I have had the opportunity to work with thousands of clients over the past decade. I have been able to see patterns, everyday struggles, and assist with their growth. One of the most common concerns that individuals exploring their gender have is their confusion due to questioning who they are.
If you aren’t transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer, or another identity other than cisgender then you will know. You will ask yourself questions along the way. Self-doubt and exploration are normal. You have every right to ask yourself who you are and it doesn’t make your identity less valid or real.
It’s normal to question yourself.
At some point throughout your journey, you have questioned who you are. Your questions may have taken place when you were younger and before you heard the term transgender. For others, it can happen later in life.
The most common questions start with “What if..”
Your fear and insecurity lead to a cycle of “What ifs…” You are questioning if this is really who you are doesn’t make you less of a person or unworthy. It is normal to wonder who you are, as time passes, and if you decide to take steps towards your transition, your questioning will decrease.
What if this is just a phase?
The definition of a phase is a distinct period or stage in the process of change or forming part of something's development. Think of a phase of having a start and end point. My love of bell bottoms in high school was a phase, which (thank goodness) came to an end at some point. My love affair with bell bottoms is an example of a phase. Your sense of yourself as it relates to your gender identity isn’t a phase.
Think about how you would describe your gender identity. Don’t focus only on how you express your gender identity think of how it feels inside.
If what you are experiencing is a phase, then it will pass, and end. If it doesn’t, then you may be transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer or another identity other than cisgender. This is why you need to allow yourself compassion and patience so that you can explore who you are.
Remember my love of bell bottoms in high school was a phase, your gender identity isn’t.
Is there a diagnosis of being transgender?
There isn’t a medical or mental disorder diagnosis for being transgender, gender nonbinary, or gender queer. Your gender identity IS NOT a mental illness. In 2013, the American Psychological Association removed Gender Identity Disorder (GID) from the Diagnostic Statistical Manual (DSM). This is further proof that it isn’t a diagnosis.
Gender dysphoria is a diagnosis in the DSM that is recognized by the psychological and medical field. Gender dysphoria IS NOT the diagnosis of being transgender. Contrary to popular thought, every transgender, gender nonbinary, or gender queer person does not experience gender dysphoria. Every person doesn't experience this.
The Diagnostic and Statistical Manual of Mental Disorders (DSM-5) does define gender dysphoria specific criteria which are separated from adolescents/adults and children. I will share more about the nuts and bolts of gender dysphoria in a future post.
You will never be diagnosed “as being transgender” because it isn’t a diagnosis. If you, your parent, or another person tells you that you are a diagnose, they are wrong. You aren’t a problem with a diagnosis. If you struggle with gender dysphoria, then there is a diagnosis for what you are experiencing, but not for being who you are.
Is there a test to see if I’m transgender?
Ask yourself, am I cisgender? Do I feel that the sex I was assigned at birth matches my gender identity? If not, then you may be transgender, gender nonbinary, gender queer, or another identity.
No one can tell you that you are or are not transgender. There is no test, blood work, or diagnosis a healthcare provider can give you. A therapist or counselor who specializes in gender can help you explore your identity to assist you in figuring out who you are.
You are normal
There isn’t anything wrong with you. Stop asking yourself “What’s wrong with me?” Allow yourself empathy and understanding that you are on a journey to explore who you are. Don’t allow anyone or anything make you feel less of a person. You are unique, brave, and fantastic human being. Figure out who you are and know your worth.
Do you agree or disagree with me? Have you ever experienced any of these thoughts? Share your thoughts in the comment section below. Be sure to sign up for my newsletter so you can stay updated on all things gender identity.