self discovery

Am I trans? Figuring out your gender

The symbol of the transgender in hands on a cardboard plate, covering the face

Have you had an experience where you were questioning your gender? Are you unsure about how you identify? You’re not alone!

Unfortunately, many questioning individuals don’t know where to start when figuring out their gender identity. You may even be googling “am i trans quiz” or “am i trans or nonbinary quiz” just to find some insight.

If you’re reading this, then you’re probably looking for answers on your gender identity. This guide will talk about what it means to be trans and the signs that further exploration could be helpful.

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So, What Does “Transgender” Really Mean?

While the trans experience is different for everyone, there are a few experiences and “signs” that are common to many:

  • You want to be the opposite gender.
  • Gendered terms that align with your sex (e.g. guy, woman, etc.) make you uncomfortable.
  • You have a lot of friends who are trans.
  • Seeking guidance from a transgender individual.
  • Feeling more comfortable when you’re around trans people.

Even if you relate to these experiences, you may still be asking yourself, “Am I really trans, or is it just a phase?” To help you dive deep into your identity, here are a few things you need to know about what it’s like to be trans.

Figuring Out Your Gender

Many trans people may discover that they don’t match their assigned gender at an early stage in their life, while some may figure it out when they’re much older. Some even figure it out in stages or gradually over time. However, that doesn’t mean it’s a “phase”, nor does it mean that one person is more “trans” because they figured it out when they were at a very young age. 

There really is no one supposed way to “be” transgender, as the trans experience varies from person to person. So, if you haven’t figured it out yet, don’t worry – you’re on your own timeline, and you’re right on track.

Feeling Dysphoria

Many cis people believe “male” and “female” are the only two “real” genders because of our anatomy. But in the same way that how we dress doesn’t determine our gender, neither does our sex assigned at birth.

If your sexual characteristics (e.g. hips, chest, genitals) cause you distress, that could be gender dysphoria. Gender dysphoria is defined as the feeling of discomfort an individual feels when one’s gender identity is different from their sex assigned at birth. It’s also possible to feel dysphoria when dressing, talking, or acting like the gender you don’t align with.

Gender dysphoria is common in people who cannot express their gender due to situations beyond their control. If you feel like you have to perform your gender in a certain way to please family, friends, or institutions, this could be a strong indicator that you may be trans.

Internal dysphoria can be tricky to navigate, but talking to the right people (e.g. trans friends and/or activists) can help you open up, accept that part of yourself, and be more at peace with your identity.

Illustration of minds with genders

Medical Transitions

Some trans people doubt if they’re really transgender because they don’t want to medically transition or get get hormone replacement therapy. But while a gender therapist might recommend you undergo medical transitioning to alleviate the dysphoria that you feel in your current body, you do not have to medically transition.

A medical transition is and was never a requirement to being trans. Many trans individuals (such as trans women or non binary people who were assigned male at birth) undergo gender affirmation surgery (e.g. adding or removing breast tissue) or hormone therapy, but not all do. After all, there’s no one way to be trans!

Planned Parenthood said it best: “Someone’s gender identity should always be respected no matter how they decide to transition socially or medically.”

Doctor holding papers

Finding Your Community

Here’s a tip: when you’re still figuring out your identity, it can be very helpful to seek out help from the trans community. All you have to do is search “am i trans reddit” or “am i trans ftm” to find a community of other people going through the exact same process you are.

Talking to other other trans people who went through the same things you’re going through is a great way to learn more about the transgender experience. By involving yourself in the trans community (whether it’s through an organization, a support group, or even just a circle of friends), or even just being around other trans people, you understand yourself better – giving you more confidence to be your authentic self.

close-up of hands

Transphobia

Most people who display gender non-conforming behavior are often ridiculed or discriminated against by society – whether we are aware of it or not, we may have internalized those feelings to some degree. As transphobia is still rampant in many parts of the world, it’s common for trans people to feel angry or ashamed that they’re questioning their gender. 

For example, you might have felt embarrassed for wanting to have shorter hair, play with certain kinds of toys, or wear dresses because your gender wasn’t “supposed” to. If you feel like it’s “wrong” to deviate from the roles and behaviors of the gender you were assigned to at birth, that could be internalized transphobia.

Because of how dangerous it can be to publicly identify as trans, it’s okay to take your time. You don’t even have to come out at all if you think that coming out as transgender will endanger you or those you love.

Hundreds gather in Love Park in Philadelphia in response to the Trump administrations memo defining gender as an unchangable biological characteristic

What Happens Now?

While a trans quiz may help you figure things out initially or get you started, the truth is that only you can say if you’re trans – after all, it’s your being and body. It can be a long and difficult journey, but connecting with your authentic self is always worth it. And you don’t have to do it alone – there are plenty of resources and communities dedicated to people just like you.

Lastly, whether you think you’re non binary or the opposite gender than the one you were assigned to at birth, you are completely and perfectly valid. We hope this guide helps you feel at peace with your identity and self!

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