I'm so confused about my gender. Everyone I talk to says that labels don't matter—that I am what I am. But I want to know! If I have a label, I can find communities for people like me so I'm not so alone.
I am a biological female, but I've never felt female. I've always felt more like a guy…but I don't want to be a guy, in the sense that I don't want genital surgery. I just want to be seen as a guy.
I'm not transsexual because I don't want to completely and totally be a man, right? I'm stuck in this androgynous limbo that no one really understands. My own therapist doesn't even get it. She just thinks I'm having problems with the social manifestations of being female.
I feel so alone. Please...can you tell me what I am? I'm starting to think I'm not even human...
I know it would be a big relief if I could just slap a label on you that says: TRANSMAN, GENDERQUEER, or FTM. But it’s not so simple. Everyone has a gender and nobody’s gender is exactly the same as somebody else’s. That’s part of being human. So much for easy labels!
But you make an important point: Having a label can help you find a community where you feel less alone. Luckily, the trans youth community today can be a welcoming and gender-friendly place for people all over the transgender spectrum. Lots of transmasculine people (FTMs, transmen, genderqueers, etc.) don’t want genital surgery. Lots of them don’t identify 100% as male. And (here’s a big secret) lots of them never admit to this stuff because they’re afraid of being labeled as “Not trans enough”! It takes courage to accept every aspect of your gender expression. And one day you will find other transmasculine folks who have the courage to embrace the whole enchilada—folks just like you.
Unfortunately, many therapists today aren’t trans-friendly or, they may be friendly but just don’t get it. Trans people are frequently in the position of having to educate their own shrinks. If you feel you aren’t getting what you need from your therapist, do yourself a favor and find someone else. Seattle has a place called the Ingersoll Gender Center (www.ingersollcenter.org), which was established in 1977 to assist transgender people towards growth and well being. I encourage you to visit their website and/or give them a call. They will most likely be able to help you find a therapist who is more trans-sensitive than your current one. And when you’re feeling alone and need someone to talk to who gets it, you can always call The Trevor Helpline at 866.4.U.TREVOR (866.488.7386).