First and foremost, transgender people feel they were given the wrong gender at birth. Transgender women identify with men and transgender men identify with women. There are also transgenders who fall into categories including genderqueer, gender-neutral, or gender-free which means these people do not identify with either men or women. Cross-dressers, on the other hand, like to wear the clothing of their opposite gender but do not identify themselves as the opposite gender. Lastly, transsexual people choose to physically change their gender.
There are many transgenders that actually relate to more than one of the above definitions or none at all. No one should ever be in a rush to label themselves nor ever have to. There are others that have different labels they feel expresses who they are in a better way.
Ask yourself if you feel more comfortable with the opposite gender that you were born as or maybe you cannot relate to either gender, male or female. It's possible you are uncomfortable with a certain body part but strongly want other body parts. As an example, you have breasts but prefer not to. In some cases, you might prefer to be around people who see you as the gender of your choosing. There are many transgenders who feel they are more like themselves as another gender. All in all, people who are transsexual might feel a few or all these emotions every day.
As a transgender, you are as normal as being alive! There have been transgenders throughout all of history and where ever you roam in the world, there are transgenders. Transgenders are in all walks of life, they are doctors, teachers, waitresses, construction works, they go to college, have children, and have careers they love. There have probably been many times you have met someone who is transgender and never even realized it. Even though being transgender is not typical and you will run into people who do not understand you and could even discriminate against you, but all said and done – you are normal!
There are young people who are comfortable with their chosen identity as the opposite gender while others are very uncomfortable due to the risk of being discriminated against because, at this time, they are not able to transition. That said, there are other young people who just accept who they are and, like all young people, are focusing more on school, work, family, and dating. There are numerous ways of being young and a transgender as there are ways for just being young.
That is totally your choice. You are not obligated to share this information with anyone if you choose not to. However, many young people who are transgender find it very important to talk with friends or family, especially if they are planning on transitioning. If you decide you want to talk with others about your being transgender, you need to reach out to those who will understand. You might want to talk to a teacher you trust, a sister or brother, your parents, a friend, or if you are in a group for gays, lesbians, bisexual, and transgenders. If you are a transgender who will not transition until you are older, then you might want to keep this quite for now. On the other hand, if you want to transition as soon as possible, you will need to address this with others as soon as possible. You should look for support from groups to therapists, friends, family, etc.
Some people experience a great deal of relief while others feel they were just thrown to the lions. The lions being family, parents, and/or friends! Chances are, you will experience both sides of this coin. Some young transgenders have experienced violence at school or even in their own homes. If you plan on coming out, please, have people you can talk to first in case you run the risk of violent actions being taken against you. Also, coming out will be much easier if you get as much information as possible, become knowledgeable, and get all the support you can.
There are transgenders who come out and are actually comfortable telling their closest friends and in some cases, their best friends might have known all along! Others would prefer to change their names, how they dress, and their entire appearance to match their new identity first. There are others who will choose to get hormone shots and have surgery to alter their appearance. Whichever you choose to do, it will help if you can talk about your feelings with others such as a therapist who is knowledgeable in this field, reach out to family and friends you trust, and even other transgender people. Should you decide to talk about it, you should feel comfortable without feeling under pressure from others.
If you plan the medical transition, taking hormones and having one or more surgeries are big steps but also necessary. Most people who decide to transition medically have a very strong desire to change their identity and have a body that matches. These people need to be the gender of their choice all the time without questions. Before deciding to transition medically, it's really important you talk with a therapist first and be diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder. In most states, if you are under the age of 18, you will need a parent's permission before you can have the surgery. Keep in mind, if you decide to pursue a medical transition, it must be supervised by a medical professional. Having a medical transition without supervision can lead to very serious health risks.
You must understand, being transgender is about how you identify your gender, it's about whom you feel you are. It has nothing to do with your sexual orientation which is about whom you are attracted to. Some transgenders are attracted to women or men, others to transgenders, and some are attracted regardless of their gender. Some transgenders will label themselves to what attracts them. In other words, transgender women who are attracted to men will call themselves straight because they are attracted to the opposite gender. Some other transgender women who are attracted to men will refer to themselves as queer to challenge the idea of “opposite” gender. Regardless of how you define yourself, many transgender people live happy, healthy lives and have healthy relationships with the people they love. Always keep in mind, you deserve to date people who respect you and who you are!
If you have found out you are transgender, remember, you are normal and you are liked by others for who you are. Once you have identified with who you are, there will be many life changes taking place. It is perfectly normal to feel apprehensive, nervous, and even a little upset about your future. Discovering something this important about yourself can be an amazing experience as well.
You are about to set out on a journey to discover who you truly are and while on your personal journey, your world will be loaded with so many possibilities as well as many challenges. You are starting to learn about another part of you and this can be a wonderful opportunity and experience.