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-Tori-

Things That Never Mattered Before

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-Tori-   
-Tori-

It’s become clear to me recently that I’m beginning to think about things that have never mattered to me before. Things that I didn’t care about a few years ago are beginning to occupy my mind a lot, and I’m unsure what to think or feel about this. For the past year I’ve almost been avoiding these thoughts altogether, and pushing them aside because ‘it doesn’t matter’. It wasn’t until I found this forum and began reading other peoples stories that I really discovered that I don’t have to treat this as a problem, nor do I have to ignore it.

What’s been occupying my thoughts consistently is ‘Gender’.

I look in the mirror and have trouble deciding who is exactly staring back at me. The obvious answer is me of course, but who am I in terms of gender? Does it matter? I thought that doing some research might help, and in a way it has, because it’s broadened my knowledge on the entire subject of gender identity. There are word’s I have been encountering that I hadn’t even heard of before, and its helped in a way, knowing that I am not alone in my confusion.

Ever since I started high school, it became apparent to me that whilst I was in that stage of my life, in school, it mattered to people whether I was a boy or a girl. There have been so many memorable incidents regarding being mistaken as the opposite gender; I find it difficult to remember them all! What I remember most about the yearly years of this stage of my schooling, is feeling almost humiliated. Looking back on it now, I wonder, what was there to feel embarrassed about? I am biologically female, and have been mistaken for male SO MANY TIMES! But you know, it doesn’t bother me one bit. The only thing that bothers me is that fact that people make such a big deal out of it. I leave school in about a month’s time- I’ve been here in high school for seven years now, and I know that big changes are going to happen. I’m old enough to drive, get a job, smoke, drink- I think that now is a good time to stop ignoring this, because I am old enough to make some important decisions. Masculinity has been ‘haunting’ me for a long time- I was bullied a lot as a kid, and I can guarantee that most if not all comments thrown at me were because I looked like a boy.

At the age of seventeen, I know that I am inexperienced in so many ways, which is why I don’t want to rush myself into any decisions. Sometimes, I wonder in regards to my parents, because I am young will they struggle to take me seriously? There’s only one way to find out which is of course by asking, but I can’t help but think that it’s a bad idea to bring up the subject whilst I am still uncertain myself.

I’ve always hated having a chest and wearing ‘feminine’ clothes. For a while I tried to grow out my hair in attempt to conceal my masculine facial features, but soon cut it off, because I realised that I still saw the same person in the mirror, but with longer hair. I recently bought a binder too, and am beginning to wonder- where do I draw the line between been androgyny and transgender? Is there a line at all?

What I do know is that no matter how much I ask for advice or read information, this is something that only I can decide. I’ve heard that counselling has helped many people, but find myself reluctant to approach something like this myself. I would be grateful for anyone to share advice or experiences regarding seeking guidance from a professional.

I’m not even sure why I am posting this, because it’s not really asking for advice is it? What I am saying is, I’m not sure what I am, and I feel that sharing this may help me progress slightly in terms of what direction I want to take with this. I want to thank you very much for taking the time to read this, and thank you to everyone that has shared their stories on here, because it has helped me in many ways.

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Guest sleeping chrysalid   
Guest sleeping chrysalid

I recently bought a binder too, and am beginning to wonder- where do I draw the line between been androgyny and transgender? Is there a line at all?

I think for some people who are questioning androgyny is a smaller leap.

I wasn't sure and I wasn't willing to admit that I was transsexual. When I first came to this site I chose androgyne as my gender selection because I thought that it was less extreme but I didn't pay honest attention to my clear dysphoria. I was obsessively researching the various steps in transition and I was, as I still am now, dead set on it. Why did it matter so much to me if I was really an androgyne? Why was I deathly afraid of being masculine?

As for questioning, it can be very confusing because there are so many undefinable things. What are you looking at? I didn't realize that there is a difference between personality and identity. I am a female with an androgynous personality but I used to assume that having an androgynous personality meant I was an androgyne. These are two different things.

There are so many ways to completely miss the point or misinterpret everything. Lizzie gave me some pretty wise words "self diagnosis doesn't work". I think I understand that now.

When I was first on the forum I kept hearing "see a gender therapist" and I can only guess that you have seen that at least once.

You mention your parents so you are in the same position I was. Seeing a gender-therapist would be difficult without talking to them first. It's a catch 22 when you aren't sure because you need to come out in order to find a therapist but coming out would be a lot easier if you had the certainty that a discussion with a gender therapist would provide.

How do you come out if you're not sure? It's more difficult. How do you see a therapist if your parents are in control and they don't know. Again it's more difficult.

It's not easy but it's a lot better for your health if you find some way to see a therapist even if that means getting your parents involved.

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Guest Juniper Blue   
Guest Juniper Blue

Great post Tori!

Thank you for having the courage to write. Your experiences seem very similar to mine when I was in High School. Not a fun time ... as I recall. There is a lot of pressure to conform to gender stereotypes in H.S. but things do get better as you get older and gain independence.

Keep exploring what feels good to you ... what seems to feel right. There can be a fine line between androgyny and being truly trans gender. For me, I realized that although I am stereotypiclly "masculine" in my apearance and manner, I ultimately prefer to live as sex which is legally female. I have worn men's clothing since I was 18 and I have always prefered "male" hair cuts. I move in "masculine" ways yet, I also have some feminine gestures and speaking patterns. I have varied interests and I am gender balanced emotionally in many ways. My freinds are of various gender expressions... my closest freinds seem to be gender balanced emotionally. I do not limit myself to social pressures or general expectations of gender.

My advice to you Tori is to keep exploring. Try to not put a label on yourself ... at this point ... or maybe not ever. You may find that you fit neatly somewhere on the gender spectrum or you may span the gender spectrum as pan gender... you may even move freely across the gender spectrum as you wish .. masculine, feminine another and androgynous in differnt environments or times and circumstances ... or you may find that you are almost gender neutral. My point is that there is no "right" or "wrong" way to be ... Listen to your heart ... experiment and explore. You will find your way. You are still learning so much about yourself .. it is almost as if you are getting to know yourself.

It helps to have freinds to tlak to and LP is a good place express ideas and share thoughts. If you find that you are distressed by not knowing where you fit and that this is persitently troubling ... a professional may be able to help you to sort things out. It is okay to reach out to professionals if freinds are not enough. There is no need to be "tough" and go it alone.

Freinds, family and professionals may be able to help you find your answers ... but ultimately the answers are within you. There are so many people who can support you, understand and really care.

Wishing you a Beautiful journey ... it seems that you are off to a good start.

Kind Regards,

JB

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-Tori-   
-Tori-

Thank you both for your responses, your comments are greatly appreciated and were very helpful, thank you!

As for the subject of parents, my issue is not so much informing them- I know that eventually they would probably need to know. Its just I dont find it as easy to approach them anymore, due to previous experiences trying to discuss issues with them. I've been left somewhat reluctant!

Junpier Blue, your response has 'opened my mind' so to speak. :)

It has got me thinking that perhaps I have been searching for a label to put on myself, when I may not need one. Theres always that attitude that exists in society- people get confused when they can't put a label on you, and are fearful of things they dont quite understand. I have a feeling that perhaps I am trying to find a label for their benefit rather than my own.

I am yet to confide in anyone, perhaps this is partly my problem, my reluctance to let anyone in!

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