What does gender mean?

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The closer I get to starting Testosterone the more I have found myself questioning what is gender really? Anyone who feels they are transgender is forced to face this question especially when considering medically transitioning.

As a transgender person, I get frustrated at portrayals of gender in the media and in marketing. Why men’s/woman’s shampoo? Vitamins? Snacks? Clothing? Stationary? Drinks? Are males and females REALLY that different that we need everything segregated? Of course not.

Then I think of myself and how I know I am male. How do I know? How do I put it on paper? (Like I have to do for my next GIC appointment). I know wanting to wear “guy clothes” does not make me a guy, because really, I only instinctively call them “male clothes” because of my exposure and learning from childhood that that is what our society calls them.

Does wanting a beard make me male? Not really. Hum, a bit of a closer call… but then again you have men who don’t want beards and want smooth faces. Does that make them want to be or “are” female? No. I suppose here the nuance here is that without a higher dose of a particular hormone (T) in your body, you won’t grow facial hair. Some woman have enough naturally to grow some facial hair.. does that make them male? No.

So it’s like trying to explain something intangible, a feeling, a knowing. I suppose it’s a feeling that I’m more like one gender than the other. That I feel I fit better there, more of it makes sense. My mind just seems to tell me.

To be honest I’m a little scared. I need to trust myself totally and follow where my heart and gut takes me. It’s just thinking of the collateral damage I could cause is painful. Will friends or family fall off the side lines when they hear my voice change, a beard grow, a structure change? Will I lose myself when I no longer recognise myself in the mirror, no longer recognise my voice and my shadow?

Yet I still push on, move forward because I know I would only be backing away because of being scared, not because of thinking this is not what I want. To quote Game of Thrones:

Can a man still be brave if he’s afraid?’
‘That is the only time a man can be brave

Life has an interesting path set before me!

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