Ask Sam letter


To Sam

I feel like I'm not allowed to be a boy

Hi Sam, My name is K* but it's a pretty girly name and I prefer J*. I don't feel like a girl and I want to tell my parents how I feel, but I don't feel like I'm allowed to identify as transgender because I love certain feminine things, like dresses and shoes. I just don't seem to fulfill all the requirements of being transgender, even though I'm almost 100% sure I'm a boy. The transgender people I know online all seem so different to me and I don't feel like a part of that community. How can I be sure of my gender? Also, do you have any tips for coming out? My parents are pretty open minded but I don't know how to explain it..
Ask Sam



It’s not always easy trying to understand feelings around your gender. When someone is unhappy with the gender they were brought up as, this is often known as transgender or trans. 

Some people who were born male also enjoy dressing up in feminine clothing like dresses and heels, and it’s important to remember there are no wrongs or rights in how you feel. You’re not alone and this is very normal.

Some transgender people can feel quite distressed with their body, especially during and after puberty as they may feel they are in the wrong body and these changes can be difficult. However not everyone who is trans wants to go from living a girl to living as a boy (or the other way round).

Not everyone sees themselves as completely female or male there are some people who see themselves as gender fluid, which is when someone doesn’t identify solely male or female but rather they see their gender to be fluid between both.

Genderqueer is when someone has a clear idea of where they sit between male and female, this is not fluid moving closer to female at some points and closer to male at others, however similarly to gender fluid people they don’t identify as male or female.
The important thing is that you can be however you want to be – there is no right and wrong. The NHS choices website has a page on teenagers and gender identity that can help you think about what support could be available.

You may feel ready to open up about your thoughts and feelings at home and although you find it hard to express yourself, you have explained yourself really clearly here. Asking an adult for help can help you think about how to talk to someone like your parents.

Sometimes talking to people you trust and getting support can help you to work things out and feel supported and understood. There is never a wrong or right time or way to ‘come out’ but what’s really important is  that you feel ready and never feel pressured into telling someone before you are ready.

Perhaps if it’s hard to say things out loud to your parents you could think about writing things down or practising in the mirror to build your confidence. Having a conversation with a ChildLine counsellor can help you prepare and feel clearer about what you want to say.

Hope some of this helps,

Need help straight away?

You can talk privately to a counsellor online or call 0800 1111 for free.

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