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A teen wonders about being FTM.

Question: Am I FTM?
Day to day experiences that many people take for granted can get confusing when you have questions about your gender identity. Here one young person wonders about being FTM (female-to-male).

Wut_Wut writes:

"For a while now I've wanted to be a boy. I look at this FTM blog, and I feel jealous of those guys. They're talking about getting T and being post-op, and all that stuff. I ordered a binder, but it hasn't gotten here yet. I bound yesterday for a bit, and I was so excited. I looked almost like a boy. I really want to tell my mom that I want to be a boy. But I'm nervous to. I want the shots and stuff. But then I start thinking that what if I don't want to be a guy? Like, if it is just a phase or something. I've been confused about it lately.

Thanks so much for writing!

What you are going through is really personal. The desire to go on T (synthetic testosterone hormones), to bind your breasts and to live as a boy, sounds really powerful. But whether transitioning is right for you is not something anyone else can really tell you.

Transitioning refers to going through the process of changing genders. Some people really want to begin the process as a teen. And some studies have actually found that adolescents who start hormone therapy as teens have fewer psychological problems than people who start the process of transitioning as adults. But this doesn't meant this is the right journey for everyone.

In your case, it might be wise to hold off for a little while, for the simple reason that you are still questioning your gender identity, and it is a huge decision to alter your body through hormones (let alone the surgery needed to for someone to identify as "post-op").

One thing you should never do is take anything without a prescription. This can be tempting if you don't have an adult to confide in, but it is very dangerous. Using a friend's hormones, or buying them on the street are really bad ideas. First, you never really know what you are getting when you buy anything on the street. Also, using more hormones than a doctor would prescribe can kill you. Plus, a teen might have an underlying medical condition that could make hormone use dangerous to begin with. And of course, if you share needles to inject anything, you are running the risk of contracting infections including HIV, the virus that causes AIDS.

You say you really want to tell your mom how you are feeling. Taling to her might help clarify a lot of your questions. But doing so can be scary and even risky. Do you have a sense of how she might react? If the answer is really badly, is there another adult you can talk to about this? Whether or not you have a grown-up in your life to turn to, it might also be helpful to talk to a GLBT-friendly counsellor who is trained in gender issues.

If at all possible, it would be great if you also had a supportive health care provider. The Gay and Lesbian Medical Association is a good place to start. Another is to connect to the trans community where you can find support and resources. You can usually find out what is going on in your area through the closest GLBT Community Center.

Being a teen is tough. Being a trans with questions about gender can make things that much more complicated. But one thing to keep in mind is that you aren't alone and that everyday there is more and more support available to you.

You might want to take this quiz, "Am I Transgender" to help you answer some questions.

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