Work out who you are, and what makes you happy!
What is gender identity?
Firstly, let’s talk about gender. There are lots of ways to describe gender, but generally it is how you feel in relation to being male, female or non-binary.
Gender identity is your internal sense of your own gender. It might be that you don’t feel one way or the other, or that you feel somewhere in between, or another way entirely!
Gender expression is the way you express your gender. For example, the way you dress, the cosmetics you do or don’t use, your behaviour and your pronouns.
Want to learn more? Read our Trans, Non-Binary and Questioning coming out guide.
Questioning your gender identity
Thinking about gender and what it means to you can bring up a lot of feelings. You might feel confused, frustrated, curious, stressed, euphoric, or all of these things at once.
Questioning your gender identity is about working out what makes you happy and trying out new ways of expressing yourself.
As you explore your identity you will learn more about what makes you unique, and work out what you have in common with other people.
If you’re questioning your gender you may feel:
- Unsure about what your gender identity is
- Like something is just “off” (even if you’re not sure what)
- That you don’t know what label fits best (or if one fits at all)
- Distanced from the gender you were assigned at birth
It’s okay to take time to think about how you are feeling. Below are some reflective questions that might help you to do that.
- How do I feel about my gender?
- What does gender mean to me?
- How do I describe my gender identity? What words feel right?
- When do I feel most myself?
- What about my gender do I want to know more about?
- What do I find scary when thinking about my gender?
- How do I express my gender right now?
- How would I like to express my gender?
- In an ideal world free of discrimination, what would I say out loud about my gender?
It might help to write your answers down in a safe place. Our youth work team can support you to explore your feelings.
Saying things out loud allows us to put confusing thoughts into words. If you feel safe talking to someone in your life that you trust, it can help.
We are here for you too. Live Chat is our confidential text-based service for you to talk with a youth worker about your gender and sexuality.
Talking to people who have had similar experiences can make you feel less alone and help to make sense of your feelings.
Find your local youth group, to get connected with other LGBTQ+ young people.
Sometimes it can really help to engage with other people’s stories. Films, TV shows or books about LGBTQ+ people can be a great way to connect with your gender identity.
It might be that you don’t see yourself represented. This can be hard, it can also help us think about how we want to represent ourselves. What will your story be?
It can be useful to look through terms and labels to see what fits. Our LGBTQ+ A-Z is a good place to start.
It may be that none of them fit and that’s okay too! Your identity is yours to define and describe in the way that feels right for you.
No matter what your gender identity is, you are enough exactly as you are. You don’t have to fit a neat label – you can just be you.