I think the video Janet Mock did for Transsexual kids is very important. Kids need to know it is ok to be different and more importantly Transsexual teenagers truly need to know life does get a heck of a lot better and why it can and does may surprise a lot of you.
Like many of my sisters I was bullied very severely as a child. It got ugly as I reached 10 primarily because I just did not fit boy really well. It was not because I was a flamboyant queen but physically, psychologically, and ironically gender wise I was such a horrible fit for a boy. Yes I did said gender. Let me explain.
Gender defines how society expects boys and girls to present. It is more complicated than that but kids are not that complicated. Boys look at other boys and they see either boy or different and then they decide if the different is palatable. I started school young and skipped grades early so at ten I was in what we call Junior High School in the United States or grades 7-9 and actually started 7th grade at 9. I was much younger than the other kids but physically I was tall for my age so they perceived me as an equal age wise. The problem with Type VI Transsexual kids is most have a really difficult time being boy enough to be palatable to other boys. In all honesty I have never met a Type VI that did not have this problem regardless of what they looked like.
This may be why Type V Transsexuals manage to get through their teenage years and into adulthood and can actually fool or delude themselves into trying to be man enough or male enough for society. I will leave that to them to discuss. The irony is one does not have to be overtly feminine. Plenty of boys are very pretty in a feminine sense as kids but somehow boys recognize them as boys and they are palatable as boys and face no bullying. Maybe it is their physical prowess or masculinity that other boys recognize but other boys seem to know.
The boy that became my boyfriend in High School was a beautiful boy but he was never bullied and grew into this uber Alpha Male athlete and was still gorgeous as a young man but in a masculine way. The primary problem Transsexual kids have, at least Type VI do, is we somehow just do not project as masculine or male. Even before I got mad and pushed gender boundaries, that word again, boys seemed to know I was not one of them and girls were quite honestly puzzled by me and not sure what to make of me.
I carried my books in front of me against my chest like all girls do. Boys carry books at their side because they have more arm strength or more likely it is a boy thing. I had a Ten Pin Bowling Instructor once tell me girls arms are different than boys and it was why he was having a hard time teaching me to hook the ball instead of throwing a backup ball. It was true but it was College and he was cute and the harder I made it for him to teach me to ball "like a boy" the longer I got to be around him and he did perceive me as a girl. Other gender markers just somehow screamed different or NOT BOY to other boys. We just did not fit into boy or girl and that is a problem for kids.
It is almost impossible for Transsexual kids to hide what they are if Type VI which all young Transsexuals are that transition early. Most just look at themselves as heterosexual girls, at least initially, because it is that girl awareness that boys are cute that starts the big issues. Most of the bullying occurs out of fear. Even the girls that bully Transsexual kids do it because of fear. Whether it is fear of the unknown or more likely fear that they are not hetero-normal it is actually based around perception of gender. Most of us young Transsexuals are obsessed with changing our sex once we realize we can do it but in many cases, even today, kids just do not know it is possible.
I guess most that read this blog know it was kind of ugly for me when I was a child. There was both physical abuse from boys and a lot of verbal abuse from adults. Information was sketchy in the 50's and even though my parents in their own way were supportive, they did not pound me with androgen as suggested, I was confused, hurting, and most of all angry that I was not a girl. The safest thing any Transsexual child can do is quite simply "come out". Tell people you are Transsexual. Tell your parents how you feel. It does not mean you have to live the rest of your life "out" but it will be a whole lot safer for you in the short term.
How can you say that is probably on the tip of more than a few tongues out there. Actually, it just very simple. I was 13 1/2 when I told a boy I was really a girl and just wanted to be a girl. It managed to go through my High School in about 20 minutes once another friend of his let it out but in all honesty it was the best thing that happened after the initial weirdness of how it came about passed. I can still remember the "he wants to be a girl" or "he thinks he is a she" comments. This happened at the end of my Sophomore year in High School and things change rapidly in my life. Even then I had no idea I was Transsexual but kids and particularly boys seemed to understand the issues which I found weird when it happened.
I remember telling my mom that boys didn't hurt "real" girls like they hurt me shortly after that part of my being was exposed. Kevin, my boyfriend at time, told me it was simply because the other boys now realized I was sort of a girl and the vast majority of boys would never hurt a girl. It didn't hurt having the QB of the football team as a "friend".
When I met Harry in late 1959 just before my 14th birthday I learned I was Transsexual. It was the day I learned I had a chance at my "real" life. Before then I thought I was doomed. My High School might have been the most enlightened High School in that era in the US because when it came out I was transsexual I absolutely never had an issue of violence again perpetrated on me by a teenager and I felt free to be me. One could not transition in the 50's but unless you knew I was a girl it became kind of a silly joke not to tell knew male students I was not a girl and then when they learned I was not a "complete" girl they were told, "She is okay. She just wants to be a girl." This was the 1950s in conservative America but it was okay to be me.
Except for my adult neighbor, he raped me in February 1960, I was never physically assaulted again. It is why every child we have helped over the years gets the recommendation to openly tell others they are Transsexual because the simple concept of "outing" yourself lets boys in particular understand their feelings or subliminal attraction to you is basically pretty normal because you should have been a girl. I know it sounds stupid but in many ways it is actually that simple.
The obvious question is how would I know this? The answer is simple. I was told this.
When I told Kevin I was a girl we had a rather heated exchange about why other boys hurt me, many his friends by the way, because I was terrified I was about to be hurt because of the event that was in progress. I have never forgotten what he said.
My friends thought you were queer but I just didn't get that feeling. I like girls and have never had any thoughts of boys. Everything about you screams girl. That is why all the guys are so uptight about you. Guys don't like to think they are attracted to another guy. It scares them to death. You scare them to death because if you were a girl they would be chasing you around this school but then you should be a girl, right?
I think I screamed at him boys hurt me because I confused them?
You were never a boy so you don't have a clue what it is like. All we think about is sports and girls. Believe me when I say girls come first. We are confused enough by girls and then you come waltzing into school. No makeup, you walk like a girl, talk like a girl, act like a girl, smell like a girl and you are as cute as any girl in this school. It is natural for boys to be immediately attracted to you at first. All our senses say you are a girl and even the shy boys’ dream of dating a girl like you. Then everyone realizes you are not a girl. I'll bet you don't even realize you were the single point of conversation the first weeks of school. I'll bet if you ask your homeroom teacher she will tell you at least 50 boys asked what your name was. That is how we found out. I asked her myself because I didn't believe the other guys.
Part of the problem is exactly what Kevin said. We Transsexual kids really have no idea what it means to be a boy.
I cannot speak for gay or lesbian kids but this is what the Transsexual kids face and the bullying will never totally end, there are always assholes, but the physical assaults at High School will stop and in most cases the verbal assaults will end. The minute boys realize you perceive yourself as a "girl" it begins to make sense to them why they think of you as a "problem". It will not resolve all the problems such as realizing a boy is cute and wishing he was your boyfriend but it does open up possibilities and acceptance can lead to caring.
Boys in America have a tendency to react violently to confusion over who is boy and girl. It is bred into our culture that boys are macho and not being macho is not normal. I was too afraid to let anyone inside my life except for Kevin so I never understood what I missed my last two years in High School. I did attend my 10th High School reunion because everyone thought it would bring closure, a weird concept actually, and it actually did and the thing I learned was I missed out on having girlfriends in High School as in real girls that accepted me as a girl. That reunion was at once the scariest day of my life and one of the nicest in many ways.
It is why I wholeheartedly recommend Transsexual kids "out" themselves as girls if MTF. It is not only incredibly freeing for the child it also enlightens others and almost everyone accepts kids like me and them because it just seems to make "sense". I went to my reunion with "revenge" on my mind and I learned something about other kids. One boy who had hurt me badly had tears streaming down his face when he told me in front of a lot of late 20 something friends how sorry he was and how he wished he had known earlier.
In my era knowing was the issue but today it is weirdly the fear of acceptance and I cannot speak about the issue of fully transitioning in High School other than telling kids we have never had an issue with a kid we have helped that transitioned in High School or earlier. Kids are actually pretty good with other kids that have issues. It is adults that teach children to hate. It is often religion that can teach people to hate. Hate is learned and not natural for humans.
Fear is natural and it is fear of the unknown that more often than not causes the issues Transsexual kids have. Once the unknown is removed kids are actually weirdly cool with kids like me today. Getting out and getting help are paramount. Getting on hormones as early as possible are even more important. I know how important it is and there are Physicians today that will not only help kids get blockers bu estrogen in their early teens and they exist within the United States.
Every Transsexual child that comes forward helps themselves immeasurably but just as important they help other kids like themselves. It really does get better and it starts the earlier a child starts being honest with themselves and their family. People actually understand and accept Transsexual children almost universally. From the late 50's through until late 1969 I doubt there was anyone more "out" than me and I have led a full and productive life as a young girl who grew into a young woman. My life has in many ways been quite normal, several friends might disagree, but it really has.
It does get better for Transsexual kids because once the Transsexual part is over life is really a lot of fun.