I want to be a boy but I can't because of my religion

I was born a girl, but I want to be a boy. Because of my religion I can't tell my family. I know they won't accept me. What do I do?

Jason Lynch, MS, LMHC, LCAC, ADS
Jason Lynch, MS, LMHC, LCAC, ADS
Individual & Couples Therapy

I'm so sorry to hear that you don't feel as though your family would support you in embracing your true self. Because this is a very complex situation, I would encourage you to reach out to a local therapist who specializes in treating LGBTQ+ clients. An experienced therapist can help you to explore your feelings around your gender identity and assist in facilitating a discussion with your family or help you prepare to have that conversation on your own. 

I would also encourage you to contact national and local resources that can be tremendous sources of support. These include the following:

GLBT National Youth Talkline - 1-800-246-7743

Trans Lifeline - 1-877-656-8860

Trevor LIfeline, TrevorChat, TrevorText - Text CHAT to 678-678 or call 1-866-488-7386

At the end of the day, there is the family we are born with and the family that we choose. Give your family a chance, but if they refuse to accept you, know that there are people in this world who will appreciate you, validate you, and love you for who you are!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Garysha  Youngblood
Garysha Youngblood
Background in treatment for individuals with addiction and correctional backgrounds

You can immerse yourself in things that validate your identity but also allow you to show up authentically in other aspects of your life. We can discuss safety, intersectionality and identity exploration. You are valid and you have options that can help you feel the most like yourself. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Kelly Garrity, LMFT
Kelly Garrity, LMFT
THERAPY FOR CLARITY

I am so glad you are reaching out for support and hope you continue to do so.  First let me say, I am so sorry you are going through this..  And please know you deserve support and care, and full freedom to be the truest you.  Yet sadly sometimes religious institutions and even and especially those who are close and we may need the most, may struggle embrace us for who we truly are inside.  So please please reach out to others who can support you.   And may you know, that you are not alone.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Allison Middleton
Allison Middleton
Trauma Informed, Person-Centered

First of all, it is incredibly brave to be honest with yourself about who you are and what you want. Being authentically you is scary and to know that being you will impact your relationships is even scarier. Here are some tips on what to do while you are working through it:

- You don't have to tell your family about your desire to transition right away. You are allowed to learn about yourself and what you want your gender expression to look like before involving others. If this means waiting until you feel ready, then so be it. You deserve all the time that you need. You get to decide your pace, so do it in the way that feels most authentic to you.

-Find a therapist that can support you. Transition is always confusing and this includes transitioning from one gender to another. A therapist can help you work through some of that confusion in a supportive and helpful way. They can also help you navigate family conflict and affirm you when others are not.

-Find LGBTQ resources in your community. Check out the below website to help you find information and support near you. Connect with other people and role models in the LGBT+ community for friendship and support.

https://www.glaad.org/resourcelist

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Ronica Clark
Ronica Clark
You have questions I'm willing to try to give an answer

1. How dependent on you are your family (food, shelter, clothes, etc. ). Until you can fully take car of yourself I would not recommend coming out to your family.

2. Gear for the worst possible situation.

3. I would look into your religion sec that has a LGBTQ members and see if you find support with them.

4. Your family doesn't live your life for you and you have to ask yourself if you live for others and not for yourself?

End of the day your life, your choice. You can choose to do what your family wants or you can choose to do what you want with your life. We only knowingly get one.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Toni Teixeira, LCSW
Toni Teixeira, LCSW
Your road to healing begins here

I encourage you to reach out to a counselor and get support. They can help you navigate your own feelings, and talk to you about how you can talk to your family. There are resources for you and for them and I see that some of the other counselors here have shared those resources with you. We don't know for sure how your family will react if and when you talk to them. However, it is important to consider how not telling them is limiting your life and the expression of your preferred gender. My concern is for you and how this might be having an impact on you. Working with a therapist might give you some insights into how you might tell your family. It might create an opportunity for you to also tell them with the assistance of a professional. Ultimately, you know what is best for you and telling them is your decision, and I encourage you to weigh out all the options with a therapist. I wish you the best of luck.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Fred Rogers
Fred Rogers
Que Sera Sera Counseling
No religion stops a person from being themselves. Gender is self-identified and not the one assigned at birth. Few families need sensitiation program for them to understand that their child is perfectly normal and gender dysphoria or gender incongruence is normal.
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Michele Ramey
Michele Ramey
MRTherapy, LLC- Because Help Is One Of A Kind
If you want to get some help in how to navigate what you want to do, contact a therapist and schedule sessions so that they can create a space to explore your choices. 
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Chaya Lerner
Chaya Lerner
Grief Therapist
It’s painful to want to be what you are actually. God loves you. Despite your religious beliefs you need to be tru to yourself. Talk to a common high that you can relate to. Be you. 
The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers
Valerie Kuykendall-Rogers
Specializing in Reconciling, Restoring, and Renewing Relationships

Hello, 

This is a really tough question and there are no easy answers to this, however, I can recommend that first of foremost, it is important that you learn to accept yourself. This is easier said than done, and I can acknowledge and validate that sentiment. All to well, I have worked with clients such as yourself who struggle to learn how to accept themselves in the face of what appears to be insurmountable obstacles. Nevertheless, it is POSSIBLE! It begins with finding a good counselor who can walk with you through this journey to self-acceptance. I cannot and neither can anyone guarantee that your family will change and accept you (although I have seen in my work with clients like yourself where the family has moved from intolerance to tolerance with the ultimate goal of acceptance), it does not mean that some change is possible. As stated earlier, I highly recommend that you talk with a counselor, psychologist, psychotherapist, etc. who specializes in this area. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Reanna Waugh
Reanna Waugh
Waugh's Holistic Wellness Center

I understand that this must be a difficult time for you with many adjustments. If you feel comfortable enough to ask your parents to see a Life Coach or a therapist, this may be an excellent place to start. You don’t need to tell them the reason why maybe say that you simply need someone to talk to for support with school or homework etc. The Life Coach or therapist would be the optimal person to advise you on how to proceed with providing support and guidance. There may be someone at your school whom you could talk to for confidential support and guidance as well. Be confident in the fact that you are not alone and there are always responsible adults available to guide you through any difficult process you may experience in life. Talking to family about personal issues can be difficult for anyone, even adults. I recommend getting help from a trusted, professional adult before you decide what to do.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Dr. Timothy Paul
Dr. Timothy Paul
'man'; Online - "Natural Health Consultant and Coach"
Desire to inhabit the opposite sex's body derives from too fast of a re-entry into a new (feminine) body, after being released in a previous life, from an old (masculine) body.

You remember the previous life's connection with the masculine experience and body, and wish to find a way to be more comfortable.

We will approach this matter, spiritually, and I reckon you'll feel a great deal better :)
If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call...  (more)If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room. All written by 'i': 'man'; is [My] Property;
Christina McGrath Fair
Christina McGrath Fair
"Enlightenment is when a wave realizes it is the ocean." -Thich Nhat Hanh

It is really important for you to be comfortable with your identity. With that said, it is also so important for you to be safe. It may be helpful for you to find supports (in your life, community, or online) that you can talk about how you feel and potentially gain supportive persons if your family does not accept you. It will be really important to connect with others and even a counselor to help you.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Keyonne Spencer, MS, LPC
Keyonne Spencer, MS, LPC
Enriching the lives of couples, individuals and families.

Chances are your family already knows, they are probably just waiting on confirmation from you to say it. A parent knows their child. 

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Steve Termath, MA, LPCC, NCC
Steve Termath, MA, LPCC, NCC
Let's regain control! Comfort zones can be the breeding grounds of failure.

Spirituality for those in the LGBTQ community can be one of the more difficult roads. Unfortunately, many unjustly ostracize members of the LGBTQ community away from faith and spirituality. I believe that folks can embrace the identity that is genuine to them, and still maintain their spiritual beliefs! Briefly, the keys are to first monitor how we allow those in our life to influence our thoughts and emotions. We need to create standards and boundaries to protect ourselves. We also need to not project the judgment of other people onto our individual spiritual beliefs! There are many ways in which to tackle this effort!

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Sherry Katz, LCSW
Couples and Family Therapist, LCSW

Ultimately, to suppress your natural identity will work against you.

However difficult, painful, frightening, it is to tell your family about your discovery about who you are, trying to avoid your own truth will do you harm eventually.

One way to make this conversation easier for yourself is to prepare yourself for the outcomes you expect and know will be difficult.

Take as much time as you need to accept the potential rejection because this way iff and when it comes you will be better able to handle it.

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.
Lindsey Brooks, PhD Psychologist
Lindsey Brooks, PhD Psychologist
Progressive Therapy San Francisco

First of all, I want to say, I am so sorry you are not feeling accepted by your family. I know how  isolating and lonely this can be. The most important step you can take right now is building a community of supportive people who do accept you. Creating your own sense of community is very powerful for helping you love yourself. If you can find a trans support or LGBTQ support group in your area, I recommend seeking that out right away through your local LGBTQ center or PFLAG. If you don’t have access to that, I recommend calling Trans Lifeline US: 877-565-8860 Canada: 877-330-6366 https://www.translifeline.org/. You can talk to other trans-identified people anonymously for support, calling them from wherever you feel safe. This is a great way to begin to connect with other people who have similar experiences to you.


Next, think of this time in your life as your time to explore your gender identity, just for yourself. Make room to explore you gender identity in ways that are private and comfortable for you. Consider reading a book like: https://www.newharbinger.com/queer-and-transgender-resilience-workbook to explore who you are and build resilience. Also, consider learning about other religions that are accepting of LGBTQ folks for another perspective - there are many out there!


Once you feel you have a strong support system outside of your family and a positive sense of self-love (which can take time, be patient, don’t rush it), then you can consider what action steps you want to take with your family. If you are still living with your family or financially depend on them, having other supports in place first is very important. It’s a very personal choice how you want to navigate your family relationships, talk it through in-depth with a trusted friend, other trans folks, or therapist to help you decide what’s right for you.


And remember, there are tons of people out there who will love and accept you. We are rooting for you!

In solidarity,

-Lindsey

The information above is intended as general information...  (more)The information above is intended as general information based on minimal information, and does not constitute health care advice. This information does not constitute communication with a counselor/therapist nor does it create a therapist-client relationship nor any of the privileges that relationship may provide. If you are currently feeling suicidal or are in crisis, call 911 or proceed to your local emergency room.

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