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To Sam

I don't feel like I'm in the right body.

Hi Sam, I'm a 13 year old girl but for the past few years I've been starting to realise that this really isn't who I want to be. I really want to be a boy, but I haven't got the courage to tell my family or friends. I mean I've recently came out about my sexuality, after gathering that confidence, but this just seems like a much bigger thing to talk about to them. My mum was very supportive about my sexuality, but I have a feeling she would be less supportive of this.

I've been researching about transgenders and the things they do, changing little things, while some get surgery to fully change themselves. I just don't know what to do or how to tell my family that I don't feel comfortable in my own body...

I hope you can help me with this... Hopefully you can help me gather the confidence to hint or tell them.

Thank you

Ask Sam

Sam

Hi there,

As we grow older we can start to explore more about who we are and how we feel about ourselves. Some people begin to notice that they don’t feel they are the sex they were born at birth, which can be a difficult feeling to discuss with others. It can be hard to know how people will react. You don’t say what makes you feel your mum won’t be supportive of your feelings about your gender. Perhaps you could explore what makes you feel this way before you decide how to tell her, as this might help you to plan what to say.

When we have something important to talk about it can help to think about how you would like to plan the conversation. Some people find that writing their feelings down in a letter helps. They may decide to give the letter to the person they want to talk to, or may just use it to get all their feelings down and plan out what to say. A letter can allow someone the time and space to fully consider what they want to say and can mean they have more time and space to get their feelings down. If there is a worry that the person receiving the letter may not react well, it gives them time to accept what’s in the letter and may mean they are able to plan their own response and perhaps think through what has been said more.

Another way it can be helpful to find out how someone feels about a subject is to link it to something someone else has experienced, for example a friend or someone in the media or on a TV programme. By talking about someone else’s experience you may be able to explore more about how that person feels about the subject. It can be worth remembering that some people may not react in the same way to someone else’s situation as they do to someone they know.

If you decide to talk to your mum face to face, it can be helpful to pick a time when she isn’t going to be busy or distracted and she will have time to talk things through with you. You may find it helpful to consider how you may explain your feelings if you think your mum may not listen to how you are feeling or dismiss what you say.

It’s good you have started to find out a bit more about other people's experience of being transgender and how they decide to make changes which help them to feel more comfortable in themselves. Everyone is different and so feel differently about the changes that they would like to make. There is no right or wrong path to take. It’s important that the decisions you make feel comfortable for you and throughout your life you may find that the steps you want to take to feel more comfortable in yourself change.

It seems like talking to your friends and family will be a big step for you and something you are worried about. The counsellors at ChildLine can listen to your worries and support you. No matter what’s on your mind, this is not something you have to go through alone.

Take care,
Sam

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