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Information, Advice and sources of support for young people in Suffolk

Understanding Your Gender Identity

On this page we talk about

  1. What is gender identity and gender expression
  2. I think I may be trans or non-binary – what do I do?
  3. Advice from young people at Outreach Youth
  4. Find support for your emotional wellbeing and groups to reach out to
  5. Outreach Youth
Visit our page on 'Understanding my sexuality' we cover 'coming out' and other topics which may be useful.

“What is gender identity?”

Gender identity (how you feel about your gender) and sexuality (your sexual preferences) aren’t the same thing, but they can be linked.

As with sexuality, our feelings about our gender can also change from day-to-day. It’s fine to experiment with our identity, it’s part of finding out who we really are.

Gender identity is your sense or belief that you are a particular gender – this can be male or female, or you might feel that you belong to both, neither, or a combination of genders.

As with sexuality, your feelings about your gender can also change from day-to-day. If you feel uncomfortable about your gender then puberty can become an even more difficult time.

If someone’s gender identity matches the one they were given at birth that’s called “cisgender”.

I’m questioning my gender identity

Your gender identity may be different to the gender you were assigned at birth. It might feel like who you are on the inside is different to what other people see (you may identify as ‘trans’ or ‘trans gender’).

Your gender identity doesn’t mean you have to wear certain clothes or look a certain way either.

Some men are very feminine. 

Some women are very masculine. 

Everyone is unique and has their own style and presentation. 

This is called gender expression. 

Young people from Outreach Youth have shared their experiences with us so that we can talk about some of the issues on this page, and raise awareness that there is support out there to help you with every step that you take.

…The internet was great in helping us come to terms with our sexuality or gender identity. Some of us didn’t receive any of this information at school, so YouTube videos taught us a lot and provided support and reassurance.

Young people at Outreach Youth

View or download the SPECTRUM zine from Outreach Youth

I think I might be transgender or non binary… What do I do?

If your gender doesn’t match the one you were given at birth, you might experience ‘gender dysphoria’ which is an incredibly uncomfortable feeling.

What is the difference between dysphoria and dysmorphia?

Gender dysphoria is the feeling of distress or discomfort because of the difference between a person’s given gender and their gender identity.  People with gender dysphoria are normally transgender.  But there are cases when non-binary experience gender dysphoria.

Body dysmorphia is a feeling of dissatisfaction with your body, when someone has the idea that their body is not how it should be. For example, people with body dysmorphia can feel they have “bad” skin or hair, or more commonly, the perception that one is “fat” despite evidence to the contrary. Body dysmorphia can cause mental health issues, including eating disorders. 

If you are struggling with these types of feelings it’s a good idea to reach out, we list some contacts below, you could get in touch with Outreach Youth (details below). Or you might like to discuss your feelings with your GP.

Explore ‘Your Mind’ section.

Advice from young people at Outreach Youth

  • Remember – you don’t have to do this alone.
  • Seek help if you are being bullied – remember it’s not your fault.
  • The most important thing is to “Find Your People” – find the people who accept you and this will empower you to be who you are.
  • “I never had issues with people purposefully upsetting me though it would happen accidently” – this was mostly through expressing the wrong pronoun or using their deadname.
  • Strangers assuming my identity makes me feel uncomfortable – so I rant to my mate and that helps
  • Friends stepping up and standing up for me helps (if it’s safe to do so).
  • We are just who we are and that’s okay.
  • No matter how hard it seems when you begin questioning, it gets easier. It may not be linear progress but the ending will be better than the beginning.
  • No other person in the world will have the same journey as you so don’t get jealous over what others have. 
  • You are you and that is amazing, keep being awesome. 

“Where can I find emotional wellbeing support and more information?”

Questioning your gender identity can sometimes leave you feeling confused and may affect your emotional wellbeing.

Web pages and support groups:

If you are struggling it can be helpful to speak about how you’re feeling, write it down or find a support group to speak with others with similar experiences.

Reach out via text, on web chats or with online forums – there is a welcoming community out there to support you:

You could also write down how you are feeling – this can be really helpful to order your thoughts.

Outreach Youth

Outreach Youth works with young people under 25 years old in Suffolk to provide 1-1 support, youth groups and other opportunities to Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Trans*, Queer and Questioning (LGBT*Q+) young people.

Video introducing Outreach Youth.

They provide:

  • a relaxed and safe environment to talk about life and share experiences
  • a trans families project a chance to meet other LGBTQ young people
  • a buddy system to introduce new young people to their project
  • one to one support to LGBTQ+ young people
  • 13+ youth group in Ipswich and Bury
  • opportunities to volunteer
  • help with things young LGBTQ+ people want to know about e.g. coming out, relationships, homophobia, bullying etc.

To find out more and contact Outreach Youth, go to their website:

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Page updated on May 2nd, 2024 at 10:53am