T O P I C ††† R E V I E W
Member # 107250
posted 04-05-2013 05:26 AM
So, I know Iím new to the site, but I just, I signed up because I needed to get this off my chest and get some advice. Basically, Iím 18, female assigned at birth and from what other people have told me (I have very few memories, and have difficulty telling what is real and what Iíve imagined) I never suggested I had a problem with this when I was younger. I was a tomboy, and wouldnít wear ďgirl clothesĒ but I never talked about being a boy, except in obvious make believe (for example, I was apparently always the dad when playing house). Iíve always really liked looking smart, in suits and ties rather than dresses, but I do occasionally enjoy dressing up in a pretty dress, and having my hair and makeup done. It feels like Iím on show a little, and I know I look good in it, because people tell me so. Even when Iím in a nice dress, though, people still tell me I sit like a boy and act like a boy. However, even in boyish clothes, people say I have a very feminine walk.
Recently (mid January), I started asking people to call me by the name Kyle (the name my parents would have given me, were I assigned male at birth), and using male pronouns, Iíve started binding and packing etc. and it feels honestly great! Iím personally enjoying making myself look good on a regular basis, if I know Iím passing as a guy my confidence rockets and I feel like my appearance matches my actions, which are pretty much reminiscent of a very old fashioned gentleman. I occasionally find myself fantasising about having sideburns and maybe a goatee, although I hate the feeling of facial hair on other people, and I try to lower my voice a little when I talk. I was honestly starting to think maybe I am transgender and would be happier living as a man. My mum keeps pushing me to see the doctor, and to talk about things with a specialist, and I don't want to, because I think I might be wrong. And I've found a middle ground that I like at the moment, and I love wandering around the house in boxer shorts and a tee and the look of a flat chest is so much nicer. And the name Kyle feels so much more right and ďheĒ makes me smile a little when I hear it, although ďsheĒ doesnít feel wrong, as such. But then, I start thinking about if I was a guy instead and if I "feel" like a man, and all I know is that I don't know. What does "man" feel like anyway? I don't even know what "girl" feels like, other than periods and emotions and wanting a kid one day. But then, none of that is exclusive to "girl" anyway. And I feel a lot of solidarity with lesbians and lesbian culture in general Ė although I donít define myself purely by who I sleep with, it is a big part of me. Saying Iím not a lesbian anymore terrifies me. Also, I donít actually have that many issues, as such, with my body. I hate my period, but only inasmuch as it is a right pain, and is never regular and makes just general day to day stuff a little more awkward. But most people feel like that, right? And I mean, I would love a flat chest because it looks more right, but I donít (generally) cry at the sight of my chest. I definitely donít have an overwhelming disgust at my girl-parts-downstairs, although I occasionally find myself wishing I had both, or just a penis. Iím not a fan of being told I look pretty, or delicate etc. but it doesnít hurt to hear it, it just feels a bit weird. I would rather people said I looked sharp or dapper, or even focussing on things like strength. I donít know, I just want someone to explain all my feelings to me. Am I transgender? Not? Itís really confusing me, and with my A level exams coming up, I really need to work it all out, or I will fail my exams and not get into uni and thatíll be awful, and just, yeah. Sorry this is long, it's just there's a lot involved with it. Please help me. [ 04-05-2013, 05:28 AM: Message edited by: oneboikyle ]
moonlight bouncing off water
Member # 44338
posted 04-05-2013 06:34 AM
No one can tell you if you're transgender, because that's really something that has to come from you. Labels are just that, labels. You get to choose what labels you use, if any. Does transgender feel like a fit? I hear you saying you have found a middle ground you like at the moment, but your mother urging you to go see a doctor. If you're happy, you really can leave it at that. Gender is not a binary, and lots of people find that the middle ground (sometimes called being genderqueer, or lots of other things) suits them just right. You don't need to know now what will feel right for you later, just what feels good now.
Member # 101745
posted 04-05-2013 05:03 PM
It sounds like you're sorting through a lot of big questions about your identity right now; that can be a lot of emotionally draining work. So even if you might be frustrated that you aren't certain about exactly how you feel (or what the things you're feeling "mean" in terms of your gender), I hope you'll be patient with yourself as you're figuring things out. It sounds frustrating to have your mom pushing you to see a doctor, but one thing that may be helpful is to talk over some of this with a therapist or counselor. NOT because what you're feeling is wrong, but because one of the things a good therapist can do is ask the right questions that might help you get a better understanding of what you're feeling. It might sound like a relief to have someone explain your feelings to you, as you say, but ultimately I think the best route will be to spend some time sorting through your feelings yourself. My one caveat here is that if you can specifically look for a therapist who is trans-friendly - whether or not that's a label you ultimately choose for yourself, I think it's important to find someone who is familiar with trans identities and will be respectful to you. If you're having a tough time finding someone who looks to be a good fit, we might be able to help find someone in your area. When I was really confused and uncertain about my gender, I did a lot of journaling in a private space and that helped quite a bit. And it sounds like you've been comfortable trying out new things like a name, pronouns, and clothing; that's a good start. Honestly, I think a lot of gender-based decision making comes down to trying things out and sticking with what makes you feel good. Two sites I think you might find helpful are and Genderfork . Genderqueer Identities I know that sorting out gender stuff can be really overwhelming and confusing. A lot of what you're saying sounds like some things I was thinking about when I started to seriously question my gender; if you think it would be helpful to hear any more about my experience or have some questions for me specifically, I'd be happy to share. But the most important thing I learned, when I was really worried and stressed out about not knowing for absolute certain what my gender was, is that it really is ok to not know. It's ok if you don't know for a while and feel really certain what your identity is in a year or two. It's ok if you feel really confident at one point and find that things get a little more fluid later. Another thing I want to mention is that there isn't one universal trans experience; there are certainly some things that many trans folks do experience (a firm understanding that their gender doesn't match the sex they were assigned at birth that starts at a young age, a strong revulsion to their own genitals or other highly-gendered body parts, etc.) but those are not at all universal. There are plenty of trans folks who come to this understanding later in life, who aren't particularly bothered by their bodies, who don't really know what it would mean for them to feel "like a man" or "like a woman." So if you do start to think "hey I might be trans," it's most sound to approach that based on your own interpretation of your experiences and not from someone else's checklist. I hope that helps! =)
Member # 107250
posted 04-05-2013 10:15 PM
Thanks a lot
. I knew, from reading other posts, that people were awesome on here, but I guess I still didn't expect such kind responses. I guess, part of my fear at seeing a specialist is that I won't be taken seriously, which I know is entirely irrational, but I just can't help it. It sounds really silly, but it helps just being told it's okay not to know for sure, because even though I sort of know that rationally, it's easy to forget. Sorry if this seemed trivial, it was just something I needed to talk about. Molias; I would really appreciate some general advice on who to ask my GP to refer me to. Being the UK, I can probably get some sort of counselling on the NHS, if I ask in the right way, but I can't afford to find someone privately. Would just asking my GP for who they think is best, be enough? I was just wondering; having read through some older conversations on facebook from just before I started using a male name, I've noticed that I went through a hyper-girly phase, which now reads as though it wasn't genuine. I was just generally acting more girly, and I justified every tomboyish thing I did with "I know I'm definitely a girl and shouldn't be doing this, but..." or words to that effect even though I never used to justify myself when doing similar stuff, and this was for about 2-3 weeks before I started trying things out. Is it normal to go through a phase like that before going through a period of questioning? Sorry, it sounds silly, I just feel a lot less, valid, because of it. Well, that and the fact that occasionally I still get the urge to do something like paint my nails. I just like the smell and the sensation of the cold etc, but it's such a girly thing to do, I feel like I'm somehow making a mockery of all this gender stuff. Sorry, it seems now I'm actually talking about it, there's a whole minefield I didn't fully know existed.
Member # 101745
posted 04-06-2013 12:27 AM
The NHS has a
with links to a bunch of different articles; I think the one on Trans Health page might be a good place to start. finding a gender identity clinic One thing I have heard many people vocalize is the worry of not being "trans enough" to be taken seriously by others. It seems like a pretty common worry among trans and gender-variant folks, and while that might not ease your mind much, maybe it'll be helpful to know that you aren't the only person to have that worry. If you are interested in looking around online at how other people are inhabiting their various genders (those links I posted earlier might be a good place to start), that might help you get a sense of how diverse people are in their gender expression - and every instance is someone's legitimate identity. If you like nail polish and wearing boxers and binding your chest, that sounds just fine by me. Full disclosure: I wear nail polish too so I am biased in favor of it! But your gender presentation and expression are your own to play around with as you want. I wouldn't say that mixing gendered cues is necessarily making a mockery of anything, but at the same time - I'm of the opinion that a lot of ideas some people have about gender could use a little mockery.
Member # 3
posted 04-06-2013 09:33 AM
quote: I wouldn't say that mixing gendered cues is necessarily making a mockery of anything, but at the same time - I'm of the opinion that a lot of ideas some people have about gender could use a little mockery. LOVE.
Member # 96015
posted 04-06-2013 04:03 PM
Well, I'm genderqueer and my toenails are a lovely bright teal right now, if that helps. =) Plus your next-to-last paragraph in your initial post is an almost perfect list of my relationship with my own body, from feelings on periods to favorite kinds of compliments. There isn't some distinct threshold of intense suffering or unpleasantness that you have to feel in relation to your body in order to count as "really" transgender. There are a lot of media narratives about trans folks who felt "trapped" in the wrong body and had to pursue specific medical procedures to "fix" that issue, but that's not a universal experience - not every trans person feels trapped in the body they're in or in need of fixing. Some go through medical transition processes anyway for their own reasons, and some never feel the need to. I'm still figuring out how I feel about processes like hormones or surgery, and feeling that ambiguity is okay.
I also went through a phase of pushing myself to be more girly than I was comfortable with when I was figuring out my gender identity because, frankly, it can be really scary to realize that your identity doesn't fit into the framework most people want to apply to you. I tried to force girl-ness on myself because I didn't want my feelings about gender to be real since I knew they would make my life more complicated if they were. In short, nothing you've said about your gender seems odd or invalidating to me, regardless of what you've worn or how you've described your gender in the past. The bottom line is, what things like names or nail polish or activities classed as "tomboy"-ish mean for you in your life is something you get to decide. Doing something some folks consider girly doesn't automatically invalidate your internal sense of self. This world contains happy, scruffy tomboys who will never identify as anything but female, and elegant Goth guys who wear nail polish and eyeliner every single day. I only tend to see people get accused of making a mockery of gender experiences or being disrespectful when they're transgender, even when there are huge numbers of cisgender people expressing maleness and femaleness in millions of different ways every day. If they get to do it, why shouldn't you? I wish you the best in finding some sort of gender identity counseling service, if that's something you decide to try. As other commenters have already shown, folks here are happy to support you. =)
Member # 3
posted 04-06-2013 05:52 PM
quote: There isn't some distinct threshold of intense suffering or unpleasantness that you have to feel in relation to your body in order to count as "really" transgender. There are a lot of media narratives about trans folks who felt "trapped" in the wrong body and had to pursue specific medical procedures to "fix" that issue, but that's not a universal experience - not every trans person feels trapped in the body they're in or in need of fixing. To add on to what cricket said here, it might help to think about the inverse. In other words, there also isn't some level of perfect comfort everyone who is cisgender has that makes them "real" cisgender people.
What makes our gender identities real is that they are our identities: whatever identities we know and state, even if we're only stating it to ourselves at any given time, that they are whatever they are.
Member # 107250
posted 04-08-2013 01:35 PM
Thanks a lot, Molias! Those links are really helpful; I have to see my GP for a referral, so I've set up an appointment with her for tomorrow evening, so hopefully she can help me get the ball rolling.
It's really helpful to know that other people mix things up a little too, it's made me feel a lot less guilty for it. Cricket, thanks a lot for sharing your experience, I was really glad to read that someone else has had similar to me. Just out of interest, while I was reading through websites I came across the idea of Natural Transitioning; does anyone have an opinion on this? Apparently, any changes are a lot slower, so I can more easily change my mind if it doesn't feel right for me.
Member # 101745
posted 04-08-2013 05:22 PM
Natural Transitioning, at least what I understand it to be, is a really intense workout/supplement regimen which focuses on bulking up muscle and boosting testosterone through diet and supplements (a description of the supplement list can be found
). It's focused towards people who are super-dedicated to body building, and the best discussion I've seen of the method is from here . I don't want to discourage you from this if it sounds like a good idea to you, but my understanding is that you have to put a LOT of work and money into the entire program and that results are mixed. this Surly Amy column I have a lot of friends and acquaintances who, when they started testosterone, started on a very low dose and/or only took it for a few months, specifically so that changes would be very gradual and they had a lot of time to assess the situation and see if they wanted to continue. If you're interested in testosterone at all, that sort of low-dose experimentation is something that most doctors will be willing to work with you on. I hope your appointment goes well! =)
Member # 107250
posted 04-12-2013 08:46 AM
I just wanted to say thanks a lot for your help
My doctor has agreed to start the ball rolling, with a referral to a psychiatrist (apparently to make sure this isn't the result of a mental illness or something) and then hopefully a Gender Identity Clinic if they can secure funding, or something or other. I kind of forgot the details after she said that she'd get me referred to the first step, because it feels like a huge relief! The last few days, the more I think about it, the more I think I would be happier living as a guy (albeit quite a feminine guy, but that's cool by me). I'm not entirely sure whether I want to go on hormones, or get any surgery (although top surgery feels likely now), and I know I still have a lot of thinking and working through to do, but I'm happy I'm finally doing something about it. Your support was all really helpful, thanks
moonlight bouncing off water
Member # 44338
posted 04-12-2013 08:56 AM
Glad to hear things are working out for you Kyle. I just wanted to say, when your say your doctor has said you need to check if this is the result of mental illness that rings a lot of cissexist and transphobic bells in my head. Having a gender that doesn't fit with what people say people of one's sex should have isn't a mental illness. Are there non cis people with mental health issues? Of course, but their gender is not a symptom of their mental health issues in the same way that other aspects of them are not.
This really worries me that the psyciatrist you'll be seeing isn't going to be a very LGBTQ friendly. Do anyone with more knowledge of this have any ideas about this or is this run of the mill procedure?
Member # 107250
posted 04-12-2013 09:29 AM
Moonlight, to be fair to the doc, I have been in and out of therapy for depression for as long as I can remember. Mostly, I was uncooperative because I was made to attend by school, parents etc so maybe she wants to make sure that whatever happens is 100% best for me? Also, aside from asking if I understood the implications if I do decide to transition (she knows I'm a massive needle phobe) and that there is no short fix, she was very supportive; she is generally a very good doctor.
She did make it sound like a run of the mill thing, but I'm not exactly an expert here, I'm just trusting her.
Member # 25425
posted 04-12-2013 02:01 PM
I don't know about the UK, specifically, but most protocols that I am familiar with unfortunately do call for visists with a therapist before any sort of hormone therapy can be initiated. That this is the case at all is very unfortunate and transphobic, but it does not reflect badly on the doctor Kyle saw. It is just part of the protocol.
Member # 101745
posted 04-12-2013 04:59 PM
Kyle, I'm glad to hear that you have an appointment set up. I hope it goes well!
I still don't like needles and get really uncomfortable if I get an IV or my blood drawn, but I've been self-injecting for several years now and it's somehow much easier to take care of it myself than when someone else is poking me. So if you decide to go that route, it might not be that bad. =)