14 votes

Looking for "gender questioning" content and personal experiences

Over the past few months I've been questioning my gender identity, and so I've been doing what any good millennial does and trying to read up on what everyone else in my position did and does. I've found a few resources here and there, but I'd really like to read/watch/listen to more if I can. I'm looking for blogs, YouTube channels, podcasts, twitter users, and possibly even music... Anything created by non-cis people and which discusses their experience with figuring out their gender identity.
Hopefully my fellow Tilderen can recommend some good media to me? I'd also be glad and grateful to hear any personal stories from folks here as well, though I do know it can be a very personal thing so no sweat if you don't feel happy sharing.

17 comments

  1. [2]
    thetastelessturtle
    (edited )
    Link
    Here's my personal story. I am a binary trans man and I do not know how to interpret my own emotions generally, so my own journey may or may not be relatable to you. I spent a long time dissecting...
    • Exemplary

    Here's my personal story. I am a binary trans man and I do not know how to interpret my own emotions generally, so my own journey may or may not be relatable to you.

    I spent a long time dissecting my gender identity from the perspective of what gender I "really" was and found it to be too subjective for me to get to the bottom of. What even is gender, and how do you know which one you are, or feel like? I couldn't answer these questions for myself in a satisfactory way without solving a bunch of higher order Ontology questions first. What is "really" a sandwich and does that include hot dogs? Is the color that I see and name "blue" the same color that you see when you look at the sky? If there were some clear neurology studies showing a gender identity bit in the brain that would have been my ideal. But we don't understand the brain well enough to read it for any kind of objective data like that.

    However, I did make a lot of traction by noting observable facts about my behaviors and feelings in relationship to the sex of my body and gender in society, combined with the research on transitioning:

    • I could not recognize myself in mirrors or recordings. I kept expecting to see my features, but more masculine.
    • Being reminded of the sexually dimorphic characteristics of my body caused me distress.
    • When people referred to me as a woman (in context, pronouns, female name) I felt like they were talking about somebody else, not me.
    • The research on transitioning describes these symptoms as gender dysphoria, and transitioning is consistently shown to address it. There are no proven other solutions for this problem.

    I tried ignoring this and dealing with it in less public ways, but as I aged my discomfort escalated. So I did end up medically transitioning. I am happy to say that this solved all of the above dissociation, and I've been embodied and feeling truly alive in all the years since. I wish that I had done it sooner so I could have gotten more years back out of the fog, but it is what it is.

    I now also comfortably identify as a man because I feel like my male body is really mine rather than a meat contraption I am forced to puppet, and I feel like people are referring to me when they talk about me as a man. However I know this working definition may not work for anyone else.

    11 votes
    1. bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      Oooooh boy, I really relate to this. It's been one of the main sources of my confusion and difficulty in processing what I'm feeling - how am I supposed to know if what I feel like is feminine? I...

      found it to be too subjective for me to get to the bottom of. What even is gender, and how do you know which one you are, or feel like?

      Oooooh boy, I really relate to this. It's been one of the main sources of my confusion and difficulty in processing what I'm feeling - how am I supposed to know if what I feel like is feminine? I do feel like I'm making headway though, and certainly the things I've been trying out (mostly) in private with my partner have been bringing me a strong sense of euphoria.

      Thank you for sharing your story, and I'm glad to see it had a happy ending :)

      4 votes
  2. [3]
    kfwyre
    Link
    Cis guy here (so, you know, grain of salt), but I thought that Philosophy Tube's Identity: A Trans Coming Out Story was very insightful. Also, I wish you the best of luck as you explore yourself...

    Cis guy here (so, you know, grain of salt), but I thought that Philosophy Tube's Identity: A Trans Coming Out Story was very insightful.

    Also, I wish you the best of luck as you explore yourself and your identity. I hope you're able to find the answers you're looking for!

    8 votes
    1. bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      A solid recommendation! I really enjoyed Abigail's video, I caught it a few weeks ago more or less when I started questioning, as it goes. I was only peripherally aware of PhilosophyTube until a...

      A solid recommendation! I really enjoyed Abigail's video, I caught it a few weeks ago more or less when I started questioning, as it goes. I was only peripherally aware of PhilosophyTube until a few months ago, and hadn't ever watched any of the videos. It was quite a surprise to me when I saw that video, because I honestly thought she'd been publicly out for years!

      3 votes
    2. culturedleftfoot
      Link Parent
      I've also only been peripherally aware of PhilosophyTube, and this news of her coming out finds me at once surprised and not really. Having thought about it, I realize part of the reason I bounced...

      I've also only been peripherally aware of PhilosophyTube, and this news of her coming out finds me at once surprised and not really. Having thought about it, I realize part of the reason I bounced off her content previously was that I detected some sort of latent... I dunno what exactly, maybe sadness or depression (that I probably wouldn't have been able to pinpoint before), and I tend not to engage with people who aren't comfortable with themselves. Having seen this, she looks so much more at ease, and reading a YT comment that noticed this crystallized it for me. I need to be better at treating everyone with the kindness she recommends.

      3 votes
  3. [3]
    smoontjes
    Link
    This short film is what finally made me admit to myself that I am trans, after years of questioning. I'd recommend giving it a watch regardless of your situation, really, because it's just so, so...

    This short film is what finally made me admit to myself that I am trans, after years of questioning. I'd recommend giving it a watch regardless of your situation, really, because it's just so, so good.

    https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=UOzSq6BSen0

    8 votes
    1. kfwyre
      Link Parent
      This was wonderful. I'm still crying. Thank you for sharing it.

      This was wonderful. I'm still crying.

      Thank you for sharing it.

      3 votes
    2. bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      Oh great, thanks! I'll give it a watch :)

      Oh great, thanks! I'll give it a watch :)

      2 votes
  4. DanBC
    Link
    From the UK, Trans Actual can probably put you in contact with people: https://twitter.com/TransActualUK There's also Call Translantic: https://twitter.com/CallTranslantic (There's a bunch of...

    From the UK, Trans Actual can probably put you in contact with people: https://twitter.com/TransActualUK

    There's also Call Translantic: https://twitter.com/CallTranslantic

    (There's a bunch of trans groups and people that I should probably start inviting to Tildes, but I always feel really awkward doing so.)

    5 votes
  5. [2]
    laey
    Link
    Which direction are you going? As for MtF YouTube channels I personally found the following one pretty helpful: https://www.youtube.com/c/AshleyxAdamson :)

    Which direction are you going? As for MtF YouTube channels I personally found the following one pretty helpful: https://www.youtube.com/c/AshleyxAdamson :)

    4 votes
    1. bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      Thanks! I've watched a few of her videos, and they're quite insightful.

      Thanks! I've watched a few of her videos, and they're quite insightful.

      2 votes
  6. [6]
    Gaywallet
    Link
    Do you find yourself strongly resonating with anything you've come by so far? In my own experience, I have found approximately zero people with the same narrative that I have. This is part of the...

    Do you find yourself strongly resonating with anything you've come by so far?

    In my own experience, I have found approximately zero people with the same narrative that I have. This is part of the reason I found it confusing and difficult to nail down. As @thetastelessturtle calls out in his post, I also struggled with the idea of gender. This is not an uncommon narrative - many of us struggle with the idea or concept of gender as a whole. In my case, however, I do not really experience dysphoria and my brain didn't adjust the way I perceived myself. There is no dissociation (I'm actually not sure I can dissociate at all, actually) between what I see in the mirror and no confusion when people are addressing me. But I also don't understand what purpose gender has and the absolute flexibility of it confounds and confuses me. What is purely masculine or feminine? I do not think the world operates in such black and white terms, and when there's no way to pin it down the definition depends on the observer and their experiences and my own experiences have been to never gender activities, expressions, or anything else.

    I also struggle with feelings of dysphoria. After having spent enough time around trans people and immersing myself in their culture, I can recognize things which others call dysphoria but many of them do not feel upsetting to me and do not really affect my day to day life. On the euphoria side, its also been difficult for me to recognize that which gives me euphoria. A similar narrative can be constructed here where it is my exposure to others who have been able to call out things as dysphoric or euphoric that allows me to recognize it, but I don't really feel giddy or happy and the moments can be fleeting in nature.

    Generally speaking, I'm a very relaxed person who adapts themselves to the environment and situation that I find myself in. Since an early age I've thought about some of the typical trans narratives like 'huh it would be cool to body swap' but I also just think it would be cool to experience novel things. I would also like to body swap with certain people who resemble my gender expression, robots, animals- you name it, I think it would be cool and separating this interest in novelty from a discontent of my body is tough. I also don't really have any goals when it came to transitioning, outside of 'I wonder what it feels like to run on the other usual hormone profile' and just happened to find it suited my mental state better.

    While this is perhaps a long post detailing my own experiences, I believe the point I'm trying to drive at is that it's really the immersion of myself in trans culture that helped me to better frame my own identity. While I was unable to find others with quite the same narrative, understanding their narratives helped me to acquire the language necessary to describe my own and gave me the tools to more critically evaluate what I saw in myself. While a general statement to you such as "consume more trans media" or "spend more time in trans spaces" is perhaps an unhelpful one for you at your current state given that you are asking for recommendations in that space, I think perhaps a bit more information from you might be helpful to direct you at the kind of resources for your particular flavor of trans. What are some of the narratives you possess? What questions are you trying to answer? What are you certain of? What steps have you taken?

    4 votes
    1. [5]
      bilbodwyer
      Link Parent
      Yes and no. This Twitter thread about things that you didn't realise were dysphoria I found very interesting and enlightening. There are certainly aspects that really rang true for me, over half...
      • Exemplary

      Do you find yourself strongly resonating with anything you've come by so far?

      Yes and no. This Twitter thread about things that you didn't realise were dysphoria I found very interesting and enlightening. There are certainly aspects that really rang true for me, over half of the list, I'd say. Though ultimately I think it's lead to more confusion, because I'm not sure if I can put down some of my struggles to dysphoria, or just being a bit socially awkward and depressed.
      I've been trying to find trans spaces online but it's proving difficult as the demographic tends to skew younger and very US-centric. The landscape for being trans in the UK is quite different (informed consent when?) and as someone that has left puberty and fled the parental nest, the conversations don't always feel like something I can include myself in because I'm at a different stage in my life.

      In my case, however, I do not really experience dysphoria and my brain didn't adjust the way I perceived myself. There is no dissociation (I'm actually not sure I can dissociate at all, actually) between what I see in the mirror and no confusion when people are addressing me.

      I'm not convinced that I experience dysphoria as I understand it. I think part of the trouble I have is that a lot of the trans communities I've come across (Discord and Reddit in the main) are made up of younger people questioning their identity, and who feel dissociation more keenly. I have struggled with my mental health and a sense of "not fitting in" for many years, but I'm finding it hard to know if that can be blamed on gender or if there is some other neurodivergent quirk in my brain that is causing it.
      I do feel some level of dissatisfaction looking at my face and body in the mirror, but again I don't know if that can be put down to dysphoria or just the standard level of wishing you looked a different way that everyone feels?

      I can recognize things which others call dysphoria but many of them do not feel upsetting to me and do not really affect my day to day life. On the euphoria side, its also been difficult for me to recognize that which gives me euphoria.

      Euphoria has been a bit more of a guiding force for me in this journey so far. I've tried a few different things: expressing more femme in clothing, hair, and with some makeup. I've been trying out a different name and pronouns with my housemate and partner as well. All of that has lead to a strong sense of euphoria and satisfaction with presenting in a way which I feel matches my personality. It's lead to me being more in touch with my emotions and set me loose on a big burst of creativity, which again has felt highly euphoric.

      Generally speaking, I'm a very relaxed person who adapts themselves to the environment and situation that I find myself in.

      I can relate to this: I think of myself as quite flexible in that regard and able to fit myself into most spaces and situations. But the more I think on it (and I was talking to my therapist about this the other day), I worry that I've spent so much time bending to others' expectations of me that I've never really had the opportunity to explore my own expectations, if that makes sense?

      What are some of the narratives you possess? What questions are you trying to answer? What are you certain of? What steps have you taken?

      Steps that I've taken so far (as above) are mostly to express in a more feminine way, to try out a different name/pronouns, and to approach my relationships and emotions more authentically. I feel better able to express vulnerability and insecurity around my partner in a way that I didn't before, and that's something I want to hold onto. I feel decidedly UNcertain right now, but I think that's mostly fear about the idea of trying any of this stuff out in a less private way and being rejected.

      I'm trying to work out how far down the rabbit hole I want to go. I'm cautious by nature, and I don't want to do anything too publicly that I'll need to backtrack on because it turns out it doesn't fit. Right now being able to express femme with two people I trust completely has been great, and I am edging towards opening up to a few more close friends. I think the biggest question I have on my mind at the moment is "am I exploring a different gender expression because I actually don't want to be a man, or is it a coping mechanism for dealing with my poor mental health?" And one that surfaced from a session with my therapist the other day: "would it be sufficient to be more fluid with my gender and expression thereof, rather than trading one binary point for another?"

      In terms of my own life and the narrative I've been piecing together over the past few months: I have felt out of place for a very long time, among friends, family, coworkers, and strangers. Of the non-familial relationships in my life, I always find women easier to get on with than men. For the better part of the past 15 years there have been regular spikes in my wanting to play around with my gender expression, which then settle down again, either out of shame, fear, or depression. There are times when I am more uninhibited (substances may or may not be involved) that I do feel like I want to embrace a less masculine nature. I find myself generally kind of jealous of women, in part for the variety in clothing they can wear, but also the way their relationships with each other work (something I've tried and failed to cultivate in my own friendships with men).

      In thinking about the narratives I hold about being trans. I am very aware that I don't think I feel what I would describe as dysphoria, and certainly haven't "known since I was a small child," which appears to be quite a common talking point. And while there are certainly signs in my past that all may not be as masculine as I think, how can I tell if I'm not just trying to find evidence to justify a feeling, and ignoring all the other times when I didn't toy with not being a man?

      Sorry, that's quite a word vomity answer, and I don't know if it's actually that coherent.

      4 votes
      1. thetastelessturtle
        Link Parent
        I noticed in a couple of your posts you're being mindful about how it feels to embrace femininity as a signal towards transitioning. This is just my opinion, but IMO I don't think it really works...

        I noticed in a couple of your posts you're being mindful about how it feels to embrace femininity as a signal towards transitioning. This is just my opinion, but IMO I don't think it really works as a signal either way. I'd make a distinction between all of these:

        A: Masculinity/femininity of self
        B: Masculinity/femininity of external expression
        C: Gender role society thrusts upon you
        D: Biological sex

        Medically+socially transitioning affects C&D, and possibly B depending on how restrictive the roles in your society are re: gender expression. (Socially adopting a new name/pronouns without medically transitioning would affect C/maybe B. Medically transitioning and hiding it from everyone would only affect D.) But none of it affects A (minus any effects of switching your dominant sex hormone on your mind), and more importantly, it doesn't require any preconditions of A to work out or not work out for you. I have met a lot of very femme trans men and butch trans women, and of course many gender nonconforming cis people. I think in more transphobic countries like the UK this is more difficult, because the doctors will try to verify that A&B "matches" your transition direction before they give you access to hormones. But that's a lie that cis people are enforcing and not an actual inherent part of transitioning.

        What I'm trying to say, basically, is that embracing femininity in your personality and your self expression could absolutely be the right move for you, but that doesn't really have bearing on whether or not you should transition IMO. That's more about C&D.

        I also think going around in circles about whether or not what you're feeling is really dysphoria and how long you've had it can be unhelpful. I've heard stories from people who didn't realize that they've been blitzed out by it until after they started transitioning medically, and then suddenly it clicked that they felt like shit all the time and just didn't realize it before because it was inescapable, and now they're feeling better. Or just that they feel good now and they didn't before. For them it was more helpful to just keep following the path of doing what felt right to them rather than trying to analyze what kind and how much pain they were in for how long. I think that's the "euphoria"/"didn't know this was dysphoria" thing you mention, but not sure.

        I realize typing this that this post is probably only going to make things more confusing since there isn't really any guideposts here. Sorry! Hope it all works out for you. I'm glad that you've been able to explore this safely with some loved ones so far.

        2 votes
      2. [3]
        Gaywallet
        (edited )
        Link Parent
        Reading through this list, there are very few that I would say are written in a way which is not through the lens of a trans perspective or narrative. Can you list a few that you identify with...

        I'm not sure if I can put down some of my struggles to dysphoria, or just being a bit socially awkward and depressed.

        Reading through this list, there are very few that I would say are written in a way which is not through the lens of a trans perspective or narrative. Can you list a few that you identify with that you aren't sure of the source? Perhaps dissecting a few with an outside observer might be a good exercise.

        as someone that has left puberty and fled the parental nest, the conversations don't always feel like something I can include myself in because I'm at a different stage in my life.

        Most trans spaces I've found online have at least a few individuals who skew older. You're right, however, that many children and young adults are questioning at young ages and I'm glad they can have spaces to do so. Perhaps you aren't looking in the right places? Have you tried asking a question in /r/asktransgender where you specifically solicit the voices of adult UK located trans or asking on these servers about who might better represent your demographic? Also, to be fair to the younger trans individuals on these servers, I'd like to point out that many of them can be incredibly insightful and you may learn things from discussions with them.

        I have struggled with my mental health and a sense of "not fitting in" for many years, but I'm finding it hard to know if that can be blamed on gender or if there is some other neurodivergent quirk in my brain that is causing it.

        How much time have you spent in therapy? I'm starting to see a common thread here of the inability to separate the two and I think there's two ways with which you can approach this. The first is deep reflection with the help of a professional who can help guide you at the driving forces. The other way to approach this is to simply try out transitioning in some social context - be it local queer groups, purely through an online lens, or something else. It sounds like you have been trying out new names, new pronouns, different dress and it's giving you euphoria. This is an incredibly strong signal to me that you are likely gender nonconforming of some sort. Whether you choose to identify as a trans girl, non binary or something else is entirely up to you and I would suggest not trying to force yourself into a label. You find these things euphoric so keep doing them! Expand the group of people who know your new name. Keep dressing the way you want to. Ask people to use the pronouns that make you feel good. Don't worry so much whether you fit into the label, but rather find the label that best describes you or shirk all labels entirely.

        As an aside, I strongly resonate with the idea of not dissociating. I'm actually fairly convinced I don't dissociate, at all, including when under the effects of dissociating drugs. I've also never lost consciousness (outside of sleep). This was absolutely a point in which I struggle with when listening to the typical trans experience.

        I do feel some level of dissatisfaction looking at my face and body in the mirror, but again I don't know if that can be put down to dysphoria or just the standard level of wishing you looked a different way that everyone feels?

        I want to touch on this one in particular because I used to have a diagnosis of body dysmorphic disorder. After a long time of dealing with it through therapists, I was able to manage it through self-reflection and adaptive tools and processes. I believe my BDD has entirely gone away since maybe 6mos into transition and I can't explain it outside of my brain just doesn't care as much anymore. I find myself heavily attracted to fit muscular bodies, and my own hyper exercising and dieting made my own body resemble this, so it was easy to tell myself the narrative was that of BDD - a perception issue. At it's core, this was correct, I was not perceiving my body in the right way. I struggle with words on how to explain how my mind has shifted, outside of it simply not taking up space in my brain anymore. I see myself in the mirror and I simply don't think the same things anymore.

        I think the general point I'm trying to draw here is that a 'general dissatisfaction' with oneself can easily be ascribed to social norms or insecurity or even a disorder of perception but at least in my case no amount of self reflection revealed the true source. Perhaps there are more questions I can still ask myself to understand how there was this confusion, but I wouldn't rely on it as a signal that things are or are not one way or another. If this isn't providing any insight for you, don't focus on it, and think about what else can be done to help understand and characterize what your brain is doing and revisit it once you've figured that out.

        I worry that I've spent so much time bending to others' expectations of me that I've never really had the opportunity to explore my own expectations, if that makes sense?

        This is something I've deeply struggled with. I still have incredibly strong feelings about personality tests because of the way my brain approaches problems. Some of this is adaptation to my own childhood trauma and needing to find a way to manipulate people into doing what a child wants (which you do by creating a persona they will like) but I think some of it is that I'm an incredibly extroverted person who happens to be a bit of a social chameleon. I've found much more of a sense of what I am, so to speak, as I've continued to transition. If you don't give yourself the space to assert yourself and what you want (even if it seems insignificant and unimportant to assert your wants and needs) you cannot begin to build up your own story and give yourself a narrative and personality.

        I think that's mostly fear about the idea of trying any of this stuff out in a less private way and being rejected.

        The thing about this, is that it's true for everyone. It doesn't matter what characteristic it is. If you are outwardly a sports fan, someone will take issue with it. If you are outwardly a fan of any specific artist, someone will make fun of you for it. If you think people are great, someone will tell you that they suck. You need to think less about whether people will reject you and think more about how expressing what you enjoy will allow you to control who's around you and how it will make you feel to be authentic. This is, of course, entirely dependent on your own security and safety and privilege. Unfortunately the world does not always accept this, and you're inviting the possibility to be discriminated against by expressing something gender nonconforming. But I hope it's an option for you, even if it's limited to your closest friends, family, and lovers.

        For the better part of the past 15 years there have been regular spikes in my wanting to play around with my gender expression, which then settle down again, either out of shame, fear, or depression.

        Only after breaking up with my ex did I realize what I was doing with my gender expression. I have a similar narrative. The best way I can summarize it is that much like some people bottle up anger, I was bottling up femininity. I did it for a variety of reasons, but it would occasionally explode and I would find myself inexplicably drawn towards the idea of heavy crossplay for a day or two. I'd go full out on makeup and dress as girly as possible because I was not regularly expressing my femme side in smaller ways. When I figured this out I redefined into non-binary (I previously thought of myself as some form of gender fluid) because I didn't have a good way to explain how I felt or how I wanted to express. I think this is where I comfortably sit, because being referred to as male I strongly reject and while I am okay with being referred to as female this is also something I've found that I can strongly reject in certain circumstances (something I would have never experienced if I hadn't expanded my gender expression and invited many more wonderful people into my life).

        I don't think I feel what I would describe as dysphoria, and certainly haven't "known since I was a small child,"

        In case no one has told you this yet, you don't need to experience dysphoria to be trans. You don't need to experience euphoria to be trans. You don't have to know from childhood to be trans. There is no magical 'oh this is trans' narrative - every trans person is different and valid and their stories are just as wonderful and diverse as they are as people.

        how can I tell if I'm not just trying to find evidence to justify a feeling, and ignoring all the other times when I didn't toy with not being a man?

        I just want to point out that not being a man makes you trans (by definition, please feel free to reject this label if you do not vibe), and you don't have to identify with being a woman (or trans woman) to be trans either. You can define yourself as simply 'not a man' if you wish, and is a label I actually jokingly adopted for awhile as a way to express how I felt before I decided on non-binary.

        Sorry, that's quite a word vomity answer, and I don't know if it's actually that coherent.

        I'm glad you took the time to type this out, because I think there's a lot to work with here and I hope what I expressed helps you come to understand yourself better.

        2 votes
        1. [2]
          bilbodwyer
          Link Parent
          Sorry for the very delayed response! I've been moving house, so haven't logged into Tildes for long enough to respond to anything in while. So I actually went through the list with my best friend,...

          Sorry for the very delayed response! I've been moving house, so haven't logged into Tildes for long enough to respond to anything in while.

          Reading through this list, there are very few that I would say are written in a way which is not through the lens of a trans perspective or narrative. Can you list a few that you identify with that you aren't sure of the source? Perhaps dissecting a few with an outside observer might be a good exercise.

          So I actually went through the list with my best friend, who is one of the people I'm comfortable experimenting around. Points 1 and 3 in the list I find I relate to, but not necessarily out of "trans-ness." More that I just find/found clothes to be a utility rather than a way of expressing myself. I need a new shirt/hoodie/jeans/pair of shoes? Let's find the first thing that fits and isn't a pattern that I don't like.
          4 & 5 I think I put down more to social awkwardness and lack of self-confidence. I struggle to make small talk, because I fundamentally don't take a lot of interest in other people that I'm not looking to turn into friends. I've certainly felt uncomfortable talking to tradesmen that come to do work on my various homes over the years, as they're working a very traditionally masculine role, and I just don't really know how to communicate with them.
          -3 I think I was driven into music out of feeling somehow "other," or "different," but until recently I've rarely, if ever, wanted to write music about gender. It's just never been something that's on my mind in that way.

          Also, to be fair to the younger trans individuals on these servers, I'd like to point out that many of them can be incredibly insightful and you may learn things from discussions with them.

          You're quite correct, and I hope I didn't come off as dismissive of them. I've found all these spaces to be highly inclusive and welcoming, and there have been many individuals who have given keen insight into how to process all of this. I'm very grateful for it, and as you say, glad that there are spaces online that kids can go to work through all this stuff.

          How much time have you spent in therapy?

          I was in counselling rather than actual therapy for about 18 months when I confessed to my parents that I was depressed. They were generous enough to pay for me to go private (on the NHS it was a 6 month waiting list to get half an hour of over-the-phone therapy every 2 weeks), and I found it incredibly useful. I was able to make some real progress with mental trauma that I experienced when I was 18, and came out of it a much happier individual. I've had a couple of sessions with the same guy discussing my gender identity, but it hasn't felt as incisive and useful just yet.
          I think your second point of trying things out in a more social context is very good, and it's something I'm keen to do. I'm going back to university in September, and plan to join the LGBTQ society there in the hopes of meeting some like-minded people that I can try things out with. One of the things holding me back at the moment is just straight up fear and anxiety over what others (friends, family, and strangers alike) will think, say, and do.

          You need to think less about whether people will reject you and think more about how expressing what you enjoy will allow you to control who's around you and how it will make you feel to be authentic. This is, of course, entirely dependent on your own security and safety and privilege.

          You're right of course, and I'm hoping to find groups that I can go to to feel more comfortable and begin trying this out more publicly. Part of my concern is that I've moved to a new area, where I don't really know any people, and my perception of said area is that it's slightly... rougher than I'm used to. Certainly it's more deprived. I don't yet have a feel for the level of acceptance this place has for queer folks, and that's curtailed my willingness to try things out publicly quite a bit.

          I did it for a variety of reasons, but it would occasionally explode and I would find myself inexplicably drawn towards the idea of heavy crossplay for a day or two. I'd go full out on makeup and dress as girly as possible because I was not regularly expressing my femme side in smaller ways. When I figured this out I redefined into non-binary (I previously thought of myself as some form of gender fluid) because I didn't have a good way to explain how I felt or how I wanted to express.

          I really feel this, my god. I've been feeling the peak drop back down over the past couple of weeks, possibly due to the move. But it seems like a really good way to explain what I've been doing: bottling and then releasing on a constant cycle. Although now that I'm playing with other aspects of feminine expression (hair, makeup, nails etc) I don't feel like it's completely settled back down. I may have found a "new normal."

          In case no one has told you this yet, you don't need to experience dysphoria to be trans. You don't need to experience euphoria to be trans. You don't have to know from childhood to be trans.

          I've heard this a lot, but there's a part of me that wishes I were feeling dysphoria (and that I knew that that's what it was) more palpably so I'd have more to go on that just vague feelings when I have time to sit and really think on what I'm doing/feeling. At its core, that's just a desire for certainty in general though. I'd love for someone to come along and just tell me "this is what you are," at this stage.

          I just want to point out that not being a man makes you trans (by definition, please feel free to reject this label if you do not vibe), and you don't have to identify with being a woman (or trans woman) to be trans either. You can define yourself as simply 'not a man' if you wish, and is a label I actually jokingly adopted for awhile as a way to express how I felt before I decided on non-binary.

          To be honest I've definitely been feeling "not a man," more than I have trans. But that might be down to the cultural baggage that comes from living on TERF Island and not wanting to draw attention to myself as a target for questioning and ridicule, when I haven't figured any of this stuff out for myself yet, let alone being able to explain it to a transphobe (or even someone who's just not in the know).

          Thank you for your long and considered answer, I'm really thankful you took the time to type your response. Hearing/reading others' stories is really helpful to put my own into perspective (hence the original topic), and you've given me a few good things to think about, and discuss with my partner and therapist.

          5 votes
          1. Gaywallet
            Link Parent
            Oh hey there! Glad to hear you had a chance to read this and spend some more time with yourself and your thoughts. This is a long process and nothing can be really rushed - it's like a very slow...

            Oh hey there! Glad to hear you had a chance to read this and spend some more time with yourself and your thoughts. This is a long process and nothing can be really rushed - it's like a very slow meander through a giant public garden where you stop and examine each flower and plant, trying to figure out which speaks to you the most.

            I'm glad you're looking to reach out to the local LGBTQ+ chapters and search for a space in which you can feel comfortable to try out different expressions and understand what you are drawn towards. It sounds like expanding your expression to more typically feminine means such as nails and hair and makeup has been a way for you to feel a bit more authentic and I'm glad it's seemingly helping you feel more at home in your body. I absolutely understand the desire to experience more dysphoria because then it would seem less like you were an imposter, but unfortunately for some of us it's not as cut and dry as male or female and we need to spend a bit more time understanding what gender really is and what really makes us uncomfortable and what makes us excited and happy.

            I don't live on TERF island so I can't comment as to how scary it might be to come out in that way, but I definitely understand the hesitation, uncertainty, and the feeling of fear. The reality is that we do not live in a world which is not openly hostile in many ways to transgender individuals and it's only made even more clear with the litany of legislation being passed across the world restricting our rights on basic human needs like going to the bathroom. For these reasons alone, I can perfectly understand someone never coming out publicly, but even if you don't I think this reflection and understanding is important because it helps you to better understand your own needs and wants and how to prevent yourself from feeling bad when you do and know ways in which you can cheer yourself up.

            I wish you the best on this journey and hope to hear more from you in the future. 💜

            4 votes