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