I do not see myself as a woman entirely. Am I just confusing myself or is there a definite label for what I'm experiencing? - JFCS of Greater Philadelphia

Dear Ally,


Hi, I've identified as a female/woman my whole life and only recently started thinking about gender/gender identity. I know that I don't want to identify with he/him pronouns and am not a male, but I'm more than okay with they/them pronouns. I've been referred to with these pronouns before and liked being referred to by them. I tend to dress very femininely and am fine with dressing regardless of the gender associated to those clothes, yet do not see myself as a woman entirely. Am I just confusing myself or is there a definite label for what I'm experiencing? Please help!

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A

There are a lot of possible labels for what you’re experiencing!

It sounds to me like you’re describing the experience of having a non-binary gender. You may have already done research into that idea, but in case you haven’t: many cultures look at gender as a binary experience. That is to say, you only have two choices: man or woman. Other folks, however, recognize that there are so many more ways to experience gender than just as a choice between two, and step outside of the binary to express their gender.

Some people feel like they have no gender at all, some people feel like their gender is a mix between man and woman, some change how they relate to gender depending on the day. Some people feel like they’re mostly a woman, but not entire – others feel like their gender isn’t connected to being a man or a woman at all, but is completely unrelated to that binary. So many different identities!

It may be worth keeping in mind that your gender expression (how you present yourself to the world) isn’t necessarily connected to your gender identity (who you are inside). So the fact that you tend to dress very femininely doesn’t mean that you’re a woman! You can present yourself in any way, and still explore different gender identities other than woman.

I suggest that you do a little bit of looking into different non-binary gender identities, and see if any of them feel like a good fit! A good start is the Non-Binary Wiki, which has descriptions of many different ways that people explore and experience their genders. You can try on different labels, use those words to describe yourself for a few days/weeks/months, and find one that describes what you’re experiencing.

It sounds like you’ve already made a great start in exploring who you are and how you relate to gender, and I’m so excited for you! Please let me know if I can do anything to support you!

Your friend,

Ally



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