Published on November 27th, 2012 | by Wild Gender7
What I Wish I’d Known: Tips For Queer & Trans Teens
By Ryan Cassata
I wish that someone would have told me these things when I was 14 years old and just coming out:
It’s impossible for your parents to switch names and pronouns overnight. It’s not because they don’t love you or they don’t accept your transition (although sometimes they might not accept your transition). It’s because they have been calling you a certain name and pronouns for years and years and years and it takes some getting used to. I found out later that the only reason my parents weren’t on board with my transition from the very start was because they were afraid for my life. They knew that I would be a victim of bullying and possibly a victim of hate crimes. I finally understand why my Mom never let me ride the train alone and why my Dad didn’t want me transitioning until I was 18 and out of high school – they were just plain afraid! Give your parents time to readjust. Also when you come out as something other than what your parents expect you to be, you smash their “visions.” When you are born your parents already have this set “plan” for you – their dreams and hopes for you. These dreams are based on stereotypes. When you turn out to be someone out of the “norm” your parents must alter their dreams. Keep in mind that they have been dreaming these dreams for a years. It’s definitely going to take them a lot of time to readjust. Give them that time. Let them form new dreams for you.
As a teenager you will and should go through many phases. You don’t have to deny this. It’s normal to go through phases as experiencing different things is an essential part of life. Going through different phases does not make you a “poser.” All of the phases are necessary so you could find who you really are. When you come out as LGBT as a teenager, your parents may think that it’s just another phase that you are going to grow out of. Stay true to yourself. (Side note: Sometimes it’s impossible to stand your ground if your parents kick you out for being LGBT. If they kick you out please contact the local gay center and have the gay center help you find a new place to live. If you feel that you really have to live with your parents or that there isn’t a local gay center or a safe place to go then you might have to “closet” yourself to your parents for survival. Do what you have to do to be safe. 18 is not far away – even though it may seem it.) The stronger you appear to your parents in your decisions the more they will believe you.
You don’t have to follow an exact “route” when you transition. There is no right or wrong way to transition. Don’t let yourself be persuaded into something because some trans guy that doesn’t even know you tells you that the way he is transitioning is the way you are supposed to transition too. There is no “set path.” You must create your own path based on your personal wants and needs. You do not have to go on hormones before you get top surgery. Yeah, a lot of transgender males follow that path but there’s also a lot that do not. You can get top surgery without being on hormones. You can take hormones after you have gotten top surgery. Hell, you don’t even need to get top surgery unless you want to. It’s all based on your personal path. Form it yourself. Think deeply. Do you really want to be on hormones? Do you really want to have top surgery? Do you really want to have bottom surgery? Do you want to medically transition at all? It’s okay if you want none of the above, It’s okay if you want some of the above and it’s okay if you want all of the above. It’s really all up to you.
In some cases, otherwise loving family members (our grandmas, grandpas, aunts and uncles) seem disgusted by our gender identity/expression. In most cases, this does not mean they hate you. Sometimes, parents and grandparents have similar reactions to their children/grandchildren coming out. Sometimes grandparents take it harder. Try not to automatically jump to conclusions. Often, family members need time to readjust.