A reader writes: “So I’m FAAB (female assigned at birth), I was a tomboy for some but not all of my childhood, and now that I’m in high school, I came out as genderqueer to my family and some friends a few months ago.
“I have dysphoria about my breasts but mostly not about my genitals (though I’ve always hated periods so much that I just tried to ignore them), and the chest dysphoria is actually somewhat recent. I’ve gotten some people to call me by ‘they’ pronouns, but increasingly now I’m not so sure that I am actually trans.
“I’m so confused about this and I feel like I’m in a constant state of questioning. I know that sometimes I like to be feminine and sometimes I like to be masculine, and when I came out as genderqueer that helped explain to my family why I wanted a binder, but now I kind of miss who I was before I decided to use trans* labels for myself.
“Before, it was okay for me to be feminine because, after all, I was a ‘girl,’ and it was okay to be masculine because I’d always been a ‘tomboy,’ but now when I’m masculine my family always makes comments about my gender identity to me and I can’t be feminine for fear of them not taking my (current) identity seriously.
“I can’t even tell if I’m feeling icky because I don’t identify with the masculine and gender-neutral language I’ve told my parents to try using for me right now, or whether I feel icky because of the sarcastic tone of voice that always seems to go along with ‘they’ and ‘young man.’ I’m not comfortable with ANY gendered OR ungendered pronouns and stuff for me right now and I don’t know why not!
“Anyway, do you know any good way to really figure out what one’s gender identity is? If I want top surgery, does that definitively mean I’m not cis?”
It sounds to me as if you are going through a questioning period, and when people go through a questioning period, often nothing seems right. Even with the proliferation of labels that has come about recently in gender communities, there still aren’t enough to fit everyone.
You might be trans and you might not. It depends on how you define “trans” and “trans*” for yourself. There are many definitions out there now. There are people who would say that you are trans*, whether you use that label or not, simply because you don’t fit neatly into the binary gender system. But I am really opposed to putting anyone under an umbrella who does not want to be there.
I know some genderqueer people who also identify as trans or trans*, and I know others who do not. I know some who use a male pronoun, some who use a female pronoun, some who use both interchangeably, and some who use a gender-neutral pronoun, such as “ze” or “they.” Sometimes you have to experiment to know what’s right for you, and sometimes that means going back to the people you came out to and telling them that you have changed your mind on one issue or another. (more…)