Gender identity is a person’s sense of their own gender. This may or may not match the physical or biological sex of their body. A person who’s physical expression does not match their internal sense of themselves is transgender or genderqueer. Our traditional definitions of gender are binary (male or female); some individuals do not align with one or the other, but are a more fluid mixture of both. This is generally referred to as “non-binary.” For all of us, gender, like sexuality, lies along a wide continuum. The labels are there if they are useful, but they do not have to define you. Your experience of who or what you are is uniquely right and valid.

Core gender identity is usually formed by age three, and is next to impossible to change. Gender is such an important component of identity and self-definition, that when a person’s gender identity is not supported  by the environment or the body they find themselves in, he or she can experience extreme distress. This can, in fact, be very dangerous; non-traditional individuals whose identities are not validated and given permission and support to express themselves authentically experience very high rates of depression and suicide.

Particularly in today’s political climate, anyone who is non-conforming is likely to feel especially vulnerable. It is important to keep reminding yourself it is more important for you to be true to yourself than to match anyone’s expectations of who you are or how you will be who you are. There are many active genderqueer communities, and there is lots of support and fellowship to be found. Our therapists can play an important role in supporting you on your journey from gender self-definition to self-expression. Whether you are considering moving into the transitioning process in any way, or are simply seeking a supportive environment to explore your feelings in a safe place, we are here to help.