I think I'm transgender. How should I come out? What's the best time?
I think I'm transgender. I was born a girl, but I don't think that's who I am. I've always hated wearing skirts, makeup, dresses (you know, girly stuff) and I always loved being the 'male' role for as long as I can remember.
Recently I've started being attracted to girls... but not in a lesbian way. I don't know how I can explain that... I just don't feel attracted like that. It's more like I see myself as a male attracted to a female. It's strange. Sometimes I cry myself to sleep because it's so painful to live this way, with such a huge secret.
I went through anorexia (sort of... I mean that I was still eating, maybe 200 calories, and I hate/d myself but it didn't get to a point where I was completely consumed by it) about 3 months ago, but I've snapped out of that... for the most part... :\ (I lost around 20 pounds, which is a lot for me—I wasn't that big to begin with). So obviously, it's affecting me. I sound a bit self-centred here... I know people have it worse, but still.
Well, here's the question. I want to come out, maybe not now (I'm far too insecure) but I know for a fact my dad and my classmates won't accept me at all. I know my mum will support me, but my dad's sort of old-fashioned... and I'm not sure he'll accept my feelings. I go to an all-girl's school, so I'd have to move schools as well. And I've been moving around for the last year and a half. I know it's not a huge sacrifice, but still... I like some stability.
My friends from this school are sort of homophobic, and that's hard to deal with, although some of my other friends from my old school were fine when my other friend came out, so I'll have a support net there.
So I just want some advice—what should I do? Should I come out to my mum and move back with her? And not come out to my dad and just... I don't know, somehow pretend I'm a girl when I'm around him? How should I come out? What's the best time? My throat feels so tight when I feel like saying it. Should I come out to the friends I know will be accepting first, or should I tell my mum so I know what to expect?
Sorry for the long message—I just really need help from someone.
Hi! Thank you for writing in.
I like that you have identified to me just now as a male aged 13. Good! You have confidence in how you feel. That's going to help you a lot.
Like you said, transgender is a real challenge for our society. We get forced to act male or female according to stereotypes, when really there is no real "natural" way to be—just what tends to fit in with the majority point of view.
In many tribal customs there is transgender. Often the transgender individual had the highest status as a chief or a priest. In Thailand, "ladyboys" are commonly accepted, and there is an equivalent for boy-girls too.
However, you and I live in Australian society, with homophobia and difficulty accepting lesbianism, and often a strange attitude towards people who change their gender. That's why I'm saying I'm glad you trust and have confidence in your feelings. They will be challenged by the majority of our society!
Be careful not to be bullied into thinking you are wrong, sick, or have a defect in any way. There are a lot of people who have succeeded in pushing through the stereotypes, and they have blazed a trail for the rest, making it a little easier to come out.
My advice is not to rush yourself. Think about a butterfly before it has first taken flight, and it is still uncurling its wings. It doesn't even know how it will fly yet, and it's a bit vulnerable to predators.
Take some time to feel clearer about what you like, and how you express your identity. You may even experiment with a few different identities. I wonder how you can do this in the safest way, without being squashed by your father, or your classmates. Maybe they don't have to know a thing about it.
A great place to start is to have a look at the Twenty10 website. It's an excellent forum for young people who would like to find out more about their unique sexuality. You can call them up and have a chat. I'm sure you'll get some really useful ideas on what's next in your exploration of sexuality and gender. Take care.