So...what do I do now?!

So, even though you've slogged through the FIRST PART of my rant...and may have realized by now that hormones aren't your still can't stand the thought of being a "girl". That dream of becoming an adorable bishounen is not going to simply evaporate. You're stuck in limbo.

Believe me, I completely understand where you're coming from. As you might have already guessed, I also had such starry-eyed aspirations at one point.

I was your run-of-the-mill depressed, fat, socially-withdrawn fujoshi, and I thoroughly hated myself. As much as I loved yaoi -- nothing else attracted me -- I hated yaoi too, because it made me realize how hopeless my situation was. The bishounen in yaoi were everything I wasn't -- sexy, stylish, independent, popular, adorably boyish, rebels against society's expectations, free to have relationships undefined by gender roles. After years of depression I came to decide that my only salvation would be in taking male hormones -- this, surely, would let me escape my ugly oppressed life and start over as someone else.

I went so far as getting a prescription for testosterone before realizing that this, ultimately, was not what I wanted, and had never been what I really wanted. And you may assume that after realizing the hopelessness of my dream I became bitter, angry, and even more self-hating than I had been formerly...but this is not so.

I am not here to tell you that there is no hope, my readers. Quite the contrary! If your goals were similar to mine I am actually here to tell you that I'm well underway to living my dream, after a few false starts.

What you simply must do is this: Stop telling yourself that you can't do X, Y or Z due to your gender.

If you're reading this article you've probably been doing just that -- I know I was, at one time -- even without realizing it. Being treated as an equal by your lovers, being handsome, being strong, being confident, being an authority figure, being that dashing androgynous fellow who appears in a crowd and turns heads wherever they go -- you can have all these things.
You will almost certainly have to work a little harder for them, but you can have it all. Nothing in life will do more to stop you, than your own fear of failure. Unless your dream involves fathering a child or growing a full beard, gender will stop you from doing very very little in life.

Tired of being chubby? It's not because you're a girl, it's because you don't exercise. Frustrated at being weak? They're called dumbbells and they're cheap. Depressed about being ugly? Clean yourself up -- wash your face, find out how to dress properly, style your hair, get enough sleep. Lose the weight. Odds are good you're not ugly as much as you just don't know how to take care of yourself. Irritated at not being taken seriously? Take yourself seriously, learn to raise your voice and assert yourself. Take a debate course, talk to people, practice acting confident until it becomes natural.

Trust me, doing all the above will be far easier than transitioning. Trust me also when I say that hormones can not DO these things for you...they can not make you handsome and confident and motivated and popular. You can only do these things of your own free will, and they can be done with or without a side-order of T.

Will this fix all of your problems? No.

Will people always respect you and treat you seriously if you do everything with confidence? Of course not; people are assholes and society is still sexist to some degree -- better than it has been, worse than it should be.

But this is society -- not you. I repeat -- society, not you. You probably don't think of yourself as the kind of person who would go out of their way to deliberately conform to the status quo, but think about it...are you transitioning because you want to grow a beard and have that deeper voice? Or because men are "just better" and it looks like they have such an easy, fun life in comparison to yours? Think about this.

But you still want to be the beautiful little boy, don't you? You want to be able to look into the mirror and see that cute uke or handsome seme staring back at you. And you can do this's not out of your reach.

In my mind -- and according to a lot of other people -- tomboys are basically this. Androgynous women exist and to many people they are the closest real-life approximation of an anime bishounen. They can be cute and energetic, or strong and athletic, or sophisticated and mature, or anything else really.

I had my moment of epiphany a few years back, after studying a bishounen wall-scroll and wondering what a real-life version of these characters would look like. I'd almost assumed such creatures did not exist, and it was a magical day for me when I stumbled across an archive of crossplaying women -- gorgeous slender tomboys in boys' clothes, acting out masculine roles with the kind of grace rarely possessed by real men. I had my answer: my favorite characters had actually been female all along, in my mind.

For some reason androgynous women are all but invisible in modern society -- yaoi has both bara and bishounen flavors, but for yuri, it seems that tedious stories about girls' schools and ultra-feminine characters are very much the norm. The same dichotomy exists in real life: men can be androgynous in some rare instances (j-rockers, for one) but androgynous women are all written off as frightening bull-dykes. In most any popular media, there are virtually no tomboys past the age of puberty. Unlike effeminate men, even slightly masculine women are threatening, and are made to vanish.

It's as if there is no middle ground for women between "girly girl" and "lumberjack." There is a middle ground, and it is vast -- women make ideal bishounen, keeping a boyish face long after their male counterparts are reduced to shaving their growing beards every morning. Their bodies remain smooth and slim and they never go bald. Just because they are rarely seen does not mean they don't exist. CLICK HERE to see a few of them, and these are just the tip of the iceberg.

I exist, and you -- as someone who might be tomboyish, or a little androgynous, or just an aspiring bishounen (a "bifauxnen", if you will) realizing that having a dick isn't mandatory to attain one's dreams... you exist, too.