Dear Trevor, Lauren is not my real name. However I love being called that. Not many people know this, (due to my outward appearance), but sometimes I really feel like I’m supposed to be a woman. I’m a chubby bearded guy, so no one really thinks I’m anything but straight. I know I’m attracted to both genders, I know that. But I’m confused: some days I’ll feel like a woman, and sometimes I’ll feel like a man. And every day I love being called Lauren. My biggest problem is that I have a girlfriend, who identifies as straight. She has no problem with me being bisexual, but I was wondering if I should tell her about these new feelings. So I guess I just want to know, what should I do about all this?
Thanks so much for your question. I understand that you are confused about your gender identity and that you have been going through a difficult time. Its great that you have identified as bisexual, that you have come out to your girlfriend, and that she has no problem with that.
The feelings that you have regarding your gender identity are natural, and your concerns are completely understandable. I would not rush to come to a decision on whether you truly identify as a woman because its a difficult decision to make. Gender is not as clear cut and dry as many might think, and it could take quite some time to really determine if you identify as a woman, especially given you indicated you have only recently had these feelings. I don’t know where you live or how old you are, but it could also be dangerous to identify yourself as Lauren or as a woman to some people who may not respond agreeably. You would want to make sure you had a plan for living situations and dealing with school or work if you faced any such bad reactions. That is something you should think about if and when you do come to the determination that you identify as a woman and want to let others know.
As you continue to explore your feelings, you may want to take a look at this website which offers a lot of insight into gender identity issues. http://www.genderspectrum.org. Also, take a look at this linked article titled “I Think I Might Be Transgender, Now What Do I Do?, “which provides some thoughts about what you are going through and additional suggestions and options for discussing it with others, coming out, and other related considerations: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=731&Itemid=177. Also, if there is an adult who you trust that you could speak to about your feelings, that would be helpful. Alternatively, you can call the Trevor Life Line 24 hours a day at 1-866-4-U-Trevor to discuss with someone from our team too. What you are going through is tough and you shouldn’t have to go through it alone; but its important that whomever you confide in is a safe source and confidant. If you trust your girlfriend, you may want to let her know about your feelings, but you also might want to wait a bit, at least until you have thought about it more and discussed with someone who may have less of an emotional attachment to your identity issues. If you are under 25, you might also want to check out TrevorSpace.org to seek out other people who are around your age that are going through or who have gone through the same type of analysis. Again, its great that you have reached out to The Trevor Project to address your concerns, and we as well as the sources identified above are here to help as you continue to deal with them as well.
The Trevor Project