As if life isn’t difficult enough, questioning one’s gender can cause a tailspin of confusion and emotion. I came out as a lesbian when I was about 24 years old. I was a week away from marrying my Marine boyfriend and living happily ever after when I met the girl who would turn my world upside down. Our relationship didn’t last long, but her importance in my life cannot be erased. When I first discovered I was attracted to the opposite sex it just seemed justified to call myself a lesbian. The friends that I had all identified as lesbians and it seemed like the right thing to do. I had seen different types of lesbians all the time! There were ones that looked straight, ones that looked like boys, and even ones that looked like something in the middle. I never really thought it mattered, nor did I care much to research the differences.
Figuring out who you are, and what you want, is not something that generally happens overnight. Not to mention that once you think you have it figured out, you don’t really always have it right. On top of dealing with your own internal emotions about who you have discovered you are, you also have to deal with the way the external world is going to react to you. For me some parts came easy while other parts not so easy.
I personally embraced the change. I immediately shaved my head, got piercings, and did a bunch of other stuff I never thought I could do as a straight person. My family was a mixed bag. My sister and my father were probably the most supportive of my new lifestyle. Whereas my grandmother and my mother were going to need a little bit more time to process what had just happened. Luckily for me they had eventually come around to accept me, but in the beginning things were difficult. I can still hear my grandmother telling me, “Jesus would hate your haircut”, on the days I think back.
Those times seem so far away, but the fear and the questioning I felt is always so near. Though I have become more comfortable in my own skin, and have found myself a community of people who love and accept me for who I am, I sometimes still fear for my own well being. Especially in times of governmental change like the United States is seeing now. People can tell my partner and I that we are safe from hatred, but how can one feel safe in a world that is in such chaos.
To make matters worse, a few weeks ago something came over me and I started to question my own sexuality once again. This questioning is not something I had planned, nor am I claiming to have reached any state of clarity on the matter. In fact, I think I may be even more confused than I was when I came out as a lesbian years ago. I have recently found myself extremely intrigued by the transgender community. Constantly searching social media for images of Female-to-Male transgender people who have had reconstructive surgeries and almost having feelings of envy that I haven’t done the same. I start questioning how certain aspects of being a female make me feel, and at the same time thinking about how being mistaken as a male makes me feel. I wonder how I would look if I took testosterone. I am so curious and wanting to know more!
I don’t really think it is inappropriate for me to be having these thoughts and questioning who I am. I completely support the entire LGBTQIA community. Plus, don’t we constantly live to discover new things about ourselves? The problem is that with this new curiosity comes self-doubt, and lots and lots of fear. What if I am transgendered? What if I would be happier packing everyday? What would that mean for my relationships? My wife? My family? Would they think differently of me if I did decide this was something that I wanted? I honestly don’t know the answer to any of these questions—Confirming the fact that I am confused as hell!
What I do hope comes from me writing about this confusion is that anyone who is questioning who they are knows that they are not alone. I also hope it shows that people like myself don’t just choose to be a certain way. There is something inside of us which becomes triggered and won’t go away until we pay attention to it and take the time to figure it out. And most of all, in the end, we shouldn’t have to be afraid of whatever it is we figure out.