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Questioning your gender or sexual orientation or care about someone who is? Here's a video to guide you and reassure you that you're a-ok!

Check out http://www.23AndMe.com/sexplanations to get your own genetic analysis kit. The more you learn, the more you wonder!
https://www.23andme.com

For more YouTube Questioning we recommend these:
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=P49cP2rO85M
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=WbBx0vQBLFQ
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hCQHupyN0ak
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=FTyiFaEZjUI
https://www.youtube.com/watch?v=HR4_V3zscpc

And here is a link to the Trevor Project:
http://www.thetrevorproject.org/
This episode of Sexplanations is brought to you by 23andMe, a personal genetic analysis company created to help people understand their DNA.

*whip noise and throat clearing*

Imagine for a moment that sexual orientation is on a plane, a spectrum of homosexuality, asexuality, bi, pan, and, on this end, heterosexuality. Then imagine that gender identity is another plane: male, genderqueer, agender, trans*, female, etc.

Lots of people know where their planes line up, which star in the universe they are, so to speak. I, for example, might be here, and your favorite aunt is here, and this is your school principal, and your best friend all situated in our spots.

Then there are the people who don't know; they move around or they're hesitant to define themselves for whatever reason, people who might call themselves questioning. 

It's the second Q in the initialism LGTBIQQ2AAK. Questioning can be a process or a position where the person is curious or uncertain about their sexual orientation and/or gender identity. For example, they may wonder: Am I gay? Am I trans? Do I even like sex? Do I care about labels?

Psychoanalyst Erik Erikson theorized that we all go through some sort of questioning in adolescence, a state of psychosocial development called Identity vs. Identity Confusion. We try to figure out who we are and who we can be with consideration for society's expectations.

Dr. Richard Reams has an excellent guide book on the subject. In it, he outlines some of the reasons people continue questioning their identity past puberty and revisit it later in life. I've paraphrased them: someone else's coming out, prompting you to wonder about your identity; receiving sexual or romantic attention from an unexpected person; flirting, kissing, or touching someone you usually wouldn't; not feeling ready or comfortable dating someone; new discoveries about how your body responds to someone;--and I'd add--new discoveries about identities or options you didn't even know existed; lastly, experiencing a deep emotional connection with someone you hadn't otherwise considered.

I asked someone who identifies as questioning and currently uses female pronouns when she realized she was questioning. She told me she'd been seeing guys for many years, but felt sexually attracted to women. So she went to a support group for young lesbians and said, "I think I'm bisexual." She wasn't sure what she was, and she was hoping they would give her clarity. Instead, someone told her bisexuality wasn't real and that she could only be straight or gay, which is not true for bisexuality, but it's also not true for questioning. You don't have to be one or the other, and you don't have to know. Over the years, this person worried about sharing her questioning identity with other because of this experience. She expressed fear about what her family and employers would think, fear of appearing confused or indecisive, not being queer enough, of abusing straight privilege, fear of attaching a label that doesn't quite fit and then having to go through the trouble of redefining an ever-changing self. 

I asked what questioning her sexual orientation was like, and she said, "If I'm mostly sexually attracted to women, but have only had long-term relationships with men, what do I call myself? Is it enough to have fantasies about all genders, attraction to all genders, or do I have to sleep with them too? How many times do I have to think about something or feel something in order to know? I've identified as bisexual, pansexual, and queer before, but they don't feel accurate. I just know I'm not straight and I'm still learning about myself."

I asked what questions she had about gender identity. "How much does my orientation question relate to my gender questioning? How does anyone know if they're cisgender? If I feel more masculine than a feminine male, am I a masculine female or an entirely different gender? If I fantasize about having a penis while masturbating, does that mean I should present as male and get a strap-on? Should I get my breasts enlarged to be more feminine or reduced to be more masculine because I have seriously considered both? Could I pass as male? When I dress super femme, I feel like I'm wearing a girl costume; it's fun, but not who I am. Is it normal to feel like you're wearing a costume when you're dressing a gender stereotype? What would my chromosomes tell me?"

She told me that she yearns for an exact and quantifiable measurement of what she is, that she feels like she should have a stance or clarity, but she doesn't; she's questioning. Some people don't understand how you could question something like your sexuality or gender; they know how they identify. Questioning doesn't necessarily mean not knowing the answer; it means questioning whether or not there is only one answer or knowing that the answer will change. You can gather as much information and take as much time as you'd like. You don't ever have to have an answer.

There are many resources to feel supported in a questioning identity just as you are without expectation to know or figure out anything. Therapy, healthy support groups, online forums, and hotlines, the Trevor project, an advocacy resource has a chat feature you can use which includes questioning as both a gender and sexual orientation options. And YouTube is filled with stories of people questioning lots of life! I've linked a sexual and gender identities videos in the description. Please know that if you're questioning anything in your life, it's okay. It means you're a really inquisitive person and it's in your very nature to stay curious.

23andMe, a genetic analysis company, gave me a kit to try. I sent in my saliva sample a few weeks ago and now I have the results. My ancestry shows a West African had sex with an Iberian. There was some Chinese sex over here, then a Finnish ancestor. Sex with a Scandinavians, French and Germans, British and Irish sex, then this is where my paternal grandfather had sex with my Japanese grandmother. Genetics! The page I like most is this comparison of my data to other 23andMe customers. My DNA Relatives are 52% more likely to think fresh cilantro tastes like soap, 32% less likely to have skydived, 18% more likely to like the taste of dark licorice, and 11% less likely to be a superstar. The more I learn, the more I wonder, that's questioning. For your own kit or to gift one to someone else, please check out 23andme.com/sexplanations