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I’m kind of lost.

Question:

Dear Trevor,
I’m kind of lost. I know who I am, and I have known for a good 3 years now, ever since I figured out that I hated the body and skin I was in. I hated being a girl. What made me feel like me was being a boy. I started changing my dress when I figured it out. But now after about 2 years of it, I really want to come out. I have told my father and he “understands,” but doesn’t really understand it. I have had to lie about it for a while because he always asks questions like, “Why?”, “Explain?”, and “What caused this?” He wants long explanations when I can’t explain. All I can say is that it just feels right, that in a girls body it feels all wrong and like I’m living a lie. I don’t know what to do. I have told my friends and they understand completely and are there for me constantly. But what bothers me the most is that my father doesn’t get it. I want to explain to him why, but I can’t because all I can say is that it just feels right and he won’t accept that answer. What should I do? How can I explain it to him more easily so that he might be able to understand how I’m feeling.

Thank you for taking your time to answer.

Sincerely,
Joshua.

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Answer:

Dear Joshua,

Feeling lost is very common in the coming out process. On your path to self discovery, it’s important to make your own happiness, comfort, and well being your top priority. It’s awesome that you have reached a point where you feel most comfortable and like yourself identifying as a boy – you deserve to be happy! It also takes tremendous courage to come out, so you should feel proud to make this step. You are lucky to have such supportive friends. It feels very reassuring to receive positive feedback from loved ones when you share something so important about yourself. It can, however be frustrating when people you love are not as quick to understand how you feel, especially when you’re not sure how to help them to understand.

There exists a whole spectrum of sexual and gender identities. Sex is a biological concept, which allows us to identify newborns as male, female, or intersex based on their anatomy. Gender, however is more complicated. It refers to your internal identity or innermost concept of self as male, female, both, or neither.  Transgender is a term used to refer to people whose sex and gender do not match – this is completely normal! It can feel isolating when people may not understand this concept. Sometimes it just takes education and time for your loved ones to understand the way you feel and identify.

One resource you may find helpful is www.GenderSpectrum.org. This website provides information and support for youth and families surrounding gender diversity. You can also find answers to frequently asked questions (http://www.genderspectrum.org/child-family/faq) that may better explain the way you feel and identify to your father. Another website you can look into for education and guidance is PFLAG’s (Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays) Transgender Network (http://community.pflag.org/page.aspx?pid=266). If you find these resources confusing, seek out a trusted adult or friend to talk about it. This may help you to better communicate with your father and help him to best understand how you’re feeling.

Also, please remember that we are always here for you. Feel free to write again, log on to TrevorChat, or call the Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR if you need any more advice.

The Trevor Project