a high-school girl with big problems. All my life I’ve worn
boy clothes and had male friends, mainly because I’m into
“male” things like video games and geek stuff. As high school
approached, Mother Nature flipped me off with DD breasts and
hips that would make Shakira jealous.
I don’t even identify as female. I’ve come to terms with the
fact that my mentality doesn’t match up with my vagina. But
now most male clothes don’t fit and my male peers don’t take
me seriously because of my body, even though I wear my hair
short, wear no makeup, and go by a male nickname. I’m not
a lesbian. I like boys. I just wish I could be one of them,
too. I’m too young for breast-reduction surgery or gender-reassignment
counseling, but these are things I’m considering.
My parents are shaken and unsure, but loving and supportive.
My best friends have no idea of the issues I’m facing. Any
tips on dealing with this and trying to adjust accordingly?
struck by Troubled Tomboy’s kick-ass confidence,” says Seguin
Spear, a case manager at Lyon-Martin Women’s Health Services
(www.lyon-mar tin.org), a community-based nonprofit in San
Francisco that provides services to women and transgender
people. “While he’s clearly holding his own, I’m concerned
about TT getting enough understanding and space to explore
his gender identity.”
Spear says there are three things that all transgender people
need. “First, feeling loved, accepted and understood,” says
Spear. “Second, getting adequate support for exploration of
gender experience, identity, and expression. And third, having
access to good, transgender-competent medical information
Needless to say, you won’t find any of that in your average
American high school. We live in a culture that is, says Spear,
“frequently hostile toward people who don’t fit into artificial
binary gender norms.” That’s putting it mildly. As I learned
watching High School Musical—under duress—boys who
bake strudels are regarded as gender outlaws in American high
schools. So brace yourself for a bumpy ride if you start opening
up to your friends about this stuff, TT.
But combating the isolation kids like you experience in high
school was one of the reasons Al Gore teamed up with Larry
Flynt to invent the Internets, a series of tubes that transports
health information, YouTube videos, and pornography into our
homes. “TT has access to community and support anywhere there’s
net access,” says Spear, “and FTMInternational (www.ftmi.org)
is a good place to start.”
But be careful out there, kiddo. There are predators lurking
on the Internets, just as there are predators lurking in the
halls of Congress and area churches. (Parents should be required
to Google “youth pastor” before giving their teenagers permission
to hang out at megachurches.) Spear and I, however, trust
you’ll be able to use your “geek-sharp critical- thinking
skills,” as Spear puts it, to avoid the creeps.
In some ways, TT, you’re one lucky boy. Your parents may be
shaken and unsure, but a lot of transgenders would cut off
their—oops, sorry. A lot of transgenders would give their
left—shit, that’s a pretty poor choice of words, too. Hell,
let’s just say that a lot of transgenders lack in the “loving
and supportive parents” department. “Many transgender and
genderqueer kids face familial rejection,” says Spear, “and
it’s great that TT doesn’t have to deal with that.”
As for surgery, Spear agrees that it’s too early. “But it’s
a great time for TT to start exploring his identity with someone
who isn’t personally invested in TT’s choices,” says Spear.
“Therapists specializing in gender frequently offer phone
sessions so trans and genderqueer people who live outside
of larger cities can access gender-competent services.” Therapy
can be expensive, “but even a few sessions could offer some
emotional backup and tools for coping with confused or threatened
family and friends.
TT, do whatever it takes to keep sane,” says Spear. “Be gentle
with yourself, and know there’s lots of love for you out here.”
I am a straight female and I’ve been in a relationship
for two years. Is it bad to get tired of the same things all
the time? I want a change. I am only 20 years old and I want
to live my life and not be tied down all the time with some
controlling guy. He won’t allow me to have friends or talk
to anyone, but when I try to break up with him he cries and
promises me he will change and I take him back and we go through
the same thing all over again. I don’t want to hurt him. I
just want out of this relationship. What should I say to him?
And how do I deal with the crying and broken promises? Please
Go ahead and hurt the controlling, manipulative piece of shit,
SWH; he deserves it. He doesn’t let you have friends? He doesn’t
want you talking to anyone? Those are the early warning signs
of an abuser, sister. He’s already abusing you emotionally,
pummeling you with insincere tears and false promises. And
the longer you stay, the greater the odds that he’ll start
abusing you physically. So dump the motherfucker already.
And if you can’t handle the tears, SWH, don’t subject yourself
to them. Live together? Pack up your shit when he’s at work
and move the fuck out. Don’t live together? Even easier. Just
call him and tell him it’s over, you’re gone, and hang up
when he starts crying.
Recently, I had the chance to reconnect with a friend
from high school. After one too many drinks, she confided
in me about her sexual habits, telling me she likes “soiling.”
I stupidly asked what it was. The answer was probably the
most disgusting thing I’ve ever heard: “You get some poo,
and then you rub it on each other’s skin.” Apart from this
shocking admission, she is a really nice girl. She is Christian
and works in a caring profession. To look at her, you would
never guess. But I don’t want to see her again because I am
grossed out by the mental image she gave me. My question is:
Is it fair to end a friendship over someone’s sexual practices?
loves the little children, all the little children of the
world—including, ostensibly, the poop-rubbed ones who work
in caring professions. But you’re no one’s savior, SOS, which
means you’re under no obligation to be similarly promiscuous
with your affections. However, it isn’t this woman’s fetish
that gives you grounds to end this friendship. It’s her bad
judgment and her lack of consideration.
Lots of people have creepy fetishes; the only way to avoid
being friends with creepy fetishists is to refrain from having
friends at all. What disqualifies this woman as a friend isn’t
her fetish, per se, it’s her willingness to burden you with
wholly unnecessary details about her sex life. For all you
know, half your friends, both your parents, your boss, and
a certain advice professional are into soiling. But all the
other poop fetishists in your life have the good sense and
common decency not to share this information with you.
Now some fetishes are charming and/or quirky, and friends
may feel comfortable sharing these with each other. But soiling
and/or poop fetishes are best managed on a “need to know”
basis—and the only people who need to know about your friend’s
soiling fetish are the people she soils, is soiled by, or
hopes to soil.
a new Savage Love podcast every Tuesday at www.thestranger.com/savage.