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Wednesday, February 5, 2014

SL Letter of the Day: Confused And Depressed

Posted by on Wed, Feb 5, 2014 at 11:34 AM

I'm not sure if you are the right person to ask, but I don't really have anyone else, so here goes. I am a 15-year-old girl. I entered puberty later than any of my friends, and I haven't had any sexual feelings up until a couple of months ago. I've never dated anyone; my parents gave me a book about the birds and the bees, but that's about it. Then all of a sudden, I started thinking about sex all the time. Almost every night I touch myself and fantasize—about males and females—and I don't know if that's normal or not. But in these fantasies, I usually envision myself as a male. I like to cut my hair short and I haven't worn a dress in years, but could I be male inside? Is that even possible? This has made me very confused and depressed, and I don't feel like I can talk to anyone about it. Recently I tried to kill myself by taking a whole lot of pills, and ended up puking for days. My parents doesn't know any of this, they just thought I had the flu. I don't know what they would think if I told them. I feel miserable most of the time. What do I do?

Confused

I lined up a guest expert to tackle your question, Confused. M. Dru Levasseur is a trans activist, attorney and the co-founder of the Jim Collins Foundation, an organization that funds gender-confirming surgeries. Dru's advice for you is after the jump. But I wanted to say this before I turn it over to Dru: your fantasies are perfectly normal and you're not the only person who has struggled with questions about gender identity. Also normal: to be 15 years old, totally inexperienced, insanely horny, and completely perplexed by the places your hormones, libido, and fantasies are taking you. But there's no need to panic because there's no rush. Your sexuality and gender identities are yours to determine and explore—they're not majors you have to declare or armies in which you have to enlist—and one day, Confused, if you hang in there, I promise you that your sexuality and your gender will be sources of joy and connection, not confusion and panic.

Dru's advice for you is after the jump. And I'd like to encourage other readers to swarm into the comment thread and share your advice with Confused. You guys really came through for Pissed Off Dyke. I trust you'll come through for Confused.

•••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••••

Confused is not alone. I’m really glad they reached out since that’s the first step to feeling better. It can be really scary to start figuring out who you are inside and who you will be in the world, especially when it comes to gender and sexual attraction. If you are different from what the world expects, things can get totally overwhelming and you might question whether you can handle it.

The American Foundation for Suicide Prevention and the Williams Institute just released a new report looking into why there is a staggering 41% attempted suicide rate in the National Trans Discrimination Survey. At nine times the national average, it’s an epidemic. The study shows that risk factors include things like lack of family acceptance, homelessness, and being out, but surprisingly, the stats were high across the board for all trans people. Why is that?

When everyone around you tells you that there is something wrong with you for being different, seems like people lose hope. When the world tells you that you are crazy or wrong, it's hard not to internalize it. I would tell Confused, first, there is absolutely nothing wrong with them. If they end up trans—yay! Welcome to the club! If they end up gay or bi, that’s awesome. You have a whole community to get to know. Figuring out who you are takes time, but never doubt or internalize other people’s bullshit. It’s all human variation. Stick it out. We need you. I need you.

I want to tell Confused to do what it takes to stay alive. One book that really helped me when I was in a dark place not knowing how I would go on being so different was Kate Bornstein’s Hello Cruel World: 101 Alternatives to Suicide for Teens, Freaks, and Other Outlaws. Or go on Youtube and watch a million videos of trans kids talking about how they feel and what they struggling with and how they feel happy. See that you are not alone. You are not crazy, but the world around you might be.

This is a good time for Confused to explore and find out who they are. Whoever it turns out to be, they are unique and we need them alive. You are the only YOU. The world would not be the same without you.

Reach out to someone you trust. Tell a friend or a guidance counselor. Call a hotline. Get support wherever you can get it. The more you open up, the more you will see that you are normal and okay and not alone.—M. Dru Levasseur

 

Comments (44) RSS

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1
Confused, I'm also not sure you're trans*. I identify as a ciswoman and I have sexual fantasies that involve me being a cisman and a transman sometimes. But I think it's worth confirming one more time that whether you're trans* or not, you're wonderful, you're strong, and you deserve to learn about yourself, whoever you might be inside. Gender is something I feel confused about a lot, even though I'm long past my teen years, but my sex life is amazing and my social life is outstanding. You're okay.
Posted by arson on February 5, 2014 at 11:43 AM · Report this
2
That was phrased wrong, since it seems like you don't feel like you're okay. What I really mean when I say "You're okay" is that there is nothing wrong with you from my perspective. I really hope you can find enough time, space, self love, and strength to appreciate who you are, what turns you on, and who you want to love.

Also. Here's a secret: most "normal" looking people who seem like they have 'straightforward' cisgender identities have sexual fantasies about gender, sexuality, toys, and more.
Posted by arson on February 5, 2014 at 11:48 AM · Report this
Canadian Nurse 3
Confused: Maybe you're a boy inside. If so, that's OK, and once you're in a place where you're safe to be you, you can be that boy.

Maybe you're a girl who likes sexual dominance. Sometimes, if you've grown up in a really traditional place, dominance comes our as wanting to be the guy. If so, that's OK, and once you're in relationship where you're safe to explore your fantasies, you can "be the boy."

Maybe you're bi, since you fantasize about sex with both genders. If so, that's OK, and hopefully you'll meet plenty of wonderful girls and boys over your dating career.

The only thing that's not OK is killing yourself. Find a safe adult and talk. Someone who's not too churchy, but who's always seemed kind. Someone who's bigger on supporting than on judging. Do you know any LGBT adults? Sometimes once you stop and consider that question, you realise that the shy librarian or the uncle your parents don't talk to much might have a lot in common with you. It might not be your folks, but I believe there's someone in your community that could be your safe harbour.
Posted by Canadian Nurse on February 5, 2014 at 11:50 AM · Report this
4
Also: can you get any friends who don't give a fuck what gender you are, or what gender they are? When I started getting involved with my local community theatre at age 15, I started building sets, acting*, doing costumes, and being around people who didn't care who was gay, straight, left, right, cis, trans*, queer, etc. I found adults who loved me for my compassion, adults who had gone through a lot of the same things I had. I found my first boyfriend who 16, a sexy guitarist, and also queer. The sense of panic I felt around everyone else did not exist at the theatre, even though my theatre is operated in a very conservative town.

Highly recommend.

*as a queer teen with a fucked up family, I was acting most of my way through school anyway so it was easy to perform like this
Posted by arson on February 5, 2014 at 11:55 AM · Report this
Michelle Maibelle 5
The most important piece of advice is probably to find someone she trusts to talk about this with. Good luck, Confused!
Posted by Michelle Maibelle http://www.m-maibelle.blogspot.com on February 5, 2014 at 11:58 AM · Report this
6
Confused, it seems to me like either Dan or Dru should have defined the word "trans" for you! :) You ask: "I like to cut my hair short and I haven't worn a dress in years, but could I be male inside? Is that even possible?" The answer is, yes, it is possible. A trans person is someone who doesn't identify with the gender they were born into. Often this is someone brought up as female but who identifies himself as male, or vice versa, but some people also identify themselves as genderless or third-gender or something else. So yes, it is absolutely possible that you're male inside.

That said, as Dan points out, you are young and you've got a lot of time to pin down who you are, and this can be an exciting process! A sex fantasy about being male doesn't necessarily mean you're trans, even if you also don't like dresses or long hair. It could just mean you're a female who doesn't express her femininity in the usual cliched way. I would encourage you not to be too quick to judge yourself or pin a label on yourself, but to enjoy your sexuality for what it is. I believe in your strength and I hope you feel better soon.

P.S. Lots of straight, non-trans women enjoy strapping on a fake penis and using it during sex. Sound interesting? ;)
Posted by nike on February 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM · Report this
7
Get on the phone and talk to somebody. Not feeling alone is a great start. Being a teenager can be horrible. I was bullied relentlessly and suicidal. Living where I did in the 70s there was absolutely nobody I could talk to about being gay and I never met another person like me. Somehow I got through it and my life now is infinitely better. Yours will be as well,
Posted by JJinAus on February 5, 2014 at 11:59 AM · Report this
8
Confused, I'm not sure where you live, but there is an excellent resource in the Seattle area called Gender Diversity. It is run by a trans man who specializes in helping families of trans and questioning youth. His name is Aidan Key. Even if you don't live in the Seattle area, you can go online and get info there. Here is the link:
http://www.genderdiversity.org/
You are not alone, and there are places you can turn to. We care. We want you here. You will need to learn how to be strong, because there can be a lot of bullshit to get through, but you are not alone. Please hang in there, and find the support you need.
Posted by SeattleKim on February 5, 2014 at 12:04 PM · Report this
9
Confused - I'm an older straight woman, got kids older than you. And what I found through living my life was that sexual fantasies sometimes tell us a lot about who we are, and sometimes don't mean much at all. Some of what I fantasized about as a teen has become an integral part of my sexuality, and some was just a fleeting exploration, that disappeared once I'd looked into it enough.

Right now you are exploring your body and your sexuality, and it's OK if that takes you to scary places. It doesn't mean you have to actually DO anything about any of it, unless and until you are ready. So don't panic, don't worry - there's no rush, there's no need for any of this to mean anything, yet. As you keep exploring, and as you eventually have some real-life experiences, you'll figure out who you are.

And whoever you turn out to be, it's fine. There's nowhere along the whole spectrum that's a shameful place to be - it's all good.
Posted by agony on February 5, 2014 at 12:08 PM · Report this
rob! 10
"Confused," should you eventually find yourself somewhere on that great buffet of human identity other than the giant bowl of boring iceberg lettuce at the very beginning, lots of people are fighting to make life easier for all those different folks all through their lives, including the elderly: Dru Levasseur and Lambda Legal are right now fighting for 92-year-old transgender widow Robina Asti's right to Social Security survivor benefits following the death of her husband.

http://www.lambdalegal.org/blog/20140129…

Watch the video at that link and you'll see evidence of a long life of achievement, dignity, and courage.
Posted by rob! http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=QZBdUceCL5U on February 5, 2014 at 12:12 PM · Report this
11
Honey, now, more than any other time in history, you are not alone. Your thoughts and feelings are nothing to be ashamed of. No matter what "bucket" your sexual preference (straight/LGBTQ/etc...) falls into as you grow into yourself, It gets better. If you aren't in a position where you can talk to your parents about how you feel, there are so many resources out there that you can reach out to and find help. Being 15 sucks for everyone and you don't stay 15 forever (thank god) -16-18-22-40...those ages are right around the corner for you; please don't kill yourself-that's never the answer. You are important and you are worth it..
Posted by darlin13 on February 5, 2014 at 12:17 PM · Report this
12
Hi Confused. You might be male inside or might not, either way you have time to figure out for yourself. I am a straight woman who has been wearing my hair short and boyish since I was 14, hates dresses and 'girly' clothes, has fantasies sometimes about being a man during sex and loves watching gay male porn. But when I have thought about whether I wanted to be a man I have always come up with no. It's ok to be an androgynous or gender neutral or boyish person and still consider yourself female, if that is what you are. I definitely consider myself a woman and am happy to do so, I just have a particular aesthetic which is how I like to express my femaleness.

Only you can know if you are 'male' or 'female' inside, but it's ok to not know right now. Just try to be you, and let that change as it does when you're young. Feel free to redefine yourself as needed.

And when you get scared or depressed and think about suicide reach out to people. The internet can be a great place for this if you can find a community of like-minded people. I have done a lot of growing up debating at a bulletin board over the last 12 years, where I have made many good friends and even met my partner. Look for something like that if there are not people in your real life you are comfortable going to.
Posted by ziptag on February 5, 2014 at 12:43 PM · Report this
13
@3: Fantastic advice, said much better than I could have.

Hey Confused: It gets better. We are out here, and we love you.
Posted by Hanoumatoi on February 5, 2014 at 12:49 PM · Report this
14
You're almost old enough to not need your parents' support anymore, so if you have to hide and not use your superpowers just yet I say express yourself in any way you safely can, but look forward to being pure havoc and cracking open reality for other people in the future.

There are like minded people who you'll find also exist in a somewhat rarefied atmosphere, lonely in a crowded room, looking for the small cluster of SubGeniuses, Illuminati, Bodhisattvas and other weirdos out in the wilderness . . . It's good when you find them, I have and you will.
Posted by SifuMark on February 5, 2014 at 12:52 PM · Report this
15
Dear Confused,
If you had any idea about how many people you've touched by the letter that you wrote to Dan, you would know that there is support for you from all around the world. I imagine that deep inside that you know you are a good person -- capable of loving and being loved. Always remember that no matter what obstacles get in your way or what anybody ever tells you. So many of us will be writing these awkwardly positive notes to you here on this site -- we wish we could really convey that you are important and needed and all of that. We want to give you a hug that feels so good to you -- one that assures you that you are OK and perfect just the way you are. Your letter touched us all. Although we may not be going through exactly what you are going through -- or even anything close to it, we too have had to struggle at times with feelings of not being "normal". We are on your team and wish only the best for you. It's true: We need you. The world needs you.
Posted by G-man on February 5, 2014 at 12:55 PM · Report this
Oh Suzanna 17
Before you actually become sexually active with other people, it is not just normal but actually likely that your masturbatory fantasies will be all over the map. Fantasizing about being male does not mean you are really male - it doesn't mean you aren't male either. It's just normal healthy exploration as you try to figure out who you are and what you like while your hormones put you in a state of near desperation to be sexual.

Also, how you dress in middle/high school doesn't necessarily dictate who you will be later in life.

Don't let your hormones or your desire to figure out which box you fit in rush you into sex before you feel ready for it. Don't let your fear of who you might be prevent you from allowing yourself to be ready. Know that who you are is awesome and valuable, whatever label you or other people try to affix to you, and whenever you start having sex with other people.

Also, statistically, women who go through puberty later tend to end up with better self esteem than women who experienced earlier puberty because the "late bloomers" are allowed to develop a sense of self worth that is based on something other than their breast size when their peer first start becoming sexually aware. It's rough feeling like you are way behind everyone else (I was later than most of my friends too, and a total tomboy to boot), but it totally gets better and that better is worth sticking around to see.
Posted by Oh Suzanna on February 5, 2014 at 1:05 PM · Report this
18
May as many people as possible be on your side, Confused - most of all yourself, and may you be vouchsafed what you need to be determine what constitutes your own authentic you and then to let yourself happen, whether you turn out to be the unicorn's unicorn or normal enough for anyone.

In the spirit of Mr Wilde's saying that wickedness is a concept invented by good people to account for the curious attractiveness of others, I'll have a go at a paraphrase:

Normal is a concept invented by people with limited minds to intimidate others into being considerably less fabulous.

Improve on it to suit yourself, and best of luck.
Posted by vennominon on February 5, 2014 at 1:11 PM · Report this
venomlash 19
Confused, go see a doctor (as in medical doctor) about your suicide attempt. You took a bunch of pills, presumably painkillers. It didn't kill you, but you could be sitting on some organ damage. Go see the doctor, tell him what you took, and have your liver function evaluated. Trust me, I'm a bio major.
Oh yeah, also get some therapy/counseling. Best wishes!
Posted by venomlash on February 5, 2014 at 1:47 PM · Report this
20
Confused... some of us don't get easy answers. Sometimes it would be great to have a one word identity that would make everything make sense, but some of us have to do a little more work than average to get ourselves. And even if the destination is simple, sometimes the road is long and detours a lot.

It's ok, you've got time. Listen to your instincts. Your life is yours to make. Now is hard because you're stuck in your parents' decisions. Your life may never be easy but it will be YOURS, and in my experience, that's what made life get "better".
Posted by KDru on February 5, 2014 at 2:12 PM · Report this
Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In 21
Confused, please use this as a constant reminder, especially panels 5 & 6:
http://i.imgur.com/UhGC5.jpg

The only thing "wrong" with you is how you perceive yourself. You are already "normal", as that word has almost no meaning whatsoever. You are healthy, you are curious, you are courageous in stepping up and asking for help. What you *don't* have, experience, knowledge, etc. can all be fixed. "There is nothing wrong with you that can't be fixed by what is right with you."
Posted by Some Old Nobodaddy Logged In on February 5, 2014 at 2:51 PM · Report this
22
M. Dru Levasseur seems to be acting on the assumption that Confused is trans or otherwise "different" without addressing her actual question: "Could I be male inside?"

I was expecting something along the lines of, "When I/other transmen and transwomen with whom I have spoken were fifteen, we had fantasies along the lines of -----. This is the same/different from your experience so you might indeed be/might not be trans," like Mr. Savage did with Wrong Side of Wild Side about a year ago.
Posted by DRF on February 5, 2014 at 2:55 PM · Report this
23
Confused, hang in there kiddo. Things sometimes get really hard and scary and that is a real bitch. Hang in there because we need you. We who are LGBTQ are beginning to claim our space in the world. Your space is waiting for you to fill it with your creativity and your unique humanity. Please don't deny us of your presence alongside us. Whomever you blossom into being, whatever your preferences, we need you. Your job now is to stay safe and explore you. Inside and outside. Later you will know exactly who you are and you can take on the whole damn world and kick its ass. Now, you prepare for that by carving out safe spaces for you to grow. You did the pills thing and you're over it, right? If you didn't nod and say, "yeah, over that shit," then contact the Trevor Project. If you are over it, you need to find your allies. They are out there and a lot of great advice has already been given on how to find them. It really really really does get better. And when it get better, it gets fabulous. And then you get to spread the fabulous around. So be that kid who blossoms into mindbending fabulousness. One day you will realize how much we need you so for today, just take our word for it that we love you, we support and honor you. Welcome to the start of a life worth living.
Posted by kwodell on February 5, 2014 at 3:06 PM · Report this
25
Hey Confused, I just wanted to chime in and say to remember than sometimes thoughts represent who we really are and what we really desire, and sometimes they have absolutely fuck all to do with either. This can be especially true when you're in a very dark place, as you must have been to try to take your life. Basically everyone has very fucked up thoughts now and again, and you are not completely messed up or broken because you have them.
As for your sexual fantasies, they sound perfectly normal. Lots of men fantasize (and practice) dressing up in pretty clothes and a wig and being on the recieving end of anal from a woman. This does not make them female. You may be a trans guy, or just a cisgendered girl with a rich fantasy life. Whichever it is, it's fine by many more people than you imagine.
Posted by Lynx on February 5, 2014 at 3:44 PM · Report this
Max Solomon 26
Despite being a straight man, I'll write the same thing Dan excoriated me for writing 20 years ago: You're 15. Give yourself time before you decide what you are and what you want. High School will end.

Posted by Max Solomon on February 5, 2014 at 3:47 PM · Report this
MrGunnerScott 27
Dear Confused

You are brave to reach out for support. I admire your courage. I wonder if you have access to any LGBTQ youth groups, sometimes being around others who have struggled with the same questions you raised can help. I would also suggest taking a look through I AM: Trans People Speak, a collection of short videos by trans people and their families, maybe you can relate to some. http://www.transpeoplespeak.org/

You experience reminded me of my own when I was 15, I struggled with the same questions and tried to kill myself. What I learned from it was that I wanted to live and there were people in my life I could have trusted back then I just did not trust myself enough to reach out for support, and today most of my family are my biggest supporters. You are not alone. There will be ups and downs, but you are not alone.
Posted by MrGunnerScott http://www.gunnerscott.com on February 5, 2014 at 4:28 PM · Report this
29
Dear confused
All of us have times when we don't know who we are, and there tend to be a lot more of those times when we are young. Don't rush in to defining yourself, because people are so much more complicated than the labels we put on them. You may, or may not, be trans but you have time to figure it out; provided you do not allow your confusion to lead you to suicide, because after that you have no way back.
I know it's hard, but as someone or another on this site has pointed out 'It gets better'; and it does get better. I have no idea which way you will develop but I can assure you, as a card carrying tomboy who preferred climbing trees to playing with my dolls, and hated girls clothes because they interfered with my climbing, that I ended up very happily as a straight woman.
I still climb trees, though:)
Posted by dice on February 5, 2014 at 5:51 PM · Report this
30
Dear Confused,

I don't have any advice for you that hasn't already been given. I just wanted to let you know I think you are incredibly brave for reaching out for help. Late puberty hit me as well and it was a rough and confusing time. I got into therapy and in time my hormones and emotions settled down. I hope you take some of the great advice you've been reading, and please know that you're not alone in this world.
Posted by Jezabel on February 5, 2014 at 9:17 PM · Report this
IndicaDogwalk 31
Dear Confused,

You will figure yourself out in time, and probably sooner than later - due to the fact you have reached out. YOU ARE NOT ALONE. There's no need to even think about killing yourself ever again. Live long and be beautiful, just as you are.

Continue to reach out to others and when you get scared, know that you are beautiful as you are. Take comfort that you have a big, friendly community of LGBTQ people here in Seattle who will welcome you exactly as you are, right now.

Stay strong, grow and know that you are loved.
Posted by IndicaDogwalk on February 5, 2014 at 9:21 PM · Report this
32
I am a grown lady who has had sex fantasies about being a man since high school. I do not identify as trans and I dress pretty high-femme. So yes, you could be trans and that is fine, but just so you know, sometimes sex fantasies are just sex fantasies, and that's fine too.
Posted by Rasputin66 on February 5, 2014 at 10:12 PM · Report this
thecheesegirl 33
I wish you well, Confused, and I have to say, when I was around 15, I also fantasized about both men and women as sex partners; and also wanted to be a boy, cut my hair short, demanded my friends call me by a more gender-neutral nickname, sometimes bound my breasts (such as they were), the works. The bisexuality stayed, the gender fluidity/confusion/whatever-you-want-to-call-it did not, and by the time I graduated high school, I was pretty comfortable in my identity as a cisgender woman. This may or may not happen with you, but it is totally normal and okay to feel the way you do, no matter what happens.

My advice is to find an adult in your life whom you trust--a parent, an aunt or uncle, a teacher or school counselor, a therapist, whatever--and talk to them about your feelings. I would hope you'd tell your parents at least about the suicide attempt, if not about the other stuff (if you don't think they'd be accepting of the real issues, just tell them school is stressful and you feel awkward and overemotional, or whatever else you can think of that's almost the truth or part of the truth).
They don't want their baby girl to kill herself, I guarantee you that.

Growing up is hard as shit, don't let anyone tell you otherwise. Stay strong, and remember: it gets better.
Posted by thecheesegirl on February 5, 2014 at 10:47 PM · Report this
sirkowski 34
Tell your parents or a healthcare professional about your depression and suicide attempt. As soon as possible. You'll be a lot less confused once your depression and anxiety is under control. This is serious shit, you're gonna have to talk to someone about this. The sex thing is nothing. You don't have to talk about it to your parents if that's embarrassing. But the suicide attempt is fucking serious. Please get help. Don't try to do everything by yourself.
Posted by sirkowski http://www.missdynamite.com on February 5, 2014 at 10:49 PM · Report this
36
Oh Confused, you poor dear! You are to young to end your life over this. First sexuality is sexuality, it does not define your journey on this planet. Second, I recommend that you speak to a mental health professionnal about your depression and suicide attempt. I'm very concerned that you might hurt yourself again. You are loved and valued by many more people than you know.
As for your gender iidentity, your sexual fantasies are just that fantasies. I will fantasize about things I would never consider in real life. However, your gender identity might be all the things mentioned previously, but I have not seen this mentioned. You may be a transvestite woman. I have a good friend that is a transvestite and she is happily married to the love of her life who is male. He loves her exactly how she is and does not want her to change. Even when they married she wore a formal Scotish Suit with a kilt instead of a dress.
Just remember you are to young to make a permanant solution to an immediate problem.
Posted by bxtorr19 on February 6, 2014 at 12:10 AM · Report this
37
Hang in there and try not to focus on it to the point you neglect taking care of yourself and enjoying life in general. People go through various types of identity crisis at different points in their lives, so try to remember that your fear and uncertainty are just a part of this experience but they aren't necessarily the sum. There can be a sense of excitement and wonder in exploring yourself as well. And if you continue to struggle get help.
Posted by Really Now... on February 6, 2014 at 12:38 AM · Report this
39
Dear Confused, I know you probably won't read this but I want you to know that I am also a 15-year-old female, attracted to men and women, questioning my gender. It's ok. We exist. We are out there! Very soon, you will be able to come and find us. It will get better, for you and for me and for all of us. Be safe and be proud.
Posted by bi, athiest, and loving it on February 6, 2014 at 5:58 AM · Report this
40
@39 I'm a 25-year-old, bi person who was born female and struggled with my gender identity, dysphoria, self-harm and depression for most of my teenage years. I eventually came to the conclusion that I am trans, though I don't quite identify as a man (I identify as non-binary).

I think everybody thus far has covered the advice pretty well (especially the therapy thing--the LW could really benefit from seeing a decent therapist), so I just I wanted to let you, and Confused, know that it's okay to have these feelings, and it IS possible to reach resolution for them--whether you end up identifying as bi, straight, gay, trans, or cis. Like what Dru said, it is very easy to feel hopeless when it seems like the world is telling you that having these feelings necessarily means you're inherently "different", and who you are is wrong. But like you said, you are not alone, and it really can get better--especially when you learn to accept yourself. I'm living proof.
Posted by PsychoLinguist on February 6, 2014 at 8:13 AM · Report this
41
Well over ten years ago, I was in your position. I did not start having sexual urges until I was 18, but even well before then, I thought & felt of myself as a man. I dressed like a guy, even in the baggy knee-length shorts. Almost all of my friends were guys. I was into "guy things" like boxing, skate boarding, & the sort. I even dreamed as a guy- meaning when I fell asleep at night, I was literally almost always a guy in them.

When I started having sexual urges at 18, I almost always fantasized about doing those things with women. I had never thought about girls before then, so this was new to me. I was a senior at the time, so I took a chance and hit on a girl. Well, she rejected me and told the whole school. People already teased me for being a "lesbo" cause of the way I dressed & acted. Now that they "knew" I was from that girl, it got worse. That was actually the first and last time I ever hit on a girl solely cause of that, and when I graduated, I made sure to avoid anyone who knew of my "past". I live in the Bible belt, and ten plus years ago it was WAY more inhospitable to gays & bis than it is now. You really did not even have to be a lesbian to be teased for being one. Plus, my parents are hardcore catholics. If I had brought home a girl, they would've disowned me. To be blunt, I learned my lesson the very first time I hit on a girl. I'm not saying it is wrong to be lesbian or bi, but that is how it felt for me at the time, like I had learned my lesson.

Fast forward several years. I am now a very happy mother who is married to a wonderful man. I no longer think or feel of myself as a man. You see, I was molested when I was a young child. My parents way of "dealing" with it was to basically pretend it never happened. I actually suppressed the memories and did not "remember" the molestation until I was a teen in high school. I desperately wanted to talk to someone about it, but just could not talk to anyone. I never got counseling for it. When I finally came to terms with the molestation about three years ago, my desire to be a man slowly fizzled away until it was next to zero. Now the only time I think of myself as a guy is in my dreams when I sleep at night (meaning, I am still usually a man in my dreams, for whatever reason). I now very much enjoy being a female & a mother.

This is just my assumption, but it is my belief that I just could not deal with the trauma. Envisioning myself as a man must've just been my mind's way of dealing with it and creating a safe place for me. No man would victimize me if I was a man.

As for the attraction to women... Well, I guess I will never know on that. I have never been with a woman, so I do not know if I am bisexual, or if it was just something safe for me to fantasize about while I was healing from the trauma. I am still attracted to women, but I've never felt comfortable with poly relationships or threesomes, so it is a fantasy that will never happen.

I was also very suicidal and tried to kill myself a few times. It did not stop until I met my now husband at 19. He helped me heal. He was the first person to ever accept me. I told him I thought of myself as a guy, and he said, "Yeah, you're more masculine than me." I told him I liked girls, and he said, "I already knew that, you constantly check them out." He was the first guy to not dump me when I broke the news that a threesome is out of the question.

My point is, yes, you could be a trans, bi, or a straight person with a very healthy sexual fantasy life. You could think of yourself as a guy for the rest of your life, or you may stop feeling that way in the future like I did. Straight women (as in non-trans people) can think of themselves as men for a variety of reasons, and I doubt sexual abuse is the only reason.

My advice to you from the nowadays me is this: Demand acceptance. Do not date or fuck anyone who does not accept you as you. I wasted my last couple years of high school on a guy who demeaned me for fantasizing about girls, and who constantly pressured me to be more feminine. He was not worth it, and he messed me up mentally even worse than I already was. Ignore those who do not accept you and surround yourself with those who do. You deserve love. It really will get better. You really will find someone who loves & accepts you for you. Just know you are not alone, and what you think & feel is more common than you think.
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Posted by toenail on February 6, 2014 at 8:15 AM · Report this
42
Well over ten years ago, I was in your position. I did not start having sexual urges until I was 18, but even well before then, I thought & felt of myself as a man. I dressed like a guy, even in the baggy knee-length shorts. Almost all of my friends were guys. I was into "guy things" like boxing, skate boarding, & the sort. I even dreamed as a guy- meaning when I fell asleep at night, I was literally almost always a guy in them.

When I started having sexual urges at 18, I almost always fantasized about doing those things with women. I had never thought about girls before then, so this was new to me. I was a senior at the time, so I took a chance and hit on a girl. Well, she rejected me and told the whole school. People already teased me for being a "lesbo" cause of the way I dressed & acted. Now that they "knew" I was from that girl, it got worse. That was actually the first and last time I ever hit on a girl solely cause of that, and when I graduated, I made sure to avoid anyone who knew of my "past". I live in the Bible belt, and ten plus years ago it was WAY more inhospitable to gays & bis than it is now. You really did not even have to be a lesbian to be teased for being one. Plus, my parents are hardcore catholics. If I had brought home a girl, they would've disowned me. To be blunt, I learned my lesson the very first time I hit on a girl. I'm not saying it is wrong to be lesbian or bi, but that is how it felt for me at the time, like I had learned my lesson.

Fast forward several years. I am now a very happy mother who is married to a wonderful man. I no longer think or feel of myself as a man. You see, I was molested when I was a young child. My parents way of "dealing" with it was to basically pretend it never happened. I actually suppressed the memories and did not "remember" the molestation until I was a teen in high school. I desperately wanted to talk to someone about it, but just could not talk to anyone. I never got counseling for it. When I finally came to terms with the molestation about three years ago, my desire to be a man slowly fizzled away until it was next to zero. Now the only time I think of myself as a guy is in my dreams when I sleep at night (meaning, I am still usually a man in my dreams, for whatever reason). I now very much enjoy being a female & a mother.

This is just my assumption, but it is my belief that I just could not deal with the trauma. Envisioning myself as a man must've just been my mind's way of dealing with it and creating a safe place for me. No man would victimize me if I was a man.

As for the attraction to women... Well, I guess I will never know on that. I have never been with a woman, so I do not know if I am bisexual, or if it was just something safe for me to fantasize about while I was healing from the trauma. I am still attracted to women, but I've never felt comfortable with poly relationships or threesomes, so it is a fantasy that will never happen.

I was also very suicidal and tried to kill myself a few times. It did not stop until I met my now husband at 19. He helped me heal. He was the first person to ever accept me. I told him I thought of myself as a guy, and he said, "Yeah, you're more masculine than me." I told him I liked girls, and he said, "I already knew that, you constantly check them out." He was the first guy to not dump me when I broke the news that a threesome is out of the question.

My point is, yes, you could be a trans, bi, or a straight person with a very healthy sexual fantasy life. You could think of yourself as a guy for the rest of your life, or you may stop feeling that way in the future like I did. Straight women (as in non-trans people) can think of themselves as men for a variety of reasons, and I doubt sexual abuse is the only reason.

My advice to you from the nowadays me is this: Demand acceptance. Do not date or fuck anyone who does not accept you as you. I wasted my last couple years of high school on a guy who demeaned me for fantasizing about girls, and who constantly pressured me to be more feminine. He was not worth it, and he messed me up mentally even worse than I already was. Ignore those who do not accept you and surround yourself with those who do. You deserve love. It really will get better. You really will find someone who loves & accepts you for you. Just know you are not alone, and what you think & feel is more common than you think.
More...
Posted by toenail on February 6, 2014 at 8:17 AM · Report this
43
Confused, please, please call The Trevor Project: 1-866-488-7386. Their 24-hour, confidential LifeLine is staffed by super friendly people who will listen to you for as long as you need to chat. They rock. If you're not comfortable with calling, you can also drop them a text or chat online - see the website (linked below) for how to do that. There's also TrevorSpace, which is a little like Facebook, but just for LGBT and Questioning teens, so you can connect with people online who are your age and asking exactly the same questions as you - you can see all this at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/

Hang in there - whether you turn out to be gay, bi, trans* or none of the above, we need you in the world.
Posted by CBrink http://www.carolynbrinkworth.com on February 6, 2014 at 9:35 AM · Report this
44
Dear Confused,

First off, don't beat yourself up over the pills.
Not wanting to have to slog through everyday of your life is a reasonable response to the shitty situation you're in.
Let yourself have a good guilt-free cry and general misery session every once in a while. It's a way to respect yourself and your feelings.

If things get to the wanting to take pills stage again, please tell your parents you've been feeling sad (you don't have to say why), and ask for therapy.

You know your parents better than me, and maybe they are extremely not okay with deviations from the norm. There are heinous parents in the world, it's scary to be unsure of your family.
But most parents would rather you be alive and different, than compliant and dead. For Now lets put them in that loving parent majority.
You don't have to tell them what is going on, but for Right Now give them the benefit of the doubt. Assume they love you and want you to be happy.

I was 15 when I cut off my long, beautiful hair into a severe pixie cut, started wearing loose athletic shirts, sagging my pants, and concealing my breasts.
My Conservative Christian mother didn't like it, but she bought me the men's clothes I wanted, and didn't say anything after the first few weeks.

Back home there was one way to be a woman, it didn't fit me. It chafed and bound me. The only other option was to be a man, which felt less wrong.

After high school, I left my hometown and moved to a large city with her support. Moving and seeing different ways to be a woman, helped me figure out how to be the bi cis dominant woman I am.
I'm middle-aged and married to a straight cis submissive man who likes to wear women's clothes in private. We have kids and a minivan. On Saturdays we set the alarm for 5am and make sweet kinky gender bending love, then we shower and make pancakes. It's a good life.

You're figuring out who you might like to be, which is different than the female norm around you. I really hope you write us back in a few years, and let us know who you are becoming.
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Posted by just_me27 on February 6, 2014 at 9:51 AM · Report this
45
Phew, lots of responses already, and I hope Confused is reading them. I'll add mine to the mix:

Dear Confused,

I'm a 20 year old boy who was born female. Dan and M. Dru Levasseur used the term trans* but didn't do a very good job of explaining it. I know a few people have already explained it, but just in case you haven't read those replies: trans* means you don't identify with the gender you were assigned at birth. For me, that meant I was born female but was a boy inside. I knew this at a young age, but I buried those feelings until I was about 14, when they sort of fought their way back to the surface. I spent a lot of my adolescence online, playing games, and I always told people online I was male. It felt right to me to be treated like a guy. I was always a guy in my head, too, I never saw myself as a girl.

Having those same feelings doesn't mean you're trans by any means, but it could be an indication of it. My advice to you would be to do what I did when I thought I might be trans: go on youtube and look up videos of ftm (female-to-male) transguys documenting their transition. There's a lot of them; I'd strongly recommend the youtube user skylarkeleven. I watched a lot of guys go through the transition process and the more I watched these people change on the outside, the more I knew that was me on the inside. I wasn't scared or confused by what I saw, I was excited. I knew I wanted that. Six years down the line and you wouldn't be able to pick me out of a line up as a trans guy. It's a rocky road for everyone who does it, but never doubt it'll be worth it, because if you're happy with yourself, no one can take that away from you.

On top of that, I definitely advise talking to a few people. Friends and family are a good place to go for support, but I also advise you go to a counselor, preferably one with experience with trans people. Just talk through your feelings with them, they're good at staying calm and coming to rational conclusions when you're panicking about the massive flow of emotions going on.

Whether you're trans or not, killing yourself is never the answer. I was depressed for years and I got pretty low at some points, but there's NOTHING more satisfying than coming out the other side a happier person. You'll appreciate the things you have so much more when you've been so low in the past, and you'll know you're strong as fuck and you did it yourself. It's really, really worth getting through it.
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Posted by Jackmm1301 on February 6, 2014 at 11:28 AM · Report this
46
arson@2 >> most "normal" looking people who seem like they have 'straightforward' cisgender identities have sexual fantasies about gender, sexuality, toys, and more. >>

This.

venomlash @19:
>> Go see the doctor, tell him what you took, and have your liver function evaluated. >>

And very much this.
Posted by EricaP on February 6, 2014 at 11:45 AM · Report this
Dirtclustit 48
Confused, puberty is a really confusing time in your life, don't worry about desiring to be living in any gender's body.

Puberty is one of the hardest times to truly who you are, and all I can tell you is, when I was that age I placed way too much importance on what other people thought, it was a huge mistake.

The only feeling that is more permanent , as in the emotions you feel the majority of the time as opposed to the minority

The only more permanent feeling that ever seemed to trump sexual desires, is love

I don't want to give you the wrong idea about who you should or shouldn't be, I will just say, "what is it that bothers you or confuses you about having sexual fantasies from two gender's point of view?"

If you are worried about being different, I promise you that feeling different from all the walking dead men alive to day is a good thing, I hope you always feel "different" from all these bigoted, assholes who are as dead men

if you are worried because you don't want to be male, it may help to remember that Love for some people is more overwhelming than sex, So if you ask yourself if you think you are "in love" with somebody and can answer honestly, part of your confusion may lie there. As an example, if you were born into a body that is earthly gendered as female and you found yourself in love with a female who thinks her sexual attraction is to males and males only, that may definitely leave you desiring to be the type they (the one you think you love) like

If that is the case, ask yourself honestly if the gender they were attracted to was female and female only, do you think you would only fantasize about being female?

An important thing that I wish I had learned at your age is that people who cannot be honest with you, should not be a significant part of your life, as believing that lies are the truth, is the root behind being confused.

There is likely nothing wrong with you, be strong, and be courageous, which I know is a tall order in a world filled with stupid fucking ignorant assholes who are adamant that you believe their lies,

So don't do it

and because these subjects are extremely important to discuss, (any subject that you attempted or even think about killing yourself over is important) esp subjects like sexuality which during puberty is a very confusing time that does not have to be so negatively confusing, I really wish there were more accurate terms that were adopted as "cis" and "trans" do not do the experience justice

but unfortunately -- like the new language being currently invented by the popular crowd in the realm of polyamory -- "cis" and "trans" gendered are the terms the labels were pushed to, I can't say whether or not it was due to psychologists trying to make a name, or some punk assed grammarian or an idiot wikipedian with no respect for the truth,

but you only need a label if you find someone you need to talk about your situation with, and even if you do label it, it doesn't have to always fit that label, who You are is fine, and believing you are in love with somebody who does not respect you or better yet love You too, will destroy you, typically by way of confusing the fuck of You

do not become one of the idiots who labor to confuse, be a force for understanding, and You will know the Truth
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Posted by Dirtclustit on February 10, 2014 at 3:04 AM · Report this
49
Hi Confused, as everyone has said, you may or may not be bi, gay, trans, none of the above, or some combination. At the end of the day though, it doesn't matter because any of those are totally, completely, 100% okay. Puberty sucks for pretty much everyone, trust in that--virtually every single person in your school is dealing with a shitstorm of hormones and feelings that are often awful. Stay strong, give yourself time to evolve into your true self, and really internalize the fact that your gender and/or sexual orientation have nothing to do with how valuable you are as a person. Be kind to yourself and those around you. If you find you're saying awful things to yourself stop and ask if you would ever say those things to someone else. Most likely you wouldn't so don't say them to yourself! You'll be ok, just have faith in yourself--you asked for help and that was hella brave. Big hugs.
Posted by jujubee80 on February 10, 2014 at 12:26 PM · Report this
50
Confused - don't think of not knowing the answers right this second as a problem. Think of them as a chance to explore and experiment. You don't have to know the answers now. Explore your fantasies, and figure out whether they're fantasies, or a sign of who you really want to be. Lots of people fantasize about things they wouldn't be comfortable acting on. That's okay. Some people's fantasies turn out to be about things that they _would_ like to act on. And as long as it's not hurting anyone, that's okay too.

You're fifteen. You don't have to know everything about yourself yet. You could be going through a phase (I've been through several, and I'm 43), or you could be discovering something important and permanent.

See where your feelings and your life take you. You don't have to be sure right this minute. An answer, to yourself and others, of "I don't know," is an acceptable answer, as long as its honest. When you do know, decide what to do about it then.
Posted by CoyoteConscious on February 10, 2014 at 8:53 PM · Report this

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