Is my mind telling me I'm transgender?
For the past 2 weeks I have been having serious thoughts on whether or not I'm a male in a female body. I haven't told anyone about my feelings yet, but I plan on telling my therapist next month. He's very open minded.
For one, I'm not like most girls at all: I hate wearing dresses/skirts, but I do wear them when I have to. I dislike how my body looks and feels to me. I'm not nearly as attractive as other women my age either. I wear men size clothes and my voice is oddly similar to my brother's before he hit puberty.
My family is LDS [Church of Jesus Christ of Latter-day Saints—Mormons], so just questioning my gender makes me more of freak in their eyes. I don't know if I would be more happy living as a man, making those changes and such. I'm completely lost and scared.
Shinopa (age 21)
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First of all, we need to understand the terminology here. Being transgender has to do with how you mentally identify with your gender, while being transexual has to do with how you physically identify with your gender. While you can be both, you don’t have to be. Some people desire to change their bodies physically, while still being happy mentally with a gender that doesn’t match their anatomy. Other people don’t want to change their appearance and physical attributes, but wish to be treated like and live like the other gender.
Before you conclude that you are transgender or transexual, let’s take another look. You say you don’t like wearing dresses and feminine clothing. Well, nothing wrong with a woman wearing jeans and even suits. It’s actually easier for women to do that than for men to wear dresses. Speaking of which, a man who likes to dress as a woman but wishes neither to be transgender or transexual is simply a cross dresser. Then, you also have the “metrosexual” crowd, which is men who are not gay or bi or trans but simply like things like hair products and dressing in—how would one say?—less than masculine clothing. If men can be like that, then certainly women can be, too.
Now, about your appearance. So, you’re not conventionally pretty, so what? So your voice might be a little lower than other women’s. Big deal. That in itself certainly does not mean you are trans in any way.
You might be leaving out some essential details in your letter, but from just what you say here I would hesitate to say that you have either transexual or transgender tendencies. I mean, do you feel in any way that you are a man trapped in a woman’s body? Do you feel severely uncomfortable with your sex organs, breasts, etc.? In short, do you have genital dysphoria or gender dysphoria—meaning you simply cannot tolerate having women parts or that you simply cannot tolerate identifying as female emotionally and mentally?
These are things you can certainly discuss with your therapist (and all good therapists should be open-minded, indeed). Before you go telling your parents about this—and definitely before you even consider the possibility of sex reassignment surgery—you need to be 100% sure of where you are going with this and who you are.
Being transexual or transgender is about more than the clothes you prefer or whether or not you like the way you look or prefer football over ice skating. Remember, Society tries very hard to tell us what is right and wrong behavior for a male or female. Don’t listen to that crap. You have to learn to be you, and it’s okay if being you means exhibiting what some might consider masculine traits. You can be a tomboy if you like and still enjoy other aspects of being a woman.
The main point I’m trying to make is this: don’t freak out and don’t make any rash decisions, and certainly don’t tell your family about this until you are more sure about where you stand. I think it’s great you’re talking to a professional about this. They can help you sort out your emotions. Right now, you are very unsure of the whole thing and my very strong suspicion at the moment is that it is Society that is getting you confused more than your confusion about your gender or sexual identity.
I hope that helps some! Good luck with your therapist!
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