Letter from: Anonymous
Hey, So I have a problem with a relationship that I have been in for about 8 months. I have never really dated before, mostly I just spend a lot of time with friends, some of them, in the past I have felt slightly attracted to, others I haven’t, but the feelings go away as soon as I tell them what I feel. However I recently started “dating” this girl, I don’t know if I consider myself a lesbian or not, but this relationship happens to be with a girl.
I haven’t told my parents because they are without a doubt the most homophobic people on the face of this planet. So, while I have been having a good time with her, she just sat me down a few days ago and told me that she wants to have a sex change, but still wants to be with me. I am not apposed to being with a guy, it’s just that I fell for her, one of the reasons being that she is a girl. Along with trying to figure out who I am as a teenager, I don’t know what to do about this. I can’t really talk to my friends about this, but I saw this “ask Annabelle” part of your website and figured that you might be able to shoot some advice my way. Thank you for taking the time to read this, it means a lot.
Being a teenager in your first relationship is always a bit perplexing, but you seem to have the added pressure of being in a lesbian relationship, with parents who are intolerant of queer dynamics, while learning that your girlfriend may actually prefer to be your boyfriend, and still trying to figure out your own sexual orientation. I agree that this is a lot for a teenager to process! First off, although being able label oneself as being straight, gay, lesbian, or bisexual sometimes helps to clear some of the confusion, you are still at a point in your life where you are still figuring that all out, so I encourage you to take some time to process all that is happening before you try to decide whether you are attracted to men, women, or both. Secondly, some people believe that gender and sexuality are different things. As you stated, one of the reasons that you are attracted this particular person is because she is female. Although you are not “opposed” to being with a guy, is a trans-queer relationship one that you can potentially see yourself in? This is a very dynamic topic, and, unfortunately, one that is too complex to be addressed fully in this column. I strongly encourage you to seek out more information while making your decision. There are great links that may be helpful, such as www.gender.org, which can provide you with a scope of resources. Finally, telling parents about any relationship that they may not approve of can be difficult and scary. I imagine that your parents’ “homophobic” views are contributing to some of your uncertainty given your current situation. I cannot tell you what action to take in regards to how much you chose to share with your parents, but I do encourage you to reach out to friends that will be open to your new relationship. If you feel that you don’t have a good network, seek out community LGBT groups that can provide you with support. I cannot emphasize how important and helpful peer-support is when coming out in a queer-relationship. Good luck!
Thank you so much for this brave letter. Not only are you a teenager in your first relationship, which is its own Everest in itself, but as Liesel said; there seems to be so many other factors stacked on top of that. Figuring out who you are in this world is a very hard thing to begin with. I am still trying to in my late 20’s, and Im sure many of the other readers here who are older are as well still figuring it out. I think that is part of our journey here. I encourage you to pull the focus back onto yourself for a moment. Aside from all the things going on around you, can you think about what it is you want and feel? At your core, what do you feel is your chosen sexuality? Is a transexual relationship something you can see yourself being in long term? Where do you feel you fit in your body, in your home, in your world? I can offer you what has made my journey easier for me. Peer groups, community and support. Surrounding yourself with a peer group you feel comfortable confiding in and being open with makes a huge difference. If you do not currently have one, I encourage you to seek that out or think about opening up to the peer group and/or family you already have. I know this can be scary but it is my experience that the fear of the aftermath of being honest is much greater then the actual reality of what follows. I also encourage you to seek out councilors, and other communities. Like Liesel said; there are great programs that offer free counseling and other great services. I wish you luck.