People always say life is complicated, yet often they don’t say the same for gender and sexuality. Too often it is “male” or “female,” and “gay” or “straight,” but what about those who don’t fit in those boxes? More to the point, how do these folks feel mental health wise when they are consistently forced to pick one of the two boxes?
Although I can’t speak for the many gender expressions, gender identities, and sexualities that do not fall under the gender and sexuality binaries, I can speak to my ongoing gender journey. Perhaps it will be useful to folks who are feeling the same way but are not ready to talk to other people about it (which by the way, is totally okay).
Over the past year, I realized that I was not comfortable expressing myself in a completely feminine way. I never really wore make-up and rarely did I do my hair (ponytail life-style), but during the summer, I took the next step: I chopped off my hair.
Soon, I confined to my good friend about my gender expression and identity. I said to them, “I don’t really see myself as a man or a woman.” My friend, who is non-binary themself, hugged me and said they will support me no matter what. Thus I began my gender journey.
I started buying clothes in the men’s section (which by the way, is quite nerve-wracking), and I began to really open up to my close friends about my gender expression. Still, I have kept this journey quite private as I am worried how my peers and family would react.
Then, I went to the on-campus Centre for Women and Trans People. It is a drop-in centre that hosts all kinds of activities and events. More importantly, it is a place that is safe and free of judgment. Although I was nervous to go, I immediately was greeted with open arms and some tea! It was probably one of the best decisions I have made. I realized that being honest with myself doesn’t mean I have to open up to people about it immediately. In other words, to do what is right is to do what I am comfortable with.
“So Haley, do you identify as a transman?”
No, dear reader. Although I do not see myself as a transman, I really don’t know what or how to characterize my gender expression.
At the end of the day, those labels don’t matter to me. Where I am right now on my gender journey, which often people would mischaracterize as just being in “transition,” is where I want to be at this moment. And that, my dear readers, is all that matters.
Here is the phone number for the Centre for Women and Trans People: (416) 978-8201.
Lots of love,