Welcome to Ask Trevor

Welcome to Ask Trevor
Ask Trevor is an online, non-time sensitive question and answer resource for young people with questions surrounding sexual orientation and gender identity. Browse the published letters or submit your own letter.

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Hope you are having a great summer!

Trying out a different face

Question:

Alright.

So, I’m not very sure on my gender at this moment in time, and half the time I walk up utterly confused to the point I’m bringing different changes of clothes to school because I just hate not being who I really am. It’s really hurting me, because I’m trying to take time but I just can’t.

Last night, though, I decided to put on some special effects makeup to see if i could ever look like a boy if I needed to.

I was really nervous, but I thought it looked kinda good, so I showed my best friend. I made her promise she wouldn’t laugh. So, she did. And I sent the pics.

Her response was, “AWH, sweetie. It’s okay. You’re too pretty to be a man.” Before I told her part of meI wanted to be, so that broke my spirits a bit.

So I sent the pictures, and her after response was,
“You don’t look like a man. You look like a ten year old boy trying to be cool.”

For some reason, this practically shattered my feelings and I started crying immediately. I was so EMBARASSED. Discouraged, and I thought it was really rude.

“If that was meant to be funny, it wasn’t at all.” Was what I responded with.

And she said, “sorry. Just being honest.”

“A little too honest.” I said, and then continued to cry for a long while.

Should I have been so upset? Does anyone relate to this?

Please respond.

Love,
Ruby.

 

Answer:

 

Hi Ruby

Your feelings about gender are completely normal and natural. You demonstrate great courage in taking the first steps on your journey. Expressing your gender in ways that match your feelings as well as reaching out for guidance and help from Ask Trevor is commendable. It can be very scary to take the first steps in expressing your gender in new ways. When you are not sure yourself, responses from others that are not 100% supportive can feel very hurtful.

Your feelings regarding your best friends responses to your gender expression is completely normal and natural. You were trying something new, which represented an expression of feelings you have kept deep inside yourself. You are very courageous for sharing this gender expression with your best friend. This is a very important step on your journey of discovering your definition of gender. Dealing with responses from others that are not supportive is very difficult but do not let this stop you. Everyone must take this journey of gender discovery. For some it is quick but for others it takes more time and requires some courage, which you already demonstrate.

It is helpful to think of gender on a gradient scale. Gender is not a this or a that but in most cases some of this and some of that or this and that. Everyone is feminine and masculine. How much of each is different for everyone. So everyone must make the journey of discovering their gender. It is completely normal and natural.

I am not sure how much your best friend knows of your journey discovering your gender but it does seem she did not put much thought into her responses. She may not have understood the context of your expression of gender and she may not have understood the deep feelings behind your expression. In any case, finding someone to talk to who has a better understanding of the journey you are on could be very helpful. Do you have a family member you trust who may be sympathetic to your feelings about your gender? Expressing your feelings is a great first step but it is very helpful to talk to someone who has a better understanding of what you’re going through. TrevorSpace is a great place to connect with others your age that are experiencing the same feelings (www.trevorspace.org). You can also use Trevor Chat to connect with a counselor in real time at: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now. Also, try and check out the Gender Book for more information on gender identity: http://www.thegenderbook.com/the-book/4553374748 .

You are courageous and strong person who has taken some important steps and discovering your gender. Taking the next step in talking with someone about your feelings that has a better understanding of your journey will be helpful to you.
I wish you well on your journey!

Trevor