An Open Letter to Transgender Teens
By: Dan Jay (@badspaceedits)
This letter is for every person who has ever felt alone in their fears, their concerns, and their thoughts. This message is meant to, hopefully, help ease your minds for at least a short period. I also want this letter to act as an apology for not using my voice to help those who can not speak yet. It's so easy to get caught up in your security that you forget about those still struggling. Ever since coming to terms with my identity I’ve faced some thoughts and challenges that made me feel alone, I couldn’t find the resources to help me understand them. But then I made friends with some other transgender people, and it was then when I realized how common these thoughts were.
One of the first questions I asked myself, and one of the questions I continue to ask myself; Am I really transgender? We live in a society that is always questioning the identity of transgender people, a place that often erases where transgender people. Asking yourself this question is normal, I heard people who are active voices in the community admit that they still ask themselves this.
I remember when I first came out, I sought solace in Yahoo! Answers. The first reply I got was something along the lines of ‘If you have to ask this, you are probably a transgender person, or non-binary.’ That answer helped me a lot because it’s true. Most individuals who are cisgender do not question their gender. The fear of being wrong is valid, but it’s important to remember that no one knows you better than you know yourself.
This one is for the Trans men out there, know how to bind safely. Improper binding is dangerous and can lead to long-term damage to your lungs. Cheap binder you find on Amazon and ace bandages are not beneficial for you, side effects include bruising, fluid buildup in your lungs and even broken ribs. It’s crucial that you invest in a proper binder and bind safely. Do not wear your chest binder to sleep or longer than 8 hours if you can help it, and listen to your body. If you are experiencing pain or discomfort, take your chest binder off. Please take care of yourself.
Being afraid of not being accepted is alright too, everyone wants to feel loved, right? Unfortunately, there are people in the world who will not accept you, but are those people who you want to accept you? It’s hard just to shake them off, but sometimes you have to choose your battles. Some things that I learned is that no one is owed your story. I’ve heard this time and time again, but you should share your story with people who you trust, which holds true to family. If you feel like your safety and well-being could be threatened by coming out, you don't have to tell them. I know it’s hard to be called a name you don’t like and be misgendered, but it’s important that that does not make you any less of the gender you are. You are not lying to them by not telling them.
Experimenting with names and pronouns is okay. It’s okay to like things that society tells you that you shouldn’t. Being afraid is normal. You are normal. You belong somewhere. Sometimes the world is cruel, yes, but do not focus solely on the bad. Obama was the first president to say the word "Transgender." In Washington, it is illegal to call a transgender person by the wrong pronouns. Looking at the small victories is important, because while they are small, they are the start. Right now, one thing that helps me keep fighting in realizing that in fighting, I am making things better for my future brothers and sisters and siblings.
Lastly, I want to let you all know that it is worth it to keep on living. I know some of you feel like you’re stuck, that there’s no point in continuing. I’m here to tell you that there is a point, which one day you’re going to wake up living a life that you want to live. When you’re young, you don’t have much control over your situation, and it sucks, but things will not be like this forever. I hate the fact that you have to wait to find yourself and find happiness. But just know that there are people that are going to love you for you, they will accept you, and you can be free to be who you are. Just please, stick around to see that day.
If you ever need someone to talk to, my Twitter DM’s are always open to anyone who needs. The Buddy Project is an excellent resource, and I highly encourage you to sign up if you have not already.