I was born a girl, and growing up I hung out with boys and even before I knew what transgender was, always had some notion in the back of my head that I identified more as a boy. Now, the past few days, I’ve tried to tell my mom that I don’t want to be a girl. Every time I do, she either tells me that because I’m thirteen I can’t get surgery, that I was blessed with a small chest, or that gender doesn’t really matter and it’s not like I am forced to wear dresses or heels a lot. I’ve said that I would feel more comfortable if I had a male body, that I wish people would just think that I am a boy, but she keeps missing the point. How can I explain this better to make her understand?
Also, I do not feel comfortable talking to my father about this, as one time on the radio Sasha, who is genderfluid, was mentioned, and he commented that Sasha should go look in a mirror.
Dear Maddie -
Thank you so much for having the courage to write your letter to me. You seem to have a really good understanding of who you are intrinsically and seem very mature for your age. Gender is important and your male gender identity is very clear to you. You have bravely started your coming out process by talking to your mom. It may take her some time to really understand what being transgender means. It can be very frustrating to try to explain yourself and have the other person respond in ways that you don’t think make sense, as your mom did to you. Keep talking to her and trying to be patient as she tries to catch up to where you are in your understanding of yourself. Here are a couple of resources that your mom might find helpful to better understand who you are and what you are going through:
Parents, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays (PFLAG) is a great organization, made up mainly of parents, which supports LGBTQ people and works to help parents and others to become more supportive and accepting of their loved ones. On the PFLAG website www.pflag.org, you will find resource materials under “Get Support” as well as search for a local chapter near you. Please also see The Trevor Project’s, “Coming Out As YOU” guide here: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/section/YOU and the Gender Book here: http://www.thegenderbook.com/the-book/4553374748.
As for telling your dad, you don’t have to do that until you feel you are ready. You can do things at your own pace as you are comfortable. Please don’t be afraid to talk with a teacher, counselor or family member you trust to support you. Sometimes, it is really helpful to have someone to talk to who is not so involved in the emotions of the situation. Here at Trevor, we also have an online chat room for LGBTQ youth called TrevorSpace. You might meet others who have been through a similar situation and can truly relate.
Here at Trevor, we are also here to support you anytime day or night with TrevorChat, Trevor Lifeline at 866-4-U-TREVOR. You have a bright future ahead of you. Please let us know if there is anything else we can help with.