also an event producer/promoter in the Queer community, mainly working with independent musicians and visual artists. Dee was a volunteer in the "Tell the experts" team for 2 years before being given the opportunity to become Outreach Director. Heading the Anglophone Team since early 2009 has been a great experience!

I like being involved at AlterHeros because it helps keep me in touch with the Queer community. I also love to help others and I am interested in psychology and coming out issues.