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L G B T+

The Unofficial Guide

Transgender Edition

His Story
: What is

You Are
I Am
Not Alone KAEL
What is
Transgender :
Someone whose gender differs from the one
they were given when they were born.

Two Common Types

Female to Male (FTM): People who are born biologically female
and identify and a male.

Male to Female (MTF): People who are born biologically male

and identify and a female.

30% 42%
youth identiy
have attempted suicide have self harmed

as transgender

1 are sexually assaulted

transgender people 80% 63%
are victims of bullying
have experienced feel unsafe at school
How does someone know that they are transgender?
People can realize that theyre transgender at any age. Some people can trace their awareness back to their earlier
memories they just knew. Others may need more time to realize that they are transgender. Some people may spend years
feeling like they dont fit in without really understanding why, or may try to avoid thinking or talking about their gender out
of fear, shame, or confusion. Trying to repress or change ones gender identity doesnt work; in fact, it can be very painful
and damaging to ones emotional and mental health. As transgender people become more visible in the media and in
community life across the country, more transgender people are able to name and understand their own experiences
and may feel safer and more comfortable sharing it with others.

For many transgender people, recognizing who they are and deciding to start gender transition can take a lot of
reflection. Transgender people risk social stigma, discrimination, and harassment when they tell other people who they
really are. Parents, friends, coworkers, classmates, and neighbors may be acceptingbut they also might not be, and many
transgender people fear that they will not be accepted by their loved ones and others in their life. Despite those risks,
being open about ones gender identity, and living a life that feels truly authentic, can be a life-affirming and even life-
saving decision.

How can I be supportive of my transgender friends?

Perhaps you have a close friend or family member that is wanting to transition. For many this isnt an easy thing but it
is good to be supportive and know what you can do to be a respectful ally to your friend. Here are a few tips to
help you on your friends journey.

1. Use proper pronouns - This is the most important rule to follow. Using the proper he or she pronouns
shows that you understand and respect that this person is transitioning. We understand that you may make
a mistake and that is okay. Just be sure to apologize and move on. The bigger the deal you make out of it,
the more uncomfortable it may become. Respect the terminology that the person feels comfortable with.
And if you have a question, its okay to ask.

2. Dont ask a transgender person what their real name is - For some transgender people, their
birth name could bring back many unwanted memories. Respect the name that the person is currently using.
If you happen to know the name of the person before tranistioning, do not share it unless you have the
permission from the person.

3. Be careful about confidentiality - If a friend comes out to you about their idenity, they trust you. Dont
share information that the individual may not have publicly displayed yet. This can result in gossiping,
bullying, anxiety and more.

4. Listen - Sometimes being a listening ear is something can be of aide to your friend who is transitioning.
This is not an easy thing to do alone. Remember that if something happens that you are not educated
about, ask. Most transgender individuals wish that their friends would ask more quesitons to learn how to
be supoprtive in their situation.

His Story
Living in Wyoming is hard. Walmart is a luxury, cows are a plenty, and country music is a must. Living in Wyoming
is exceptionally hard when you are 16 years old, and suddenly your friends arent your friends anymore, when
getting your period feels like a curse that you cant get rid of.

Dean went through this. Dean wasnt always Dean. He used to go by a name regularly given to females. Its
a name he cant even bear to say because it hurts so much.

Dean is transgender. Something that 1.4 million people worldwide identify with. Also something that several
of his friends left him because of. Not only friends, but family members as well. His dad didnt speak for him for
6 months and made terrible posts of social media declaring how people who identify as transgender have
mental illnesses and pedophiles. He felt alone. His mom knowing a MTF (Male-to-Female) had many concerns
of how the public would treat him but knew she had to be supportive of him.

He became depressed, agitated and ever considered taking his own life. He had nowhere to go, finally he
found a support system on Tumblr. He connected with several other trans individuals across the world. He was
taught to explore his identity, not hide from it. After a couple of months, he felt comfortable in his own skin and
started going by male pronouns in public, changed his name, and realized who his true friends where.

What frustrated him the most was that no one believed he was still the same person, with the same likes and
dislikes as before. Nothing about who he was changed. He was still the sarcastic, fun, jokester that everyone
had grown to love. Only, no one treated him that way.

Fighting people to use the correct names and pronouns were difficult. People were ignorant, stating:

I had to fight people who Ive known for years to use the right name/pronouns. They always made
it about them; Oh Ive just known you for so long or Im sorry I just always think of you as ____ so
its difficult. Some straight up told me they preferred my other name so they would just call me that.
People can be incredibly selfish.

Though through this, Dean found happiness, and by doing so, relationships were restored. His father ended
up seeing his happiness, that Dean was a happy person. That Dean was his son. In the end, Deans breast
reconstruction surgery and his hormonal therapy ended up being paid for by his father. He saw what the
transition did for his son. His son, Dean.

Hormonal therapy is not an easy ride from getting approved to start, to going through puberty a second
time. It can be rough. Dean started to grow facial hair, his jaw became more broad, developed an Adams
apple, and start to become way more muscular. His process took about two years to achieve his physical
goal. Yet, he is still striving to become fully who he feels like he needs to be. His journey isnt over. And he does
not believe it will ever be over. As he put it, Being transgender isnt about the destination, as corny as that
sounds. Its about the destination.

Dean wants other kids struggling with their identity to know that its okay. There really is a light at the end of
the tunnel as cheesy as that sounds. If you explore who you are, no matter if it is sexually, fashion wise, or even
with music, you dont lose anything by getting to know yourself. Your identify is valid and no one else has the
agency to tell you otherwise.
I Am
Many people would probably call me a lesbian in high school. I dated girls and had short hair. Since the beginning I
felt different. Being the only daughter in my family, I felt so much pressure to be the perfect daughter and do exactly as
they told. No child wants to break their parents heart. So I coped. I chopped my hair into a more androgynous style
and started wearing baggier clothes that I felt more comfortable. Everyone thought that I was going through a phase,
and to be honest, I almost did too.

All through my middle school years I belonged to every clique known to man. As I like to put it, it was an unidentifiable
blur. Prep? I hated those clothes. Especially when I started growing more feminine features I remember how my small
breasts would feel against my shirt. The nightmarish experience when my mother took my in for my first bra. I would look
in the mirror and cry because the person that stared straight into my face was a stranger. And I got scared. Emo? Way
too much eyeliner, though that is where I stayed. I could wear the masculine clothes. I started feeling like I belonged to
a group.

Who was I? Good question. I was happy! Well, as happy as I could be. Feeling alone in my own skin was always there
in my mind. Just sitting there in the back, dark corner. That feeling started creeping out when I started menstruating. I
remember lying on the bathroom floor because I wanted this to stop. I wasnt ready to be a girl, let alone a woman. The
feeling started whispering secrets to me that I didnt want to hear nor was I ready for. I shook that feeling back into the
corner and buried it under make-up, heavy eyeliner, and even more black t-shirts that I subconsciously would tug away
from my body.

When I was a sophomore in high school I heard the word transgender. This was the first time I had ever heard anything
relating to trans. Could I be trans? That word haunted me for a very long time. Was this the answer? Whenever I started
getting intimate with a girl I felt ashamed about what was going on between my legs. You should have a penis. That
feeling would faintly say.

My mother would cry all the time. Whether it was when people did not know what pronouns to use towards my
androgynous appearance in public, when I cut off more of my hair, or if it was when I decided to stop wearing makeup
completely. She was convinced I was into drugs and alcohol, which I had not even touched. So, she did what any
mother would do to keep her little girl safe. She grounded me, she threatened to take away my privileges if I kept
wearing masculine clothes. And to be honest, it worked. For a while anyway. No child ever wants to see their mom crying
every night because of them. I had to keep assuring my mom I loved her more than anything in this world. After so many
nights of being grounded, and trying to be someone I wasnt, that feeling took over. I had to come to terms with what
was really happening inside of me.

I was transgender. You would think that finally knowing who I was would be easy, right? Wrong. Saying that word at
first felt like a stone was being dropped into my stomach. So many things had gone wrong with connotations of
transgendered individuals. People were being judged, losing jobs, and even worse, killed. I was the one crying now. I
was relieved, happy, sad and scared. All those terrible years of depression and turmoil amounted to one problem. I
wasnt a girl. I never had been. As the girl laid down on her bed crying, I stood up from that dark corner. The boy I was
meant to be had to be a man very quickly. I didnt have a name yet, nor did I think I had a story. But I was ready to
write one.

Looking back at my years in middle and high school, I want to let you know that you should find mentors. Find people
who have been through this, who can help you through the hard times, will cheer you on through the good. If you live in
a large city, there will be support groups and meetings you can join. If not, the online resources are huge and varied.
Also, explore your feelings and be true to them. There is no wrong way to be trans and what feels comfortable and right
to you, will not be the same as someone else. The best part of transitioning is finally being comfortable and being your
true self; no one else can tell you who you really are. And I finally know, with the help of hormones therapy, that have a
fantastic beard, I have a very low voice, and I have the hairiest legs known to man. But mostly, I am KAEL.
You Are
Not Alone
Ryan Jacobs Flores
Elle Bradford
Kale Garrah

Trans Lifeline
(877) 565-8860

Trevor Text
Text TREVOR to (202) 304-1200

Suicide Hotline
(800) 273-8255