Since the puberty talk in fourth grade I have only had one real problem with my body: it’s the wrong sex. Now at 21 I feel very strongly that I am a guy, but everyone see’s me as a girl. That’s not to say that I have all the favorite past-times of your average American male. I find American football dull, and can’t stand to watch basketball. Instead, I find myself to be more creatively inclined. Also, as far as my sexuality goes, I like men, which really doesn’t make it seem very convincing that I’m a male to others. That’s where the problem begins.
I’m afraid I won’t be accepted if I come out to my friends and family. I’m even more afraid that my family will disown me. This fear of losing people I care about is smothering me and often leaves me feeling overwhelmed and wondering if it wouldn’t just be less trouble to kill myself.
As it is I spend most of my time keeping people, even my friends, at a distance. I want to be accepted for who I am but I live in a conservative area filled with very religious people. I hate living like this because I believe that if this is the only life I get, I want to live it as myself and not the person everyone sees me as. This causes me to feel frustrated and helpless.
I told my mom and she basically told me that I should try being a women (the idea of which makes me physically shudder and feel kind of ill). She also told me that I shouldn’t tell my dad because he probably wouldn’t be as open-minded which really isn’t very encouraging.
I am also aware that anti-discrimination laws don’t cover transgendered people. I don’t think it’s a bad thing to be concerned about my future seeing as I’m majoring in a form of law enforcement. I was going to be an artist but I just really want to help people. Now I’m wondering if I should have just stayed in the art program.
I did not ask to be this way. My life would be much easier if I could happily be female. I want to be me and I want to be accepted as the person who I am. I want to be able to be proud of myself and to be able to stop lying to everyone, but I need to know that I’ll still have people to go to when I need help. I suppose what it comes down to is whether or not I come out to everyone. Am I being unrealistic? Is it possible for me to be male and make a living in the world?
I would appreciate any advice you could offer and if you decide not to respond to this then thank you for your consideration.
A. I am glad you decided to write. It must be difficult to feel confused and alone. I’m sorry you’re having a difficult experience.
You mentioned that your life would be easier if you could accept your assigned gender. Yes, that is very true but as you noted, you can’t. Just like an individual with depression cannot simply “stop” being depressed, you cannot “stop” your desire to be a male. It’s not that simple.
Have you considered seeing a therapist who specializes in transgender issues? I believe it is important that you consult with a specialist. I believe this because of your suicidal thoughts. Transgendered individuals have higher rates of suicide compared to the general population. That may be because they often feel alone, confused and depressed. You could benefit from support and education. Below is a list of websites. They may help you with the issues you are facing, connect you with other individuals who are having similar experiences, and hopefully lead you to a therapist who specializes in helping individuals struggling with transgender related issues. It would be helpful if you had a support system. It could make a big difference in your life.
One of your concerns is being accepted by others. I can understand your concern. Unfortunately, not everyone is going to understand your desire to be male. Negative-judgmental reactions are usually the result of ignorance. The solution is to stop worrying about the opinions of others. I recognize that may not be an easy task. Ignoring the opinion of others is hopefully something that you will learn to do over time. You cannot please everyone nor should you try. There may always be people who do not understand your predicament and thus have a negative opinion of you. It is an unfortunate reality. Your energy is better focused on how you can gain access to resources and therapeutic alliances. You need to surround yourself with individuals who are understanding and supportive.
You are facing a difficult challenge. To varying degrees, we all face difficult challenges in life. This is your particular challenge. It is easier to avoid life challenges. That may be why some people consider suicide when life becomes difficult. It’s easier not to have to face difficult problems. Nobody likes it. It’s never fun. It’s psychologically difficult and when possible, many people will go to great lengths to avoid dealing with an unpleasant reality. Avoidance is the wrong approach. Try a new approach and attitude. Believe in yourself and have faith that you can confront this challenge and succeed. Many people have. The first step is finding a therapist and or support system. It can make your life easier and more manageable.
I hope you’re able to find help and support. Please keep me updated on your status. I wish you well.
Last reviewed: By John M. Grohol, Psy.D. on 1 Feb 2010
Randle, K. (2010). Transgendered and Wanting People To Accept Me. Psych Central. Retrieved on March 9, 2014, from http://psychcentral.com/ask-the-therapist/2010/02/01/transgendered-and-wanting-people-to-accept-me/