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I want to be a boy..?

Question:

Lately I’ve had this desire to be a boy. I’ve never been a girly girl and always thought that being a boy would generally be better. I want to come as close to being a boy as possible, but I’m not sure if I’d want a sex change (especially at this age). I’m planning to have my hair cut in a boy-ish style (as I act like a boy for most of the time anyways) and wear more boy type clothes. I’m not sure what my parents would make of it, but I can’t get any of this off of my mind and I really want to go ahead with it

Answer:

Dear Millie,

So lately you’ve been feeling less and less girly, huh? Well, you’re in good company! Not only have you come to the right place to get that out in the open (and we’re so glad you did!), but there are lots of people out there who have similar feelings. Sometimes it helps to think of our gender and our sex on a spectrum. If sex is sort of like your physical and biological traits that you were born with, and gender is more like your outward expression of masculine or feminine, it might be a little easier to figure out exactly where you fall on each of those scales, and then how they line up with each other.

Another way of thinking about it is like this: some women are born into female bodies, and they feel very feminine, and want to express themselves in very girly ways and styles. Some women are born into female bodies, and even though they feel like a girl, maybe they just feel more comfortable with more boyish haircuts and clothings, and other things that are typically associated with being a boy. Some women are born into female bodies, but don’t feel like women at all, and would only feel comfortable acting and dressing and living as a man, and for them that might even mean getting a sex change, like you mention. And then there are lots of women who fall into the million of other spaces in between all of those things. My point is, the options in how you choose to live your life and express your gender are limitless! If you don’t feel like a girly-girl, you don’t have to dress or act super girly, but that also doesn’t necessarily mean you have to go to the other extreme, either, and become a serious bro. But, even if you did want to travel all the way over to the other end of the gender spectrum, you also don’t need to make that decision, or take all of those steps all at once. You could take small steps, like cutting your hair in a more boyish style, and wearing more boy type clothes, and see how you like that. If you love, it, great! Then you can consider what other types of boyish stuff you might want to do or take on, and even whether you might someday want a sex change. If you decide you don’t love it, also great! You could just grow your hair back out and change up your clothes a little bit, and the gender police probably won’t lock you up for it. At this point, no decision that you make is permanent, so if it’s what you want to do, then I would say go ahead and trust yourself! It’s really about what you feel is right for you. How does it make you feel when you think about having short hair and wearing boy clothes? Do you think doing that would make you feel better or worse than how you’re feeling right now?

As for how your parents might react, have you ever talked to them about any of this stuff before? What do you think they would say? Are you worried at all that changing your hair or clothes might put you into an unsafe situation with them? Or just that they might find the change surprising? I think lots of people have interesting reactions to change, but they usually get over it pretty quickly, especially if you have an open and honest conversation with them about it, and how each of you feel about it. But if you think it might be more than that, and you worry about any unintended consequences with them, what are some of the things you might do to make sure that you could stay safe, even if you made this change? If you’re not sure, I would encourage you to give the Trevor Lifeline a call—that’s what they’re there for! To work through some of these types of questions, and to help you figure out what are the best options for you. Although, it sounds like you’ve already put a lot of thought into it, and if it feels right to you, then I would say that you know yourself best. There are no laws about how girly or boyish anyone needs to be, regardless of what their body looks like, or what others might think they are supposed to do or look like.

I hope this helps you think some of this stuff through, and regardless of what you decide, I have no doubt that you’re going to end up with a kickass style that is all your own!

All the best,
Ask Trevor