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Family Acceptance

Question:

Dear Trevor,
My mom and dad don’t accept the fact that I am transgender. I really want to go on hormones and get top surgery but I am still living at home and they told me that if I were transgender that I’d be homeless (again). I just… I want to be able to move forward with my transition so I can dig myself out of this depression and go on with my life. They seem to be the only people who can’t accept me. I want them to understand that I was born this way, but without having the blame put on them that it’s “their fault”. I want to show them how much it hurts me that they can’t love me as their son, and not their daughter. They keep shoving in my face that I used to be good-looking before I cut off all my hair and start “looking like a boy”. I don’t even care if they accept me yet at this point. I’d take tolerance. Having the ability to wear my chest binders out in public without panic and shame. Not having to lie about getting an STP packer in the mail. Not being scared that if I slip up a little bit, that I’ll be homeless. :’( Half the time I feel like I need to just run away somewhere. But I have to finish school this year. I want to come out to them so I can get their support and not have to hide. I don’t want to tell them that I got breast cancer just so I can get top surgery and feel so much better about myself. I don’t want to lie to them. I want to be able to come out to them properly. But since my sister is a lesbian they want at least one “normal child”. They want grandchildren and they think that unless I’m a straight woman that they have no hope of biological grandchildren. But I’ve already tried telling them that I am going to have at least one of my own children. I actually want to have my own child before I get bottom surgery and get my ovaries removed.

So all in all I need help coming out to my parents. Before I end up homeless, and not able to finish school.

 

Answer:

Hi, Leo.  Thanks for writing to us.  You sound like you are clear about wanting to move forward with your transition, but also that doing so at the present time while you are being supported by your parents and at risk of becoming homeless and not being able to finish school, is a tough place to be and that this is leading you to feeling depressed.  First, it is important when a young person is thinking about coming out to his/her parents, to consider whether he/she would be able to be safely housed and fed, and supported in all other ways necessary, should the reaction from them be negative.  You have written that your parents have already threatened you with homelessness if you were transgender.  So, it would seem that while they remain your sole means of support, it may be wise to hold off on telling them.  But you should consider seeking some counseling along with medical (psychiatric) care to help with your depression.  Usually, before one can begin transitioning, one needs to obtain a letter from a counselor that states you are an appropriate candidate for these procedures.  Have you had that counseling yet?  If not, we suggest you look into that and they should be able to help you further with respect to your feelings of depression.  You can Google for the nearest mental health counselors in your area (search on your town plus LGBT mental health), and perhaps it would also be beneficial to look for professionals who are LGBT affirming and/or have experience working with persons looking to transition (I did a search with your town and LGBT mental health and found a local professional, but you may need to find some “creative” means for explaining to your parents why you are seeing her, which is something you can talk further about when you call the provider).  I hope the above helps.  You can write to us again if you need further support, but also you may want to look into TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org.  It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24, their friends, and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality/gender identity.  We wish you all the best in your journey.

Best Regards,

Ask Trevor