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Author Topic: Questioning My Gender Identity
SelfDiscovery
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Hello, there!
Okay so here goes nothing. This is my first post here so please bare with me.
I'm 16 years old. All my life I was grown, taught, educated to be a man one day. Well, that's because I'm born in a male body. Recently, I came across the term "transgender". This was actually about 2 months ago. I saw pictures of transgender couples and stuff. This really struck me.
I never knew it was possible to actually transition from male to female (or vice versa). Maybe I already knew about it, but some medias made them look bad which kinda made me feel insecure.

Anyway, I had this really unexplainable feeling. Because all my life I was wishing I would wake up being a girl and living my life as a girl. I thought it was rather weird. I thought I was gay, but I don't see myself being with a guy as a guy. I felt more comfortable to be with a guy as a girl. Are you still with me? Sorry if it gets confusing.

So, recently I was in a relationship with a girl for 2 years now. Before I came across the term "transgender" or "gender dysphoria", I've always gotten jealous at whatever she does or gets. Dresses, pink rooms, pretty accessories and whatnot. I got really jealous. Jealous at a point where I get so depressed that I left scars on both my arms. Being the caring girl she is, she was there for when I was hurt. But to explain it to her was tough. Because in whatever way I would want to explain it would turn out differently.

It got really frustrating. One day, I asked her, what would it feel like to be in a guy's arms. To be under his protection. This kind of thing made me come to a conclusion that I am emotionally a girl. At least I really wanted to be. There were times I would actually do things to her what I wish guys would do to me. So our relationship was pretty strong. When I came across the term transgender, and opened up to her about how I felt inside, we became distant. And finally broke up. She was religious, she loved me, but she told me she can't be with me if I am going to transition.

That's my recent story. About myself? I don't know who I am. It's very frustrating. I really want to date a guy and be a girl. But everytime I feel like I am a girl, looking in the mirror is like having a huge slap to the face telling me I'm a boy. I don't have a lot of manly features like big muscles and stuff so I don't entirely feel trapped like most transgenders do. But I guess the trap feelings comes in when I realize hair is growing everywhere manly possible on my body. I feel rather disgusted really. I don't dare to shave as it would make things worse.

More on that later, right now I'm just trying to figure out who I am. I am still able to recall crossdressing when I was 9 - 12 years old. I did it secretly of course. I never really showed a sign of my feminine side to anyone.

Right now I just feel frustrated. Whenever I see a girl I don't know whether to have a crush on her. Or to wish I was her. To sleep every night hoping I would be different by morning. I also feel scared to open up to my family, cuz I'm scared these feelings would go away. And I'm scared if they would treat me differently. The idea of transitioning both excite me and scare me. Mainly because I would lose a lot of friends and I'm scared of how I would look like after.

I could learn to accept who I am. It wouldn't be a problem. But this feeling will never go away. And I will most probably feel frustrated.

Well, that's my whole story. I made sure I didn't leave anything behind. Sorry about that. So who am I really? Transgender?
Straight? Gay? I hope you can help me out.
Thank you for taking your time to read and bare the long story.

[ 11-04-2013, 05:32 AM: Message edited by: SelfDiscovery ]

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Robin Lee
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Hi SelfDiscovery and welcome to Scarleteen!

I'm so sorry to hear all this has you feeling so confused, and that your relationship broke up because of your own process of self-discovery. I imagine that really hurt!

Just checking in: Are you still hurting yourself? Did you ever talk to anyone about how depressed you were feeling?


I'm going to answer your last question first, okay? [Smile]

Gender and sexual orientation are two different things. They're interconnected in some ways for some people, but they're separate. so, a person could be transgender and straight. They could be transgender and gay. They could be another gender title and sexual orientation altogether.

So, figuring out your gender likely has little to do with your sexual orientation and doesn't really say much about what that orientation is.


Gender and sexual orientation do have one thing in common--they're both spectrums. That means that there are many, many possibilities for both of them. Some people, for example, aren't transgender, but also don't identify as male or female.

You also mentioned that a lot of transgender people feel trapped in their bodies. while this is true, a lot of trans* people don't feel that sense of being trapped, or feel it in different ways. Feeling trapped in one's body is a common story we hear about transgender people's experience, but it's not a rule.

I'm not clear on how much information you have on all of this, so I'm going to give you some articles to read that I think will help us with this conversation.


Boys Will Be Boys...or Not? Straight Talk About Gender

Genderpalooza! A Sex & Gender Primer

Living without Labels


The Rainbow Connection: Orientation for Everyone

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Robin

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SelfDiscovery
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Thank you so much for replying.
I'm still not entirely over it. And to your question, I'm not proud of doing so, but yes. No one knows the real reasons about my scars because I got away with cat scratches as an excuse. That one person I did told about it, left. And yes I do try to tell a close friend about how I feel, but I've never really went into detail on how depressed I really feel. Honestly, when I feel like telling someone, I feel like I'm giving them this huge burden to hold on to when they already have other things to worry about.

Maybe it is normal to feel confused? But then again living with a wonderful family that happens to be religious makes me think twice before coming out as transgender.

Btw, thank you for the articles. And thank you to choose to help me out. I really really appreciate it.

Gender and sexual orientation. I am most probably bisexual. I do feel sexually attracted to both female and male. Though I feel more female emotionally. I guess I'm emotionally attracted to people who are more masculine. Emotionally, I mean.

If you need to know anything about me, if it helps. Just ask. So long I remain anonymous for the time being, I'm fine.

Once again, thank you for helping out.

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Heather
Executive Director & Founder
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I really like this alternate framework for sexual orientation -- included in that last link there -- one that doesn't require the gender of the person identifying, or take it into account, if this is helpful to you:
- Androsexual, gynesexual, ambisexual or skoliosexual: These terms are a different framework for orientation than the framework of heterosexuality, homosexuality and bisexuality, one that can be more inclusive and expansive than hetero/homo/bi and doesn't require the gender of the person who is feeling the attraction to be defined in a given way, or at all. Androsexuality refers to someone who is attracted to masculinity, gynesexuality to femininity; an ambisexual is someone who can be attracted to both or either, or experiences gender as a non-issue, and a skolisexual, someone who is attracted to non-cisgender or non-binary people in general. Asexuality is also included in this framework.

[ 11-04-2013, 02:18 PM: Message edited by: Heather ]

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Molias
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Hi SelfDiscovery,

In terms of being confused or uncertain about your identity: there's a pretty pervasive idea that ALL trans folks know from a very early age that they're trans, and that they have an unshakable understanding of their true gender. I honestly think it's just as common, if not more so, for trans people to really wrestle with questions of identity and spend a lot of time worrying if they're "really" trans or not, or trying to figure out exactly how they feel. If you check out some other threads in the Gender Issues forum, you'll see this turn up fairly often.

With time and introspection, some of that uncertainty can clear up, but honestly? I think it's pretty standard for people of all identities to have some uncertainty about tho they are. And I also think it's ok to be uncertain, or to take a step because it feels right even if you worry that somewhere down the line you may want something different.

One thing I wanted to point you to, if you haven't seen it yet, is a post I made compiling resources that are specifically aimed at parents & family members of transgender young people: http://www.scarleteen.com/blog/molias/2013/07/22/resources_for_parents_families_of_transgendervariant_youth If you do want to come out to your parents, some of these groups might be helpful for you and for them. The Gender Spectrum conference, where I learned about these groups, has a lot of parents in attendance who come from backgrounds that might not be really trans-accepting but are working to support their children because they love them. It can be really hard to know how parents - or anyone else - will respond if you come out to them, but hopefully having some resources to point them to will be helpful if you decide to do so.

You're right that there's a lot of media representation of trans people that's pretty inaccurate at best and downright offensive at worst. Maybe it would be helpful to look at something like We Happy Trans to see some positive portrayals of trans folks in their own words so you can have a better idea of the range of experiences that trans folks can have.

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SelfDiscovery
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Is there any advice to confirm who I really am? Cuz once in awhile it gets really frustrating figuring out.

Besides that, what do I do if I live in a society where transgenders are discriminated?

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Robin Lee
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Hi SelfDiscovery,

As molias said, it really takes time for most people to figure out who they are. The process of self-discovery can be overwhelming, frustrating, and even intimidating, but it can also be interesting and can teach us a lot about ourselves.

There's no magic bullet for figuring out who we are or what identity feels best to us. There's no switch to flip that will tell us exactly what we want to know. Identity isn't always even like that. Some people have a lightbulb moment of realizing who they are, but I'd say that most people find it takes time and work to figure these things out.

I think that finding support with this process ccan go a long way towards making this less scary and frustrating for you. You can talk with us as much as you need to. [Smile] Did any of the resources in the link Molias gave you catch your eye as something that you'd like to explore more to see if it could be helpful to you?

What are the things that are most worrying you right now?

If you could choose, and weren't afraid of these things, how would you be expressing your gender identity right now? In other words, what things would you be doing that would make you feel more like you rather thanwho people think you are?

[ 11-06-2013, 11:15 AM: Message edited by: Robin Lee ]

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Robin

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SelfDiscovery
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Member # 108812

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Heather and Molias:
The articles are very helpful. Thank you so much.

Robin:
What worries me right now?
Family and friends. Idk how they're gonna take it.

To express myself?
As many others, I would go through various process and surgeries to make myself look more feminine (Like HRT, SRS and VFS). I do feel self-concious about how I look. Like.. very..
That's just the obvious things.
What I'd love to change is the way I dress. And I would also want to learn these 2 dances which my family would agree that "boys shouldn't learn as they're not manly", that is, ballet and firgure skating.

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Molias
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Is there anyone in your life you feel less nervous talking to about this, maybe just one friend you're close to and think could be a source of support?

Sometimes it can be helpful to have even one or two people to lean on for support even if you aren't ready to talk to most other people about your gender-feelings right now. I think that can also be particularly helpful when exploring clothing; some trans folks feel a little more comfortable experimenting with clothing changes when they have a friend to support them while navigating stores, trying things on, etc.

If you are interested in accessing medical treatment, the first step there would be to talk with a therapist who's knowledgeable about trans issues. If you'd like any assistance finding someone who's trans-friendly in your area, that's something we can probably help you investigate.

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SelfDiscovery
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Well, there is my sister.. but I'm not entirely confident that she would react the way I'd hope.

Partly why I'm scared to come out is because I'm afraid to transition. What I mean is I'm scared of how I would end up to look like. Possibly I'm not the only one out there feeling like this. I am very self-conscious about how I look. I am scared to end up looking like a guy trying to be a girl.I am to say, a perfectionist. Not entirely, but yeah.

I do really want to experiment with clothes with a friend. The thought of it is actually exciting. But it's kind of hard to pick out which friend to come out to, especially my clothes friends, since most of them are guys and are to say, religious or "non-accepting" type.

And as for medical treatment, having my parents consent will take time. I am like.. 55% confident that they would accept me. But that's not the problem. The problem is that, where I live. My country, I mean, made laws based of religion. Which means, I doubt there are any Gender Therapists living here. There's bound to be a few. But idk. If it is possible to find them. I would really really appreciate your help.

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Molias
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You know, in terms of appearance, there certainly is no way to really predict what you might look like during the process of or after physical/medical transition; everyone makes different choices during that process and has different resources available.

But at the same time, I think it's important to know that no matter what you look like - and this is true for trans people in general - there is no way you can completely control how other people read your gender. And to be honest, from personal experience I have found that putting a lot of effort into looking a certain way in order to influence other people's perception of my gender tended to cause me a lot of stress and distress.

There's a lot of pressure on cisgender women to look a certain way, and often trans women are held to an even stricter standard. But I would really strongly encourage you to think critically about some of those appearance-related standards, and give yourself (and any woman) the space to look however you look.

If you can give us your country and, if you feel comfortable, your city or post code, we can try to find out information as to what your next step could be.

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SelfDiscovery
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I suppose so. I guess I have to talk the leap of faith. Many people do say that it get better. Well, I hope so. I guess if all goes well, I wouldn't end up worrying about my looks.

The country I live in is Malaysia. There are strict laws towards the LGBT community here. One of the reasons why I fear to come out.

As nearby cities and post-codes? Will let you know if a shortlist is required.

Sorry for the late reply..

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Molias
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I'm definitely having a hard time finding a lot of info about resources in Malaysia, sadly. I did find a community center-type place in Kuala Lumpur that mostly does work with HIV & sexuality education but also helps trans women through some programs. If you aren't near KL I don't know how helpful it will be, but they might be a group to contact in case they have some information on any other resources you could access: http://www.ptfmalaysia.org/transgender_programme.php

I have some feelers out and will update with any more information I find! Just wanted to throw that link out there in the meantime. =)

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