Question: How do I find the courage to become myself?

Cydne asks…

I’m so afraid that if I become myself, the people I find attractive will not find me attractive. I wish everyone was pansexual, then my gender niche would be acceptable. How do I get the courage to change my body to be how I want it?

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on July 19th, 2010 at 04:00 pm

Category: questions 19 comments »

19 Responses to “Question: How do I find the courage to become myself?”

  1. Adrien

    I feel you, haha…all I can tell you is that you have to just do it. Just take a breath and start to change to make your body comfortable for you. If you worry about what other people are gonna think, you’ll never be as happy as you could.

    Besides, if someone’s attraction to you rests solely on how you look…you know. Better to be yourself and know that people are seeing who you are on the outside as well as the in, if you ask me.


  2. --V--

    I’ve struggled with this as well. I can only suggest that a supportive partner, who is not just encouraging, but attracted to the idea of who you want to become, is incredibly valuable.

    Certainly you can do it on your own force of will alone, but a friend and lover who appreciates you and your reasons for change make it much, much easier.


  3. Jessica

    Do you want to be happier with yourself or do you want other people to be happier with you?

    Yea, I want both, too. What if the only things people like about you and find attractive are the lies? What a shame. It fearfully lonely out there and the only way to be less vulnerable is to be more vulnerable.

    Think of Gary Cooper – you know, the movie actor – he said that his whole life was make believe and he wasn’t any good at any of the things people admired him on the silver screen for. He got good at living that double life. People who weren’t became self-destructive. They burned brightly and went out.


  4. Cole

    I was worried about this too… I was closeted for years, partially because of this fear, until I ended up in a “lesbian” relationship. We ended up coming out to each other as trans, and now we’re a pair of genderbending, crossdressing guys. I’ve known him since kindergarten, and I never saw this coming in a million years. So try to have faith that attractive and attracted people will appear when you least expect them. Also, I discovered that I am inexpressibly more comfortable now as myself. Even if I wasn’t in a relationship, the quality of my life has improved so drastically as a result that I would never give it up.

    Keep in mind that regardless of which path you choose, there will always be times when you are alone. But when you’re alone, do you want be alone with your true self, or the version more attractive to the mainstream? Not the best way to phrase the question… but I hope you know what I mean.


  5. elfstar

    Remember that even though not everyone is pansexual, plenty of people *are*, and we come in all genders. Yes, being true to yourself may make you less attractive to certain specific people, and sometimes that is going to hurt. But it will also make you *more* attractive to many people – people who think gender outlaws are beautiful (not in a skeevy fetishizing way, but a “respectful appreciation for nonbinary beauty” way), people who think your sense of humor and your perspective on life matter much more than your gender, people whose heads are turned by anybody who is determined to be hirself no matter what. You may be outside the “mainstream”, but people’s attractions don’t always follow the mainstream either.

    And of course, the more comfortable you are with yourself, the easier it will be to attract people in general – ones who appreciate, not just tolerate, who you are.


  6. James

    I know exactly what you mean, and I can tell you it’s not that easy finding people who will find you attractive when you’re not what they expect you to be. But the right people, I think, will see it as a part of you as valuable and attractive as any other. I’m still looking. And in the end, loving yourself will make you happier than other people loving you. This I know from experience. I don’t know how to find the courage — I wouldn’t say my decision was from courage, but from desperation. But do what you want for yourself, not what you think other people want. It’s likely you’ll be surprised by what other people actually want.

    Best of luck to you.


  7. Keir

    I’ve struggled a lot with this fear as well. The previous posts all hit the mark: you have to be yourself, for yourself. I know it’s easier said than done, but in the end I’m sure you want others to be attracted to the true you. Whenever I get scared that no one will be able to look beyond the outside I think: if I can look pass the outside and love someone for who they are and I exist, then there have to be others who can do the same. Nothing exists in isolation and human beings are full of wonderful surprises. Instead of turning people off, you might be surprised how many you turn on!


  8. Nicholas

    As much as I wish for people to honestly be attracted to me (in a complete, “I want you to meet my family” way), I think there are other joys in being true to yourself. You live more freely and honestly, which is amazing. No more making up stories to appease people and keep you in the box and hating yourself in the mirror. You gain a lot of pride in yourself and your choices which is very empowering. Not having to lie to people you love/people who care about you is wonderful, too. Not to weed out people who don’t, but to honor the people in your life that you’re close too.

    All of that being said, I don’t have the option of “living the lie” because I have mixed secondary sex characteristics. People would find out eventually what my body looks like, and my “transition” consisted solely of growing my hair out longer and wearing clothes that fit. I did what I wanted (long hair), and by wearing clothes that fit, I’m being honest with everyone and showing that my body is different. I’m very lucky to have friends that really accept me, even if I’ve never had a partner to do the same. All in due time.

    You just have to weigh which is more important to you, and make the decision there.


  9. J. Sandy

    Hi Cydne,

    You actually posed several questions. The previous comments address a number of your concerns with love, experience, and insight. We are fortunate to live at a time when this is possible. One of your statement:”I wish everyone was pansexual, then my gender niche would be acceptable” seems to be at the core of your question. Let me ask you: “What does being pansexual mean to you?” Also, “Do you consider yourself to be pansexual?” I am working on being panamorous, and it is not as simple as it seems. I know the two terms are related but distinct in their meanings. Enough to say that my psyche requires love along with the sexual attraction to be real to me.

    Even being committed to love without boundaries (panamorous) so you can love all persons, takes focus and is a constant learning curve about myself, within. It takes a willingness to listen, watch, and understand others from their own perspective–sometimes apparently easy, but seldom actually simple or easy. Next, it takes the courage to accept others without trying to change them. Finally, it takes a willingness to overlook the inevitable times when the other’s behavior or words hurt us. I am not advocating becoming a martyr. We do not owe anyone the right to use us as a floor mat. But love does mean “giving people the space” to be themselves and to continue loving them–even when to do so makes us uncomfortable or when at times such behavior hurts us. Also, as a relationship develops, focus on the present and avoid becoming posessive. A bird in a cage is never as beautiful as one that flies free yet chooses to land on your shoulder.

    These are the difficult parts of being consistently panamorous. At the same time, these are the parts that are most worthwhile to practice for both our own growth, and for the gift which we give (without expectation of repayment) to others.

    How would you like to know someone who can treat you this way? Can you treat others this same way? Personally, I much prefer intimacy and sex inside the context of this type of relationship, and I am willing to work for it and wait for it. As to being yourself, I am all for it. What I have described may not be who you are (nor who I was at one time), but being yourself should not exclude being someone who can set goals, and work towards becoming the person you want to be. After all, reaching personal goals is one of the hardest but most satisfying journeys you will ever undertake in this life. So my suggestion to you is: Be the person you wish to find in others, and although most people will remain as you now see them, you are also more like to find kindred spirits who will be attracted to you for the same reasons. I wish you the best in your quest.


  10. Nick

    I believe there are actually more people that are attracted to genderrebel, genderfucked, bigendered, nongendered, trigendered, inbetweens than there are people who have the strength and self-knowledge to go out there and be a genderrebel, genderfucked, etc.
    I believe if it was more acceptable to be attracted to people outside the binary, and it was easier for us all to find eachtother, we’d all be in a lot less trouble.
    That said, it’s not a perfect world, and I really don’t know what to do about that in the short term.


  11. Anonymous

    I think if they don’t find you attractive as you are, then you needn’t worry about them. If they can’t accept who you want to be, then why worry?

    I know it can be hard liking someone who doesn’t feel the same way, but it happens, and the best thing to do is love yourself for who you are, and wait for the day you find someone brilliant who loves you, too–and not just because of your body.


  12. Marissa

    Your presence in the world is a lighthouse for others, whether they look up to do, learn from you, or become more aware through you.

    I say this as a cissexual, a lesbian (which is more about my social/political identity than my sexuality) and a (tentative) transsensual femme (I am genuinely attracted to genderfluid and trans-identified people).
    Before I met my partner, who I have been with for almost 2 years, I had never seen a genderfluid person before (small town). As such, I had cycled through a variety of sexualities and while they were pleasant, you cannot know what you don’t know! ;)
    My partner’s presence shattered that blissful ignorance and I became aware of the unique niche of people and bodies that I am truly and wholly attracted to. Because of them, I discovered the answer to all of my wants and desires that had been so muddled and incongruous beforehand, and I’ll tell you that it’s glorious. It has certainly helped me to discover my own identity.

    I think that being sincere and loving with yourself creates confidence, and confidence looks sexy on anyone! As my partner grows, I love them more each day, and I also experience transformations in myself. Their self-worth and happiness is becoming more and more brilliant. Struggle and patience is worth it for the smiles at the end!


  13. Elle

    Until you have the opportunity to be yourself, you’ll never know who can or can’t be attracted to the real you.


  14. Ollie

    I was in the closet as trans for the same reason, what if i’m not attractive to her anymore and she doesn’t want me anymore. I just bucked up and decided if she really loves me and wants to be with me she’ll love me despite how i present my gender because myself as a person isn’t changing, just my body. I’ve started presenting as more masculine and to my belief she still feels the same way despite identifying as a lesbian.


  15. Heron

    The wonderful thing about life is all the surprises. I’m always surprising myself and others surprise me. I’ve never claimed to be attracted to a certain “type” of person, but neither did I think that I, a genderqueer (and to the cisgender world probably a very “butch” person) XX person, would fall for a very very straight cisgender guy or that he would return the sentiment.

    It’s okay to be a little scared, but the main thing is that you just go out there and do it! Everyday, people do crazy, scary things regardless of whether or not they (think they) have the courage.


  16. Dae

    I feel you. I tend to be most attracted to queer people (especially queer women), and right now I feel like a liar if I try to meet people. Because I’m not a gay/bi man, but I’m not really a gay/bi woman, either.

    But at the same time, I wouldn’t want to be in a relationship with someone who wasn’t into me as I am, and there are plenty of examples out there of genderqueer people who are in happy relationships.


  17. Anonymous

    You stop worrying about making everyone else happy and make yourself happy and comfortable. Confidence is quite attractive.


  18. Tamar

    as so many people have said, it’s important to be true to yourself. if your desire to show your inner self outwardly is strong enough that it compels you to do so, in spite of your fear, than try to do so. i know it’s incredibly scary at first, but it’s also exciting to highlight parts of yourself that you usually keep hidden. moreover, it gets easier as you go. do you have friends or other people close to you who you think would be supportive? if so, use them as resources. talk with them, let them know what’s going on/what you’re thinking about, and draw on their support.

    like elfstar mentioned, we pansexual people are out here!! though i identify as cisgender and cissexual, i find people who live and express themselves outside of these binaries very beautiful. showing people who you really are will let them see both your personality and your desired physical expression~~you’re sure to find people who will find these attributes very attractive.

    basically, show the world who you are. yes, some people will be confused or not find you attractive. but others will find you all the more attractive and will seek you out.


  19. b_a_d

    For what it’s worth I’m from a small town and pansexual. Many of my friends are too.

    Hang in there.


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