I was born female, but sometimes I don’t feel like that’s quite right. - JFCS of Greater Philadelphia

Dear Ally,

I was born female, but sometimes I don’t feel like that’s quite right… I like to dress in guys’ clothes and I’ve always been called a tomboy. I think sometimes I might be transgender, but when I think about being called “he” instead of “she,” I’m not sure if being male really feels right either. I’m pretty confused and I don’t really have any friends who are transgender who could help me figure this out… can you help?


Dear T,

Thank you for reaching out to us! Navigating issues of gender can be very challenging in a society like ours where there is so much pressure to conform to a male or female identity. You are taking a bold and courageous step in exploring your identity and it’s ok not to be sure yet how you want to identify!

It’s completely ok and normal not to be sure what label or gender identity fits you. It can be a process that takes time. Gender identity and sexual orientation are not black and white for everyone and people don’t always fit into clear categories. Some people identify as male, some people identify as female, but many identify as neither or somewhere in between or outside of the male or female box. Some people choose to avoid labels altogether. It’s all about what feels right to you because, in the end, no one can define your gender but you. And you are perfectly wonderful exactly the way you are, labels or no labels!

It can be confusing and a little scary to navigate questions of gender identity on your own, so if you would like, many people find local support groups, phone or internet hotlines, or one-on-one counseling very helpful! Two great local resources are Mazzoni Center at www.mazzonicenter.org and William Way Community Center at www.waygay.org. A few national resources that may be helpful are Trans Youth Family Allies, http://www.imatyfa.org and Gender Spectrum at https://www.genderspectrum.org/resources/.

If you are ever in need of other resources, you can always check back with us!

Yours truly,


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