Question: Maybe it’s a phase?

Crime asks…

I’m 13 close to 14 and I’ve been questioning my gender for a couple of years now. I was born a female but I’m masculine and dress up like a male. On the other hand though, I don’t think I’m transgender because I’m still feminine and sometimes dress like a woman. I understand that you can be a cross dressing male/female, but there are times where I don’t want to only be called a male, or a female.
So, I’ve come the conclusion that I’m either genderqueer or genderfluid. But, I’m at such a young age, I don’t know if this is just a phase or not. I strongly feel these things about my gender, but I don’t know if I’m too young to make such a big decision for the rest of my life.

There’s nothing stopping me from changing my gender, I just don’t want to regret in the future if I decide to be a female or male. So my question is if y’all could give me advice about choosing your gender(s) and how to chose it wisely so I won’t have any regrets.

Please post your response in the comments below.

» Ask Genderfork «

Posted by on June 7th, 2015 at 08:00 am

Category: questions 9 comments »

9 Responses to “Question: Maybe it’s a phase?”

  1. Anonymous

    I can only speak from my own experience here and if you want a more solid and reliable advice I would advice you to talk to a therapist. And don’t be afraid to visit one. They are there to help and most of them do help. They are also only human – and humans sometimes say stupid things.
    I understood that I am genderqueer when I was 29, so that’s quite a bit older than you are. An I am still thinking that it might be just a phase. I am genderfluid so my gender changes quite often and that doesn’t help when you want a really reliable answer.
    The thing is that I have never really understood gender. When I was 10 I didn’t get why boys kept to themselves and girls kept to themselves. I played with both genders – and prefered the other gender a bit more.
    At school we were seperated by sex for physical education and I just accepted that and went there and I never ever identified with the other boys. I don’t think I would have identified with the girls either but I would have liked it a bit more to be there. And that is why I know that I am genderqueer. Because I can’t say I am a man and feel strange. Feel like I put on a show. I can’t say I am a woman either even if that tickles me a bit. And I can’t say I am transgender because I know that being a woman would not 100% make me happy. In fact I would feel the same discomfort that I feel as a man.
    It’s not easy to answer this question. And the right answer is very individual. Whatever you feel is right for you is the right way to go. Whenever you feel you don’t put on a show for someone else, that is what you are. Whenever you don’t feel discomfort this is it!
    There is no reason to rush anything. No reason at all. You are very young and trust me, you have a few years of more puberty to enjoy and they will help you understand yourself a bit more. Especially understand yourself and your sexuality. And with discovering your sexuality you qill also discover your body – and what you like about it and what you don’t like about it. And this is a process you can’t rush. It will happen whenever your brain is ready for it. You might want to wait for that before making any sex/body changing decisions.
    On the other hand if you question your gender at your age you are probably right to question it. Because there is something that gives you discomfort. And discomfort is like a warning sign. You shouldn’t ignore it. Instead you probably should explore what it wants to tell you.
    So discover that at you own speed. There is no need to rush anything and you shouldn’t be rushed into that. And there is no reason you should do a female to male sex change if you feel that this is not your thing. Or even if you doubt it.
    So if you feel like you need to make decisions because something is making you feel uneasy then talk to a therapist about it. They have waaay more experience in how young people develop and how they see themselves than I do. They will help you figure it out a bit more.
    If you don’t want to go to a therapist or don’t feel the need to then just let it unravel by itself.


  2. Chris

    I’m 38 — And still think it’s a phase sometimes… but that’s OK too I think. Life’s to short to not be happy.


  3. David

    If you’ve been thinking about this for 2 years, it’s probably more than just a phase.

    I think we’re heading toward a world where people will change their social gender rather freely. The physical characteristics of a person’s body are not so easily changed. At 13, if you feel strongly that you might want to transition to a physically more masculine body, then you probably should consider going on hormone blockers. These are medications such as Lupron that temporarily delay puberty while you figure out what you want to be (usually for up to a year). If you stop taking blockers, your body goes back to its regular puberty path, in your case becoming more feminine. At the end of that year, if you decided that you want to become physically more masculine, then you would start cross-hormones to push your body into masculinizing puberty.

    Blockers are expensive and at least in the United States is hard to get insurance companies to pay for them. If it is something that is important to you, it’s very likely that you would need parental support (your parents are going to have to help you find the right doctor and fight the insurance company to pay for it).

    During the year you’re on blockers, you would need to decide whether you want to to go through with masculinizing puberty, which also means giving up your fertility. That’s an important decision, but you’ll have that time to make it.

    If you think you need blockers, then you probably need to speak with a doctor or therapist rather soon to get a lengthy approval process started. On the other hand, if you’re cool with your body becoming more feminine as you get older, then as Anonymous said you have plenty of time to figure out what you are and the kind of clothing, accessories, and attitudes that best represent the specific kind of boyish girl you are.


  4. Tove

    You’re never too young to think about your gender identity. If you don’t want to make any decisions one way or another right now (or ever), that’s fine!

    I’m 25 now, and I realized that I was genderqueer at 20, when I read on the internet that that’s a thing that you can be — online LGBTQIA+ communities helped me find a vocabulary of self that I hadn’t found in my whole life as an avid reader. If there’s one thing I’d recommend, Crime, it’s seeking out other queer perspectives, whether by reading on your own or by going to support/social groups in your community — whatever works for you! Reading about others’ journeys, and seeing that queer folx of all kinds are living beautiful lives, has helped me understand my own journey better, and keeps me positive when I’m doubting myself.


  5. LJ

    It doesn’t matter if it’s a phase. Honestly truly. Whatever you’re experiencing is 100% valid. You can dress however you want, use whatever mannerisms you want, live as anyone you want. It doesn’t matter how old you are; age is never ever a reason *in itself* to discredit someone’s decision-making abilities. AND the people who make relatively permanent transitions – surgery, hormones – at 14 years old, have felt transgender their whole lives. Especially if you’re in limbo, trying to figure yourself out, and have only been tossing the idea around for 2 years, permanent stuff, at 14, is probably a pretty bad plan.

    However, nothing you’re experiencing is a choice. You can’t choose to feel the way you are, and feeling it isn’t a decision. Theoretically, the gender label is a decision, the pronouns are a decision, the nouns is a decision, the clothes are a decision, the mannerisms and vocal training and workout programs and analyzing everything are decisions. But those aren’t permanent. You can stop – or alter – those decisions as often as you want and as much as you want. If you look at your peers around you, probably all of them are “experimenting” with a style of dress, a genre of music, whatever. They may or may not continue to dress like that or like that music. It’s similar with gender. Try on labels. Try out pronouns. Come out as questioning or fluid to a couple people. When you’re non-binary, it’s a process. It almost always takes thinking. Lots of thinking. Lots of trying.

    I tried five sets of pronouns. And it was very, very awkward. For everyone involved. I’ve changed names twice. I’ve embarked on masculinization routines, dedicated all my study time to watching the way men walk. Some of those things – three of the five pronoun sets, various phases of attire, one of the new names – didn’t work out. They were “phases” in a manner of speaking because they didn’t last my whole life. Other phases I had were identities. I had the sparkle boy phase, the hippie phase, and the baggy jeans butch boy phase. Perhaps my current identity and appearance will be a phase too. But it’s not illegitimate. It’s not when I’m 18, and it wasn’t when I was 14, and it won’t be when I’m 75. Life is phases. That’s the fabulousness of it. We’re never the same as we were.

    A word of warning: it could very well be awful. I found that the more I focused on gender, the more self-aware and content I became day-to-day. I also found that the more I focused on gender, the more crippling the dysphoria became. That might not happen to you, but it’s a possibility that you will face awful things. Not being accepted. Not understanding yourself. Not believing in yourself. But if it’s who you are, if it’s part of you, don’t try to conceal it. Ever. Every once in a while I think to myself “it would be so much better if I was cisgender.” But within milliseconds, every single time, I realize that that’s not true. Maybe it’d be easier in the sense that I wouldn’t have dysphoria or feel awkward when people misgender me as either binary or stare at me for too long, but I would never want to not have my gender identity. It’s not only a part of my whole makeup, but it’s a part of my past, a part of my journey, and played a huge role in how I got to be who I am as a person.

    Take care!! You’ll do awesome :)


  6. David


    I don’t want to pick a fight, but I have to disagree with your comment that “the people who make relatively permanent transitions – surgery, hormones – at 14 years old, have felt transgender their whole lives.” I know quite a few trans kids. Some realized they were trans at age 3, some at around 8, and some at 12-14. Other people don’t realize it until they are adults.

    When I was Crime’s age, all I understood was that I didn’t fit in very well with the other boys. Eventually I started to realize that part of the reason was I didn’t really value the same things as mainstream boys. Still later, I realized that my values were closer to those of mainstream girls.

    Surgery at 14 is very unlikely in the United States. Even with supportive parents and self-funding, it would be very difficult to find a surgeon willing to do gender reassignment surgery on a minor. Hence the use of blockers as a holding measure.


  7. LJ


    I’m not saying that all transgender people who undergo permanent transition at some point have felt trans their whole lives. I will and haven’t. I’m saying that transgender people who transition at 14 years old have typically (I apologize for my use of absolute language – “all” should have been “most”) felt that way their whole lives. The practical reason for this is that doctors and providers need to know that this major change is going to benefit the kid. And you can’t do that if s/he’s just come out or just started thinking about it or “showing signs” a few years ago (with exceptions, I’m sure).

    There are some kids who, at 14, are almost completely physically transitioned. And there are tons of kids – more now – who are receiving hormone treatments at 10 (blockers). I’ve never heard of anyone who has transitioned this way who hasn’t been identified as transgender/non-binary for 4+ years (8+ in the case of surgery at 14).

    Sorry if I wasn’t clear :)


  8. Anonymous

    I definitely agree with the therapist thing. If you can find a therapist with experience in gender issues nearby you and can afford it they can be very helpful. I am a bit closer to your expierence. I started to ID off the binary at 16 but only amongst my closest friends. Now well into 17 and IDing to a larger (but still relatively small group of people) as genderqueer somedays it feels like a phase somedays it doesn’t. You are entering a point in your life where you are likely going to do a lot of growing and changing. It is perfectly okay to be unsure of yourself. My one piece of advice is don’t wait for yourself to become something. I spent a lot of my younger years thinking that someday when I was older I was going to become not necessarily girly but girlier when I was older. I kept waiting for someday that never came. Allow yourself to be yourself and see where it takes you. I am not saying make a bunch of decisions you can’t take back. Those should always have a lot of thought and discussion with others put into them before deciding. But just know that becoming you is a process that you spend your whole life doing. Its not a point you pass and then you become yourself


  9. Anonymous

    I was around the same age as you when I figured I might be genderqueer (after a few years of questioning my gender) and yeah, it is a big thing, and yeah, you are young. I felt the same way and it took me six years to come out. But in those six years, my mind didn’t change at all.

    That was my journey. This is yours.

    All I can say is, even if you think you’ve figured it out, there is no reason you need to come out immediately. Take your time, figure things out, Nd do everything at your own pace. It’s your identity, and your business. You get to choose who to share it with.

    I hope you figure everything out. Much love, my friend <3


Leave a Reply

Can I show your picture? If you have a Gravatar associated with this email address, it will be displayed as your photo. If not, I'll just put a picture of a fork next to your comment. Everybody likes forks.

Be nice. Judgmental comments will be quietly deleted and blacklisted. There's plenty of room for those elsewhere on the web.

For legal reasons, you must be age 13 or older to post a comment on Genderfork.

You can use some HTML tags for formatting, e.g. <em>...</em> for emphasis (italics) or <strong>...</strong> for strong emphasis (bold) or <a href="http://(url)">...</a> for links.

Back to top