The process of questioning your sexuality or gender identity can be stressful and frightening, but it can also be playful, affirming, joyful, and fun! Below are some tips and resources to help you on your journey.
When questioning, asking yourself “What do I want?” and “What would make me happy?” can be more helpful than asking “but what AM I?”
You don’t need to be 100% sure of your identity to have a reason to explore your sexuality or gender. If changing your pronouns, cutting your hair or growing it out, being with a certain person, or choosing not to be in a relationship (or anything else!) is something that you want, that’s a good enough reason to try it! You don’t need to prove your identity to anyone. You can just do what makes you happy.
What to do if you’re questioning your sexuality is an article that includes some journaling prompts to help you think about your sexual orientation.
Or check out A Guide to Figuring Out Your Nonbinary Gender from The Gender Playbook for some thoughts on gender questioning.
Wishing to be gay/bi/ace/etc. is often a sign of being that orientation.
If you often find yourself wishing you were gay, or ace, or bi, or any other orientation, it’s worth asking yourself why that might be. If it’s because you really want to be with boys, or girls, or both (or no one), you might be that orientation!
Likewise, wanting to be a girl/boy/nonbinary person is often a sign of being that gender.
Only you can determine what your gender is, but if you find yourself consistently wanting to be a different gender…you can be! You don’t need anyone else’s permission to start exploring your gender or thinking about transition, and you don’t need to prove that you are the gender you want to be. If transitioning would make you happy, that’s reason enough to pursue it! And if you want to be a certain gender but feel like it doesn’t quite fit, it can be worth exploring other similar genders to the one that you’re interested in. There are lots of diverse gender experiences out there, and if none of them fit, you can always create your own!
Check out our glossary page for a list of frequently-used gender and sexuality terms.
Exploration is good.
Experimenting with your gender and sexuality can give you new insight into yourself and help you learn new things about what you like. There’s no wrong time to start exploring your identity. Some people are certain of their identity from a young age, and some don’t start questioning until older adulthood. Sometimes people who are questioning their gender or sexuality worry that they are just faking or making up their feelings, but faking is something you have to do on purpose! If you were faking wanting to be LGBTQ+, you’d know. That said, it’s also okay if you question your gender and sexuality and end up deciding that you’re straight and cisgender. All that means is that you’re approaching your gender and sexuality with intention, after having thought about other people’s experiences and thought seriously about what it is that you want for yourself. And that’s pretty great!
It can be overwhelming to try to tackle all aspects of questioning at once, and big, sudden changes can feel disorienting. It’s okay to take it slowly, and deal with one step at a time.
Here is a comic about a genderqueer person’s experience with this.
Remember, whatever you decide, you are good, important, and valuable just the way you are.
If you or anyone else are in immediate danger:
- Call 9-911 from a campus phone
- Call (414) 229-9911 or 911 from a cell phone
- or go to the Emergency Room
The Student Health and Wellness Center (SHAW) is open between 8am and 4:45pm Monday through Thursday and between 9am and 4:45pm on Friday.
The Milwaukee County Crisis line at 414-257-7222. This crisis line is answered twenty-four hours a day, seven days a week (24/7).
For more crisis support resources, visit our Crisis Support page.
More resources below!
Questioning Your Sexuality page from the Proud Trust
I Think I Might Be Bisexual from Advocates for Youth
Frequently Asked Questions from bi.org
Am I Asexual? from the What is Asexuality? site
a guide for the questioning aro a reference page from the Tumblr blog aro-positivity
“What am I?” a page from the Transgender Teen Survival Guide blog
NB Flowchart from the Transgender Teen Survival Guide blog