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Things aren’t getting better

Question:

When I told my mother I was female-to-male, she didn’t take it well. I’d carried this with me for 16 years, and the pain had become suffocating. It overwhelmed me and I blew it. I begged her to accept me. Even though a year and a half has gone by, she still refuses to call me her son. She gets angry and won`t even consider discussing that “crap” with me if I bring it up. She taunts me by saying things would be different if I’d told her when I was younger. But there’s NOTHING I can do to go back and change that. I came out as a teenager, and that’s that.

I tried a civil approach. It only lasted a few days because I kept getting the same result. I pushed books and Internet material directed at parents of transgender teens at her to read. She never bothered to look at them. Not even once. I’m subject to both mental and physical bullying in my household, and she never sticks up for me. In fact sometimes SHE’S the problem. I’ve cried my heart out over this too many times to count. I don’t have any friends to confide in, and now I’m too depressed to even think straight anymore.

I’ve tried to start over, but I’m always met with the same rigid opposition my mother’s had from the beginning. Now no matter what I say, transgender-related or otherwise, she’ll wave me off, roll her eyes, mumble something under her breath (ex. “idiotic,” “yeah, right,” “oh my god…”), or scream at me. I contacted a school counselor to find me professional help, and my mother constantly threatens to call her. She claims I’m the problem and that I’m “bullying” her with this. I won’t even entertain that idea because I’ve been punched in the face over this. Twice.

I’m finally at my limit. I’m back to self-harming, maybe even considering suicide. I just don’t know what to do. I just want her to see me as her son, but she’s shown me many times she’s unwilling to try. She’s never even called me “he.” Not once. I don’t think I’m asking that much of her. I feel hopeless and hollow, like I should just stop trying. If she “loves” me she should love the male me – the real me, right? How can I make her see the real me?

Thanks for listening.

 

Answer:

Your letter makes it clear that you are a thoughtful and intelligent young man; it’s impressive that you have such a strong sense of self at such a young age. You can get through this very difficult time, but you don’t have to do it alone. The fact that your mother currently can’t accept the fact that you are transgender is not your fault, nor is it something that you can control. But you should always be safe in your own home; no one ever has the right to hurt you, period. Please consider heading out to a friend or neighbor’s house when the abuse starts, or calling 911. You can also call the National Child Abuse Hotline at 1-800-4-A-CHILD (1-800-422-4453) for help and advice.

If you’re ever feeling the urge to self-harm or are having suicidal thoughts – or even if you just need to vent – you can always call us at the Trevor Hotline, 1-866-4-U-Trevor, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.  The idea of “ending it all” can feel like a relief when you’re in such a painful situation, but remember, this situation is temporary. You will not live in your mom’s house forever. You will get older, move out, and start connecting with other LGBTQ folks and straight allies who accept and love you for exactly who you are. For now, it might be helpful to talk to a therapist who can help you with your depression. You can search for mental health services in your area at www.mentalhealth.samhsa.gov/databases, or through the Association of Gay and Lesbian Psychiatrists (215-222-2800 or www.aglp.org).

Some people engage in self-harm because they feel that it helps them cope, but it can also lead to serious medical problems. The websites www.safe-alternatives.com and www.helpguide.org/mental/self_injury.htm can teach you more about self-harm and give you alternative actions to take when you have the urge to harm yourself.

It’s very painful when we feel rejected by our family, especially when we’re still living at home. Despite the fact that she loves you, for now your mother can’t accept the fact that you’re transgender. That may change, but right now you’ve done all you can. Once you’re a little older and living on your own, you won’t have to deal with that negativity on a daily basis, and may be able to forge a new relationship with your mother. In the meantime, always remember that you are not alone. One easy way to connect to other young people facing similar struggles (or those who have “been there, done that” and can offer advice and support) is through www.trevorspace.org, the Trevor Project’s safe, online social networking site for LGBTQ young people ages 13 to 24 and their friends and allies.

As difficult as it is now, this pain will not last forever. Someone as intelligent, articulate, and mature as you are has a very bright future ahead of him. Please continue to reach out for help. Day or night, we are here for you.

The Trevor Team