Accepting yourself as trans or non-binary
It’s okay to question your gender identity and take time to figure out who you are
Written by spunout
Fact checked by experts and reviewed by young people.
The process of realising your gender identity can cause a lot of emotions. You might be feeling scared, lonely or overwhelmed, but you could also feel excited or relieved. You could be feeling all of these things at once.
If you’re still trying to work things out, you can wait before you tell anyone about your gender identity. This is a process, and you don’t have to have it all figured out at once.
Here are some things to think about while you question your gender identity and learn to accept yourself as trans or non-binary.
Accepting yourself as trans or non-binary
Keep these things in mind as you explore your gender identity:
Only you can define your own gender
You might identify as a man or as a women or maybe neither of those genders reflect your experience. Instead you might feel that your gender reflects both of those genders together, or neither, at different times. You might feel like man or women doesn’t explain how you feel about your gender and may instead feel non-binary or you may feel agender if you feel like you do not have a gender at all.
At this point you might not be sure how you identify. That is okay too. Take the time to learn about different gender identities and if you feel like you can relate to any of them. It’s okay to not have a label or term that you feel describes you.
It’s okay to not know
Not everyone knows their gender identity, and you do not have to know it. In fact, there are even terms for genders that are difficult to describe – genderqueer being one of them. If you’re feeling confused, you are not alone – many people have been in the same position as you are. Give yourself time and try not to put too much pressure on yourself to fit into any one box.
Try things out
Try out different things to see how they make you feel. You can choose to do this in private or in a public space – whatever makes you comfortable.
Try out different names, pronouns, clothes, or ways of walking or talking. Remember, it’s okay to explore different sides to yourself and try different things.
Take your time
There is no need to rush this process. You do not have to be the ‘best’ or ‘perfect’ trans person. You do not need to tick every box overnight, or at all. The trans community is diverse and there is no such thing as ‘trans enough’. If you choose to tell certain people about your identity that does not mean you then have to present the way they might expect. Your choices with regards to how you dress or present yourself are completely your own.
Move at your own pace and be kind to yourself.
Transitioning is not necessarily medical
Transitioning means changing the way that you present your identity to others and/or society. This can happen in many ways. Transitioning can be social, legal or medical. You do not need to transition in all or any of these ways to be truly trans.
There is medical transition, but there are also ways of changing your appearance and voice without medically changing your body. In Ireland, it is also possible to legally transition without seeing any doctors. Socially transitioning is when you begin to live as your true self with other people.
You are not alone
Dealing with stigma, as well as your own negative thoughts is hard. There are many supports out there for dealing with transitioning and coming to terms with your identity. Both TENI and BeLonGTo offer peer support groups where you can meet other trans or non-binary young people in a safe space and share your experiences. This can also be a great way to make friends.
Find other trans people
Whether online or in person, there are other trans people out there. There are other people questioning and there are spaces where you can be yourself. Online there are groups for all sorts of people, and regardless of who you are, there is definitely a group for trans people like you. Be careful not to share any personal information about yourself online, including where you live, where you work or go to school or college, or anything else that might tell someone things about you that you would rather keep private.
Feeling overwhelmed or want to talk to someone right now?
- Get anonymous support 24/7 with our text message support service
- Connect with a trained volunteer who will listen to you, and help you to move forward feeling better
- Free-text SPUNOUT to 50808 to begin
- Find out more about our text message support service
If you are a customer of the 48 network or cannot get through using the ‘50808’ short code please text HELLO to 0861800280 (standard message rates may apply). Some smaller networks do not support short codes like ‘50808’