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I've been trying to come to terms with my gender identity for most my life but I never really felt safe enough to explore my gender identity because I grew up in the foster system and spent such a big part of my life in survival mode so I couldn't really explore how i felt because I was never in safe space. I recently moved into a supported group home for young people who have left the foster system. The staff here are amazing and have been so supportive of me, for the first time in my life I finally feel safe and accepted by the people around me. Anyway, being in a place where i feel safe has allowed me to start to explore my own identity more and allow myself to look more into how I've always felt about my identity and my gender. 
It's been a very overwhelming experience for me and there's been a lot on my mind. I've never felt comfortable with being a girl. For most of my childhood, I just considered myself to be more of a 'tomboy' and that I just wasn't very 'girly' and that it was just the stereotypes that came with being a girl that I had a problem with. But as I got older I became more and more uncomfortable with being a girl. 
I have always preferred clothing that is more gender-neutral, I went through a lot of phrases when it comes to clothes and makeup, I think I was so desperate to fit in that I often tried to use clothing and things as a way to fit in and would adjust or change how I dressed based on other people but it never made me happy. I don't feel like I've ever fit in with girls or boys. 
The more I heard about non-binary the more it got me thinking about my own gender identity but like I mentioned earlier being in the foster system and often in unsafe homes I just pushed how I felt about myself aside and focused on surviving my situation at the time. 
I've been in this new home for just under a month and there is a staff member here and a young person who are both non-binary, seeing them both being so accepted by the staff in the house has really made me feel a lot safer to explore how I feel about my own gender identity. Hearing they/them pronouns and getting used to using them myself has made me think I might want to use them myself. I feel a lot more comfortable using they/them pronouns. I've never liked being referred to as a girl but that got stronger the older I got. I've also been dealing with a lot of discomfort and issues with my body because it is more feminine and there are things about that which i find hard and stressful.
But i also have a huge tendency to doubt myself and feel like I'm wrong in how I feel. I dunno it's just a lot to take in and figure out so I'm hoping talking to others might help.
Please let me know if I've said anything wrong


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Hi, @LittlestMikaelson as long as it doesnt go against the forum rules you can say whatever is on your mind. The mods will keep you right.

The best thing you can do is find someone safe to talk to about it. GP's/GIC's or private practices will all have lgbtq+ counsellors that can help you explore your identity, but anything NHS has a huge waiting time.

Ultimately there is no right or wrong, you are allowed to explore and express yourself however you choose.

When you have been in "survival mode" for so long it can be hard to do anything that puts you outside your known safe zone. Try asking the staff to change pronouns for you, if you decide it doesnt feel right you can always ask them to change them again.

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It is so wonderful you are in a place where you can express your gender without fear.  Dee Dee has given great advice, so there isn't much I can add, except to say welcome to these forums.  You will find understanding and acceptance here because each of has experienced or is experiencing a lot of the same things you are.  We can relate, and sharing your feelings with those who understand is really great therapy.

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  • Forum Moderator

Welcome Mikaelson,

It is amazing how simply knowing we are not alone and can find acceptance others from that helps us accept ourselves.  

11 hours ago, LittlestMikaelson said:

there is a staff member here and a young person who are both non-binary

I know how much this site has helped me.  You are indeed not alone!





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  • VickySGV changed the title to Gender Identity

Hi @LittlestMikaelson . I'm glad you reached out to us. My heart goes out to you for all you've had to survive in the foster system. I grew up in unsafe homes, but was not in the foster system, so I relate to your experience partially, and sympathize with the rest. Indeed, while in survival mode, it's best to make yourself inconspicuous and to blend in as much as possible for safety. I get that. And if you are a person who experiences gender in a nonnormative way, that gets repressed double - first because of the normative narrative we learn growing up; and a second layer because you spent so many years as a chameleon, in fight or flight mode, constantly adapting as was necessary. It is heartening to hear you're in a safe place now, and a bonus that there are nonbinary individuals there with you. What a gift, especially as you begin to see a light at the end of the tunnel. It makes complete sense that you have a tendency to doubt yourself because you spent so much of your life having experiences and situations which reinforced the message that you cannot trust anything. When that nagging self-doubt comes on, try to consider it as a bad habit, and not the absolute truth. With effort, you'll learn to distinguish between true instinct and that old habit of self doubt. The day I realized that my biggest obstacle was my issues with trust was a turning point. I promise that trust is something you can learn, and you can learn to trust yourself too.

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