I am dating a really wonderful transgender boy who I care about very much. He hasn’t come out to his parents or most of his friends and he is often depressed about the female body he was born into. He says that I help him a lot by just being there, listening to him, and giving him advice, but I want to do more to help. I’ve looked online a lot for transgender support resources but have come up short. I was wondering if you could help find either resources or advice on how to be there for him.
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The boy you are dating is so lucky to have you! You’re doing the right thing by reaching out to The Trevor Project to answer your questions. What your boyfriend is going through is most certainly difficult, but I hope I can offer you both the advice you seek.
It seems that your boyfriend is certain that he identifies as transgender, in which case I encourage him to continue to research his sexuality. I would pass this along to him, a pdf with info on transsexuality: http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/storage/advfy/documents/transgender.pdf. Also check out GLAAD’s transgender resources, located here: http://www.glaad.org/transgender.
In regards to coming out, that is something he can do only when he is ready. He should only come out when he is comfortable and to people with whom he is comfortable. Safety is of the upmost importance. If he fears that his parents may not accept him after he comes out, then he may want to figure out a safety plan of sorts. But it’s good that he’s started to talk to people whom he can trust, such as yourself. I encourage you to continue to talk to him about these issues and help him feel as comfortable as possible. Be sure to also affirm that what he’s going through is normal and that his sexuality is natural. Be there for him when you can and try to get him help when you can’t. For more on coming out, see the Human Rights Campaign’s Guide to Coming Out, here: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/resource-guide-to-coming-out. You may also want to check out HRC’s guide for straight allies, located here: http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/straight-guide-to-lgbt-americans.
Also encourage him to contact us at The Trevor Project! He can find an accepting community through TrevorSpace, The Trevor Project’s social network designed for LGBTQ youth ages 13-24. There is also always someone to offer him advice, either through our online chat service TrevorChat, located at http://www.thetrevorproject.org/chat, or through our lifeline, which he can reach by calling 1-866-488-7386.
The Trevor Project