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Female To Male – Help

Question:

Hello,

For the past few years I’ve been realizing more and more that I might be more on the male gender side, and these past few months I’ve really come to terms with it and thought ‘Hey, I really feel that this is who I am’. Whenever I wear girls clothes, or look at the breasts on my chest, it’s just overly uncomfortable and I hate it. Along with that I like girls (not really boys, but sometimes if the feeling’s there, although I identify as pansexual.), I never got along well with most teenage girls. I always thought that shoes, jewelry, make up, certain brands of clothes, and boy bands were all ‘meh’, I could care less really, I’d rather talk about video games, or comics, or snowboarding, or mess around.

So recently I told my mom about a month ago, and it was alright, she freaked at first, but then we talked and it was good. Although we didn’t really get anywhere because she thinks that people are souls and physical appearance or gender doesn’t really matter and that I will change a million times before I find who I am. Which I can get where she’s coming from, so that’s why I tried to continue wearing girls clothes.

But it just got more weird and awkward for me each day. I mean I just want to hang with my bros and have my perverted sense of humor, and talk about girls and games and whatever without getting a weird look like ‘Whoa you don’t act like a girl’ or having people constantly tell me ‘That’s not very ladylike of you’, and it aggravated me because I’m NOT a girl. I may not be the manliest person around, but hey, that’s just me, I’m not afraid to throw a punch if I need to though.

So a few days ago I hid in the bathroom in my apartment stalling so that I could go to school in boys clothes, my mom was upset but kinda just went ‘Whatever, why did you have to do this TODAY (since they had court, and this was unintentional) of all days, you’re being selfish and tearing the family apart. Whatever.’ Although when I did go to school, I mean people still think I’m a girl but hey it was a first step, and I got several people to support me in this. It was just natural to me, and just was right.

So yesterday I dressed again like that and my mom at first was like ‘Whatever I don’t want to deal with your crap, let’s go before I’m late.’ But later when I was asking her about what the effects of testosterone would be (I’m just LOOKING at the idea, nothing serious right now), and she told me but then got upset and asked why. I tried to dodge it as ‘just curious’, but I eventually told her and she started getting really mad, and upset, and started crying. She said that she sees me as just a broken girl who doesn’t know how to deal with pain, and that given other circumstances maybe she would look into this if I were in a more normal state, but right now she thinks I’m trying to rebel and be different and cope and that I need therapy.

Later my step dad came in angry with me and told me I’m not allowed to dress like a boy, and sent me to his moms’ house for the evening. There I saw people who did have less or didn’t have the options to decide what to dress like, etc. so I feel awful, and am starting to think that maybe they’re right, that I am tearing the family apart, and that I am selfish and spoiled. So right now I’m just confused and angry. I’m not sure what to do. I’ve talked to a few people and they said to just go day by day and to see a counselor. But I have no idea when that will be, and things are just getting worse.
If there’s anything you could suggest that might help me, please please PLEASE let me know. I am just stuck in a hole and not sure where to go from here.

-Derryn.

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hi Derryn,

Thank you so much for sharing this because what you are going through is likely being experienced by numerous others and asking such questions is crucial in better understanding yourself and improving your situation. In order to help, let’s take a step back and go through everything one-by-one.

First, it’s wonderful that you have shared this with your family, despite their less than ideal reaction, because honesty and openness in your communication are key. In sharing this, it will also be key to communicate clearly what you are feeling and what you have felt. For example, make sure they know you have been feeling this for the past few years and that this didn’t just occur to you overnight. It sounds as if your parents may see this as temporary or situational, but help them better understand you have felt this way for much longer than just these past few weeks or months. And encourage them to ask questions. They are likely confused and surprised by this news and your responses will help them to better understand and see the real you.

Second, you mention that your mother sees you as broken and not in a normal state. Have certain things or situations occurred that would make her say things like this? Have you all not been communicating as well in the past few weeks or months? It sounds like that with her court case that she may be in a transitional or difficult period of her own, which will in turn affect how she reacts to this new news. It may be that she and your father need time to absorb and process this information. Whatever the case may be, it will help to identify why she considers you in a “broken” state and to address this with her in order to avoid having her use this as an excuse or scapegoat.

Third, it seems as if identifying as male is still somewhat new to you and that you are very much in a transitional state. With that being said, I do want to offer some resources to assist you. The first is an article/PDF entitled “I Think I Might Be Transgender, Now What Do I Do?” which is available here: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=731&Itemid=177. This article will help with next steps and provides helpful insight. Also, it sounds like your family may need some resources as well. Some of those include the following: http://www.imatyfa.org/parents/index.html, http://www.genderadvocates.org/Tyra/TYRALinks.html, http://www.genderspectrum.org/. It may also be helpful to connect with your local PFLAG TNET (Transgender network), which you can find via their site, http://community.pflag.org/Page.aspx?pid=380. This is a lot, but review it slowly and see what does and what does not work for you. Considering this is a new experience for your parents, it will likely help them to read and hear from people who have been in their shoes and who can explain to them there is nothing wrong with you – you are 100% normal. And it’s important for you to remember and recognize that each and every day. Despite the hardships you face, it is wonderful that you are being true to yourself and starting to express who you truly are. It won’t be easy, but it will be worth it.

Finally, it is great that you have friends who support the true you. Surround yourself with these people and remember that while some may not always understand you, that you do have support. Also, make sure you remember that we are here for you 24/7/365 if ever you need help or a listening ear. The last thing we want you to feel is alone, so please give us a call at the Trevor Lifeline, 1-866-488-7386. You should also check out TrevorSpace, which is our very own social network for LGBTQ youth 13-24 and their friends and allies. There are no doubt others who are experiencing similar circumstances and it is a safe place to connect and share stories and advice: http://www.trevorspace.org/. And in addition to TrevorSpace, we also have TrevorChat, where you can chat with Trevor staff and ask these same questions while receiving real-time responses, http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat. So check these things out and keep your head held high. It sounds like you have a lot to deal with at the moment, so remember to take time to yourself and to surround yourself with those who support you. Take care of yourself and remember we’re always here!

Trevor