You don’t have to fit the definition for male or female, straight or gay, feminine or masculine. You can be anything in between if it’s who you are.
It can be a struggle to define yourself but you don’t have to meet anyone’s standards, expectations or fill a mold. There is more to you than what is in your pants!
As Dr. Seuss wrote “A person’s a person no matter how small”
Sexual inventory check list http://www.scarleteen.com/article/advice/yes_no_maybe_so_a_sexual_inventory_stocklist
Tips for coming out to family/friends/the world: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/gaydar/dont_let_the_door_hit_you_on_the_way_out
Who you are is more than a simple definition. You may not be one or the other, but something in between. Many folk find that they don’t fit into a gender stereotype
Many folk find that they don’t fit into gender stereotypes of male or female, but are
What the heck is gender? Gender isn’t about biology or science. It is a man-made set of concepts and ideas about how men and women are supposed to look, act, relate and interrelate, based on their sex. Gender isn’t anatomical: it’s intellectual, psychological and social (and even optional); about identity, roles and status based on ideas about sex and what it means to different people and groups. As part of that set of concepts is also the idea — even though we know by now it’s flawed — that gender is only male or female in the first place. Like sex, gender is often presented as binary: as being only one thing or the other, without any overlap or grey area in between. When we talk about sex, we’re talking about what is male and what is female based on chromosomes and/or reproductive systems: when we talk about gender, we’re talking about what is considered masculine and what feminine.
You get to — and should — explore, challenge and ultimately decide whatever gender identity suits you best, whether it’s a good fit and match with existing cultural gender roles or it isn’t, and even if the rest of the world isn’t ready for you yet. Just like that glass slipper in Cinderella, if the shoe doesn’t fit? Don’t wear it. You can still go to the ball, and insist on wearing whatever you want when you go.
Beyond Binary: TG, TS, GQ and other two-letter words
Plenty of people may find that gender roles, status, and expected behaviors — and how they do or don’t coincide with our biological sex — don’t suit us and can create problems, challenges, and even a world of frustration. For some of us, those disconnects are even more problematic or traumatic.
- Trans gender (TG): Those who experience their gender identity or expression in profound conflict — as a major mismatch — with their biological sex. Trans gender is an umbrella term used for those with full-time gender dysphoria.
- Trans sexual (TS): Transsexual people generally feel that their biological sex doesn’t match their gender identity, and will sometimes seek out therapies or surgery to help them match the two. Sometimes, TS is only used to describe someone who is post-operative – who has had sexual reassignment surgery, and other times, trans gender and tran sexual are used interchangeably.
- MTF, trans woman or trans feminine are common terms used for trans gender or trans sexual persons who are or were biologically male but identify as female, and FTM, trans masculine or trans man for biological women who ID as male. Some trans gender persons may not use those terms, preferring others — like ze, zir, gender outlaw, tranny boi, tranny girl, two-spirit, or even, simply, man or woman — or those which are self-invented.
- Transvestite (TV) or Crossdresser: A person who wears the clothing, or performs the mannerisms, of a sex or gender which differs from theirs, usually for the purpose of sexual gratification, but sometimes for other reasons, like dramatic performance, goals or achievements they cannot attain presenting gendernormatively, or plain old comfort. Psychologically speaking, whereas trans gender is classified as a gender disorder, transvestitism is not; it is classified as a sexual paraphilia (more commonly called a fetish). It is most common among men.
Many trans gender or genderqueer people are considered to cross-dress, but again, you have to take into account that when you’re trans or genderqueer, those “opposite sex” clothes aren’t opposites at all, so it isn’t accurate to refer to a trans person or someone genderqueer dressing for their own gender identity as crossdressing. Too, many women in history – like Joan of Arc or Cathay Williams — have crossdressed to preserve their safety, or to engage in pursuits in which appearing or being known as women would endanger or exclude them.
- Genderqueer (GQ): Those who identify as genderqueer generally reject typical, binary systems of sex or gender outright, often express or seek to invent, a gender identity for themselves that and/or participate in endeavors, behaviors or activism which queer up traditional gender approaches.
- Gender nonconforming: Those who just do not identify with various cultural or social “rules” or roles assigned to different sexes, genders or gender identities. Some gender noncomforming people identify as trans gender, some as genderqueer, some as cis gender, some as agender or with another or no other qualifier altogether.
- Cisgender: A term often used in the context of trans issues to define a person whose gender “matches” or feels like a match for, their biological sex. For example, someone sexed female at birth who also identifies her gender as female.
With any or all of these terms of other language, know that none of this is written in stone. Any kind of language or terminology can tend to change or shift over time, and we may not all always agree on what a given term means. If you feel like these terms mean different things to you, or like you don’t like them and would prefer your own terms, by all means, you get to come up with alternatives which feel best for you.
More helpful links:
What is it and how safe is it?
Here are 5 of the more common things that people get wrong about STDs.
*Myth: Only “trashy” people get STDs.
Fact: STDs don’t discriminate.
Rich people get STDs. Poor people get them. Athletes get them. Math geeks get them. CEOs and professors get them. Even someone having sex for the first time can get an STD. The only people who have no risk of getting an STD are people who haven’t had sex or any kind of sexual contact.
What can you do? If you decide to have sex, always use a condom every time. Even if you’re already on another kind of birth control, like the Pill, you should still use a condom. That’s because condoms are the only type of birth control that reduces the risk of getting an STD.
*Myth: If your partner has an STD, you’ll see it.
Fact: There’s often no sign that a person has an STD.
Even doctors often can’t tell by looking if people have STDs. So they need to do tests, like blood work. People with STDs might not know they have them: STDs don’t always cause symptoms. But it is possible to carry and spread the virus without ever having an outbreak. Untreated STDs can add up to serious health problems, like infertility (the inability to have a baby) or pelvic inflammatory disease (PID), which may land you in the hospital.
What can you do? Even if you both think you’re clean, get checked out before having sex. Then use a condom every time, just to be sure. It can take a while for some STDs to show up on tests
*Myth: You can avoid STDs by having oral or anal sex.
Fact: Where there’s sex (oral, anal, vaginal, or even just sexual contact), there can be STDs.
The viruses or bacteria that cause STDs can enter the body through tiny cuts or tears in the mouth and anus, as well as the genitals. Some STDs, like herpes or genital warts, can spread just through skin-to-skin contact with an infected area or sore.
What can you do? Use a condom or a dental dam every time you have oral or anal sex. If the taste of latex isn’t your thing, there are flavored condoms made specifically for oral sex.
*Myth: Once you’ve had an STD, there’s no chance of getting it again.
Fact: You can get some STDs more than just once.
Some STDs are yours for life, like herpes and HIV. Others, like Chlamydia and gonorrhea, can be treated, but you may get infected again if you have sexual contact with someone who has them.
What can you do? Protect yourself with condoms, of course! And if you’re having sex, let your doctor know so you can get tested regularly. If you do get diagnosed with an STD, your partner should be treated at the same time you are. That way your partner will avoid future problems — and avoid re-infecting you.
*Myth: If you get checked and you’re STD free, your partner doesn’t need to get checked as well.
Fact: Your partner could have an STD and not know it.
Who wants to make the effort to get tested, find out they’re clean, and then end up catching an STD from a partner anyway?
What can you do? Get tested together. It may not be your most romantic date, but nothing says “I care” like trying to protect a boyfriend or girlfriend from illness.
STDs are more than just an embarrassment. They’re a serious health problem. Left untreated, some STDs can cause permanent damage, such as infertility and even death.
There are tons of myths out there about sex and STDs — the ones above are just a few of them. Luckily, you only need to remember two essential truths:
- Use condoms.
- Get tested.
So, why use condoms and other barriers?
In a nutshell:
- 1. Because it can help you to get closer
- 2. Because bare backing isn’t as cool as you think.
- 3. Because chances are good that eventually, you’re going to either have to use condoms or knowingly be putting partners or yourself at a high risk of infection.
- 4. Because it pays it forward.
- 5. Because it feels good.
- 6. Because it helps you learn to be truthful in and with your sexuality and about sexuality in general.
- 7. Because it can keep you from proving people right who say you don’t have the maturity or the ability to have sex responsibly.
- 8. Because if you’re male, you can help to show men are better than the lowest common denominator.
- 9. Because being unassertive really isn’t sexy.
- 10. Because I love you.
If you’re wondering why you should use condoms you should visit this website: http://www.scarleteen.com/article/body/love_the_glove_10_reasons_to_use_condoms_you_might_not_have_heard_yet
Want to hear more from other youth who know what you’re going through? Check out our blog posts on Sexuality.