Questioning Identity

Questioning your identity is perfectly normal, and many people do question their identity at some point in their lives. The Qube is here to help you navigate that process. You are not alone.

There is no right or wrong way to explore your identity, and there is no uniform, step-by-step process to follow. This guide aims to provide an overview of some basic concepts around sexual/romantic orientation and gender identity and to serve as a starting point in your own personal journey with your identity. A large part of discovering your identity is discovering new language- it is hard to describe experiences or feelings you have without the language for it. As you learn more, you will find more things that you did not know at the start of your journey. You may experiment with things. However you choose to navigate things is valid.

Sexual/Romantic Orientation

Your sexual/romantic orientation is who you are attracted to- romantically and/or sexually. Because of all the nuances involved in that, there are a lot of labels that can be used to describe your orientation. Don't feel overwhelmed if you don't know what everything means, and know that there is no expectation to use a specific label. Labels exist as a way to describe identity and experiences, but not as a way to limit what is or isn't allowed or how you are expected to act. Some labels have definitions that may overlap a bit- that overlap and those differences are there to empower folks with diverse choices.

We make a distinction between sexual and romantic orientation because it is important to acknowledge folks who may be asexual or aromantic- folks who do not experience sexual attraction (asexual) or romantic attraction (aromantic). It is possible to seek a romantic relationship with someone but not sex, as is the reverse- to seek a sexual relationship but not experience a romantic attraction to people. For example, you can be panromantic (experience romantic attraction towards someone regardless of gender) and asexual (not experience sexual attraction). This illustrates the complexity and power of language- you can describe niche experiences and identity in ways that you could otherwise not without the availability and flexibility of language. At the same time, that person could describe their experience as being bi (short for bisexual/biromantic), ace (short for asexual), or queer in general (an umbrella term for anyone not cisgender, heterosexual, and heteroromantic).

Resources

  • Open Door | This support group offered by the Qube is a catch-all group open to all who identify with as part of the LGBTQIA+ community or who are questioning their sexual/romantic orientation or gender.

Gender

Gender is incredibly vast, with no right way to experience or perceive your own gender. Nor do you have an obligation to relate to any gender identity. Gender is deeply personal, and is not based on physical characteristics (sex). Some common language to describe gender expansive (beyond the binary genders traditionally assigned at birth and derived from sex at birth) experiences include transgender and nonbinary, with countless labels that fit under those two umbrellas to describe specific experiences with gender. Gender can also change over time, both slowly and relatively frequently (such as genderfluid folks, whose gender identity moves between different identities, and genderflux folks, who feel the intensity of their relationship to gender fluctuate over time without necessarily experiencing different identities).

As a starter, cisgender is a word used to describe folks whose gender does not differ from the gender they were assigned at birth. Transgender is a word available to describe anyone whose gender differs from the one they were assigned at birth- including folks whose gender is described as nonbinary or genderqueer (another term for nonbinary genders). Some folks who identify as nonbinary may choose to describe their identity as transgender, and some may prefer to only use the word nonbinary. Gender is diverse and complex, and the language available to describe gender with reflects that. Don't let that complexity overwhelm you, and know that the language you use to describe your experiences may shift as you learn about new terms. This is a perfectly common and valid experience to have.

As you start to explore the world of gender, you will come to realize that it is incredibly vast. There is no right or wrong way to experience it, and no requirement to use or commit to a label. Many people experiment with different pronouns and labels as they navigate their gender- changing your mind on using a pronoun set or label is perfectly normal and valid!

Resources

  • Pronoun Usage Guide | This guide from the Qube helps demystify pronouns, including how to use them, how to ask about/introduce them, and what to do if you don't know someone's pronouns. There are many different sets of pronouns, and it can be helpful to experiment with several as you navigate your gender journey to find one that fits you.
  • Afternoon T | This support group offered by the Qube is open to those who are transgender, nonbinary, gender diverse, or who are questioning their gender. Afternoon T is a space to meet other folks with similar experiences, ask questions, and build community.
  • Transformation Station | The Qube has free clothes available for anyone- no questions asked- if they need more clothes or want to try a different way to present their gender. Stop in while the Qube is open and take a look through what we have.

Some Extra Support

The Qube offers several support groups, and each group is open to attendees who are questioning their identity. All Qube support groups are confidential and drop in/drop out, with no need to commit to attending regularly or register ahead of time. Check out our support groups.

If you are looking for additional resources or support, please also feel free to reach out to us. We are happy to help you.

You aren't alone.

Do you need some help navigating questioning your identity? Do you want someone to talk to?

Reach Out