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Published on November 27th, 2012 | by Wild Gender


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. queer teens, lgbt teens, lgbtq teens, guide

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.


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About the Author

Wild Gender

is an online magazine and creative hub born out of gratitude for the gift of full expression. We are dedicated to creative practices that celebrate gender fluidity, identity and expression. Wild Gender prioritizes visual art, creative writing, and journalistic work by trans/gender-variant individuals who have never before been published in a public venue. Run entirely by volunteers,we are always in search of writers, thinkers, and creators hoping to participate in our growing community.

7 Responses to What I Wish I’d Known: Tips For Queer & Trans Teens

  1. Zeraph Dylan says:

    Much agreement on not needing to follow a set path. When I came out, the older folks in the local trans community assumed I would fully medically transition, though I didn’t have any intention of that. (They were supportive and very kind, just not aware of all the options that have come about.) I was trying to carve a new space for myself, a place to be free and look and what my options were, but there was already a path imagined for me. I have an article coming out here where I talk a little bit more about coming out as male because I didn’t yet feel free to come out as non-binary (the words weren’t there, the community support wasn’t there– in many ways they are still not for folks who ID non-binary). I don’t regret it or feel badly about it, and I think it’s given me something. I got to live in the “opposite” binary gender for eight years! I feel more secure in being gender variant because of this, although I don’t want to glorify the experience of it unduly either.

    Anyway, I agree that there is no wrong way to transition or not transition. Everyone deserves community support regardless of how they want to  employ their body to express their inner self.

  2. Francassata says:

    great article!!  as a mother , addressing your child by a different name IS very difficult as are the correct pronouns.  when my son asked me to address him by his chosen name instead of his birth name it was a struggle. to let him know how much of a struggle it was i suggested that he try it on me!  i asked not to be called “mom” anymore. i had him address me as “your highness” !!    we laughed !!   a little bit of humour makes the transition much easier for everyone.  I LOVE YOU  xoxo     ~Fran (aka Ryan’s Mom)

  3. great article, and very well written, as a trans male myself i relate to to this alot, and its so true that all they need is time and it really does help if you stay confident in yourself. fantastic job Ryan

  4. Bridget LeRoy says:

    Thanks Ryan — Joel has been lucky since he has a supportive family and school. He loved getting your postcard and stickers. You’re an angel….keep doing what you’re doing!
    Bridget (proud mom of FTM Joel Johnson)
    East Hampton, NY

  5. Marissa Roseann says:

    Well said Ryan.  I feel as though a lot of people, not just in the LGBT community, feel as though they rush to form an identity for themselves and end up conforming to stereotypes.  Not everyone realizes how ambiguous sexuality and gender can be.

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