Hi. I'm currently a 19 year old female college student. My issues with my sexuality started when I was in middle school, and only recently have I been able to define myself as truly bisexual, maybe even pansexual. I'm finally completely comfortable with it and I'm able to be open about it and date whoever I want (when I'm away at school anyway.) it took me so long because my parents are homophobic, my sister refuses to even acknowledge it, and I spent 8 years in a catholic school that taught me that such things were disgusting.
Whatever. I got over it and I'm doing well.
But there's still this issue of gender that I'm having trouble with. When I was a kid, I thought that I was supposed to be a boy because I liked playing in the dirt and building things. As I got older, I realized that such things don't determine gender and I more or less forgot about it. Now that I'm older, there's certain things about me that are actually pretty "manly." I'm aggressive and lewd and forceful. I have a firmer handshake than most guys. I'm competitive with guys, while other girls tend to fall back. At my uncle's funeral a week ago, it was my father and I who stood there stoically and struggled to hide our tears while the women sobbed openly. My dad has more or less declared me the head of the family when he dies, saying that I would probably be the one who has to take care of my mother and sister. I've always been a leader and a fighter. And, most days, I'd rather play video games with my guy friends than go shopping or whatever with girls.
But, on the other hand, my nails are currently carefully painted pink; I enjoy dressing up in skirts, make-up, and heels on occasion; I ]decorate cakes for fucks sake.
And, above and beyond all that, I just don't feel like either gender. I wonder what it would be like to have a penis, but I don't feel I need one. I like my genitalia just fine and, except for a few extra pounds, I like my body, boobs and all, but I'd feel just as good without them.
I've begun to consider myself genderless. I mentioned this to a car full of friends, but none of them seemed to understand that this was actually a serious issue to me.
I was just wondering if anyone else felt like this and if anyone had some advice or something. Do I have to have a gender? I know it's a big issue to a lot of people, but to me it's only an issue in that it's not an issue at all.
If I woke up tomorrow as a man, I wouldn't care. I'd be amused, at best. But if I didn't, I still wouldn't care.
No, you don't have to have a gender. Look into the word genderqueer.
For what it's worth, you don't have to want to alter your body to identify as a man or a woman. Plenty of Trans folks don't alter their bodies, and Trans guys who have bottom surgery are actually in the minority. Most of us don't have it, and many of us don't want it. I have zero problem with my genitals; I still know I'm a guy.
The stuff you mentioned about being aggressive, competitive, being a fighter, painting your nails, dressing up, etc. is gender expression. That has nothing to do with your gender identity. Plenty of women have the masculine traits you mentioned; they're still women. Plenty of men have the feminine traits you mentioned; they're still men.
The fact that you don't feel like a man or a woman is what you should be focusing on. That's your gender identity.
I strongly recommend getting a Livejournal at http://www.livejournal.com/create.bml . It's fine if you don't want to keep an online journal. You don't have to post in your personal journal. The point is the communities; that's where the support is, WAY more than here. Just reading the communities is hugely helpful; no one will pressure you to post or to share private info. See http://transgender.livejournal.com/1133801.html for LJ communities that may help you. I recommend the genderqueer, ftm, and transgender communities in particular, but more is better. Go to the userinfo (profile) page of any community and click the link at the top right of the profile, where it says Join. And spend a lot of time at http://ftm.livejournal.com/tag/ .
Links for you - take your time going through them! The point is that you have a load of them so you can go through them at whatever pace you want, and in whatever order you want, and not have to stop to look for more for quite a while. Getting through them is not a race, and going through them slowly is probably a better idea. Go through them in whatever order you want; I just have them listed by URL length so they're easier to read. And hopefully I'll see you over at http://ftmichael.transboys.info/yayforqueers.html !
Must-reads if you can get hold of them:
* Just Add Hormones by Matt Kailey
* Luna by Julie Anne Peters (YA fiction)
* Parrotfish by Ellen Wittlinger (YA fiction)
* Becoming a Visible Man by Jamison Green
* The Transgender Child by Stephanie Brill and Rachel Pepper
* Gender Outlaws: The Next Generation, edited by S. Bear Bergman and Kate Bornstein
* Trans Forming Families, edited by Mary Boenke (third edition, 2008) - available from PFLAG's Transgender Network - http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=413 - for $10 US
* The Our Trans Children leaflet (sixth edition) - available from PFLAG's Transgender Network - http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=413 - for $2 US, or you can save and print it yourself for free. The booklet is their only source of revenue, so if you can pay for it, please do!
* TransGeneration - http://amazon.com/TransGeneration-Raci-Ignacio/dp/B000CRR3I8 (Ignore what Lucas says in the first episode about hormones being "very dangerous" - they're not, not if you get them through a competent doctor and have regular - which usually means annual - bloodwork, and that was irresponsible of him to say.)
(The books, aside from Trans Forming Families, can be ordered on Amazon or you can get the ISBNs from Amazon and bring them to any bookstore to order them. The DVD can be ordered on Amazon also, as you see from the link.)