A reader writes:
Hello, I’m from Mexico. I am 18 and I just came out to my family and I’m going to therapy, but I feel trapped and that I am never going to start my transition. I really feel very uncomfortable, and I feel like my parents don’t understand me or don’t know what I want.
I think it is more dangerous because i live in Mexico, and because of that, they don’t know how to help me. I know that maybe I’m young but I’ve been feeling this for three years now and it really gets me so sad sometimes that I’ve been thinking a lot of suicide. The only thing that gets me going is college.
However, I just want to you give me some advice on what can I do. I really feel very lost.
First of all, you are not alone, although I’m sure that it feels like it right now. What I want you to do is hang on and wait for college, because I believe that things will get better there.
I don’t know a lot about the college life in Mexico or what resources are available for trans people in Mexico, but I do know that college in the United States can be very helpful for young trans people, and that many U.S. colleges have trans resources and support groups. I hope that your college will have something similar.
I don’t know what part of Mexico you are from. This might be helpful for my readers to know, because I do have readers in Mexico, and they might be able to suggest something – somewhere for you to go, some support groups, some information or groups for parents and so on. If you want to, leave something in the Comments section saying what part of Mexico you are in, and it might help. You can leave a comment anonymously.
From what I understand, it can be difficult for trans people in Mexico. But it can be difficult anywhere. What you want to do is try to find some support, and I think that you might be able to find that in college. That’s why you need to hang on until then.
I know quite a few trans people who have felt suicidal at some point in their life, but they were eventually able to transition or do what they needed to do, and they are very happy now and glad to be alive. I think that will happen for you, too.
It sounds as if your parents are at least somewhat supportive. You have come out to them, and you are going to therapy. They might not understand your gender issues, but most parents don’t. It takes time for them to truly come to terms with this situation and figure out what they can do to help.
They might be afraid because they think that you will be in danger or that you will get hurt if you transition. This is a fear of almost all parents, and it is a fear that sometimes prevents them from supporting a transition or even dealing with the situation at all. Maybe they are not aware of how much you are suffering emotionally right now, and if you talked to them about that, they might be more inclined to try to help you.
If you are satisfied with your therapist and you feel that he or she truly understands your issues, one thing you could do is ask your parents to schedule an appointment your therapist. Your therapist can talk to them about gender issues and try to help them understand. (Your therapist is bound by confidentiality, so he/she will not discuss your personal situation without your permission, but he/she can help them understand in general what you are experiencing, what transition is, and why it is necessary for many people.)
I also suggest that you try to find resources to help your parents understand this. Are there books or websites that have helped you? You could give those books to your parents or show them those websites. I am also going to e-mail you a pdf of my short book My Child is Transgender: 10 Tips for Parents of Adult Trans Children.
It is in English, and based on your original letter, which I edited, I am making an assumption that your parents might not read or speak English. I don’t have a Spanish translation of this book, but perhaps you or someone else there could translate it for them if they don’t read English. I think it could be helpful.
Right now, this might seem like an impossible situation. But it’s not. As you say, you are young. That doesn’t mean that you don’t know what you want and need, but it does mean that you have time and you have a full life ahead of you.
Most people don’t start transition until they are adults. It might seem as if it is taking forever, but remember that it is a process. It does take time. And you are already on the path, because you have come out to your family and you are seeing a therapist. Those are the first steps – so, in fact, you have started your transition.
Think about that. You have already started. Keep that in mind as you prepare for college and talk more to your parents about what you want to do. Whenever you get discouraged, think “I have already started. I am already doing it.” Because you have and you are. Just keep moving forward and you will get there. I wish you the best of luck.
I invite all my readers to comment, as always, but I would love to hear from readers in Mexico or readers who are familiar with resources in Mexico. Thank you in advance for any help.