Who Am I? Delving into the Difficult Depths of Gender

Who am I? I’m Eilidh. I’m 18. I was born female. But I know I’m not – at least, not JUST female. I don’t want to put a label on myself; I don’t want to limit myself to thinking I identify only as a female, or only as a male, or even to identify as both. And I don’t want to feel I have to conform to any of these, either. I don’t want to be looking into terms like gender-fluid, bi-gender, or non-binary and think “Well, I think this is what I am, but maybe I need to be a bit more like this for it to be acceptable/accurate”.

I love being mistaken for a guy. It’s happened to me for years, ever since I first got my hair cut short, and it amuses me and actually makes me happy – which some people, myself included, struggle to understand. Why does being called “son” or “boy”, or hearing a young child say to her brother that I “don’t look like a lady” make my day? I don’t have a clue, but I DO know that I like it, and I do know that nobody needs to get offended on my behalf, as has happened a couple of times. I used to absolutely hate being referred to as a girl; the very thought of it made me feel physically sick and angry, but at that time I didn’t really know what transgender was; I didn’t really have an understanding of gender outside of “male” and “female”. So I resigned myself to the fact that there was nothing I could do about it – I was a girl, I was going to be called a girl, and that was that. I had the feeling that if I asked my parents to stop referring to me as “their wee girl” or as a female in general, I would be either be laughed at and ridiculed, or told that it was just a phase.

In the years that have passed, I have often wondered what it would be like to be a guy, and I know it’s something I would prefer; it’s always seemed to me that being a guy would be, simply, easier and better. Even knowing that, though, I’ve never done anything about it – I never really thought that I could. Sure, I wear clothes that are maybe a little more masculine (certainly stereotypically so!), my hair is short, and I really dislike wearing make–up, but I’ve never tried to think too much about if I could be Trans, gender–fluid, or really anything other than the girl that I was born. Lately, however, it’s been playing on my mind a lot. I spent days on end doing online research and trying to look into all the terminology – although that nearly left me just as confused – and I realised that I’m not a cisgender female. I just can’t identify with that, and I don’t want to identify as that either.

How, then, do I identify? Well, that I still don’t know. Part of the not knowing stems from struggling to understand, and get to grips with, some of the terms and work out the differences between, say, gender fluid and bi–gender – they seem really similar to me. I’m trying not to think on it too much, as I’m sure over time I will work out how I identify, but at the same time I just want to know. I want to know if I’m bi–gender; I want to know if I may even be Trans (which seems more likely the more I think on it) so that I can start coming to terms with that and not spend my time worrying “Am I this? Am I just over–thinking things?”.

My ideal image of my self is generally pretty masculine, but at the same time I can’t imagine people actually referring to me as “he” – but that may be because the only times that has happened, have been accidental and misunderstandings. I’d feel awkward asking people to refer to me as “he”, too, because I don’t know how they would take it, especially if they’ve known me as “she” for so long. I’ve considered the use of “they” before too, but again it doesn’t sound quite right to me – but that’s just in my head, and in reality either “he” or “they” (or, indeed, any number of pronouns I’ve not even considered) could sound just right when used out loud by someone other than myself.

What I need to do is not try and put a label on how I feel – I don’t want to feel I have to try and match up to certain “criteria” in order to realise who I really am. I know I need to give myself time and the opportunity to explore my feelings; to experiment. I’ve ordered a couple of binders and some new shirts, and I’m getting my hair cut into what will hopefully be a slightly more masculine style – they’re not huge steps, but they’re a start, and hopefully they’ll help me realise how I feel most comfortable. I’m even at the stage where I’ve started to consider a small selection of both gender–neutral and masculine names, if it should get to the point where I want to change mine. Perhaps that’s me jumping into things unnecessarily, but putting a little thought into it and seeing how they may fit with how I want to express myself isn’t going to hurt.

I’ve also recently joined the forum Empty Closets, which is designed for LGBTQ+ people and their families/friends for any questions and discussions relating to things such as Gender Identity and Sexual Orientation. I’ve not posted on it terribly often yet, but I have been reading other threads that I feel myself associating with and some have been really helpful so far – it’s definitely a site I recommend for anyone who perhaps doesn’t have anyone they can talk to comfortably, or would like information or help on a range of subjects. In fact, this post was inspired by a response to the thread I made regarding my gender, in which I was urged to think about the questions “Who am I?” and “Who do I want people to see me as?” – and I like to think I’ve made a start in that. I’m lucky to have people I can speak to about all of this, whether they’re online or friends I see often, as I know that is often not the case, but to anyone who is questioning their own gender/orientation/etc., I hope you know you’re not alone in that – and remember, there is always someone willing to listen, even if it doesn’t always feel that way 🙂


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