Why can't my parents and the rest of my family get over the fact that I'm transgender? Why don't they accept me as I am? As a senior in high school I think I'm old enough to make up my own mind. Ever since I was a little kid I've known that I'm different from other guys (and I'm not talking about same-sex attractions right now – that's a different issue). It's obvious to me that I was made to be a woman. I am a woman on the inside. Now that I'm approaching adulthood, I've made up my mind to take some steps toward becoming the person God created me to be. When I talk to my mom and dad about this, they come completely unglued. You'd think the world was coming to an end. But all I want is to be myself. Can you help me?
It's obvious that you're hurting badly, and we want to help you in any way we can. Before we talk about your concerns regarding your parents, we want to first acknowledge your own pain around this whole situation.
Focus is first and foremost a family-oriented ministry. We care about mothers, fathers, and children, and we don't want to see anybody rejected or ostracized by their loved ones. It concerns us deeply to hear that you feel you're being treated this way as a result of your decision to self-identify as a female. If you'll give us a chance, we'd sincerely like to come alongside you and help you work through this difficulty in your life. It doesn't matter who you are, what you've done, or how you feel about yourself. God loves you unconditionally. He wants you to know His love in a profound and deeply personal way.
We also want to say we agree with you that transgenderism and homosexuality are very different issues, often operating independently of one another. And, in certain respects transgenderism is the deeper and more complicated of the two. Very often it has little or nothing to do with same-sex attractions or sexual behaviors. You, your parents, and any counselors with whom you choose to consult should keep this in mind.
That said, we encourage you to think a little more carefully about the assertions you're making with respect to your gender identity. We've learned from experience that it's a good idea to go slow when making big life decisions that will change the course of your future. That's especially true where your sexuality and personal identity are concerned. With that in mind, we want to suggest that you press the "pause button" before embracing a "transgender identity" based on the feelings you've been experiencing. We suggest that you filter out all the cultural and political noise on this subject and take an honest look at your options through the lens of your deepest values. We'd also encourage you to do this in partnership with your parents and a qualified Christian counselor who specializes in transgender issues.
As you go through this process, adopt a descriptive rather than a prescriptive approach. In other words, try to talk it out in the context of mature relationships instead of acting it out. Be open about your feelings, wants, hopes, and fears without assigning them to any specific category or putting a label on yourself. Resist the temptation to set your hopes on such things as hormone therapy or "sexual reassignment surgery," which can never alter your God-given, genetic birth sex. Permanent alterations to your body should be avoided at all costs. Remember, adolescence is a period of dramatic physical change and development. It's possible that much of the confusion you're now experiencing goes with puberty and the related changes that are part of this time of rapid growth.
We all experience pain of one kind or another in the course of our lives, and most of us respond by looking for some kind of immediate relief. But, in the majority of cases we find it wise to embrace the pain long enough to complete the transformative journey that's required to discover what's really going on. That's why it's vital to seek the assistance of a supportive community of people – family, friends, and knowledgeable advisors – who can help you in the midst of these challenges.
A final important consideration is that of your personal belief system and faith-commitment. You've said that you want to become "the person God created you to be." Does this mean that you consider yourself a Christian? If so, we'd like to urge you to examine your faith convictions with great care and to give them priority over every other consideration. Study the Bible and ask yourself if transgenderism can really be reconciled with God's design for human sexuality you see in Genesis Chapters 1 through 3. Talk this over with a trusted pastor or older Christian mentor. Be as honest with yourself as you can as you carefully examine the Scriptures.
If you'd like to discuss all of this with a member of our team, give our Counseling team a call for free. Focus on the Family has a staff of licensed Christian counselors who would love to speak with you over the phone.