I’m a 17-year-old girl. But sometimes I wish I was a boy. At the same time, I also love being a girl. It’s just that sometimes I wish I didn’t have boobs, and I want to wear boy clothes and do traditional boy things like open the door for people or pay the check when you go on a date. But also sometimes I love being a girl and I like makeup and traditional girl things. I don’t know why I feel like this. Please help! I’m freaked out and don’t know what to.
It is normal to feel uncomfortable in your own skin as you’re growing up – but for those who identify as transgender, transsexual, or genderqueer, it’s about more than just feeling a little awkward about yourself. I can understand why you’re feeling so confused. In the last few years, so much trans-awareness has been raised, which is honestly so wonderful. This awareness can make you question yourself and your own feelings, and that can be good, or it can be complicated. One thing is for sure: you don’t need to figure out exactly who you are right now. Figuring that out can take years, and that’s okay. So please don’t freak out!
The best way to identify yourself is to explore yourself and decide what feels right for you. But if you need some help getting there, there are plenty of resources. If you think you may be transgender or transsexual, read this helpful article by a gender therapist to see if that makes sense to you. An expert can give you many more facts than I can, as I am a heterosexual cis-gender person who isn’t going to pretend she knows everything. But again, I don’t want you to feel pressured to label yourself. Advice like that could be comforting to read through – it doesn’t mean you have to label yourself after reading it.
There is also the possibility that you could be genderqueer. You’ve probably heard this phrase pop up quite a few times in the last year. Being genderqueer means that you don’t identify with the societal roles for females or males. It means that you’re questioning what society says is inherently female and male. It means that there are parts of being stereotypically female that you identify with, but there are also parts of being stereotypically male that you identify with. Being genderqueer does not necessarily mean you’re a lesbian. We have a helpful article on what genderqueer means, if you’d like to learn more.
I am not, by any means, telling you who you are or giving you a label. But from what you said in your question, I can give you my opinion. It sounds to me like you are questioning the gender roles society has set upon us, and maybe you’d like to break out of them. Here’s the thing: there is nothing wrong with being a girl and doing the stuff you said you wanted to do if you were a guy. Girls can wear boy clothes! Girls can (and should) open the door for people! Girls can (and should) pay for the check sometimes. What you’re describing are society’s gender roles and rules, and guess what? You don’t have to follow them.
Not following or adhering to gender roles does not mean you are genderqueer or transgender or anything. It just means you’re you! You can do and wear anything you want. It doesn’t matter if it’s a stereotypically male thing to do. Gender roles suck because they limit people. They put males and females in a box and they make it seem like you can’t stray. This is why we fight so hard against them at Gurl. It’s upsetting for me to see that you feel like you can’t do “boy things” and you feel like wanting to makes you weird. It doesn’t, I promise you.
If you’re still feeling very confused, I really want to encourage you to speak to a therapist, family member, or counselor. I also want to encourage you to do what you want rather than what you think you should do. You can love wearing makeup but also love wearing a good pantsuit instead of a dress. You can be so into romance movies but also take the lead on a date. Don’t put yourself in a box. Don’t feel pressure to label yourself (unless you want to). Be yourself. I promise you’re fine.
What’s on your mind? Heather can help! Send her your question at email@example.com