It’s not uncommon for youth and teens to wonder about their gender identity at some point or another. Many people, in fact, view themselves ‘somewhere on the continuum’ between male and female. If you feel you want to explore this more, here are a few suggestions:
- Start with a discussion with your health care provider. It is likely that he/she has been asked about this before and will be able to point you to local mental health and medical resources.
- Contact your local chapter of TYFA: Trans Youth Family Allies, or research this organization online.
- Contact your local chapter of PFLAG: Parent, Families and Friends of Lesbians and Gays, or research this organization online; they have transgender resources as well.
- Look for local resources that serve the GLBTQ (Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Transgender, Questioning) community. For instance, most communities, many high schools and almost all colleges have a GSA (Gay/ Straight Alliance) or a GLBTQ group. You can contact the group’s advisor to find out about resources and activities you might be able to join.
- Talk with a trusted adult. It can be a relative, a teacher, a clergy person or anyone with whom you feel you can have an open and non-judgmental conversation.
- Talk with your parents. You may be surprised to find that your parents are willing to learn about gender variance and support you even if this is an unfamiliar concept to them.
Transitioning to the opposite gender is a long process which requires many psychological and medical steps. There are both mental health and medical clinicians (usually endocrinologists) throughout the U.S. who specialize in gender issues. Mental health therapy is always a requirement when a person is seeking a gender transition. You may be able to find a counselor from one of the suggestions listed above. You can also contact your health insurance: the mental health clinicians covered by your insurance have to list their specialties, so ask for someone familiar with gender issues, gender variance or transgender issues.