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To Sam

I’m struggling with my gender identity

hey sam, for a few months or so i have started imagining myself as a male and changing my clothing as well as my overall personality to become more masculine such as lowering my voice and hiding my chest with baggier clothing. Even a few friends have began to point it out to me. However there are still feminine activities i enjoy like make-up which is making me even more confused and stressed about my gender identity as a whole. I fear if i change myself my friends and family will reject me and I will no longer fit in. I don’t know how to reach out to a friend on this subject or if its better off that I live life as female even if i feel more confident as male. Do you have any advice to give?

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

One of the things that can be hard for people questioning their gender identity is hearing stereotypes that say what’s "for women" and what’s "for men". Make-up is a good example because often people might assume make-up is for women, but that's not true. Men can wear make-up too and you can wear without changing your gender identity too.

Understanding gender and how you identify can be a journey. A lot of the time it's a short journey because someone might already know and feel comfortable with how they identify. For others though it can be a more confusing and might take longer to get to a place where they’re comfortable or to work out how they feel.

It's important to remember that there is no right and wrong way to dress or act, no matter what gender you are. Boys can wear skirts, use make-up and have their hair long, just as much as girls can wear trousers, have their hair cut short and do all the things that boys do. The first step is really being comfortable with yourself and trying to get out of the gender stereotypes that society has made.

What can be more difficult is reactions or comments from other people who may not be as open minded about gender and who might still hold onto stereotypes. Your friends and family should accept you for who you are but that doesn't mean they won't make comments or ask questions - and sometimes these might be insensitive. We have advice to help if you’re not feeling accepted after coming out.

Once you have become confident enough for you to accept yourself, many people want to become confident enough to be that person around others. It takes time and courage to do that, but you can do it. Sometimes people decide to come out just to close friends and family, or even not to tell anyone. It’s completely up to you what you feel comfortable with and important to take things at your own pace.

Having the right support is also important. Try finding a friend or family member who you feel most confident about talking to and speak to them first. Having someone who can back you up who knows what's really going on for you can help you to be yourself around others. That's really what this is about - it's about just being who you are, doing the things you want to do and dressing the way you want to - regardless of your gender.

So go ahead and wear make-up whilst dressing the way you want to dress. The only limits are ones you set on yourself, so be kind to yourself and accept that you can be whoever you want to be.

I hope this helps, thanks for sharing.

Take care.

Sam

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