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Dear Christine, Transitioning in Trenton

| April 7, 2018

Dear Christine, I guess I should start off by saying that I am a transsexual. Even though I was born male and have done “boy” things, I’ve always felt like a girl on the inside, and dreamed about being a girl on the outside. However, I’m so uncertain about transitioning. I’m so afraid. Will I become an outcast? Will I ever meet someone who would want me for a companion? Its just such a big decision, and a big step. And yet, being 19, everyone I’ve talked to (both TS and non-TS) tell me that if I’m going to transition, I should do it now before it is “too late”. I guess I just need some advice about where to go from here. Everyday I get really depressed. All I can think about is transitioning. Yet I’m afraid that the reality of being a transitioned TS will be worse than what I am now. A person who is in the wrong body. Transitioning in Trenton

Dear Transitioning, First of all, there’s no rush! Many people transition in their 20s, 30s and 40s, and I’ve known some to transition after they retired, as they didn’t feel safe going through it while in their jobs or communities they worked in. There’s no “best” time, only whatever time is right for you. No matter what you finally decide, it is always best to explore these questions about sexuality, gender and orientation fully before doing anything permanent. I would encourage you to get more support for exploring the trans options for you. Check out some of the resources with Transgender Michigan http://www.transgendermichigan.org/Index.html and Transpages resources: http://www.transgendermichigan.org/transpages.html. Executive Director Rachel Crandall, MSW, ACSW runs a hotline and she will take your calls anytime: Call her at 517-420-1544. Many people going considering transition, or who are going through it, blog their experiences online, which you can read to get more information about what it’s actually like to transition.
With the questions you have, I would definitely encourage you to talk to a therapist about your exploration, support concerns, questions, fears and other issues. Having a safe place to look at all your concerns is very helpful, and is really important if you decide to go ahead with transition.
Until you are more certain of what you need to do and when you need to do it, try being gentle with yourself. You are just beginning your adulthood, and there are lots of aspects of yourself to figure out as you head into your twenties. Figure out who you are underneath your skin, and see if that inner awareness helps you think about transition or not.
Interestingly, in the media lately, there have been several stories of parents trying to allow their young children (6 months – 4 years old) to find their own self-expression of gender. Recently a Canadian couple named their newborn “Storm” and still do not tell anyone what physical gender the child is, trying to let the child grow up and discover that for him/herself. In the New York Times on June 10, 2011, “Boys Will Be Boys? Not in These Families” is an article by Jan Hoffman, chronicling parents who are trying to learn to be comfortable with their sons playing with Barbie dolls or wanting pink nail polish. These parents realize that their child may explore gender in non-traditional ways, and perhaps that is a phase, and perhaps it means their child is gay or lesbian, or perhaps even transgender. Whatever the child grows up to realize she/he is, the parents are willing to be open and supportive, aware that there could be a lot more questions and difficulties from society if they are “different”. So, why not let the child be themselves, and decide through their own experience of life what sort of person they truly are. Many adults who have come out as gay or lesbian or bisexual, or as transgendered, wish they could have had such an open family environment. Perhaps society is becoming more aware that everyone is individual and unique, and that we each need the love and support, and the space to discover ourselves.

Christine C. Cantrell, PhD
1026 W. 11 Mile Rd,
Suite C
Royal Oak, MI 48067
248-591-2888

Click here to email Christine.

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Category: Featured Column

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