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How can you tell if you are a boy or a girl, or something else entirely?

210 Answers
Last Updated: 11/22/2020 at 7:58pm
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Melissa Hudson, MS Ed, PhD(c), LMFT

Marriage & Family Therapist

I work with clients of diverse backgrounds on a multitude of concerns. My approach is, at times, directive, yet always curious, nonjudgmental, collaborative, and validating.

Top Rated Answers
Anonymous
October 3rd, 2016 8:44am
For most people, it takes a lot of time to eventually understand yourself. Some people can know they were born in the wrong body from a young age, whereas others don't come to terms with it until their teens or even adult life. I think you have to go with your gut instinct and what feels natural for you.
Robin13
March 27th, 2017 4:00pm
Gender Identity is not equal to gender expression, but it may be related. A woman who dresses more androgynously is still a woman, while a feminine trans man is still male. Do you ever get gender dysphoria, or insecurities about your body that are solely related to the sex you were born with? Keep in mind, if it's about hating gender roles, thats different.
Anonymous
July 24th, 2018 5:36pm
It all depends on what you feel inside. Don't listen to the labels other people put on you, focus on yourself.
Anonymous
September 18th, 2018 5:18am
Well, that's one pretty hard question there. Some people just know, others, myself included, just don't. It's difficult when you don't, but sometimes that's how it is, but I will assure you of one thing, You will find out. It will be confusing and chances are you'll hate every second of it, but take it from me when you arrive at an answer, it feels like you're on top of the world. That sounded a bit bad. Questioning yourself isn't all negative. The people you meet and talk to in the community are a massive help, stay with you for years and years.
Aayla
- Expert in LGBTQ+ Issues
October 7th, 2019 9:45am
You can try thinking of yourself in terms of one or another and see how that makes you feel. You may try with different pronouns, experiment with different outer gender expression (like looks)... And also, you can try to learn more about non-binary identities and maybe talk to the non-binary community to understand better. You can also do the same with the trans community. With time, you'll find who you truly are!
sunshineninja17
January 21st, 2020 9:20pm
It depends on how you choose to express yourself. I am biologically female, but I went through a period where I considered myself agender, and also a period where I wanted to be referred to as a boy. Now, I use mostly female pronouns, but don't really care what pronouns people use. Some people know what gender they are just by how they wish to express themselves. Other people aren't quite so sure. It's okay to just be yourself, and not worry if you are male, female, or anything else. Identify the way you want to, dress the way you want to. It may be consistent or it may not be. All that matters is that you are being your best self, and making yourself as happy with who you are as you can.
MidwesternCalmSeeker
November 22nd, 2020 7:58pm
The concept of gender is a complex one. There are many umbrella terms to describe gender – transgender, non-binary, gender expansive, and the list goes on. The concept of gender can actually be fluid, and your feelings about it can change over time. And that’s okay. A study showed that about 20% of young children who feel that their gender might be different than they are initially told will continue to feel this way into adulthood. If you are someone who has felt unsure for a long time, you are not alone. The reasons can be one or they can be many. First, there’s biology. Females usually have two of the same kind of sex chromosome (XX) while males have two different kinds of sex chromosomes (XY). But in a handful per thousand of births, the chromosome count is actually different. Situations and experiences in your life can cause you to feel less comfortable about identifying as a boy or a girl. Hormones kick in during puberty, and this causes a whole new world of sensations. You can suddenly find yourself attracted to people who you never thought about that way before. It’s no wonder there’s a lot to consider when it comes to sorting out your feelings about how you wish to identify. Self-discovery and self-reflection are good starts to figuring out how you feel. Answer these questions honestly: What kinds of people are you physically attracted to? When you were a young child, did you feel the same or different than you do today? If the world had only kind and non-judgmental people in it, how would you choose to live your life? Thinking about these things may provide some insight. Joining the LGBT+/MOGII Support Forum or Group Support Chat on 7 Cups may also be helpful so that you can connect with others who are working through similar questions.
tranquilCentaur
December 7th, 2014 5:11am
There are a lot of different classifications under the spectrum of gender. It all depends on what feels more comfortable. For example, if some one called you a boy, how would you feel and vice versa.
RebeccaH
December 21st, 2014 10:00pm
There are so many nuances to gender outside of the strict girl/boy binary. A great resource for helping someone evaluate their gender is the Genderbread Person. http://itspronouncedmetrosexual.com/2012/03/the-genderbread-person-v2-0/ This is a really fantastic graphic that breaks gender down into 4 categories, each with two separate spectrums. It is incredibly inclusive, no matter where you fall on the gender spectrum
hobbitwho
June 18th, 2015 5:10pm
It's not about having lady parts or boy parts. You are what you feel like you are. If you feel like a girl, then you're one. If you feel like a boy, you're one too.
Anonymous
June 18th, 2015 7:26pm
Besides the body that I have either penis or vagina, I feel like I'm either male or female. The most important is how I feel. Personally I feel like I'm a boy and I have a male body. If there's someone who has, for example male body, but thinks that they are female, they are female then.
Anonymous
June 18th, 2015 8:38pm
Stay true to yourself and be accepting of whatever emotions and desires you may have. Nobody else can tell you who you are or how to be.
KindHeart3141
June 18th, 2015 10:34pm
Although it is possible to define gender as “sex,” indicating that the term can be used when differentiating male creatures from female ones biologically, the concept of gender, a word primarily applied to human beings, has additional connotations—more rich and more amorphous—having to do with general behavior, social interactions, and most importantly, one's fundamental sense of self. Until recently, most people assumed that acknowledging one's gender, or sex, was easy. You just checked the appropriate box on a standard form, choosing either “male” or “female,” according to the gender you had been assigned at birth based on visible anatomical evidence. But some people's internal sense of who they are does not correspond with their assigned gender. And in fact, we now recognize that a complex spectrum between male and female exists not only mentally, psychologically, and behaviorally, but anatomically; there have always been biologically intersex people. Gender identity is complicated. Some people, perhaps most, do not question their assigned gender. But others perceive themselves as belonging to the opposite sex. Still others, some of whom identify themselves as genderqueer, see themselves as neither male nor female, or perhaps as both, or as rotating between genders, or even as not belonging to any gender categorization at all. Those who clearly see themselves as the opposite sex may or may not want to transition to it in some measure. Of those who do, some may complete that transition, but others may be happy to stop partway on a path that can include dressing and behaving like the opposite sex, although the desire to cross-dress can exist quite apart from issues of gender identity. Somewhere along the transitional path, people may want to change their given names and adopt linguistic terms of their own choosing, including a variety of pronouns, as designations of themselves and others. Some will have hormone treatments and opt for various kinds of surgery—perhaps facial, perhaps on their bodies, perhaps ultimately including sex “reassignment” surgery (genital reconstruction). At any point, they may welcome or reject a “transsexual” or “transgender” label. This array of life experiences has resulted in a veritable explosion of new, or newly adapted, vocabulary. Particularly striking and useful is the word cis or prefix cis-, as in cis male, cis female, and cisgender, designating those whose sense of self matches their assigned gender. Using cis is a way to refer to these individuals without implying that “cis” people are the norm and all others a deviation from “normal.” It is notable that choices of gender beyond male and female are even appearing on social media sites. Clearly, gender is no longer a simple binary concept, if it ever was.
ElliesLight
June 19th, 2015 12:53am
I've had to think about this question a lot in my life. What I've realized over time is that there is no way to tell for certain what you are, nor does it matter. Identifying as anything in particular means you are identifying to a set stereotype that society has developed, and while you may feel closer to one or another, all they are is what society has decided what that gender means. Do what you want, and be who you want to be - don't let social standard rule your life and trouble your heart. You are you, and that's awesome.
Anonymous
June 19th, 2015 2:38am
A lot of times, it's a gut feeling, or a feeling in your heart that you identify as a different gender, or no gender at all. Acknowledge the feeling, and understand that there is nothing wrong with it. You might feel like the gender you were born as is a disguise, or a costume, so it feels unnatural.
Anonymous
June 19th, 2015 2:55am
I can tell that I am gender fluid because I have always been fluctuating between feminine and masculine as well as other gender identities behaviors. I have not seen myself or felt as if I was defined by either male or female all the time, I simply felt like a boy or girl or something different on any given moment. Sometimes I'd spend my entire year or more, feeling rather masculine, but I would then feel like a girl on occasion and be a pretty princess. Never defining myself strictly as any gender is my answer.
Anonymous
June 19th, 2015 5:04am
Honey. It honestly dont matter. What matters is what kind of person you are. Be who you want to be and do what you feel is right. Follow your heart baby.
Anonymous
June 19th, 2015 6:12am
Gender is a social construct, so you basically just need to figure out what identity feels most comfortable to you. If you're concerned about passing you might want to take into account how well you can pass as the gender you're thinking about identifying as.
WonderlandRabbit
June 19th, 2015 7:11am
Well, if youre asking about whether you are a girl, boy, or something else, you are questioning your identity. Your own identity can be only defined as your feelings. What feels right to you?
EmberT
June 19th, 2015 11:15am
That seems like a tricky question. Our society is obsessed with gender roles and not knowing which category you fall under can be immensely burdening. But try to think about it, does it even matter? It adds nothing to you as a person. You don't have to fit into a gender, just be yourself and try to accept and love the person you are. You can fall anywhere on the spectrum of gender and sexuality and while labeling helps clear confusion and sometimes give closure, that's all they do. You are better than enough as you are, with or without labels.
QueerDeer
June 19th, 2015 5:27pm
It's all based on feeling. If you are biologically a girl, but say, don't like your feminine features. And not just "not liking" but basically it makes you feel anxious or such. That feeling is dysphoria. You don't HAVE to have dysphoria, though. But, if you generally feel nonbinary, you just don't feel like either, or a little bit of both. Gender is a whole spectrum, really. Some terms to get familiar with: Genderfluid - a person whose gender identity changes from time to time, can be by day/ week, no pattern of change Non-binary - Not on the gender binary, basically doesn't have a gender Transgender - someone who is assigned the wrong sex at birth, for example, a girl born in a male body. She might not feel comfortable being adressed as a boy, therefore she dresses to make it appear as if she has feminine traits and/or transitions. It really depends honestly. Demigirl/boy - someone who doesn't entirely feel like a girl or a boy, think of it as half non-binary, half boy/girl. Bigender - Someone who identifies as a male and a female at the same time. Okay, I hope this helped! Gender is a very complicated thing, therefore it is quite hard to explain. However, please respect lgbtqa people. Aka, adress a transwoman by her correct pronouns, don't be rude and call her 'he'. That can really ruin her day. I identify as genderfluid, therefore I know the feeling of feeling like a girl, boy, neither, both or mixed up in all different kinds of combinations. By the way, it doesn't matter if your gender changes, you have all the right to change your identity as you want. Hope this helped!
QueerPussycat
June 19th, 2015 6:32pm
Only you can determine your gender identity, but thought exercises can be very helpful in determining this. Imagine yourself as a boy, as a girl, or as something else. Imagine having the body, pronouns or names of someone of that gender. How does it feel? Explore.
maybelyd00
June 19th, 2015 8:10pm
You can tell by what you feel, what you think, what you believe and what feels most comfortable. If you're unsure of this, just be who makes you happy, you don't have to label anything.
Anonymous
June 20th, 2015 3:40am
That is something a person needs to do the thanking about to there own self. If others picked it and you found it wasn't you then you just lived that persons pick as a lie. Its best to be open to your self and to your feelings.
Anonymous
June 20th, 2015 3:42am
It's just something you feel. Personally, I believe I'm an alien but that's not what the world believes but who cares what anyone else thinks? What should matter most to you with matters like this is how you feel and what you think. Because this is you, right?
Anonymous
June 20th, 2015 11:29am
If you don't feel comfortable being the gender that you were biologically born with or you sometimes do and sometimes don't, you most likely are either genderfluid or maybe you want to explore being a transgender.
warmteawithablanket
June 20th, 2015 12:30pm
Always look at how you are feeling before anything, how you feel about certain pronouns. Labels can be a good way to feel comfortable, but they should always come later and never before what you feel in you heart. Don't rush yourself, and take time you discover your gender, whatever it may be.
mothfriend
June 20th, 2015 4:25pm
It's a difficult thing to figure out, since it all comes down to how you feel about yourself and your identity. If you're feeling a disconnect or uncertainty about the gender you currently identify as, it can help to explore what others have said about their experiences with gender to see what resonates with you. Dysphoria, or lack thereof, also plays a big role in many peoples' experience with gender. Physical dysphoria is a feeling of discomfort or anxiety about parts of your body due to gender associations, commonly genitalia and secondary sex characteristics like your voice or chest. Social dysphoria is a discomfort with assumptions others make about your gender or the way your percieved gender affects social environments, like when people refer to you with gendered words and pronouns. Not all trans people experience this, but for many it can be a starting point that leads them to question their gender. The real difficulty in figuring out gender is that there's no set definition of what it is to be a boy or a girl or something else. You can be masculine, feminine, or androgynous in your personality, hobbies, dress, name, and appearance, but none of that determines your gender. It's an almost undefinable internal sense of who you are. In my case, I know I'm not a boy or a girl because I feel really strongly that neither of those fits, and because I feel a lot of anxiety, panic, and disassociation when I'm referred to with gendered words and when I'm forced to be aware of certain physical characteristics. Overall, I would say that the best way is to examine your feelings and look into what others have written or said about their experiences. It's a very individual and personal experience, and although it can be difficult it can also be very exciting to figure things out and get a better sense of who you are.
Rae100
June 20th, 2015 11:09pm
To be honest, it's an entirely individual thing. I questioned my identity for a long time before I finally figured it out. What makes you feel most like YOU? What makes you feel good about yourself? How do you want the world to see you?
NolenCrDr
June 21st, 2015 3:16pm
It's how you feel inside, regardless of what people think you are. Look at yourself. Be yourself. What do you think you are?