“I wanted to know what it feels like to be a woman, or an apple”: Twelve-year-old talks about his reasons for being transgender

This post will only have screenshots and quotes, no links, due to the age of the poster featured here.

A boy who claims to be twelve years old posts to a transgender sub-reddit:

Hi my name is Evan. I am 12, but will be turning 13 in about a month or so. I am currently a cis-gendered male. Recently, I have started to question my sexuality. I started questioning a few weeks ago after I came home from a GSA club meeting in my school. This was the first time I ever went and I was curious to go. I learned a lot about the LGBT community and when I got home, I did A LOT of research on bi, gay, lesbian. I left out transgender because I already new about it and thought I new about most of it. The next week, the meeting had 2 special guests. They were both transgender FtM (and transitioning). Anyways, knowing my normal self and my curiosity, I researched more thoroughly and found out a lot more information. This past meeting was a few days ago. Nevertheless, I started to fit in the puzzle pieces. The first few hours of researching, I thought I might be transgender, then, I thought I wasn't the next day. This repeated until today. I now think there is quite a large possibility that I can be transgender. When I first heard the word "transgender", I knew it didn't apply to me. This was about 1 year ago. The reason I knew this wasn't the case was because I didn't feel like a "girl trapped in a boy's body". Before I go further, let me tell you about me by answering questions I made up, or by making statements explaining myself.

A year ago he was definitely not trans, then after researching the topic online, he is unsure but thinks he might be. He posts a long laundry list of things that makes him think he’s trans:

Do you feel like a "girl trapped in a boy's body"? No, but the more I say it in my mind, and the more I think about it, the more I realize this might be the case. If you had the chance to be 100% female, would you take it? Definitely! I would love to become female! Do you think your life would be better if you were a female? Yes, 100%. I envy every girl in the world for having what I don't. I envy everything, from their body parts, to their nature and characteristics. Do you have depression? I have not been diagnosed, but I am almost 99% positive that I am. I have thoughts about suicide daily, but I know that I would probably never attempt suicide. The reason I am answering this question is because I have realized that a lot of transgender people have had, or are depressed. Does thinking about being a girl make you happy or bring up a good feeling? Yes. Whenever I think about what life would be like as a girl, it makes me happy inside and makes me feel good. I can honestly say that I would enjoy being female. When you look at members of the other gender, what do you feel? I feel envious or jealous. I'm worried that the only reason I even enjoy looking at pretty girls or being "attracted" to them is really me just being jealous. I mean, if I think about it, I don't really find having sex as a man appealing, but as a woman I do.

From not feeling like “a girl trapped in a boy’s body” to “realiz[ing] this might be the case”. Envious of girls, “from their body parts, to their nature and characteristics”. Suicidal.

From an early age, I was always curious about what being something "else" would be like. An example would be "Pokemon" where a ditto can transform into different things. Another example is in animes when people would transform into different people or things. I once watched this anime as a kid and in one episode, this guy started transforming into a dragon into a way. Every time I watched this, it sent a giddy chill down my spine. It felt, weird; an odd feeling that made me feel... good, happy, excited. I always envy these types of characters because I have always wanted to transform, or "change". I wanted to know what it "feels" like to be a woman, or an apple for this case. Anything really, just different.

Fascinated with “change”, whether is’t transforming into a dragon, a woman, or “an apple”.

I would also like to add that while I would enjoy a better life as woman, I am fine at the moment of being male. I just worry that as time moves on, this, craving or ache to become a woman just gets worse (and I'm almost sure it will). I don't imagine myself as being that manly, in fact, I really don't care about how strong I am. I don't care about becoming a body builder. While I do have a lot of hobbies and traits of males, I think I do have a lot of traits that woman have. I also have a hobby that is sort of socially unacceptable for a man to do but I want to do: sewing or knitting. I also secretly love animals and think they are adorable ;)

He’s fine with being male, but, no doubt because he’s been reading a lot of trans stuff online, he feels sure that the desire to become female will get worse. Notice also the naive beliefs in gender roles: thinking that not wishing to become a strong body builder makes him less male. Thinking that wanting to learn to knit and sew and liking animals is in some way significant to his “gender identity”. Thinking that playing video games as a girl is a “major pointer” of being transgender.

What do the commenters say?

“You are probably trans”

You can't gauge something like this. I think you probably are, based on the static perception I have of you from this post.

“If puberty doesn’t sound appealing to you, you should take hormone blockers”. As if puberty sounds so appealing to young kids. The commenters also give specifics on what to say to healthcare providers to achieve this:

I don't know enough about people your age, but, uh, how does default puberty sound to you, as things presently stand? If that sounds like a bad thing you don't want to happen you should be talking to a therapist and your parents and your doctor and getting access to blockers once you're at the proper stage of development. People won't tell you you are trans or not, in general, it's for you to decide. You have access to more information than any other person with respect to your identity. You may find that your questioning goes a lot easier if you dodge "am I trans" for a while and notice instead your feelings about what sort of future you want. This is also sometimes a thing that makes it easier to communicate with people, for example, "I think it is rather likely that I will transition to female, so you should give me access to blockers shortly after I reach tanner stage 2, because this will not harm me and will help ensure I reach the best possible future, regardless of how my gender identity stuff turns out."

More planting of the idea of puberty blockers:

I see a lot of similarities in our experiences, but that might be confirmation bias. I'd say talk to a trans friendly therapist, and if you feel it'd help you, get on puberty blockers.

The next commenter brings upidea that “the more masculine you get the more you get dysphoria”. This commenter, who is only 13 years old themselves, are eager to have more people like themselves to relate to.

You remind me a LOT of myself. People say I talk like a 16 year old, they say that's a compliment but I'm not sure that's a good thing, lol. Additionally, you just described my situation. I just realized a few months ago, actually. Not to make you feel bad, but yes it does get worse. The more masculine you get the more you get dysphoria. So based on what you said, you are in fact trans*. I also never appreciated any kind of male physique, it never appealed to me. Makes

And finally, a 30 year old male chimes in:

Seconding everyone else who says that your answers to 2/3/5/6/9 are big huge honking signs that you're trans. I can tell you right here that I continuously felt this way ever since I was your age (and my answer to 1 was like yours: I never felt like "a girl trapped in a guy's body"). Those thoughts never, ever went away. I finally started dealing with them when I was 28, and I'm absolutely loving my transition. My only regret is that I didn't start sooner.

The next day, the twelve year old makes four new posts, asking among other things if he will look feminine with hormone therapy and whether he will “pass well”, He also say now that he’s “80-100% sure” that he is transgender”.

He gets told again how important it is to take blockers, and that only blockers will let him “make it out unscathed”. The second commenter is an adult male who transitioned late in life, who emphasizes how important it is to transition early.

The results of HRT cannot be predicted. You would have to be able to know (and interpret) your specific genetics. However, if you start blockers soon (as in, within like 3 years) you'll make it out largely unscathed.You can't predict the results, but the more male puberty you can avoid the better. Trust me, having your facial hair burned off with a laser is not fun.

“The younger you start the better”:

Boobs. Boobs extraordinaire. And the younger you start the better. Remember testosterone still affects you even after puberty.

More talk of how vital it is to start early:

You're 12, as long as you're on puberty blockers until you start taking hrt you'll develop normally as a girl going through puberty. That doesn't guarantee anything but not having to paint over testosterone you start the painting with estrogen so it'd be ideal

“As long as you get puberty blockers, grow out your hair, and start HRT when it’s possible, it’s all good”:

Hmm, the link is broken. But from the thumbnail, yes. Your face is still quite mild, only beginning to develop masculine features. As long as you get puberty blockers, grow out your hair, and start HRT when it's possible, it's all good in the hood. P.S. You're cute as hell. I'm a lesbian, meet me in 10 years or so when you've started HRT? haha

It took one day to go from being ok with being male, to being 80-100% sure he is trans. The majority of the replies he is getting focuses on how important starting early is, and some of them feature exact quotes he’s supposed to parrot to healthcare providers with the explicit goal to get prescribed hormone blockers and then hormones. Both serious medications that, if taken without going through his natural puberty, will sterilize him. No one asks him why he wants to be female or why he envies girls. No one talks about how it’s normal to wish we were someone else.

One day later, he posts this:

Hi, my name is REDACTED! I have just discovered that I am transgender MtF!. I am currently 12, but turning 13 in a month or so. I AMAB. I have not been diagnosed with gender dysphoria, but I am almost 100% sure I have it. I am probably going to start anti-androgens after I come out (probably in a few months). I only found out I was transgender about 3 days ago. I can't stop thinking about transitioning. There is a constant hum in the back of my head. I can't think straight. I am also aware that staying on anti-androgens for an extended period amount of time is very bad for you. Isn't 5 years too long to stay on anti-androgens? I can't wait 5 years to get HRT. I'll go insane or kill myself. The best way I can describe what I feel right now is this (Gender Dysphoria): Imagine you're at the bottom of a tall, steep, snowy mountain. There is a snowball attached to a rope which is attached to you. As you walk up the mountain, the snowball gets bigger as it collects snow which means it gets heavier. Eventually, the ball gets too heavy to drag behind you. You stop. And fall. And can't get back up. Up until recently, the snowball has been light, although slowly gaining size and weight. At the moment, the snowball is huge, it's menacing, and scary. I can't run away any further. I'm on the edge of collapsing. This... Is what I feel inside me... How do you guys cope with this because I'm feeling really down...?

He can’t wait 5 years or he will go insane or kill himself. It’s hard to believe this kid would have gotten ideas like these on his own accord. The “helpful” commenters each push a tiny bit, each provide a single drip of “male puberty will ruin you”, “get on blockers”, “the younger you start the better”. And not only in the comments directed at this boy, comments of the same type are all over reddit and other websites, and young people questioning their identity can read them all. It reinforces their beliefs again and again.

To parents whose children tell you they are transgender: GET THEM OFF THE INTERNET! Websites like reddit is full of people reinforcing belief systems like the one we see in this blog. Some are well-meaning, some are creeps. But few of them seem interested in helping kids figure out why they feel the way they do, and none seem to consider that there might be other things going on in the life of kids that make them feel inadequate in their bodies.

9 thoughts on ““I wanted to know what it feels like to be a woman, or an apple”: Twelve-year-old talks about his reasons for being transgender

  1. Thank you for this post! I was actually going to make a comment suggesting that you write about this particular 12-year-old. I couldn’t believe that, in addition to everything else you have mentioned above, he was also getting advice on post-surgery “dilating.” Since you’re attempting to protect his privacy, I will not link directly to the post. I thought that perhaps I was the only one who found it horribly creepy that 30- and 40-year-old adults are giving a 12-year-old advice regarding what to do with his genitals.

    In addition, I just want to say THANK YOU for this blog! Finally someone is writing what I have been thinking, but have been too chicken to say publicly. I certainly understand your reasons for remaining anonymous. Personally, I don’t care who you are – just keep speaking the truth!

    Like

    • Thank you for your comment, Concerned.

      And yes, I saw that post too and I agree it was creepy. Hopefully learning some of the more unsavory details about that type of surgery might turn him off the idea a bit.

      Like

  2. I really hate the reality that this child is getting all his info and support from people who seem to be determined to do an online diagnosis with no qualms as to how this may affect an impressionable kid. I went through a ‘weird’ period when I was 12. If someone had pushed my ideas in a particular direction I could have probably made some very dodgy decisions. Fortunately no internet when I was 12!

    None of what they say is terrible – certainly to pass well later an early transition makes sense, but it just seems to very irresponsible to be egging this child on.

    Like

  3. That is seriously messed up on all kinds of levels. I really feel for the kid…he seems to be suffering so much psychologically. He has hyper idealized the outcome…like he’s planning a big wedding with no concern for the marriage. He needs to know that he will never truly be a woman. Only biological females are women. He will be a transwoman, and no heterosexual male will want to marry him because two males cannot make a baby. Straight males have a thing about heirs and passing down their genes. He needs to do more research…like on people who regret surgery. A couple years ago, I believed that men could become women. But because of direct experience, I have changed my tune. More people need to speak out the truth about trans: it’s a sham. It’s impossible to change a Y chromosome into an X. You can make yourself a facsimile of the real deal, but it’s just cosmetic surgery. If it’s natural for them to be women, then why do they have to alter their bodies so much? They’re fighting they’re own bodies…a meaningless waste of effort.

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    • Completely agree with the fact that transitioning is ultimately a sham, but I just wanted to say that I somewhat disagree with your comment stating that no heterosexual male would want to settle down with one of them.

      Certainly no heterosexual male would want to be with your classic late transitioner (pigs in wigs), but the pornified image that a select few earlier transitioners manage to reach definitely appeals to them. I have done research on pornography and search queries and “shemale” always lands as one of the most sought-after categories for heterosexual males. The image of a petite, completely waxed body with surgically-constructed breasts that also has a penis is routinely described (usually anonymously) as being “sexy” or even “the best of both worlds”. Males are obsessed with their penises and the penises of other males, all the while ironically (in the case of heterosexual and bisexual males) recoiling and shunning basic female anatomy.

      Now if they would go so far as to marry these males, I have seen some cases. I believe that if it were more socially acceptable, they probably would indeed marry more of these pornified body-of-a-12-year-old-boy males.

      Like

  4. I’m not going to look it up, but I pray that one single commentator decided to tell the kid it’s just puberty that he’s experiencing. Everyone on the planet goes through what he’s feeling, and it’s perfectly normal.

    Like

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