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Looking for advice on gender identity

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I am a 40 year old guy (AMAB).  Since I was a small child, maybe 4 years old, I've felt like a girl inside.  When I was young I would get into my Mom's makeup put on her clothes etc... , and I have cross dressed in some form or another my whole life.  When I got a little older, maybe around 10 years old, this behavior went underground and became secret.  My parents did not approve and shamed me for doing this.  During my whole life I've never been able to quit or suppress this behavior.  I have PTSD and wearing female clothing helps alleviate my anxiety and gives me a feeling of wellbeing.  I've talked to my therapist about this and she said I should not feel shame about this behavior. She thought it would be productive for me to freely explore my gender identity and expression.


I am non-passable and won't ever be.  I have a very masculine frame and bone structure that I won't ever be able to hide.  I am looking for a way someone like myself can feel comfortable being who I am.  I am trying things to feel more feminine.  Last week I got my ears pierced and a pedicure with color.  I haven't had the courage to wear open sandals in public though.  I am considering laser hair removal.  Doing these things has made me feel a lot better.  It is hard to explain how this makes me feel more relaxed.  I don't know were to take things from here though considering my lack of being able to pass.  Right now I don't know If I'm a crossdresser, transgender, non-binary, or gender non-conforming. To some extent though I feel like the floodgates have opened and I can't wait to go further down this road. 

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One resource that might help is "you and your gender Identity" by Dara huffman-fox. It is like $15 on Amazon. It's a wonderful workbook to help guide YOU and your journey in determining your gender identity.

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I think it is important not to get too hung up on labels of what you are. What is important is to do what makes you feel good.

I am close to your age and never thought that I would be able to pass but now I almost never get misgendered. I do have a "manly" build {6' tall and wide shoulders} but women come in all shapes and sizes. 

There is no wright or wrong way on the way to make yourself feel good about who you are or want to be. 

What really helped feel better (and look better) was HRT but that doesn't mean that is the correct path for you.

The main thing is just do what makes you feel good about yourself

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I will echo Shay's book recommendation, I went through it when I started examining "the box I kept locked up in the back of my mind" and it helped a lot.  It did seem to have a bit of a lean into nonbinary outcomes in my opinion, but the author is nonbinary so it makes some sense that they would be at least partially speaking form their own experience.


I will also echo unknown's suggestion to not get too hung up on labels.  I struggled mightily early on with trying to fit into one box or another and got really frustrated that I didn't feel I fit into any specifically or that I would feel one way but struggle to actually identify that way to others.  For example, I am confident in my internal gender as female, but due to my appearance, mannerisms and the fact I don't really have an end goal for transition laid out for myself I tend to self-describe as transfeminine because it doesn't indicate an end goal and only really says "I'm moving from male towards female".  Be who you are, be willing to experiment and branch out.  Transition, or gender exploration in general, is a journey and not a destination.  Some people wind up living van life ;)

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Hi, Alex.  Welcome.


It is great that your therapist has given you good advice.  Is she a gender therapist or a general therapist?  Because you might find it useful to talk to someone specifically trained in gender issues. 


You might want to seek out a transgender support group in your area.  An in-person support group is a great place to try out new gender expressions.  Most groups will be very accepting whether you choose to go in male mode or female mode or something in between.


I had doubts about being able to "pass" when I started my transition at age 62.  But now, at 67, I am seen as female wherever I go.




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I can also recommend "you and your gender identity". I'm working through it now. It's really well done. 

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