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» Scarleteen Boards: 2000 - 2014 (Archive) » SCARLETEEN CENTRAL » Gender Issues » Is doubt normal?

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Author Topic: Is doubt normal?
Burdened with glorious booty
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I ask this because I'm pretty certain about myself, most of the time. But there's always that nagging voice that asks - what if I'm wrong? What if I'm totally cis, and I've just somehow tricked myself into thinking otherwise? And then there's the added doubt, in that what if I'm only doubting myself because I'm more genderfluid than I thought, and when I'm doubting myself I honestly am cis?

There's this huge idea that, if you're trans*, then it's something you absolutely know for definite, and even if you thought you were cis, the moment you realised you were trans*, that's it. I know that likely isn't true, but I'm wondering if this amount of doubt is usual, or if it's a sign that a person isn't actually trans? And if it is to do with some form of gender fluidity, or even just worry, is there anything I can do to dispel it?

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Ta-da!

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Molias
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Here's a true story: someone I'm very close to had a major, irreversible, trans-related surgical procedure done a few years back. As they were on their way to the airport to travel to the doctor, they said "even now, I'm not 100% sure about this. Shouldn't I be more sure?" It didn't make them less trans or wrong about their identity. Doubt is just something that many people struggle with!

I think some level of doubt, in all sorts of areas of life but certainly surrounding gender identity, is very very common and not a sign that you're wrong about your feelings. I would absolutely disagree with the thought that doubts like what you describe are a sign you (or anyone else in this situation) aren't trans.

My only thoughts on how to dispel those worries are similar to how you could handle other worries; journaling can be helpful, any sort of calming self-care you find to work well is a great idea. Some of it may fade with time. Experimentation can help - if you have doubts about some aspect of gender expression, give it a try to see how it feels.

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Rainbow_1234
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Yeah totally get doubt about this. At least one friend has said they went back and forth for a while while deciding, and I think it's normal. For me at the moment I'm still unsure between genderqueer and ftm and unsure whether to do anything like hormones and surgery

Something I've found helpful is to decide that whatever I am is OK, and give myself time to figure it out. So then I'm not trying to make myself be certain about a certain option, allows time for me to think through the possibilities and be more comfortable with my decision in the long term.

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Burdened with glorious booty
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I think that part of it is because I haven't had the chance to really experiment with anything - I'm fairly certain of what I want and who I am, but the fact that I don't have a binder and haven't bought clothes from the men's section means that I still doubt it, because how can I know if I've not tried?

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Rainbow_1234
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There's a lot of stuff you can experiment with without making any huge long-term commitment, especially if you can find a safe group of friends (or a support group) to try stuff in where it won't matter if you change your mind.
For example binding, wearing men's clothes, asking people to call you a different name or pronouns, making your voice lower (as in altering your voice not hormones), are all pretty easy to try and reversible if you decide you don't like them.

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Molias
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Derpy, this reminds me of when folks say something like "how can you know you're a lesbian if you've never had sex with a woman?" I don't think you have to have tried or experienced something to identify a certain way or have that knowledge about yourself. It might be easier to cement those feelings through experience, in some situations, but it doesn't mean that because you don't have a binder now you can't say to yourself that you want one, or that you think you'd feel happier with one.

It's possible that someone with strong feelings about sexual orientation, gender identity, presentation preference, etc. might find that those feelings change a bit when they move from the idea of a thing to the thing itself. But I don't think that possibility means there's any reason for you to second-guess yourself now. =)

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Rainbow_1234
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Oh yeah absolutely agree with what Molias is saying as well [Smile] . Try experimenting if it's helpful but you don't have to experiment before you can know you identify as trans*.

PS re-reading your original post I also wanted to add being genderfluid can also be a trans* identity in itself and doesn't (have to) mean you're cis.
Particularly as someone who's genderqueer, sometimes I think there's this whole narrative of not being "trans enough" if you don't fit the being a binary gender and being certain from a very young age story. And actually there's lots of different and equally valid ways to be trans*, including being non-binary, being genderfluid, having a non-standard gender expression in the gender you transition to (being a butch woman or a femme guy for example), deciding later in life or changing your mind a few times. And all of them are fine.

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Burdened with glorious booty
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No, I mean, I was already thinking of myself as being more genderfluid than anything else. That's what I was trying to say - that I didn't know if I was just doubting myself because I'm a worry-wart, or if I were doubting myself because I honestly felt more cis than anything else. Sorry if I worded it really oddly.

I think the "not trans enough" mentality is something that gets in the way, a little bit, on top of the fact that I've not experimented with it and I know that relatives/other loved ones wouldn't understand it. I've just made a first step with that, actually - submitted an eBay order for a binder, should get here in about two or three weeks (just after my birthday, yay) - so hopefully, I can start branching out a bit? Still, just doing that has made me a bit nervous, and I'm not sure why.

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Rainbow_1234
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ah now I understand sorry I misunderstood [Smile]

ooh binders - sounds good. I was really nervous when I got my first binder - especially wearing it in front of anyone! But it was also super-exciting trying it on in front of the mirror [Big Grin]

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Molias
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Ah, ok that makes sense.

I hope your binder experimentation goes well! I think it's understandable to feel nervous, just because this is something new for you. Being nervous is ok! And it's all right to take things at whatever pace feels all right to you.

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WesLuck
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As humans, we do like to put things things into categories. Wouldn't it be great if the only category we needed to put ourselves in is "myself" and "totally unique"? [Smile] Because we are each ourselves and each totally unique, even if we are part of a twin etc. There are no two people that have ever existed that are the same.

Freedom of expression is very important. However, other freedoms have been mis-interpreted by hating elements in society to mean, "I can do what I like". Freedom really means, "I have the free-will choice to do whatever I like that doesn't harm others or their free will choices". And we have to accept that everyone has free-will choices, and just saying "I don't like someone with this ...attribute here..." does not mean they are entitled to try to prevent them living their lives using their unique talents and personal expressions. And people hating a certain "category" of person often are expressing dislike/hate of certain parts of themselves and are projecting that dislike/hate onto others.

There is nothing inherently unlovable in any of us, it is our actions that count.

Categories are not everything, we are all unique people and deserve freedom of personal expression. [Smile]

Take it easy - you are a unique and powerful being - and always have been!

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