I’m sure everyone growing up has big feelings about who they are as a person, who they like, what they like, what they should be like. Well, I’m having a lot of those feelings lately in regards to my gender identity. I’ve never really fit into the box with how I’m ‘supposed’ to present and I have a ton of body dysphoria. When I look in the mirror, I just don’t look right? I don’t look like me.
I don’t know if anyone else has had this experience. It’s very uncomfortable and I’m not sure how to identify, to be honest. I think I might be transgender, non-binary to be specific. I’ve seen a lot of terminologies online about non-binary coming under the umbrella of transgender and I feel this best suits how I feel at the moment. I don’t know what to do about it though. A part of me wants to try testosterone to try and feel more ‘myself’, but I don’t know if that’s the thing which will fix my dysphoria or not.
Depending on the space I’m in, I will come out as non-binary and use my preferred pronouns. But mostly, I just am too scared to correct people.
Does anyone have any advice on how I can feel better about myself? Am I trans? Have you had any experience like this? Should I transition? Do I need to?
Hey @tea! Thank you so much for sharing your story, I feel so grateful that you feel comfortable being open and honest in this space. While I’ve never experienced body dysphoria or re-thought my gender identity, I can imagine that it could be quite exhausting, and sometimes difficult. Good on you for getting through what you have endured already, and continuing the journey. I’m sure I speak for all of us on Play Safe that we’re here to support you with whatever you need.
It sounds like you’re doing a fair bit of research, which is what I was going to suggest. While I feel like my assigned sex is harmonious with my gender identity, I experienced a re-evaluation of my identity when I realised my bisexuality. Research is what helped me the most, specifically personal accounts. Social media was fantastic, specifically youtube and facebook groups all about what it feels like to be bi. Hearing personal stories that were so, so similar to my own made me realise that 1. I wasn’t the only one experiencing those things and 2. not everyone in the world experiences those things, it’s a very specific experience.
I think indulging in things that affirm your gender identity is the way to go. Spend more time with the people that make you feel safe and use your pronouns. You could change your look – get a haircut, groom your body hair differently, change up your style, etc. Pamper yourself in ways that make you feel good, like using specific scents of body products. Focus on the things that your body can do, rather than what it looks like, or focus on things that you love about your body.
Most importantly – there’s nothing that you ‘should’ be doing or ‘need’ to do. Transition if it’s something you feel a drive to do. See a doctor about testosterone if it’s something you’d like to do.
Have you checked out The Gender Centre? There’s a non-binary support group on the first Monday night of every month, and there’s one tonight! https://gendercentre.org.au/support-groups/non-binary
Always here to chat if you need. <3
Thank you so much for sharing your experience @tea. I can hear your deep resounding questions in everything you wrote, and I just want to pop on to offer you a big virtual hug of support and recognition.
I have never experiencing body dysmorphia in regard to gender, but certainly with sexuality in terms of not fitting into the mold of how my sexuality was ‘supposed’ to look and present. I also relate to looking in the mirror and not seeing my true self mirrored in how I look for a whole plethora of reasons. Firstly, I would like to suggest that it’s pretty amazing you know yourself so well that you feel your physical appearance does not match YOU. I know this takes nothing away from the confusion and wonder, but WOW.
I loved what @sextronaut said about indulging in your gender identity and surrounding yourself as much as possible with safe people. I think one of the greatest things about human life is our ability and desire to self- actualise. I hope you feel safe and free to do so.
With immense love and respect and compassion!
Also always happy for a chat <3
Hey @tea thanks for being you and sharing with us. It’s okay to not be sure about where you are at.
I’m cis so I don’t understand the struggle with identity around gender but have had to reevaluate around sexuality (being pansexual not the straight person I thought I was!). My sister and cousin are both transgender and they’ve been on pretty different paths with one transitioning and another deciding against hormones and transitioning for the time being.
Be around the people who make you feel safe (they WILL respect your pronouns and correct themselves) and transition isn’t the be all and end all of being transgender.
ACON has a great gender affirming DR List as well as other programs and referrals to services
I’m so glad you felt safe to share this here, @tea.
A friend of mine came out as trans several years ago and stated that they used they/them pronouns. Recently, they posted an update to social media saying that they’d realised that the label “trans” wasn’t a good fit for them, but they consider themselves non-binary and continue to use they/them pronouns. I thought it was really brave to acknowledge that their feelings about their identity and how to describe it had changed, and I appreciated that they felt comfortable sharing this with our extended social group.
I’m telling you this story because I think that people who are questioning their gender in this hyperconnected digital age are often doing so quite publicly. There’s a lot of pressure to know your identity with great certainty from the moment you come out – to “have always known” that this is who you are. While this is true for some people, it’s not the case for everyone, and it’s normal to have feelings of uncertainty. It’s OK to try using a new pronoun or describing your gender identity with a particular word, and then later decide that a different pronoun or a different gender identity is a better fit. You’re exploring a fundamental part of who you are as a person and you don’t need to have all the answers right away, even if you choose to make that exploration public.
Good luck, @tea. I hope your gender journey takes you somewhere where you feel really good about yourself.
@Tea just wanted to check in to see how you are going. You got some great info from beautiful allies on this thread, but I know it matters to hear from people who can speak from lived experience too. ACON just launched a new resource called TransHub. It addresses all of the issues you’ve mentioned here and provides guides and practical info about so many aspects of affirming your gender. What makes this resource really special is that it was conceived, created, and led entirely by trans and gender diverse people 🙂
If you feel like it’s useful to you, let us know how your journey is going. You’re definitely not alone in trying to work all these things out. It can be so meaningful for others with similar feelings to come across this thread too. Stay safe & well!