Am I trans? (TRANSgender norms + feeling like I'm losing myself)

I guess shame and guilt has been a prominent emotion for me lately for a multitude of reasons. I have struggled with my gender identity for quite a long time now, with my self-discovery being put on the back burner on multiple occasions due to trauma from my past that took center stage. I recently watched Transhood on HBO Max and I just felt such a connection to Jay, the only trans boy in the documentary. I am AWAB (assigned woman at birth), but for a long time, even dating back to my childhood, I felt like a boy. I never really resonated with being a girl. But here is my struggle: the transgender community (although not everyone IN that community) place a lot of emphasis on hormones and top/bottom surgery in order to actually “be trans.” As of right now, because I am swimming in confusion and shame, I do not even know if I want to take T or even get surgery. I don’t even know if I want to change my name to a more “masculine” one. I love my name and I just don’t want to change it. This post probably seems a little all over the place, but that’s where my mind is at right now. My main struggle is feeling that if I am trans, I will be “losing myself” or that my family won’t even see me as the same person anymore. Like the person they thought I was or that I thought I was will disappear…does this make sense to anyone that struggles with this as well? I just don’t feel valid because I don’t follow typical “transgender norms,” which makes me think I’m not actually trans even though I feel like a boy at heart.

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I actually understand where your coming from. I’m a guy sine birth but there’s occasionally been this feeling that I’d be… I dunno… worth more as a girl? That I’m not good enough as a guy and I more fit the female life style but that idea has always… I dunno scared me and I’m not sure if that’s just some of the insecurities I already have taking née form.
As for you worrying your not “actually trans” I actually have a friend who is trans. He was girl at birth but he now goes by a bee slightly more masculine name and goes by he/him. He’s definitely trans even without the hormones or surgery. His family doesn’t really care about the whole trans things but he still knows who he is. I still respect his pronouns and his last two relationships have as well. So if you want to be trans without the hormones or surgery, that’s perfectly valid in my and Alex’s books.

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Thank you for your response :heart:

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There can be a lot of very vocal folks overall in the LGBTQ+ community who think you have to be a specific way or do something specific to identify as part of the community. That is some gatekeeping bullshit. You don’t have to get any surgery or take hormones or change your name to be trans. I have friends that do all of that, and I have a trans friend who was AWAB, changed their name to something even more culturally perceived as feminine, dresses what many would consider femme, takes a low dose of T. They are still trans regardless of these choices. All of this is to say there is no specific way to be trans that is more valid than another, you do you! It’s a process and you’ll figure out what works for you, and anyone trying to make you feel bad about what works best for you can frankly shove it because it doesn’t affect them. :slight_smile:

As for the part about losing yourself and your family perceiving you differently…well, I can’t speak from a POV of being trans, but I def. can relate to that feeling when I came out. I was terrified my family would see me differently, or friends would, and what being out would mean for my identity. Here’s the thing though. Not being honest about who you are, feeling like you have to hide parts of who you are? That sucks way more. Did my family see me differently? Yup. Did some of it suck or they not understand this part of my life? Yup. They treat me pretty much the same (ie they don’t engage with that part of my life at all), but here’s the thing, if you are living authentically as who you are, you will be a different person. In a good way! Being honest about my queerness has only made me more confident in who I am and what I believe, has further connected me with my community. Yes, I’ve changed, but if anything for the better and it only amplified the best parts for me. For me, I lost the guilt I held, I lost some fear, I lost shame. That said, I know I’ve been privileged in the sense that being out hasn’t affected me negatively, and I know that isn’t the case for everyone, especially our trans brother and sisters. But I think examining how you feel, taking the time to really look inward, that won’t make you lose yourself but rather find deeper parts of who you are.

And just a reminder too, you don’t have to be 100% of what your identity is. Take your time exploring what you feel, researching, talking to other folks. Don’t feel the pressure that you have to know right away who you are. No matter what the outcome is, you’ll def. walk away knowing more about yourself.

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Thank you so much! I always thought it was incredibly ironic that a lot of LGBTQ+ members complain about the gender norms that they feel society places on them (which I do think is factual. Society does place gender norms on nearly everything) yet they also place norms on how you “should” be or how you should act if you want to be a part of the community. Since the LGBTQ+ community IS about defying gender norms and becoming more of who you truly are, then why are there norms for even queer people?! I remember I have researched “trans masc but not wanting surgery” and there were posts from this website that came up that said “you can only be trans if you get surgery. If you don’t even try to transition, you are not trans.” Like what kind of bullshit is that?!

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Dude the epic thing abt being trans is u dont even have to do anything, you can just be. You don’t have to go on hormones or change your name and you definitely dont have to get any huge surgeries. People will always see trans people as a different person once they come out which sucks but unfortunately we all have to live with it. Just be honest with yourself and who you are, experiment a little, and evem if it turns out u arent trans youll probably learn something about yourself, and youll form a more meaningful relationship with your gender, your spirit, your body etc.

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I think what you’re saying makes a lot sense. The Trans folx most prominent in our community are often those taking hormones or getting surgeries. But there are definitely people who are doing it different. The audre lorde quote “if I didn’t define myself for myself, I would be crunched in to other people’s fantasies of me and eaten alive” comes to mind while reading your post and reflecting on the parts I relate to. A part of living life is learning about ourselves and recreating who we are including who we are within our identities. I personally don’t see it as a loss, but an exploration and a journey. And one that has felt possible for me because of queer and trans people existing. It sounds like you know exactly who you are right now, and it’s okay if that changes. I hope you can continue exploring and find what feels good and authentic to you. I also want to recommend the book Felix Ever After by Kacen Callendar. Happy journeying :two_hearts:

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Im so glad ur saying this, theres so much pressure now a days to make up your mind right away. Last time i checked, its my identitiy and its on a spectrum. I feel shameful for saying what i think i am or at least want to experiment with in front of other lgbtq members. But youre right everything the community is about is defying gender norms, it really just sucks how so many people have lost sight of that.

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This. quote is SO great. Thanks for sharing!

This whole thread is SO good and wonderful and accepting, it makes my queer little heart explode in joy :smiling_face_with_three_hearts:

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Hello Lucid Dreamer
I can so relate to what you are living with.
I am a male (On The Outside), and a female hidden deep within. Back in the 1970’s - I also went to school with a girl, who felt more like a boy. All of this was so taboo back then. We were just young teens, and didn’t know what to do with ourselves.
I don’t know what became of her. We all grow up and move on.
Well; back to myself. I lived and worked like a man, and very seldom would enjoy my female person. This is something you just don’t talk about, with normal people. I am actually having trouble with my words here. This is the first time to ever let it surface. So being - Transgender, Transsexual, I don’t know. Sometimes I want to have female anatomy, and sometimes I’m content with what I have. I don’t do regular guy stuff, but I don’t do girl stuff either. I have been married 3 times to women. I’ve only had 3 sex partners. I really don’t know what I am. I long to be loved by someone who would know how to love both of us. My current wife has betrayed me by telling my neighbor that I’m Bi-Sexual. Which I’m not. I’ve never sexually, been with a man. But having said that - I feel as if I would know how to make love to a man, better than I do a woman. So, you being a woman, that feels more like a man. I would really love to hear you feelings and opinion about yourself and myself.
Sincerely Wahoo

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Welcome to the forum, Wahoo :slightly_smiling_face: With the society that we live in, it can feel very strange and disorienting to experiment with gender and sexuality when there are so many taboos oriented around those concepts. Something that I find to be very important for my own sexuality and gender identity is to find things, especially small and feasible things, that make me feel good in my own skin. For me its haircuts, clothing, accessories, scents, body hair, etc. Even buying a lotion with your favorite scents can be gender affirming. Basically what I am getting at is: don’t worry too much about the labels or identifications…just find things that feel affirming to you and that bring you joy. The rest will unfold from there. I really hope this helps :pray:

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Thanks. I try to let it go, but I feel that the more of me that comes out. The more ridicule I’ll get.

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It’s not fair that the world gives anyone ridicule for living their happiest, most authentic life.

I know it doesn’t always make it easier while going through it, but know you will always find people and a community that will accept you and not ridicule you. Might be harder to find, but they are there.

And not that it’s the same thing at all that you are going through, esp. because I’m cis, straight-facing to strangers and femme which I know gives me a lot of privilege in the queer community in relation to how the world treats me, but any ridicule I’ve experienced from family after coming out as queer pales in comparison to the joy, comfort, and relief I’ve had being able to be honest about who I am in my everyday life. It’s cliche, but truly a weight lifted off my chest. That isn’t everyone’s experience, for a variety of reasons, but it’s been a very fulfilling thing for my own life, and anyone that gives me shit can fuck right off because we only get one life, I’m trying to not waste anymore of it hiding who I am, and that has worked for me.

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Thank You Very Much -

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I Love You …

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Trans enby boy here. You absolutely do not have to get surgery or go on hormones if you don’t want to. It’s your body, it’s your gender. If you decide you want them down the line, great! If you don’t, that’s also great! Personally I haven’t been able to physically transition for health reasons and also because I don’t really like all the effects of HRT (and surgery is expensive and risky). That doesn’t make me any less trans or a boy! Same goes for you.

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