Wednesday, 08 December 2010 20:23

Exploring Gender: Family and LGBT Youth

Written by  Cael

My mom told me last week that she thinks I am transgender. I came home for a while, not feeling my best and wanting to be close to my family, and she started the conversation. I was not the one to tell her about my gender identity issues, and I wish I had been, because I wasn’t quite ready for that discussion. I wasn’t comfortable with it yet, not comfortable with what my issues mean for the people around me, especially when I am unsure of myself.

Don’t get me wrong, my mom is amazing and supportive no matter what the issue. I guess I just wanted time to figure some stuff out first because why should I put her through any of that when I am not sure. She doesn’t need to share that burden. I’m sure it is hard enough on her having a lesbian as a daughter. She supports me and stands up for me and makes sure everyone around her is accepting, but it would be easier on her and the rest of my family if I was different. But I am who I am, and we all accept that. I do not mourn my family’s loss of normalcy. We are rather anything but normal. Sometimes I just have difficulties with the fact that because I can’t choose, they must deal with the consequences.

I love my family so much. They love me and listen to me no matter what. And I appreciate so much that they have chosen to support me. There are many people who aren’t as lucky, and having read many books and heard many stories prior to coming out in high school, I doubted their acceptance, which was unfair to them. But so many people are not as lucky. LGBT individuals make up 40% of homeless youth following coming out to unwelcoming families. While there are resources for homeless LGBT youth in the United States, they are limited to certain states, and many traditional shelters are unsafe for these individuals. LGBT homeless youth face higher rates of sexual assault: 58% versus 33% for heterosexual youth. They also face higher rates of alcoholism and attempted suicide.

So yes, I am lucky. I love my family and their willingness to accept me and what that means for their lives. I am lucky to be able to go home whenever I want to and not have to be judged for what I wear or who I might bring home. Despite how much I was unprepared for the conversation I had with my mom, I am so glad that there is that potential in my life, that I don’t have to hide myself and be miserable in the closet.

My mom’s reasoning for me being transgender: ever since I was very small, I always preferred it when everyone thought I was a boy. I still do. She has a point. I guess I will work on pondering that further. Whenever I start thinking about how I feel about myself physically now, I try to think back to what I wanted when I was little. Most stories I have heard about transgender people growing up is that they almost always feel like they are the wrong gender from the beginning. I never thought about it like that when I was little, but my mom has a point. I will think more on it.

 

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