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Gender questioning is a descriptive term for people who are uncertain but exploring which gender identity labels suit them best. This term isn’t used for individuals who are comfortable without gender identity labels. Gender questioning people are part of the larger gender diverse population.
People who are gender questioning may decide they are cisgender, transgender, or that they best identify with another gender identity. Depending on the decision they make, gender questioning people may ultimately change their gender identity or align fully with their gender assigned at birth.
Gender questioning people reflect on their gender assigned at birth and how it matches, or seems incompatible, with their individual sense of gender identity and way of expressing their gender. Gender questioning people consider their personal definitions of masculinity and femininity, as well as the way these traits are defined by society. They might connect with others who are gender questioning or who have made changes in their identity, or seek out counseling with a gender identity expert. Talking with understanding people can help make anyone gender questioning feel less alone or scared during this very emotional period.
Many transgender people are gender questioning prior to their transition. However, any person with any gender identity may be gender questioning at some point in their lives.
People may be gender questioning for a long time or a relatively short time, depending on how they feel, the support network they have around them, and the information about gender identity available to them. Ultimately though, gender identity is very personal. While speaking to others can help gender questioning people, they must ultimately decide for themselves what gender identity suits them best. Once they make this decision, they are no longer gender questioning. However, if their circumstances change they may become gender questioning again.
Once a gender questioning person becomes comfortable with their true gender identity, they may want to change their gender identity. They may do this all at once or more gradually, dressing only in a certain way and using new pronouns with a trusted group of friends before “coming out” to society. Gender questioning people may also trial a new gender identity before deciding it doesn’t feel right for them. There is no right or wrong way to go through the process of gender questioning.