My gender is ....confusing
June 16, 2015 1:13 AM   Subscribe

I identity as genderqueer but as time goes on I think I may actually be a man instead. Can you point me to online support where I can try to sort this stuff out and learn what to do next?

The Blue introduced me to the concept of genderqueer about three years ago and it was a real AHA moment. I live in a small redneck town and have been sheltered from trans information. I'm reading as much as possible but really just want to find a decent place on the net where I can seek support and try to figure out what the heck I am.

There's no LGTBQ support groups here and no gender friendly therapists to go to. I can't travel due to disability and poverty to some place bigger so I've been patching together my identity on my own for the last four years (mainly thanks to this dear place). I've also been putting it on the back burner due to a myriad of mental health concerns. Occasionally I'd bring it up in therapy but my therapist had no real clue and I gave up after it kept being dismissed as a result of my mental issues.

Things are better now and the more I think about it the more it bothers me that my body doesn't match. I read stories of people transitioning and being out and cry and get jealous.

I told someone casually the other day that I look in the mirror and get weirded out that there isn't a teenage boy looking back. They said that I can't do anything about my age but the boy thing is always possible and it was a wake up call except I'm just not sure.

I am really naïve and lost on this issue. I feel really isolated and I don't know where to begin to figure this out myself. I try to get brave to bring it up with my gp and then figure what's the point? It will prolly be dismissed as me being crazy in this small town.

Except I know I'm not. I know that being referred to as a woman is getting more and more jarring to me. It doesn't feel right to check that box on forms anymore. It feels like lying. My periods coming make me more and more depressed because it just seems so wrong (tho I have hormonal problems too). I hate looking in the mirror and seeing anything remotely feminine (and that doesn't happen often as I also present as butch). It feels like I'm just wearing this weird foreign body and I'm getting really down about it.

So I think it's time to do something about it but I have no idea what to do or how to do it or what I want for sure. I'm ignorant to my options and mainly feeling so lonely with it.

Are there any good forums or supports someone could refer me to? Are there big trans brothers programs where someone could mentor me through this confusing mess? Somewhere I could maybe talk to other people who thought genderqueer defined themselves but realised after awhile that it doesn't?

Man, I'd really like a big brother type person who could just help me figure out what questions I should be even asking myself.

I am fighting absolutely no in person resources for hundreds of km and my own sheltered existence about trans issues. Heck, I don't even know if it is possible to be trans if you haven't known for sure from birth? I thought about trying to bind to see if that brought relief but can't figure out how to do that with no money and big breasts. I feel... Lost.

Help this lonely confused sheltered person out and apologies for any language that is offensive or naïve. I'm working with a lifetime of living in small redneck Canadian towns and the oh so wonderful knowledge of diversity you gain here (but hey! my town is having its first pride picnic ever this year so at least that's something... If it doesn't get ruined by the same said rednecks).
posted by kanata to Human Relations (11 answers total) 12 users marked this as a favorite
 
Aaron Devor at UVic specializes in transgender issues--he is available for consultation and seems to be interested in advocacy and individual work as well as research. If you emailed him and explained your situation, he might be able to connect you with resource people closer to where you are. He also has personal experience with transitioning, so this topic is more than just an academic interest for him.

Good luck! I wish you the very best.
posted by hurdy gurdy girl at 1:48 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Assuming your location is accurate, you may have hit the jackpot in terms of information (I'm not positive what VCH's boundaries are). The Vancouver Coastal Health Trans Health Information Program wrote basically all the good leaflets about anything trans related. They may also be your best option for finding services you can get to (you can also explore the option of therapy via Skype/phone if there's no competent therapist nearby).

It seems the main internet trans community is on Reddit these days (which is unfortunate because the general gross Reddit culture does bleed in a bit). r/ftm is okay and you will find people who previously or currently identif(ied|y) as genderqueer. r/genderqueer exists, but I don't know anything about it. I would stay away from r/asktransgender--it's not that great for transmasculine people to begin with and it's a bit of a trainwreck for someone who is/had been thinking of themselves as genderqueer.

Heck, I don't even know if it is possible to be trans if you haven't known for sure from birth?

It's 100% possible. People (cis and trans) tend to over-emphasise the number of people who've known since they were three and what "known since they were three" actually means is a lot murkier than you'd first expect. There's knowing when you were three in the sense of having genuinely expected your genitals to change and knowing when you were three in the sense of thinking back as an adult and going "Oh, huh, I bet there aren't a lot of cis people who were thinking X when they were three", and everything in between. And there are plenty of people who go "Oh, shit. I'm trans." having taken their assigned gender as a given until that moment.
posted by hoyland at 4:24 AM on June 16, 2015 [6 favorites]


You can absolutely be trans without having known it from birth. I never thought of myself as not-a-girl until I was in my mid-twenties. And I still identify primarily is as genderqueer. I know I am definitely not female, but I'm kinda on the fence about male-ness.

You may have already seen this site rec'd here or elsewhere online, but it's shared for a reason: Hudson's FTM Resource Guide.

There's a Canadian Binder Bucks Recycling Program through the sex toy store called Come As You Are Cooperative where used binders are sold in-store for $5. I don't know if they'd ship the used ones, but it would be worth asking. For a while there was a group called The T-Male Big Brothers Used Binder Program, but I can't find a current URL them. Putting it on here in case anyone else has updated info for them.

The Gender Book is a pay-what-you-can, illustrated exploration of gender. They've also got some good links to community and resources and the like.

If you can get a hold of books (library/digital library, book exchange, internet), here are some authors & books to check out: S. Bear Bergman Butch is a Noun, Kate Bornstein My Gender Workbook, together they edited Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, Nick Krieger Nina Here Nor There, Ivan E. Coyote (any/all of their books. Also: Canadian, born & raised in Whitehorse, Yukon Territory). And the authors sites themselves have some good information there. Most of them have blogs or share some of their writings online.

Don't know if these will be of use, but I stumbled across them: Trans Vancouver Island and Canadian Trans Men: British Columbia Support Groups.
posted by carrioncomfort at 6:37 AM on June 16, 2015 [4 favorites]


Just a thought - could the person who told you that being a boy was always an option serve as a potential resource for you? That sounds like a level-headed and supportive thing to say. I'm not saying that they could, like, counsel you or anything, but it sounds like a hint that you could maybe talk about with this in a bit more depth with them. They also might be willing to help you out in small ways, like riding with you into Vancouver or something like that.

Good luck! I always remember your questions and am so impressed with your kind nature, how well you seem to be doing lately, and how committed you are to getting well.
posted by pretentious illiterate at 8:07 AM on June 16, 2015


My friend Sam runs a wonderful blog on issues surrounding queer and gender issues (including several essays on his own experiences working out a gender identity) at Let's Queer Things Up! He is super friendly and compassionate and would love to help you find resources and support -- you can contact him through his Tumblr or through email (samdylanfinch at gmail). Good luck!
posted by jeudi at 9:54 AM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


First and foremost, here is the website for the Trans Lifeline, a hotline staffed by trans people. The US number is (877) 565-8860 and in Canada it's (877) 330-6366. You don't have to be to the point of being suicidal to call them - they are there in times of any crisis.

I'm coming from a remarkably similar situation as you - not in my 20s anymore, thought I was genderqueer, recently accepting that I am a man. Your trans-ness is totally valid even if you didn't know as a child. Chances are you knew that something was different about you, even if you couldn't put a finger on it. Now you're starting to realize what that is and it's scary but also liberating.

I'm in a different country and an urban area so I'm sorry that I don't have local resources for you. What I would do is find someone in the nearest city who is a gender therapist and see if they're willing to talk to you on the phone, or if they know someone closer to you. I would talk to a therapist before you talk to your GP. Your GP is not going to do anything without a letter from a therapist anyway. Also, your GP would probably refer you to an endocrinologist instead of prescribing testosterone directly.

Honestly, I would do everything you can to move. It sounds like you are already miserable in your redneck town and this isn't going to make it any easier. I know it might seem impossible but I'd bet you anything it'd be worth it.

I've tried to cut this list down, but I've bookmarked a lot of stuff over the past year.

Everyday Feminism has a lot of trans-related articles and this one titled "I Think I Might be Trans" contains many links on a variety of topics.

Susan's Place is a pretty busy forum. Here's a direct link to the FTM board but there are many others. That board does tend to focus on physical transition but I've seen more general questions there too.

Hudson's ftm guide, as mentioned above, is excellent.

Tumblr in has a bazillion trans and genderqueer people. This guy gives good and thorough advice from a ftm perspective. The Art of Transliness tumblr is mostly Q&A with some article links thrown in. It's not really well organized though. . This guy didn't start transitioning until he was 33. Here's a list of a bunch of other trans tumblrs.

This site is one man's extremely detailed account of his transition. Transbucket contains probably thousands of pictures of people (of all genders) who have had surgery. Note that you have to register (free) to view them.

I totally, totally understand feeling jealous of other people who have already transitioned, but at the same time reading their stories gives me hope and lets me know what's possible for me. Please feel free to contact me at any time.
posted by AFABulous at 4:32 PM on June 16, 2015 [2 favorites]


Heck, I don't even know if it is possible to be trans if you haven't known for sure from birth?

One of the most important pieces of advice that anyone ever gave me is that it's okay for transitioning to feel like a choice. You don't have to have known since childhood. You don't have to be unhappy to the point of suicide with your body or your assigned-at-birth gender. Even if you thought of yourself for a long time as a not-boy, and have learned to cope with life as a not-boy, you are allowed to just choose to be a boy of your own free will if you want it and think it will make you happier.

Are there any good forums or supports someone could refer me to? Are there big trans brothers programs where someone could mentor me through this confusing mess? Somewhere I could maybe talk to other people who thought genderqueer defined themselves but realised after awhile that it doesn't?

Man, I'd really like a big brother type person who could just help me figure out what questions I should be even asking myself.


One of the unexpected bright sides of the whole self-discovery thing is that it makes it REALLY EASY to make new friends. If you start spending time in trans community online, and talking about the stuff you're going through, you will almost certainly meet other people who are going through similar stuff (or have gone through it in the past) and who are REALLY SUPER EXCITED to finally have someone to discuss it with.

My experience with this is in trans women's communities, but from what I've seen it works pretty similarly for trans men. Honestly, I think for a lot of people this is the biggest function The Trans Community serves — like, the biggest payoff from participating in a support group, online or off, is often not the advice you get in the support group itself, but the opportunity it gives you to find and befriend other trans people you're compatible with. You end up with some people who function like big siblings, and (eventually) some who function like little siblings too. It's nice.
posted by nebulawindphone at 10:18 PM on June 16, 2015 [1 favorite]


Thanks for the responses and supportive memails. I haven't responded cause I'm stuck in that anxiety of not sure what my questions even are and I don't want them to come off as offensive. I just feel lost about the whole thing and the more delving into it the more I just get feeling that yup I'm a boy but now to get to that next step seems insurmountable cause I really have no proof except it's what fits. I have a history of mental illness so I don't even know if transitioning is possible cause of it being dismissed. And I'm... I think I am scared to tell another person that's what I am for it to be dismissed again. I mean I could live this life as a not a boy but a boy ok but it just... It wouldn't kill me to be this way forever but it wouldn't be satisfying. But I'm not sure if I have right to change just cause it would fit. It doesn't make me suicidal about living in the body. It just ... Not right and I cry about it but maybe everyone feels that way?

And with my mental health tract record I doubt any doctor would take it seriously so it would go no where so I'm afraid I'm raising a hope for a future that I just won't get cause I'm crazy dissociative PTSD trauma person.

It just isn't right. That's the feeling I have and I don't know how to explain it to doctors or my support team that would help me access help. I freeze up when trying to explain and they have... I don't know if their views are what... It's hard to explain. I tried to bring it up with my last T but he said it was the child abuse and my dissociative disorder. But he also kept misgendering me when I asked him to at least try

The person who said maybe I could still be a boy is a psych nurse and I've talked more with her about it and her rec was to look into going to the ob/gyn asking for a hysterectomy to get rid of the thing that triggers me every month. It's confusing.

I can't think of questions to ask cause everything is a question and just confused and lost and the idea of being in this body the way it is makes me sad but maybe I could do it.

Sorry. Things are confusing. Sorry if any language offended. I don't honestly even know how to start this process. This question was my first attempt and it didn't seem to do a good job when I'm more sad about being not a boy. But you have excellent answers. I think transitioning is just out of my reach due to life and I'll have to deal with that alone forever.
posted by kanata at 8:35 PM on June 20, 2015


I really have no proof except it's what fits.
None of us have any more proof than that. What you're describing — spending a long time feeling uncomfortable in your body and social gender role, and feeling like you would be happier if you could transition — are literally the only diagnostic criteria for being trans. It's okay. You are allowed to trust your own experience, and you deserve doctors who will believe you.
I have a history of mental illness so I don't even know if transitioning is possible cause of it being dismissed. …
And with my mental health tract record I doubt any doctor would take it seriously so it would go no where so I'm afraid I'm raising a hope for a future that I just won't get cause I'm crazy dissociative PTSD trauma person.
I am so sorry your last therapist tried to blame this on your PTSD and kept misgendering you. That is completely unacceptable, and he should not be seeing trans patients.

The truth is, a lot of trans people have histories of mental illness. That doesn't need to prevent you from transitioning. There are so many of us with PTSD and with histories of dissociation — and there's a ton of evidence that treating the PTSD won't make us stop being trans. A doctor who is well-educated about trans issues will absolutely not stop you just because of your mental health history.
It doesn't make me suicidal about living in the body. It just ... Not right and I cry about it but maybe everyone feels that way?
Cis people almost never feel this way.
I think transitioning is just out of my reach due to life and I'll have to deal with that alone forever.
Please call Trans Lifeline if nothing else. Whether or not you ever transition — and it is completely up to you — you do not have to deal with it alone. (877) 565-8860 in the US, (877) 330-6366 in Canada.
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:35 AM on June 22, 2015 [2 favorites]


Also, on a practical note,
her rec was to look into going to the ob/gyn asking for a hysterectomy to get rid of the thing that triggers me every month. It's confusing.
If you want a hysterectomy eventually, you can get one. But it's not the only solution. There are a few safer, cheaper and easier ways of stopping your period.

One way would be to start testosterone. My understanding is nearly all trans guys stop menstruating within a year of starting testosterone, and many stop much sooner — some even within the first month or two.

If you're not sure about testosterone, there are also forms of hormonal birth control that can be used to prevent you from menstruating. (Some cis women also use hormonal birth control like this, and you may be able to get a prescription from your OB/GYN.)
posted by nebulawindphone at 7:50 AM on June 22, 2015


It's true that T stops menstruation pretty quickly, but the catch-22 in this situation is that you usually need a therapist's letter of authorization before a doctor will prescribe it.
posted by desjardins at 12:28 PM on June 22, 2015 [1 favorite]


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