So you’ve come to the conclusion that you are 100% (or at least over 50%) sure that you don’t identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. Or in less dicey terms, you’re ix-nay on the predetermined gender roles…ay? Whether you’re FTM, MTF, at any point along the scale, or nowhere on it at all; you’re dying to express it.
So now what? Do you strut into your school, wrapped in a pride flag and your lucky underwear? How do you go about this whole thing anyways?
I’m not much of an expert on dealing with issues head-on, but here are a few tips on soul searching that might help you out.
Write this down as your national anthem; every little helps. That goes for a lot of things.
Like me, you can’t exactly go out and trade in your skinny jeans for track pants, and there are more than a few laws preventing you from burning your dresses in the backyard.
Or you could have trouble with broaching the subject to your friends, because apparently not many people know what a chest binder is.
The key to ‘every little helps’, is starting small (roughly translated, you could drop hints.)
Start dressing the way you want to dress, one day at a time.
Once a week, wear something you usually don’t. Express yourself in a way you’re comfortable with, you don’t have to break the sound barrier with your magnificence, just start chipping it away.
I, myself, have reasonably small assets, so when my chest started pulling a disappearing act, it wasn’t a red flag exposing my secrets for all to see. If it’s difficult for you, there are loads of helpful ways to minimize the focus, including DIY binders, or sports bras.
Hair too short for your liking? Sparingly add some gel, flip it, pinch your cheeks and throw in some accessories. If you’re daring enough, acquire some colorful hair clips (that’s pretty 90’s, but colored bobby pins ought to pave the way for more glamorous items). Trapped in a dull box of masculinity? Add pops of bright color, in the form of belts, graphic tees, shoes, anything goes (give colored eyeliner a try, it’s fantastic).
Can’t cut your hair? Parents wont let you? No problem, put that sucker in a bun. Bring ponytails back. Don’t attempt to use alchemy to grow a beard; dress for comfort. Find snazzy shirts that you can borrow from a friend (or in my case, steal from your sibling), maybe dig up your favorite track pants.
If clothing isn’t the only issue, you can try opening up. Talk to your friends or family about recent events to do with the LGBTQ community. It can involve celebrities, movies, novels, science, news, ect. Do what you can to feel the conversation out, and pinpoint the people you can really express yourself around. Hang on to those kinds of people, because they’re the exciting ones. And hey, if it isn’t easy for you to be so punctual, then instead of trying to create a norm for everyone else, try and create a norm for yourself.
Do things for yourself, connect through social media, endeavour in some personal research, watch a few movies and hit up a few blogs. It may not seem like much, but every step is a move in the right direction. The whole ‘slow and steady wins the race’ can work in pretty much everything.
It’s fine to question your gender identity, and your sexuality, and it’s also fine to change your mind, so if you have your thoughts all mapped out, that’s fantastic, but if you’re still trying to find your niche, then taking your time isn’t a bad thing.
To me, gender identity is in fact, important. It isn’t something you should compromise on, or ignore. I never excelled at expressing myself with clothes (as long as it’s black and baggy, i’ll wear it). But it’s almost impossible to explain how it felt when I first tried on a sweater I had bought myself (it’s my favorite now), with my chest compressed, paired with my best black sweatpants. It’s probably how every protagonist in a teen high school movie feels when they’re announced prom king/queen (excluding Carrie). It’s probably how people feel when they’ve finally renovated the kitchen, or tried their first bath bomb.
It’s feels freaking amazing!
So, i’m lacking in style, but fashion is one of the quickest ways to express yourself. Whether you’re in the perfect outfit, comfortable, making a statement or spreading a wave of chill through your sweats, it all lies in the eye of the beholder. And that’s what is most important; not how others view you, but how you view yourself. And don’t forget, every little helps.
David Mitchell says “What is any ocean but a multitude of drops” so endeavor to start building a metaphorical ocean, with plenty of vibrant coral and fish. (You can even throw in a shark too, if that’s your thing).