Ever since I was a little kid I have struggled with my gender identity. I would dream about being a boy while at the same time wanting to dress in female clothing. As I’ve gotten older I have had difficulty with my gender more and more and since I’ve hit puberty I can’t help but feeling trapped. I play on girls sports teams and I try to be one of the girls for my mom’s sake but I really can’t take it anymore. My language teachers use female words when I’m used as examples for things in class and I have to use the woman changing room. In middle school my friends all treated me as a guy but now I’m being treated as a girl and I don’t know how to feel about it. I used to bind and I recently cut my hair short but my body is fighting what my mind wants.
My question is, is how do I stop from feeling so trapped? I feel like I am drowning and at any given moment I might just fall under. I used to self harm but I stopped because I just couldn’t deal with that pain anymore even though it helped. I don’t want to change my body because I also like to be like a girl sometimes but I mostly want to be a boy.
I also have the issue of sports and changing out, any advice?
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It is great that you reached out to us. This takes a lot of courage and awareness at such a young age. It sounds like what you have been struggling with has been going on for quite some time. I know this can be scary and brings with it a lot of questions. I will assure you that you are not alone, even though it may feel this way. What you are going through is a normal process of growing up and learning who you are as an individual. If you allow yourself the opportunity to be yourself and explore your feelings perhaps you will feel less trapped. In time you will gain a better understanding of the things that do not seem to make sense in this very moment. You have already started this process by cutting your hair short.
I am happy to hear that you no longer self-harm, but if you begin to feel the urge to do so please speak to a trusted friend or someone else you may feel safe speaking to such as a school counselor, teacher, or parent who can help you. You can also go to www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm and http://www.safe-alternatives.com to learn about other things you can do when you have the urge to cut.
In regards to the gender identity concerns you are struggling with there are many resources available to help you with that as well: Check out www.genderspectrum.org which provides information relating to gender identity and www.advocatesforyouth.org. Another website that you may find useful is pflag.org. PFLAG stands for Parents and Friends of Lesbians and Gays and this site has great articles and other reading materials on how to deal with some of the issues you are facing. Here is one article: http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf. I suggest exploring these websites and reading materials.
I can only imagine that you must be feeling lost, alone and possibly isolated. That is why I suggest that you join Trevor Space. It’s a really great way to speak to others in similar situations. There are so many young individuals out there feeling just as you do. If you prefer to talk to someone further about this anonymously you can call the Trevor Project Life-Line at 866-488-7386. It is free and confidential. If you do not feel comfortable talking you can contact Trevor Chat at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat. If for some reason you have difficulty connecting with someone right away, another similar resource you can use is the Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, National Youth Talk line. They can also be of great assistance. They can be reached at 1-800-246-PRIDE or you can visit their website at GLNH.org to view a variety of their resources.
Something else to consider as mentioned above. Do you have a school counselor you can speak to? If yes, school counselors can be great resources that work within schools to help students with social/emotional/personal concerns and are bound my certain rules of confidentiality. For example, if you talk about your gender identity they would not have to call your parent and speak to them about it because this is something confidential. Since they work in the school they can assist you with your issues regarding sports and changing and what you can do to feel more comfortable. Remember, you are not alone and there are many people out there willing to listen to you. Please contact us again if need be. We are always here for you.