I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advice

Questions and discussions about gender, gender roles and identity.
lunasun12
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I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advice

Unread post by lunasun12 »

**warning, mention of sexual assault

I’m a biological female and have always identified as a female, and hav never thought anything of it. For the past few months though, I’ve been questioning my gender because I’m realizing certain things that may not be normal. Growing up I idolized women and dreamed of growing up and getting breasts and my period and wearing heels and crop tops and stuff. I dreamed of getting married and having kids, I knew having kids was a painful process, but I just so badly wanted that life when I grew up.

Recently, I’ve been questioning my gender though, because of things that I think aren’t normal. For example, growing up, I always preferred reading books with male protagonists over female protagonists. I’m a very imaginative and idealistic person, and am a maladaptive daydreamer. So I would create female characters similar to myself to be in the story. One thing I’m sure of is my attraction towards women, so I don’t know if I wanted to be the male or female character, or both. Being a maladaptive daydreamer, I’ve imagined myself as men often, though I also have imagined myself as women. I’m struggling with the connection between sexuality and gender to identify myself. I don’t know if I’m a man attracted to women or a woman attracted to women or a bisexual man or woman, I’m just so confused. In the past, I’ve confidently identified myself as a bisexual girl, even knowing what being transgender was. So like I knew what it was, and was sure that I wasn’t transgender at all.

I also find that I don’t know what I actually want. As I said I’m very imaginative and idealistic, so I dream of all these scenarios in my head but I’ve never actually experienced anything. I feel like there’s a misunderstanding between what I fantasize about and what I’d actually enjoy experiencing in real life.

Another thing factoring into this confusion and questioning is my recent fascination with gay (men only) erotic literature. However in the past, I’ve liked lesbian erotic videos and stuff, I’m confused and don’t know what this means for my sexuality and gender identity.

I also want to point out that before I started questioning my gender, my mental health had been at a progressive decline, I hit my lowest point and then this questioning started. I felt like I was worthless and would never be loved, and I don’t know if that has anything to do with this. I think when I was younger I dreamed of going to high school and being a pretty girl with a nice body and lots of friends and having fun, and I think maybe the fact that that’s not my reality and I am at that point where I’m almost in high school is also something to be noted.

Now I just find myself questioning when I see an attractive man whether I want to be him or be with him. I’ve imagined myself as a guy and I mean I don’t mind it, in fact it seems desirable, but whenever I think about that I get scared. I’ve also had one (maybe two?) dreams where I was a guy and it terrified me. And something weird and morbid was that in the one, I was guy and I was being sexual assaulted. I had another dream months before that I was being assaulted, but as myself, a girl, and I hated it, but as a guy i didn’t mind it, which is just really morbid and I would never be talking about this to anyone. This happened during this questioning.

I go through short periods of ease and hope, after convincing myself I’m not transgender by pulling up some memory from my past, but then I come back to this confusion and questioning.

I feel like though being a male seems desirable, I don’t know if it’s who I am if that makes sense. Ive always imagined my future as a woman.

I’ve also recently been uncomfortable with my chest, even though I never have been before.

One last thing I want to talk about is that OCD and ADHD runs in my family, and I wanted to see a psychologist for OCD but I haven’t talked to my parents. I’ve shown signs my whole life, and have believed really serious and kind of morbid things because of my overthinking. I don’t know if my overthinking has something to do with this sudden questioning.

Point is, I’m just incredibly confused and scared and I really need advice and help.
Heather
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by Heather »

Hi there, lunasun. I'm glad you found us.

One thing that you have identified that can make this all tricky is to be trying to figure out both what gender(s) of people you may or may not feel sexual interest in and then what your gender identity is. I would strongly suggest not linking those together, because, as you're experiencing, it can just make all of this much, much more confusing. It might also help not to think about orientation in a way where you have to know your gender: you don't. You can just think about it as being about who you feel attracted to -- as in "I have experienced attraction to men, women and genderqueer people" -- rather than the more typical/older (and not ideal, IMHO) framework of -- "I am a woman and I am attracted to women so I must be lesbian or bisexual." Do you see what I mean?

It sounds like right now, the arena that has you most confused and scared is about your gender identity.

Now, no one else can tell you what that is, that's something only you are going to be able to decide for yourself through your life, from day to day, year to year, decade to decade. But I can say a few things about what I am seeing you say here in that post to see if having that reflected back to you helps you out.

I'm not seeing you say anywhere in here that you feel like a man, or that you feel like someone who isn't a woman. That's usually the big thing someone trans or gender nonconforming will say or feel -- that they feel like a different gender (or no gender at all) than the gender attached to their assigned sex. I'm also hearing you talk in a few different ways about how you have always imagined your future as a woman.

Idealizing a different gender than ours (and this is extra tricky in a sexist misogynist world where male gender or sex tends to be culturally idealized, period: like yes, in our world, being a man often will seem more desirable because men have more privilege as a class, and maleness tends to be held up higher in our world), or curiously imagining we have a different gender is something that people of all genders can do and often have done at one point or another, and that just doesn't tend to tell us anything about what someone's own gender identity is.

I also want to add that discomfort with our body parts can be about gender identity, but it also can be about other things: like other kinds of body image issues, like our experience living in the world with certain body parts when it comes to how they are treated socially or culturally, like how we physically feel in our bodies. A person can also be transgender or otherwise gender nonconforming and not have any discomfort with their bodies or parts as they are. Body dysphoria, or discomfort with certain parts both doesn't mean someone is necessarily trans/GNC and also isn't something all trans r GNC people experience or experience in the same ways.

Like I said, I can't tell you your gender identity. But just based on what you're posting here, what I feel like I am seeing is someone who is expressing fears about being trans, but a lot of sentiments that suggest that some of that might be something that feels so scary because it's not actually who you are, because who you seem to be so far is a cisgender woman.

How does any or all of that land with you?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
lunasun12
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by lunasun12 »

Thank you for replying! The thing that’s scaring me the most is the possibility of being trans and it makes me so anxious all the time. I wish this didn’t start now when I’m still young, I wish I could just leave these thoughts here, and deal with my gender once I’m older but I can’t ignore it. I’m someone who usually always knows what’s going on with myself and with the things and people around me, so not knowing this is just really unsettling to me.
Heather
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by Heather »

Of course.

So, I think that it might help you to know that separate from all of the anti-trans hate going on right now, those of us who *are* trans or otherwise gender nonconforming don't tend to feel scared the way you're describing. Like, we're not afraid of ourselves, of who we actually are, if you get me. Not being able to BE who we actually are out and about in the world, or with people we love, sure, but not *of* ourselves.

Also, there really is no such thing as knowing out gender identity or orientation once and then being done with it. These are things that are with us and about us throughout a whole lifetime, and much like other parts of ourselves, they don't tend to stay exactly the same.

Where do you think this fear is coming from for you? Do you think it might actually be more about a fear of trans people -- about fears that you have because, for instance, of maybe living or growing up in or around communities or cultures that are anti-trans? In other words, what's to be afraid of here, trans or not?
Never doubt that a small group of thoughtful, committed citizens can change the world. Indeed, it is the only thing that ever has. - Margaret Mead
lunasun12
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by lunasun12 »

I think the reason why I’m so scared of being transgender is that to me that involves changing who I am and how I present myself, and I’m also scared I might just enjoy being a boy. Also I keep getting ‘signs’ and stuff that involve gender, but I don’t know if I’m just being obsessive or if they are actually signs. Because I would’ve never thought anything of these ‘sign’s a couple months ago.
Last edited by lunasun12 on Mon Jun 26, 2023 12:16 am, edited 1 time in total.
Sam W
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by Sam W »

Hi Lunasun12,

I have a few thoughts on what you've shared, so I hope it's alright if I step in.

I'm going to echo Heather and say that the fear you're experiencing of the changes that would come with transition or being trans is in and of itself a sign you're not trans. Generally speaking, trans and nonbinary folks view the person they get to be once they're out and engaging in whatever level of transition (if any) feels right to them with excitement. Even if the processes connected to it--coming out, the current anti-trans climate, dealing with doctors--feels scary or intimidating, the results are something they want (and something they want enough that lots of trans and nonbinary people continue to be out and embrace their true selves even in the face of some MASSIVE backlash). Do you kind of see what I'm saying there?

(And that's before we even get to the part where being trans doesn't change everything about you or make you into an entirely new person).

When you think about these "signs" what do they generally involve?

I'm also going to share something that I think might offer an additional perspective on some of what you shared in your initial post. I'm a cis woman. But sometimes my partner--a trans guy-- and I will talk about what I'd be like if I were a guy. It's a fun thought experiment--would I still be femme as a guy? Would I have played different sports? Would I look even more like my dad?--but at the end of the day, for me that's all it is. I don't feel any urge to be "boy Sam", not in the way my partner felt, and feels, that he's a guy. Does the kind of imagining myself as a boy I describe sound similar yo your own imagining being a boy?
lunasun12
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by lunasun12 »

Thanks for replying Sam W! I’ve never imagined myself as a boy, just sort of put myself in the place of for example male characters in books. When I’m talking about signs, I mean like more spiritual stuff. Like the fact that I’m in Florida and this anti-trans crap happened to come to light while I’m questioning. Or like these people in my class were having a conversation about what makes a man. Or the fact that my first name and middle name don’t flow, which sounds so dumb actually saying it but it’s like my brain genuinely believes this is a sign. Stuff like this I would never notice or obsess over a couple months ago. I don’t know if the universe is giving me signs, or if I’m being obsessive.

And I just keep getting a feeling where maybe I do desire to be boy, but it’s like I don’t wanna give up my current girlhood. Like being a boy and having the body of a boy sounds desirable, but I don’t know if it is who I am. There was a time I loved my own female body a lot, and was so confident as a girl, I didn’t want to be anyone else or desire to look like anyone else, girl or boy, I loved myself because it was me, and there’s no one else exactly like me, or who looks exactly like me. Before I started questioning my gender I was at if not my lowest one of my lowest points in my self confidence and self worth.

Now that I’ve started questioning my gender and I’m so confused and anxious, I’ve realized I just want to go back to how I was a few years ago when I was a kid. Before I was acutely aware of how the world expected me to look and behave. Back when I was genuinely enjoying my life. I feel like I ruined my life with some of the choices I’ve made, while minor, still affected me so much. It’s not like I come from a broken family or an unstable household. I have a loving family and grew up in a good house in a good area. It’s like I did all this to myself, if I had made different choices then maybe I wouldn’t be so miserable and insecure and lost. When I was a kid everything was so simple, and I was carefree and actually liked myself, and I wonder how my younger, hopeful self would react to seeing her future self so unhappy and confused.

Maybe I am trans, maybe not, I just wish I could forget about all this and live my life normally like I used to. I wanna deal with all this when I’m a grown adult.
Last edited by lunasun12 on Wed Jun 28, 2023 12:15 am, edited 1 time in total.
lunasun12
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by lunasun12 »

I can’t even believe how I am now; I’m anxious all the time to the point I can’t sleep, can’t go out with friends and family, and I don’t even know who I am.

Point is, since starting middle school my mental health has been declining and this confusion around my gender has scared me so much that I’m finally realizing just how much I need help and have been hurting.
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by Sofi »

I totally understand what you're saying, and the truth is 14 is a rough age for a LOT of people. You feel like you're not a kid anymore, but also not an adult yet, and you're in kind of a limbo. Do you have access to mental health resources like a therapist? It might be good to have a professional to talk about the depression and anxiety with.

If it helps, I'm almost 30 and I have a lot of the same feelings as you - I often desire a different gender experience, but don't want to give up being a woman because I do align with that; I also don't feel comfortable with my body and often hide my chest. I realized pretty early on that this doesn't have to mean anything beyond just that I'm a human being and gender is complicated as are bodies and sexuality. Personally, I use she/they pronouns because they/them pronouns feel comfortable for me but so do she/her pronouns. I wouldn't mind being referred to as he/him, but it doesn't quite feel right either, so I don't use those or identify with that gender. I just sort of accept that my gender is what it is, and some days I feel more feminine and other days I don't. When it comes to my body, it went through lots of changes in my late 20s and I'm adjusting to those. Perhaps that's what's also happening for you.

I share my experience to show you that you're going through something very normal that many people go through, and at your age it can feel extra confusing and scary, but you don't need to label yourself any time soon (or ever, if you don't want to!) You can choose to keep exploring your gender identity and sexual orientation (as Heather mentioned, they're different from each other) without needing to make the choice on whether you're trans or not, or what your gender is. I hope this helps <3
lunasun12
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by lunasun12 »

Thanks for replying Sofi, seeing that you are sharing similar thoughts as me is definitely making me feel less scared. I really wanna ask my mom to see a therapist but I’m just so scared. I don’t know why, my mom is really accepting and supportive, but it’s still a sensitive subject for me. I don’t know why my gender is such a big deal to me seeing that so many people are so nonchalant about it, I wish I could be like that.
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Re: I’m questioning my gender for the first time in my life and I’m so scared, confused, and anxious, I really need advi

Unread post by Latha »

Hello there, Lunasun

It doesn't seem strange to me that you're scared to ask your mother about seeing a therapist- it is a loaded topic after all. Try to remind yourself that she won't judge you. Would you like to brainstorm ways to bring this up with her?

About gender being a big deal to you- different people have different experiences, especially for something as varied as gender, and that is okay. If you don't want it to matter, it doesn't have to. Give yourself time and patience- this will get easier.
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