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Ask Trevor is an online question and answer resource for young people who have questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity.

On September 1st, Ask Trevor will be transitioning to become a broader more effective resource for LGBTQ young people and their allies. This means we will no longer be accepting incoming letters starting on Tuesday, September 2nd. However, if you send us a letter before September 2nd, you will receive a response. Please note that your wait time may be longer than usual. In the meantime, please continue to browse through our extensive library of previously answered letters, and stay tuned for what’s coming next!

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How To Accept Myself

Question:

I’ve never really understood why I am the way I am. I’ve finally started to figure out that I’m not fully a girl. I have different parts to myself. I’m not fully a boy either. I’m just me. I’m genderqueer, and I don’t know how to express that to anyone. My family already thinks there’s something wrong with me. They think I need to pray more..They don’t understand. I like people, no matter the gender, and I don’t identify as one set gender, and I’m so confused. I thought there was something wrong with me for years. I feel as if my body is a cage, like the real me is beneath the surface waiting to come out. I don’t feel right in my own body, and I hate myself because of it. I can’t stand to look at myself in the mirror. I always compare myself to other people, and which my body was as thin, or that my chest is larger than I’d like it to be, and I hate it. I just…hate myself. I want to hurt myself and I can’t seem to love myself and my family does nothing to help. I can’t even date anyone because who would want someone as messed up as me? I’m at a new school, and no one wants to be my friend, let alone date me… I have to apply to colleges and my name isn’t right because it sounds purely female, and it bothers me.

I’m just in a lot of pain, and I can’t come out, and I don’t know what to do…

Answer:

Hey there,

First of all, I want to commend you for being open about your feelings and for reaching out for help and advice. It takes a lot of courage to do that and you should be very proud of yourself. The thoughts you’re having and the things you’re feeling are very normal. You have absolutely no reason to feel ashamed.

You say in your letter that you don’t feel completely like a boy or a girl and that you identify as genderqueer. There are many people who feel both male and female and people who feel like neither. Others express being more fluid and may identity with one or the other more or less over time. This can lead to body issues, like you expressed, where individuals feel uncomfortable with their voice, their body size and type, their genitals, etc. What’s important to remember is that this is normal and many people go through it. It’s also OK to be unsure about where you land on the “spectrum.” There’s no right or wrong way you should feel or identify.

Often times family members don’t feel helpful or aren’t supportive when an individual is struggling with issues related to sexuality or gender identity. Religion can play a part in this, as you expressed is the case with your family. The important thing to remember is that people act this way because they are scared or don’t understand. It’s helpful to look outward and remember that there are many other people who understand your feelings and that those feelings are very normal. Dating can be hard as well, as you said is the case with you, because friends, peers and potential dates might not understand where you’re at as well. A great resource you could check out is TrevorSpace. It’s an online social media site through the Trevor Project where you can connect with other queer youth. This is a great outlet for young LGBTQ people who struggle with meeting other people like them or don’t feel like they have anyone to talk to about their issues. Check it out here: https://www.trevorspace.org/

You also mention that you don’t like yourself and sometimes want to hurt yourself. Again, these are feeling that many people have so there is no reason to feel embarrased. People hurt themselves when they’re sad or upset to help lessen the emotional pain they are feeling, among other reasons. There are lasting consequences to self-harm, however, such as physical scars caused by activities like cutting. It’s often effective to try another activity when you feel the urge to harm yourself. If people feel angry, often they scream into a pillow and stomp their feet hard against the ground. If they’re feeling sad, journaling their feelings or listening to a favorite song is often helpful. For more information about self harm, check out this website: http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm

Lastly, if you visit this website, you’ll find additional information and resources for genderqueer people: http://genderqueerid.com/

If you ever need to speak with one of our counselors immediately for any reason, don’t hesitate to call us at 866-4-U-TREVOR.

-Trevor Staff