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My parents don’t accept my gender fluidity

Question:

Over the past couple years I’ve been starting to figure out about my sexuality and my gender and it’s been getting difficult with my family. These past 2 years I came out to my parents as pan and they didn’t take it as well as I thought. There were arguments and tears and yelling because my parents aren’t lgbtq supporters at all. I thought my mom was more open and accepting but when i came out to her I was terribly mistaken. My dad is very homophobic but he was took the situation more calmly but still doesn’t accept it. This past year I decided to tell my parents that I didn’t always feel like a girl and that I didn’t feel comfortable with my body at all. They took that even worse than they did with me coming out the first time. My parents were distraught and terrified. At least one of us would break down each time we talked about it. I had never seen my parents cry like this before. I am their only daughter and yes I understand that but i just can’t live like this anymore. I felt guilty every time something like this happened. I really just hate my chest with a passion and would rather dress in both masculine and feminine clothing. Any pronouns are alright with me. What bothers me most is my chest and my clothes. My dad has asked if there was anything to help my situation and I tried asking if we could get a binder and both my parents said there was absolutely no way they would let me bind. My parents won’t let me shop for men’s clothes either. I’m really struggling without a binder. I get frustrated a lot and sad and I end up hating myself because of my chest and the fact that if I were to ever get a binder I would have to wait two years until I get into college to buy one myself and I just can’t take it anymore. I try to use sports bras and layers but i just never seem to pass because all of my clothes are fit for a woman. Please help

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Dear Jac,

It sounds like you are dealing with a lot right now in terms of your gender and sexual identity. That is really great that you had the bravery to come out to your parents. And to do it twice, first about your sexuality and then about your gender identity, that is a lot to handle. Many people struggle with coming out, so it’s wonderful you are able to be open and honest about yourself. I’m sorry your parents weren’t as accepting as you would have liked though. Just like you coming out is a process, parents also have to go through a process and that can take time. You’ve had a while to think about how you feel; they might be hearing it for the first time. I think it’s a positive sign that your dad asked if there was anything he could do to help the situation.

It’s a shame that your parents won’t let you wear a binder even though you really want it and it may make you feel more comfortable with your body.  That was a good idea to try sports bras and layers, but you’re right, that can’t always make you pass. You did say that you would rather dress in both masculine and feminine clothing. If you’re not allowed to buy men’s clothing, there are still plenty of gender-neutral clothing items you could wear–jeans and t-shirts are worn by everyone. Maybe there are different ways that you could experiment with the way you present yourself to others.  Look at how men and women carry themselves and the body language they use and see how you feel most comfortable.  Being a teenager is often the time when you discover more about yourself.  Once you are in college and living on your own, you will be able to make more choices on how you express your identity.

There are some good websites that you should take a look at. Advocates for youth has info on being trans or genderqueer here: http://advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=731&itemid=177

Since you’re in Chicago, you might want to check out the Center on Halsted. They have a youth program for LGBT that reaches over 1600 young people in the area. http://www.centeronhalsted.org/youth.html

You should also check out trevorspace at http://www.trevorspace.org  which is the Trevor Project’s safe online social networking site for people ages 13-24. You should be able to find others who are going through a similar situation as you.  There’s also the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-4-U-TREVOR.  We are always here for you!

~Trevor