Qweary: Gender Dysphoria
Anonymous asked: “I’m 14 and I’ve decided to do a fashion overhaul.
"I’ve been out as a bisexual for 2 years now, and tomorrow I’m finally cutting my hair, Miley style. I’m wearing increasingly androgynous clothing, but it’s difficult with DD’s and an hourglass body. I’m struggling with being appealing to both sexes while being true to my gender identity. I’m worried about binding at this young an age, so do you have any tips for dysphoria? How do I settle on a gender identity? I guess I’m just frustrated/confused”
This question came in a while ago, but congrats on cutting your hair! In terms of being appealing to all genders, the most appealing thing will be you doing you, however that is. If you are just your beautiful self, people of all genders will be falling all over you. Ignore any other messages telling you how to have to dress in order to attract a certain type of person - those are limiting and inaccurate.
Do you have any tips for dysphoria? oh boi, I hear you. I’m not sure if anyone told you that binding at a young age is unhealthy, but I’m a firm believer that mental health should come first. If you do decide to bind, here is Qwear’s binding 101. Key points being that you should be able to breath in your binder, and to take it off at night. Other tips are to surround yourself with supportive friends and other people who get what you’re going through and don’t make you explain yourself.
Getting involved with a physical activity you really enjoy also makes a huge difference for me. Whenever I’m being active I become more aware of my bones and muscles - my internal parts that make us all the same - and it gives me a little relief from my gender dysphoria. DapperQ wrote an awesome piece recently about working out called Our Bodies, Our Swag.
How do I settle on a gender identity? Discovering our gender identity is a process that for some people, can last their whole lives. Others find something that fits pretty quickly. Don’t worry too much about labels, but instead just find the things that will make you happy. You’ll settle into whatever identity feels right for you. Sometimes there aren’t words to describe exactly the way we’re feeling, but that’s kind of a beautiful thing. (Beyond genderqueer, I personally don’t have a word for what I am, other than ‘Sonny.’ It’s been working pretty well for me!)
You’re frustrated/confused? Join the club! Everyone at your age feels this way, but with gender identity thrown in the mix, it can feel totally overwhelming. Just know that your feelings are natural and try to find people who are going through the same thing. I have no idea what the climate is like where you live, but if you are in high school, join a club and hang out with other queers. Sometimes there are GSA’s, and other times there are secret GSAs like rugby and roller derby. So find where the queers are and go to them, my friend!
Finally, the questioner didn’t really ask about this, but for many people with gender dysphoria, changing in locker rooms can be a total nightmare. Especially if you start binding and don’t want people to see it. So if this is an issue, I want to let you know that it might be helpful to go to your school guidance counselor and work out a private place to change. If you need additional help and are in the US, check out this “Know Your Rights” info by the ACLU.
Congrats on already being far along the path to being yourself, and thanks for writing to Qwear!