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Religious Beliefs and Personal Feelings

Question:

I am very religiously confused.

Now, I love my religion. I don’t ever want to leave my beliefs, but deep down inside, I’m an entirely different person. I’m trying to change, but then I feel like I’m ripping my heart apart.

I remember what I prayed along with the pastor… Something along the lines of, “I know that You take me just the way I am. But I also know that You won’t leave me this way.” I have no clue what that means in terms of sexuality. For a second, I thought that I should change and be straight. “Maybe life would be better,” I thought. “Maybe I won’t feel like an outcast, and have to continuously wonder if there’s anyone in the church that are not straight and/or do not identify as their physical sex,” since I’m transgender and gay. But now, I really don’t know. I don’t know what to believe in anymore. I know that God loves and cares about me, but I also know that what’s deep inside my heart will most likely stay. But maybe that’s the devil restricting me… Ugh… how am I supposed to know.

Maybe He will accept me… But does that mean that I have to change my sexuality? I don’t know anymore and I just want to burst out crying… and, in all honesty, cut myself. Soo many things are hurting right now. I’m completely out of my mind.

I know that with religious topics, it’s really on how one believes in things. I understand that people can’t necessarily speak for God (I guess you could say that). It’s really between God and the follower. But… I got to get this out of my system. It’s stressing me out, and been so for a couple years now. I don’t know where to go or what to do.

As for my family, they are very accepting, as far as being gay is concerned. I’m not sure how they will process the whole “transgender-thing”. I think it might make them confused.

But the main idea is, that I have no clue on how to keep my religious beliefs and my personal feelings all in one body.

Is there anything I can do to have the best of both? Or…?

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Hello, first I wanted to thank you for writing to us, sometimes just putting words to paper can help us work out things in our minds and hearts. I think there are many items here and I would love to see if I can help and or give some direction on where to find help on some of them. Let’s start with the positive and easier items.

Sexuality is complex and for the most part it takes time to get use to who we are. I am pleased to hear that your family is supportive about you being gay. I think we should focus on that as a positive and use that to move forward.

I would like to start by helping with the coming out as being Transgendered. You are dealing with a lot of times and I think taking them one at a time will help ease some of the stress. It is going to take time for some of the people in your life to understand once you start telling them.  On http://www.transyouth.com/I%20think%20I%20may%20transgender.pdf, you’ll find the brochure, “I Think I Might Be Transgender…Now What Do I Do?” This can help you and help you vocalize what you are feeling. For your Parents I would suggest that you help them reach out to PFLAG (Parents, Families & Friends Of Lesbians & Gays) and read ‘Be Yourself: Questions for Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual and Transgender Youth’ at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/Be_Yourself_TT.pdf can be of further help as you try to understand your sexual orientation/gender identity. Remember that there’s no rush to figure this out. I would like to encourage you to talk about your questions with someone you trust or your doctor. Trevorspace is an amazing place for support and help with your questions – “TrevorSpace at www.trevorspace.org. It’s the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 their friends and allies. It’s a great supportive community where you can connect with others who might have had or are having the same questions that you’re having about your sexuality/gender identity.

I would like to address the statement about cutting. People cut as a way of dealing with or managing difficult, painful, overwhelming emotions or stress. For some, cutting relieves stress or tension or they find that the physical pain of cutting is a distraction from the emotional pain. Some feel that the cutting gives them a feeling of control when things in the life or their emotions feel out of control. Still others feel numb or “dead inside” and cutting helps them to feel alive. It’s important for you to know that cutting may help you to feel better briefly but the longer it goes on, the more dangerous it can become as it can cause permanent scars, infections and serious, and sometimes life threatening medical problems especially if you cut a major blood vessel. It can also cause you to feel shame, guilt, depressed and out of control which doesn’t solve the issues. If you feel like cutting, there are lots of ways to help yourself feel better without putting yourself at risk. For some people, doing something physical like running outdoors or yoga can help relieve stress. There are websites available including www.safe-alternatives.com and http://www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm that can help you learn about cutting as well as additional things you can do when you have the urge to cut. You can also always call 1-800-4-u-Trevor as well for immediate help.

Despite what you’ve been taught, it’s very important to know that there is nothing wrong with being Gay or Transgendered and in fact, it is completely normal and natural. There are many, many Gay or Transgendered people who practice many religions and continue to attend religious services. Please know that you can definitely be religious and gay at the same time. It might also help you to know that though some people, including certain religious leaders, may believe and teach that homosexuality is against the Bible and that you can’t be a good Christian and be gay, there are many religious leaders and members of religious communities who teach love, acceptance and equality for all of people and are supportive and accepting of LGBT (lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender) people. To learn about the Biblical scriptures that teach compassion and support for gay people, you might consider reading through the numerous guides on Soulforce’s “Resources” webpage at www.soulforce.org and also reading the PFLAG guide “Faith in our Families: Parents, Families and Friends Talk About Religion and Homosexuality” at http://www.pflag.org/fileadmin/user_upload/FaithinourFamilies.pdf” If you’d like to read more about various opinions regarding faith and sexual orientation, there is also a great resource online called The Institute for Welcoming Resources at http://www.welcomingresources.org/. It is the most comprehensive and up to date website devoted to providing religious and faith based resources for the LGBTQ community. This should help give you some solace in knowing that you and your faith are valid and I hope that this might be able to start a dialogue with you and your pastor. Also know that it is ok to find a place of worship that is accepting of you the way you are.

I truly hope that some of this was able to give you a little less stress and a new direction. I want to encourage you to keep talking about this with those that you trust. I want to encourage you to keep us informed and let us know how we can help you in anyway. I also want to make sure that you talk to someone about the urges to cut yourself as someone that tried to harm myself when I though all was lost, it is not the way to go. You are an important person both to you, your family and to the community at large. Take care and hope to hear from you soon.

Trevor Staff