GENDER BENDER

  • Agonyaunt

Apr 2, 2019-

Dear Aunt,

I am a teenage girl of 16, and recently completed my grade 10. Nowadays, I am very confused about my feelings. I suffer from severe anxiety and depression. Although I’m a girl, I prefer dressing up like a tomboy, and I hate make-up and girly clothes. I love it when I have short hair. I love sports and most of the time, I genuinely feel like a boy.

It gets more confusing for me when I’m watching movies, because I find myself attracted to female actors. While my female friends talk about the male actors, I find myself distant and disinterested. I am not even a little bit interested or attracted to boys.

I love watching YouTube videos about lesbian couples. When I watch them kissing, it gives me a different feeling of pleasure that I am not able to understand. Once when one of my female friends kissed me on the cheek, it made me really happy. Now, I’m questioning my sexuality. I think I am a lesbian because I am attracted to girls and not to boys. Am I  a lesbian, aunt?

I have a best friend who is a girl. She is very nice and caring towards me. She treats me like her only true friend. But the problem is, I think I am in love with her. I am emotionally and romantically attracted to her. I have a terrible desire to kiss her and I daydream about her all the time.

Should I tell my best friend how I feel about her? I don’t want her to love me back, because I know she can’t love me as she is probably straight. But I am scared that I will lose my friendship with her. Should I tell other people about my sexuality? What should I do?

—Shiwani

Dear Shiwani,

First of all, do not panic. You’re at that age where all young girls and boys start having romantic and sexual feelings. But in your case you will have to understand yourself before you start expressing your sexuality to others. I know, it is unfair because it is taken as ‘normal’ if people from opposite genders express their romantic and sexual feelings towards each other but it is a taboo if you have similar feelings towards a person from the same sex. But for your well-being and safety, it is important that you take it slow and handle it maturely.

You say that you feel like a tomboy and are attracted to girls. But it may not be as simple as you put it. You need to be aware about the idea of your gender identity and sexual orientation. In very simple terms, your interest in dressing up as a tomboy and your attraction to girls can be two different things. In order for you to unpack your frustration and anxiety, you need to first recognise what these two different things mean to you in terms of your identity and sexual orientation. For instance, you need to question yourself if you just want to dress like a boy or you want to be a boy—with all the physical attributes of a male. If dressing up in a more masculine way is just a style statement for you then yes, your attraction towards girls may make you a lesbian. But if you wish that you had a male body, then you may be facing gender dysphoria. It is also important to understand that you can choose to identify as neither male nor female and acquire your own non-binary identity.

This may have definitely confused you a lot. So I would suggest that you get in contact with queer organisations that can help you understand this in much better terms. In that way, you will also find a group of friends who are going through similar situations as yours. The Blue Diamond Society and Queer Youth Group are two organisations that work on queer rights. You can also find the latter on Facebook.

Additionally, if you think that your mental health has been deteriorating and want to seek medical help then you can book an appointment with Bijaya Bijukchhe, a psychosocial counselor at Abbal Women Entre-preneurs in Anamnagar, Kathmandu. She has long been working on cases similar to yours.

But to begin with, talk to your parents about it. You can also talk to your best friend if you want, but I would suggest that you keep your romantic and sexual feelings about her to yourself for now. Trust me, it is a big feat to even just question yourself, your identity and your sexuality. You need to surround yourself with a robust support system. And if you are still unsure at times, you can always write to your aunt. Good luck, Shiwani!

Published: 02-04-2019 11:54

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