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Trying to navigate friendships with my confusing identity

Community Member

I am a 20yo AMAB on the spectrum and, long story short, the newer experiences I've had in only the past few years have led me to realising more about myself and at this point I consider myself to be nonbinary, borderline ace. Amongst those experiences is the opportunity to make friends of a wider range of gender identities (compared to the single sex male environment of high school) and I've found that I identify more with my feminine-presenting peers.

Cutting to the chase, I'm envious of the way they interact amongst each other; the platonic, openly supportive relationships I observe amongst my female friends. These are friendships I see value in building towards but as long as I am still uncomfortable with my gender expression and sense of self they all stagnate around the 'friendly acquaintances' zone.

I constantly feel like there are things I can't do or say even as other people are doing literally exactly that already. I feel like part of that is my inability to actually do so confidently (deep voice, making facial expressions) and the idea that hearing it from a male would somehow come across differently just because (my form is definitely more masculine than I want it to be). I especially don't want to come across as a man trying to invade women's spaces. Particularly since I don't identify as a man to begin with nor am I sexually interested.

Lockdown has only made it worse since i haven't seen any of such friends in over five months now, nor have I had a chance to experiment with self expression to reflect how I identify. Even trying to reach out to them and suggesting making a time to hang out is yet another thing I feel unconfident with. I actually thought I was getting somewhere with improving in the months leading upto lockdown but the rug got pulled out from under me so I'm back to square one it feels like.

I can provide more context if needed, but basically how should I think about navigating this feeling of not fitting in and doubting my ability to do so?

1 Reply 1

Community Champion
Community Champion

Hi aisaka,

Welcome to the forums and thanks for being here. I see that you haven't had any replies as yet so I thought I'd jump in and say hello.

I don't identify as someone on the spectrum so I can't relate to what you're going through, but I can try to understand and be here for you anyway. I know that there are other members in the same boat as yourself so hopefully they can jump in here and be more helpful.

The one thing I did want to say was this: I can see your goals in the way that you want to be seen and the way you want to be interacting with people - what would it mean to take a little step in this direction?

I am cisgender but I do have a lot of friends who vary on the spectrum - while the majority are cisgender too, I also have friends who see themselves in other categories and some even transitioning. The reason I'm sharing this with you is because the diversity in my friendships isn't as important as the friendships themselves.

The people that you surround yourself with can choose to accept you as you are and who you're becoming, or they won't - and while I know you are struggling with this with gender expression it really does apply to all friendships. The people I surround myself with will either accept me as I am or they won't - and it allows me to find who is really worth becoming my friend.

I do hope that this helps somewhat - I want you to know that it's okay to be who you are and it's okay to be uncomfortable because with good friends it won't matter because they'll like you for you.