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questioning my gender


The Void Crow

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Hey folks,

 

I'm new to all this stuff, so I'd like to lay out my situation and see if I can get any advice or thoughts. Sorry if I use the wrong terms or anything.

So I'm 25 AMAB, and have always harboured a mild curiosity as to what things would be like as a woman, and for the better part of the past decade I've liked to wear women's clothing in private.

 

I'm a very laid-back person, so I never really put too much thought into why - I knew I liked doing it, so I did it. But over the past couple of weeks I've been giving serious thought to the idea, and I'm beginning to think that rather than just being cis with a bit of a thing for crossdressing, I might be trans (or possibly genderfluid). Now I'm constantly thinking of what it would be like to transition. But a lot of the hallmarks of being trans don't quite line up for me - I'm pretty content with being a man. I don't have a problem with my pronouns. Socially I get along fine with both guys and girls.

 

The thing is, if I am trans then I wouldn't be happy just considering myself female - I'd have to at least get on hormones. The physical would have to go some way towards matching the mental, so to speak. I wouldn't want to present myself (and/or identify myself) as a woman until I feel that I resemble one.

 

The issue I'm having is that I don't know if I'd actually prefer being a woman, or I merely like the *idea* of it. Whether it's something I want to make a reality, or just a flight of fancy. I don't want to present myself as female without transitioning, but I also can't take steps towards transitioning until I know how it feels to present as female. And until I know for sure that I want to transition, I wouldn't want to tell my family or friends any of this (apart from a very close few). I guess the obvious answer to that is therapy?

 

I'm just worried that I'll regret it if I go ahead with it. I know that "it's not just a phase" is a common refrain, but I can't help but think that I'd be sacrificing my physical self (not to mention quite a bit of money, time and energy) on a leap of faith that I'll find the end result to be worth it.

 

Sorry for the essay, but there's a lot to unpack for me.

 

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  • Forum Moderator

Well, my advice to you is to get on the NHS waiting list as soon as possible. While I don't live in the UK myself, I have friends there and it's my understanding that it takes a while. You can always cancel if you change your mind. When you actually get to the doctors, you're going to get evaluated by a gender therapist.

Secondly, cis people fantasize about being the opposite gender approximately zero times. If you fantasize at all about being a different gender than the one the doctors gave you at birth, there's a very good chance that you are not cis.

Next, the biggest thing to remember is that along with gender dysphoria, there's gender euphoria. My dysphoria wasn't really focused and it got all muddled up with my cornucopia of other issues. The euphoria though was pure and absolute. When I was presenting female with clothes, prosthetics and a wig (thanks alopecia) I felt amazing. That was enough to get me to go ahead and see where this transitioning thing leads.

So. Try things out. Experiment with your identity. See what feels right and go with that. If you're trans, great! If you feel like you land on NB or gender-fluid, that's great too. This is all about making yourself comfortable in your own skin and the only person who knows what that's going to take is you.

 

Hugs!

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Hi Jackie, thanks so much for your reply.

 

I've only done a preliminary amount of research, but from the looks of it, the waiting times for the NHS are 4+ years to even have an initial assessment, and then it can take as long as a year between each subsequent assessment until they're happy. And their criteria for what is considered "trans enough" seems quite strict. You must experience dysphoria significant enough to impact your mental health, and have lived as your preferred gender for at least a year.

 

Given I don't really experience dysphoria at the moment, and I'm not willing to live as a woman until I at least begin transitioning, it doesn't look on the cards for me. I'm not sure what the procedure is for going private, but I imagine the waiting times and criteria for treatment are much, much more reasonable. The money to pay for that is something I can worry about down the line, if I decide that I'm sure that I do want to transition.

 

Feel free to correct anything I've gotten wrong, but that's my take from what I've read so far.

 

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No, that's pretty much what my friend told me. Outside the NHS you can get in faster, but you're going to pay out your backside.

 

That said, you'd be surprised what you can accomplish with prosthetics and makeup.

 

Hugs!

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The thing is (at least at the moment), I'm not okay with the idea of living as a female without treatment.

 

That being said, I have a hell of a lot of introspection to do yet, so you never know.

 

My plan at the moment is to call a trans helpline to try to get more of a handle on what I'm feeling and maybe get some advice, and then try to talk to a couple of friends about it. I've already told two of my closest friends, both of which are cis. But I know a couple who are genderfluid, and another whose best friend is trans, so when I feel confident enough in my feelings to talk to them, I will.

 

After that, I'll look into therapy to hopefully find out where I am along the gender spectrum and what I want to do about my physical self.

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  • Forum Moderator

Sounds like a good plan. Explore. Talk to people. Talk to a gender therapist. Learn yourself.

 

Hugs!

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  • Forum Moderator

@The Void Crow welcome. I see you've met Jackie. She is a wonderful person and gives great advice. I wanted you to know there are a bunch here who want to welcome you. 

Heather

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2 hours ago, The Void Crow said:

The issue I'm having is that I don't know if I'd actually prefer being a woman, or I merely like the *idea* of it. Whether it's something I want to make a reality, or just a flight of fancy.

Welcome @The Void Crow Nice to meet you. That is one of the most difficult questions to figure out. I debated this with myself for decades. I eventually took a few steps into the world as a women in my early 20’s and decided it felt right for me to transition but decided the time was just not right. The costs back then were not only financially encumbering with no insurance support but my life was headed in a completely different direction with work and college. I spent the next next two decades in denial of that reality. It finally it came to a head at age 56.

 

My point is that you can get some great advice from professionals, friends, and family and that may help you to begin to understand yourself and see your life from another perspective. However, until you test the waters by ‘experiencing and experimenting’ what it might be like out there in the real world as a woman, you might continue denying your own truth.

 

You mentioned you’re not willing to live as a woman until I at least begin transitioning but hopefully you have had opportunity to see if you feel more natural, authentic and free when presenting as a women socially. My twenty years of denial and a couple trigger events got me to re-evaluate my life and finally see my truth. Accepting myself as trans helped me and has many others and made it easier to take the next step needed. Many of us here tested the waters socially before doing anything medically. And as @Jackie C. pointed out above, There are so many ways to make yourself presentable as a woman without the need for beginning your medical transition.

 

Thank you for joining us and sharing..your journey is important to all of us here.

 

Warmest Regards,

Susan R🌷

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  • 2 weeks later...
On 12/2/2021 at 1:38 PM, Jackie C. said:

Secondly, cis people fantasize about being the opposite gender approximately zero times. If you fantasize at all about being a different gender than the one the doctors gave you at birth, there's a very good chance that you are not cis.

Really?  I thought everyone was at least a little curious.  I have been fantasizing about it for at least 25 years which means I haven't been cis since around puberty.  I never thought of myself as not being cis until literally this week.

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1 hour ago, CJ0819 said:

Really?  I thought everyone was at least a little curious.  I have been fantasizing about it for at least 25 years which means I haven't been cis since around puberty.  I never thought of myself as not being cis until literally this week.

 

See? I thought much the same thing. It turns out that, "only yourself," is not an appropriate sample size for scientific research. I would have loved to get that notification sooner. I spent (and still spend) a LOT of time assuming that my experience was typical when it really, REALLY wasn't (and isn't).

 

Try it with friends: "Hey Jake (you know a Jake, right?), about how many times a week do you fantasize about being a woman while you masturbate?" The answers will shock you. Only good friends though. Not the friends who will punch you for talking about what you fantasize about when you masturbate. Obviously.

 

Hugs!

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I'm a little bit older (a lot!) but consider my starting point in terms of coming out as similar to yours.  That was 2 years ago. I'm in the UK and paid a counsellor specialising in Gender and Sexuality for a few sessions to help me understand where I was in my Gender journey. 

 

While it is entirely up to you, and I know others who haven't or won't present in public as female until they've started medical treatment, please don't discount the option to spend time as a woman or even somewhere in between before you commit to anything further.

 

I spend about 50% of my time as a woman. I don't consider it "dressing up", nor a prelude to spending more time as a woman. I just need to be a woman some of the time. Maybe in future this will change, maybe just an occasional period as a woman will be enough, or I will need to spend more/full time as a woman. But for now this is enough. Ideally my time as a woman would be in its entirety with a full body change, but I'm realistic - that can't happen - the science to perform an entire temporary change is just not there (yet). And I don't think I would be satisfied with Gender affirmation surgery as it stands - unless I could have a uterus etc, and my bone structure altered to that of a genetic female it wouldn't be enough for me. 

 

So I now recognise that I am absolutely transgender and always have been, but I'm happy enough experiencing being both a man and a woman as far as that can happen in a genderfluid way, When I'm in my male aspect, I'm never really just a man, and when I'm in my female aspect I am never just a woman. It would be much simpler if I could just say I've always been a woman and I need to change my body permanently, but then I often wish I were not a transgender person at all and live in blissful ignorance of personal gender identity issues - as do most of the population.

 

 

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On 12/2/2021 at 1:53 PM, The Void Crow said:

 

I don't want to present myself as female without transitioning, but I also can't take steps towards transitioning until I know how it feels to present as female.

 

 

Hi, @The Void Crow!

 

Someone above suggested therapy and I wholeheartedly endorse that suggestion.

 

You could try not living as female, but temporarily presenting as female.  Granted, your presentation will not be 100% as you would prefer it, without HRT, but the exercise isn't to fool other people.  It is to see how you feel about it.  There will, of course, be fear, but it might be less than you think.  More important, what else do you feel?

 

Pick a town where you are not known, and go there.  Dress in presentable, but not gaudy, women's clothes.  No sequined ball gowns.  Dress like your mother might.  Wear makeup.  (Get someone to help you if necessary.)  Even an hour or two is likely to tell you a lot about whether this is the path for you.

 

You are describing a classic chicken-and-egg trap that will make you stuck.  This is a way to sneak out of the trap.

 

Good luck with your journey!

 

Regards,

Kathy

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9 hours ago, Niamh said:

I spend about 50% of my time as a woman. I don't consider it "dressing up", nor a prelude to spending more time as a woman. I just need to be a woman some of the time. Maybe in future this will change, maybe just an occasional period as a woman will be enough, or I will need to spend more/full time as a woman. But for now this is enough. Ideally my time as a woman would be in its entirety with a full body change, but I'm realistic - that can't happen - the science to perform an entire temporary change is just not there (yet). And I don't think I would be satisfied with Gender affirmation surgery as it stands - unless I could have a uterus etc, and my bone structure altered to that of a genetic female it wouldn't be enough for me. 

 

So I now recognise that I am absolutely transgender and always have been, but I'm happy enough experiencing being both a man and a woman as far as that can happen in a genderfluid way, When I'm in my male aspect, I'm never really just a man, and when I'm in my female aspect I am never just a woman.

 

 

When I read this I almost thought of just copying this straight into my profile.....

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@The Void Crow I'm late to the party, but everyone's advice is sound. Even if you are unsure at the moment get on the NHS waiting list. It takes ages to move thought the system, but you can either have free or fast, not both!

Ask yourself why this is something you keep coming back to.

I also thought I would want to be on HRT and have all those benefits prior to transitioning, but in the end, being myself mattered more than whether or not I looked like the perfect mental image I had of myself. You don't have to go all in just yet, as others have said, find a safe space at an event or somewhere you are unknown and just spend some time interacting as a woman, my first time out was on an empty forest walk, then I spent a weekend as myself at a Pride event, though I steered clear of the parade, it was the one day I knew for a fact I would have no hassles no matter how bad I looked. The sheer calmness and naturalness once I got past my nerves was what made me notice just how off centre my life has been living as a male. Good luck!

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I felt similarly about transitioning in that I didn't want to present as a woman before being on HRT. Many people online (especially from the UK) and people in real life around my age thought that should be a prerequisite but for me it was a deal breaker. For much of my life it was the standard procedure so was on the list of Reasons I Couldn't Possibly Be Trans. 

 

Took a long time to realize that if you go to sleep every night hoping somehow tomorrow you'd be a woman means you're trans. 

 

HRT takes so long for almost everyone that you have plenty of months to decide it's not for you. I was one of the lucky ones who got such immediate mental relief that I realized quickly there was no going back.  

 

So I currently go about mostly-work-from-home life in clothes from the women's section sometimes paired with things from the old life (hard to immediately have things appropriate for every occasion and season) and sometimes a bit of makeup and always my two years worth of hair growth so who knows who notices the difference and who doesn't, but so far so good. 

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I understand the idea that one need's to be well into transition before beginning to express the female inside, but waiting only denies the woman trying to get out.  Like Niamh, I am part-time.  I'm not doing HRT, nor have undergone any other forms of feminization, but I have discovered that I can be the woman I want to be without those things.  Please understand, that I would never disparage anyone that needs to transition fully and if that is your path, you should pursue it.  My main point is that if you wait to express the woman inside you until that "magic" physical transformation takes place, you may be waiting a very long time. 

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14 hours ago, Niamh said:

 

I spend about 50% of my time as a woman. I don't consider it "dressing up"

Before i went full time, started hormones or did any of the medical or legal steps "necessary" i would go into the world as a woman.  I shopped, went to meetings and simply tried to see if i could live as a female and how that might feel.  Each trip was followed by changing back before seeing my family.  In time i knew that i had to make a choice.  Being here helped.  I saw others were successful.  It took time but i have managed to be myself as a woman and while doing that have also accepted the male in me that i will always live with.  In mob opinion transition does not begin with the first day of HRT.  Instead i found it a process over time that years later i'm still living.  Fortunately i'm finding peace with myself and the world around me.

The decision is yours but regardless we've got you back.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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  • 1 month later...

Hey folks,

Sorry for the protracted silence. A bit of an update:

I took all of your excellent advice and experiences on board, and decided that I'm willing to consider presenting as female pre-transition - as said, to think otherwise is a perpetual loop.

 

I've now talked to several friends, and basically all of them had the same response - surprise, followed by supportiveness and a listening ear. One of my friends got me in contact with a trans friend of hers, who I'd met a couple of times but never really talked to outside of a group environment. She was very supportive as one would imagine, and we had a prolonged discussion about my feelings and her experiences. She said she'd always picked up on a bit of a trans vibe with me, which was a surprise (I don't think I present particularly feminine), but I'd be lying if I didn't say it was nice to hear.

 

Talking about it, even if it's just trivialities like what my aesthetic would be, or spitballing names, helps a little towards solidifying the "dream", if that makes sense. I guess kind of like how people find keeping a diary helps to process their thoughts.

 

I bought some more women's clothes - tops, jeans, shapewear etc., and seeing myself in the mirror had me very pleasantly surprised by the results (having a very slender upper body might have plagued me when I worked manual labour, but it's now looking like a godsend).

 

I then got in contact with a therapist and had a couple of sessions, and though we got on well, she seemed at a bit of a loss regarding how she could help me in my current situation.

 

I couldn't describe my feelings in any amount of detail - all I could say was that I feel more comfortable thinking of myself as female, which obviously isn't much for us to work with. I'm not comfortable with presenting myself as female outside of the privacy of my room (I don't want those I live with to know yet), which severely limits my ability to explore my feelings. Which, of course, is the kind of thing I need to do to get a better grip of why I feel the way I do and how I want to proceed.

So I need to find a way to explore things further, and in my therapist's experience that only happens when the pain of presenting as your assigned gender - or the desire to present as the opposite - overrides your fears.

 

But seeing as I'm "fine" with being presenting as my birth gender and I'm a very laid-back person (in my therapist's words, "remarkably grounded even in this state of flux"), I don't see that being much of a motivating factor. With that in mind, I then essentially put a moratorium on further sessions until such a time as I find a way to explore those feelings and get a better understanding of them.

So I guess I'm just asking for any advice as to how I might do that without those I live with knowing?

 

The options I've come up with aren't ideal, but are essentially

- Playing more female characters when I roleplay (I play a fair amount of D&D-type games), seeing as people would then be interacting with me as a female

- Packing a bag of my "feminine" clothes, and when hanging out with someone I'm comfortable with in private, changing into them upon arrival.

 

Thanks again for all your help.

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  • Forum Moderator

Welcome and I'm glad you are open to the suggestions of some experienced and well-meaning folks here already. I'm glad you are here now.

Heather

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Hi void crow, your options don't have to be anyone else's ideal, simply work for you where you are right now. It was dressing up as my female character at a D&D one shot that broke the dam of my defences, after interacting and being treated as a woman all night I knew I didnt want to change. Only one person that was in the group knows what they did for me yet though lol!

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Hello Void Crow! 

I've been having similar thoughts myself, but for different reasons. I'm AFAB, but I don't want to be a woman or a man, so it's hard to really pin down what I felt and how I saw myself. And for me, trans is a big umbrella term that means "not cis," but everyone has a different opinion on it and they're free to. 

What helped me and what I think could potentially help you; pin down what you don't want. This helps you narrow down what you DO want, and gives you some guidelines for yourself. And the most important thing is DO YOUR RESEARCH. Look at credited sources and research things like hormone therapy, surgery, look up gender terms if you feel you need to (I did and someone on here was very kind in providing me with a handy guide), and look at the pros and cons. 

Thinking about what you want to look like physically can help you narrow down what you would need to do in terms of more serious things like hormones and surgery. But be totally sure in your decision, and don't feel bad if it feels like a slow process.

I've been thinking about this stuff for seven or eight months and I still don't have everything figured out! And that's okay. Go slow, don't push yourself too hard or too fast, and learn about stuff. 

Remember that it's not a race, and remember that life is full of phases. Everyone goes through phases even if they don't think they do! Humans are never in a state of permanence because we learn and grow and change over time. Even if you decide to not do anything, which you're more than free to, don't feel bad or beat yourself up. Your feelings matter and it's important that you be yourself.

Good luck, and be yourself!

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      That's kind of new to me too, the idea of "hun/honey" being a derogatory thing (I date back to the 1980's, FWIW, so I guess that makes me relatively old).   To me personally, it sounds like the kind of thing that's not so much about "what" someone says, and more about "how" they say it. I mean, I can certainly imagine "hun/honey" being used in a derogatory way, but I've never known it to be inherently derogatory. But that's just me. Maybe it could a regional thing?
    • swallow
      Hi Everyone,   Don't really know where to post this...🤔   I've been so busy the last 3 weeks helping with an Art Fair in LA.😓   Its been ups and downs at the job but I was very happy my boss gave me the opportunity since aside from film production, I have zero experience in the Art world.🤫   In between, I've almost lost lots of money for her and almost compromised her because I Copied everyone instead of Blind copied.😣   But I managed to salvage the situations ...what I'd deem as taking a -crap- and coming out smelling like roses.🤭   During the Art show I found I was rather more in my element.😌   I was of course still employing a male voice and had soon established an effective control on the floor crew, started to whip things into action albeit still in a gentle non Alpha male feminine lead by example, organize and encourage manner.😊   But the girls in the office and everyone still gendered me as male and called me He or Sir.   Partly this was because I had told my boss that she should use whatever was more natural in terms of pronouns for both her and everyone-else and not make much issue of it.   Of course it still bothered me deep down.😔   Anyway come show days I got a bit more bold with my dress sense.   I had feminine clothing on the entire pre-production but I shed inhibition and started first to wear a frilly see through black blouse and waist high paperbag Khaki trouser on the first day. I elected for trousers since we went full day and into the night and I needed full mobility across the show floor.   But as the show days progress, I was assign partially to a more sedentary paced Door Bitch duty at the VIP lounge for some periods.   So I decided it was time for the dresses😬   Second day I worse a knee length black dress with tassles down the front and Khaki Maryjanes   Third Day I was back in a suit (Female cut)   Fourth day I went full Pink to match the Fuschia VIP Lounge with an ode to Molly Ringwold Pretty in Pink (Meets Korean style...as I was told by some Korean Gallerist)   Final day I had a deep green long dress with a lime green belt and sneakers plus a Retro short crop sand brown duster jacket.   Anyway on that day, I was busy trying to coral people into a talk at an Italian Gallery by a famous Italian Street Artist when my colleagues suddenly called me into the gallery.   I was wondering what emergency could have happened this time...   ...instead the artist then proceeded to point at a new piece of work (Featuring two frogs in suits graffitied)...and then announced that this new work was inspired by me being brave enough to be me.   It was rather touching.☺️   As the final last days progress, I noticed many of the Gallerist started to refer to me in the feminine as well, with 'What's up girl?" or if I was in with my female colleagues "here come the girls".   I even got a bouquet from the Lead painter who bought all the 'girls' flowers🤗   Of course there were still some floor crew who preferred to address me as "Sir" even if I was blatantly in a dress but it did not feel purposeful.   What to me felt interesting was how things turned when I forced the issue with the dresses.   I don't think my female colleagues were expecting me to come in in dress.   There was all their pre-opening night chatter about what they were each going to wear for the event but I wasn't asked and felt somewhat excluded.🙄   That I chose to wear blouse and pants kept any issue with me under lid.   But you should have seen the reaction the next day when I swooped in (all natural) in my black dress.   To her credit the floor boss immediately greeted me with "And how are you today girl?"   Anyway I seem to have made a mark on the little event with my dressing. Apparently I am more than on point and they loved the colour combinations felt I brought a spark to the proceedings.   Inside, I just felt I was being myself really. I would have liked to have had a more female range voice but I had been working with these people before meeting them in person over the phone in male voice so was unsure if I wanted to go female voice and throw such a strong curve ball at them (make it an unnecessary other issue from the work)   But they must have had somewhat of a shock anyway when they first met me in person with my long hair and quite obvious female clothing.😁   You should have seen the looks when I walked the floor in dresses.   Hopefully this is a positive strike for us all? I like to think so. Small steps forward.                    
    • Ticket For Epic
      I'd hate to have to drop that from my vocabulary.  Don't get me wrong, I would to keep from offending anyone but it would be disappointing.   I heard this from someone in their mid 20's, so perhaps it's newish in the younger crowd or perhaps just their local area.  Thanks for your feedback.
    • Carolyn Marie
      I've never heard that "term of endearment" to be considered a slur, whether aimed towards a trans person or a cis-person..  I've never seen it used that way in anything I've read or heard.  But I suppose anything is possible.   Carolyn Marie
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