On Being A Trans Teen
The acceptance of transgender people and an understanding of their challenges could be the difference between a child’s life and death.
Pic: Unsplash / Sharon McCutcheon
Discovering yourself is something all teens go through, whether that be listening to screamo music, dying your hair bright colours or coming to terms with your own gender.
So what happens when a person discovers that their true gender is not what they were assigned at birth?
What does it mean to be transgender?
Gender is often an overlooked aspect of someone’s identity; that is unless you discover yourself to be transgender. Being trans is defined by the presence of gender dysphoria, which is the disconnect between the gender you perceive yourself and the sex you were born as.
How does it feel to be transgender?
Dysphoria is a negative emotion, often leading to depression and self-harm, and one that society plays a big hand in. For example, when I, a transgender male, am called a woman or female, it generates dysphoria in me. This feels like discomfort and bitterness.
In fact, society, family, friends, teachers and even the individual themselves can become unaccepting and so cause transgender people to find themselves buried in an extremely depressive state. It is a shocking but true statistic that 59% of transgender people under 26 in the UK have considered suicide, myself included, and 46% actually go through with it.
Yet the feeling that occurs when a trans person is recognised as the identity they have claimed as their own? It’s brilliant.
What could I do to support transgender youth?
There are so many things that could be done to support and aide transgender youth.
The inclusion of transgender issues and LGBTQ+ issues in general in the mandatory school curriculum would be almost revolutionary. Currently, the school I attend doesn’t have a sex education scheme at all, let alone one that caters to the questions and needs of trans students.
For a child questioning everything they know, having to do their own research can be daunting. It could scare them off from looking further into information that they actually need.
Being a trans child’s defender and backer can alleviate so much of the terror and hardship that is encountered with the feelings of being alone and being different.
There are so many obstacles that trans children face that can lead to emotions that can break even the strongest of adults. So many of the people who uncover that their gender is actually different from what they’ve been assigned are below 18.
There are so many things the world could do to change things for transgender children, teens and adults. I encourage you to educate yourself and be our champion. We need you, and we need your support.