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location:  Transition  >  Frequently Asked Questions (FAQ)  >  Identity


1. Were you a tomboy as a child?
2. Why didnít you like being a woman?
3. Are you gay or straight?
4. If you like women, then why didnít you just stay a lesbian?
5. Do you identify as a biological male or as a FTM? Is there a difference between the two in terms of how you identify?
6. When you transitioned, did you see it as sort of reclaiming your actual identity, or claiming for the first time an identity that you knew was you but had been kept at a distance from until that point?
7. Have you ever reconsidered your gender identity? For example, have you had moments where you feel like maybe this isn't who you are?
8. What pronouns do you want people to use when referring to you in the past?
9. Whatís the difference between sex, gender identity, gender presentation, and sexual orientation?



1. Were you a tomboy as a child?
No, definitely not. I was very much my motherís ďlittle girl;Ē I had long hair with barrettes that matched my days of the week underwear, didnít mind wearing dresses, had every single My Little Pony, and hated being dirty. I am a perfect example of how not every transman was a tomboy and not every transwoman was effeminate as children.


2. Why didnít you like being a woman?
There wasnít one thing about being a woman that I didnít like. As a child I didnít feel like either gender, boy or girl. Female puberty was very strange and just generally felt foreign, but I thought that there was nothing I could do about it and that every girl felt the same way. As an adult aware of gender and gender roles, I felt more comfortable being treated and passing as man. However, even more intense than my personal gender identity not matching my assigned gender, I felt like my body didnít match the body I expected to see when I looked in the mirror. That is why I decided to take the medical steps necessary to change the sex of my body to male.


3. Are you gay or straight?
I identity as straight, and I am married to a beautiful woman, Molly.


4. If you like women, then why didnít you just stay a lesbian?
Lesbians are women. And I wasnít a woman, because my internal sense of self was male. I supposed I didnít have to transition to be male-identified, but then I really would have been a guy trapped in a lesbianís body. Even though transitioning to male has been difficult, I think it would have been more difficult, mentally, to remain female.


5. Do you identify as a biological male or as a FTM? Is there a difference between the two in terms of how you identify?
I personally donít like the term ďbiological male,Ē because technically I am now a biological male. In reference to genetically-XY men who were assigned as male at birth, I prefer to use the term ďman-born-male.Ē In medical terms, I am (and always will be) FTM (female-to-male), because there is nothing I can do to change the sex I was designated at birth. Currently, I personally identify as a "man of transsexual experience."


6. When you transitioned, did you see it as sort of reclaiming your actual identity, or claiming for the first time an identity that you knew was you but had been kept at a distance from until that point?
For me, transitioning definitely was about claiming an identity that I had felt for a long time, but could never put words to it. In retrospect, I realized that I never actually thought of myself as a girl/woman, but I didnít know it was OK to think of myself as a boy/man. So even though I felt like a boy, I knew that others treated me as a girl, and those two variables didnít fit together the way they did for others. By transitioning, others now see me the way I have seen myself ever since I was able to understand identifying as a boy or girl.


7. Have you ever reconsidered your gender identity? For example, have you had moments where you feel like maybe this isn't who you are?
Absolutely, I have definitely reconsidered my gender identity. I think about it often, and I attribute my great satisfaction with my transition decisions to the fact I frequently reconsider my gender identity. Despite thinking about my own gender identity often, I never have regretted or even questioned the decisions I have made regarding medically transitioning.


8. What pronouns do you want people to use when referring to you in the past?
I donít mind when people use female pronouns to describe me or talk about me in situations that occurred before the time I came out as trans. In fact, sometimes it feels weird when people use male pronouns when describing me as a baby or kid, because thatís not how people saw me then Ė so why should they use different pronouns than what they would have at the time? Itís important to point out that some transsexuals prefer to always use the pronouns of their current identity, even when talking about them in the past.


9. Whatís the difference between sex, gender identity, gender presentation, and sexual orientation?
Biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, and sexual orientation can all be thought of as a spectrum (see graph below). The ďnormalĒ individual (in United States culture) is typically thought of as being on one of the two extreme ends on all 4 scales: a man (internal sense of being a man) who was born male (has male anatomy and chromosomes) who is masculine (has traditionally-male actions or traits), and is attracted to women (heterosexual) Ė and vice versa for women. However, any one person can be anywhere on any of the 4 spectrums, independently. This page, where the graph below is from, has further distinctions between biological sex, gender identity, gender expression, gender attribution, and sexual orientation.