T O P I C R E V I E W
Member # 109517
posted 02-05-2014 12:40 AM
Hello, I've been looking around in various places, and while I've found some that were close, I haven't found a situation exactly like mine, so I was hoping that maybe you all could give me a little help with this.
I'm a 21-year-old female, but as the subject indicates, most of the time I don't really think about my gender or sex; I don't really identify as either a man or a woman off the top of my head, and I'll honestly answer to both masculine and feminine pronouns, if anything because it's easier. I've never been in a relationship, romantic or sexual, and up until recently (about a year ago) I was just fine with that. Which leads me to my actual question. When I first began to have romantic/sexual feelings, I sat myself down and evaluated my attractions towards other people, and I figure I've got feelings for both men and women, I'd say about 40:60, respectively. And that doesn't confuse me at all; What DOES confuse me is that I'm only interested in them as a man. And I don't mean just taking on the typically masculine roles, like holding doors open or paying for meals or being the big spoon (not that women can't do that; I just sounded horrible, didn't I?). It's just that, for example, I'm not interested in having sex with female genitalia, but I feel excited and interested thinking about myself having sex with male genitals. (Well, not WITH male genitals, specifically, but you get the idea.) And while I don't know any transgender/transsexual people myself, it wasn't a foreign concept to me, and so I began to search for, well, transgender "gear," I suppose would be the word? (I hope that isn't insensitive.) And I've found that I quite like myself in a binder and with a nice little packer (I've always dressed in boys'/men's clothing, as female clothing never has adequate pockets. Or room to move. And the cut always fits strangely, although everyone says it looks fine). Basically, and I hope I haven't bored anyone to death or given far too much information, what I want to know is what the heck does this all mean? I'd ask a therapist, but the nearest one who deals with these sorts of issues that takes my health insurance is 300 or so miles away. Thank you, to anyone still scrolling. -GNOME131 [ 02-05-2014, 12:48 AM: Message edited by: GNOME131 ]
Member # 101745
posted 02-05-2014 01:36 AM
Hi GNOME131, and welcome to Scarleteen!
It might be frustrating, but ultimately the only person who can really sort out what all this means is you. A therapist who's well-versed in gender issues could help, but they'd just be asking you the sorts of questions that could help you figure this sort of thing out - not telling you the answers. However! If you haven't come across it before, I think Kate Bornstein's might be a good book to pick up. I haven't read the updated version, which came out just last year, but I found the first edition extremely helpful in sorting out some of my own gender-feelings. My New Gender Workbook Sometimes it just takes time to sit with confusing feelings and sort them out. It sounds like you're taking some steps to explore your gender and that binding and packing feel good to you right now; that's good to know! There are a lot of websites with information about various trans, gender-fluid, genderqueer, etc. identities (the one I linked to above is pretty great, in my opinion), and it might be good to just start looking around and reading some other people's experiences to see if they resonate with you. Maybe start keeping some sort of private journal where you talk about some of this. One question that might be a good starting point here is: when you're talking about wanting to have sex with partners "as a man," is that extending to your idea of your genitals only? Or is that also related to the things you'd like to do sexually and your mannerisms? Are there other types of interactions with other people where acting or being treated like a man (whatever that might mean to you) feels important?
Member # 109023
posted 02-05-2014 02:41 AM
It sounds to me like you're wandering into "what does gender even mean" territory. I am somewhat familiar with that territory, though not from having lived there On the one hand, there are groups defending your right to redefine your gender to include anything you want. And on the other hand, there are groups defending your right to be any gender you want. And when these groups meet, you get a bit of a question mark, especially if they turn out to be the same groups. My view of it starts with gender as a social construct. That doesn't make it "just" a social construct; it's real as a social construct. Compare for example "Texas", another social construct with much reality. So, there's gender on a social level and at an individual level. At an individual level, you get one assigned to you (usually based on biology), and if it doesn't fit you can reject it, redefine it, live with it, or change it for a different one. Those options don't contradict because they're just different options for dealing with the same problem. That's just my view at this time, it's a work in progress For the sexual aspects, it might be that you think of yourself as the one doing the penetrating, not the one being penetrated. In ancient Rome, and probably other cultures, this was considered a much more significant part of a man's sexual identity than whether he preferred men or women. It wouldn't surprise me if it's still that way for some people today. As for "what the heck does it all mean?", I'm afraid that's an eternal question that's not likely to be answered in our lifetimes But you do seem to already have a very good idea of who you are and what you want. I guess the main open question is how do you feel about your body? When you look at yourself in the mirror, does it feel like you should have a penis? Does having a vagina bother you? Do your breasts feel like they're not really part of you? If you answered mostly yes to those, then you'd probably be more comfortable in a physically male body. Whether transitioning would be worth it depends on a lot of other factors. (If you answered mostly no then it doesn't mean the opposite. People are complicated ). Anyway, best of luck figuring things out
Member # 109517
posted 02-05-2014 09:51 AM
Man, that was quick. I post, get some shut-eye... Whew, you all work fast, thanks! Molias: I'm not 100% certain on the things I'd like to do sexually, to be honest, outside of, well, penetration, but I'll note that I'm not really sure what the typical man-woman activities/roles are. But I would say it definitely also relates to my daily mannerisms; there have been many times (okay, most days) throughout my life when I would act a certain way and my sibling/parent/friend/person I was with would say "You're such a man." (Or in my mother's case, "Stop acting like such a boy." Or on one memorable occasion: "Don't SIT like that! People will think you're...") My thoughts/replies would range from "So what?" to "Hm, yes, good." I suppose that, really, the interactions with other people where being treated like a man feels important to me is with the people I'm closest to, like my family and friends. With others, such as co-workers and complete strangers, I just don't care. But I get anxious when my parents call me a young woman, and when my friends say "Us women (fill-in-the-blank)," I get uncomfortable and shuffle around a bit. So it's only important with important people, would be the gist of it. zeitvogel: It never made much sense to me when people would dismiss gender because it's "just a social construct;" Social constructs are the bases for society, and so I'm glad you put that up firstly, as that's reality. It's a great comfort. I definitely think of myself as the one doing the penetrating. The idea of being penetrated just doesn't do anything for me. It's not scary, exactly, but it gets the same reaction from me as does yogurt: just "Blech." (Although it's fine if someone likes yogurt. Just don't ask me to eat any. Same goes for... Well, you know. ) I will say, having breasts/a vagina has always bothered me. Aside from the inconvenience of the vagina (always having to sit to pee, for example), I've just never liked it. A penis just sounds (and looks) better on me. And the breasts are just always there! My sister's always going on with "I wish mine were as big as yours!" and I just want her to take them. So. That's that. And, uh, out of curiosity, what other factors regarding worthiness of transitioning would there be? Thanks for the quick replies and help, I appreciate it. -GNOME131
Member # 109023
posted 02-05-2014 11:32 AM
Ah, sorry, I didn't mean "worth it" in terms of worthiness. It's just that it can be difficult to access the medical support for it, to deal with the surgery and hormonal effects, to manage the reactions of your friends and family, maybe other things. I added that line as a softener, to avoid the implication that "if have a male body image, then you must transition". All I was thinking about was whether it would be worth it
Member # 109517
posted 02-05-2014 12:10 PM
Okay, that makes sense.
I've looked into groups around here that could give me advice, but there really aren't any, which is why I turned to the internet. I don't really know where/what people to go to in regards to the psychological/medical aspects of this. I will try out that book the Molias suggested up there, and see if that helps. Thanks for clearing that up. -GNOME131
Member # 79774
posted 02-05-2014 12:53 PM
GNOME131, I just wanted to add in to this that if at any point you want or need to see a therapist, you may also be able to do that at a distance. Some therapists offer therapy sessions over Skype, for example. Like anything, it's not the right thing for everybody, but it's a potential option for you to see a suitable therapist on your insurance.
Member # 109517
posted 02-05-2014 01:06 PM
Really? I can't say I've ever heard of that, although that's honestly one of the greatest ideas. I'm gonna have to look into that. Much appreciated. -GNOME131
Member # 79774
posted 02-05-2014 02:00 PM
Yep, really, and you're very welcome
As far as I know, only a minority of therapists offer this, but it has been tested and studied and is considered helpful and worthwhile. Naturally, it lacks some of the in-person input, so it's not suitable for everyone, and not all therapists would feel able to work effectively with it. I'm also not US-based, so I can't comment at all on how insurance might work with therapy at a distance, but here's hoping.