Today we are going to take a brief look at what kind of advice is not allowed on online transgender forums. A 14 year old posts in AskTransgender, asking “Is this real?”
Hey guys, So, currently I identify as MtF. However, I keep thinking that I may not actually be, or that I am exaggerating, or that I simply want to be, so to not be “common”, or to be special/unique. I know it sounds silly, but I have OCPD, so these thoughts are constant 24/7, and I get very worried that I may not be trans. When I see a pretty girl, I wish I could look like her, not just be with her, and ever since I was a kid, I would often play online as a girl, and would Identify well with the character (not sure if relevant). It is getting annoying. I am 14 years old, and I don’t think I can get to a gender therapist soon. I don’t know what to do or think, as I have exaggerated “symptoms” before, and I also think I am a hypocondriac (not saying trans is an illness) which has lead me to believe I am gravely sick before, even though I am not, and I worry that this is what my mind is doing to me, any help?
There is a removed comment:
What did the deleted comment say? Must have been pretty bad, judging by the aggressive reactions, right? Luckily, since one of the replies mentions the username who made the deleted comment, it’s possible to find out. Clicking on the username of “pyre105” reveals the following comment:
So that was the comment, downvoted by other posters to -1, and then deleted. “Allow yourself to grow up as you are, away from labels and expectations. There’s really minimal difference between boys and girls in terms of personality, behavior, things we like, etc. Identifying with a girl character doesn’t make you a girl.”
These words were so offensive that the other commenters tell the author to “get the HELL away”, and that what they are doing is harmful, and then the comment is deleted. These are the words the posters on AskTransgender do not want 14 year old kids to read.
Meanwhile, comments urging them to obtain medications illegally, hide them from their parents, and go to the houses of 42 year old men, are not deleted. Food for thought for parents whose children are questioning their identities. Be extremely skeptical of the advice they are getting online.
Young people who for some reason feel dissatisfied with their sex often go to reddit’s various transgender communities to ask for advice.
A 14 year old kid asks for advice on twodifferent subreddits about how to talk to family members about gender issues and about medications like estrogen.
On one of the posts, an adult invites the 14 year old to take contact privately.
In the other post, concrete advice about how to obtain prescription medication illegally is given, complete with dosages:
Or how about this 13 year old, who writes:
Hello all, I’m thirteen today (yay!), and I’m kinda confused about my gender.
For my entire life, I’ve been happy with being a guy. I knew I didn’t fit in with other boys however, and surrounded myself with girls as my friends. I’m rather feminine, you can blame my sisters for that.
So, just turned 13, and is feminine boy.
About a year ago, thoughts passed through my head such as “if only I was a girl”. These thoughts were rare and I pushed them aside, not thinking anything of them. Roughly six months ago, I joined an online forum. I noticed that more than a few people were transgender. I knew what the term was before this, but, again, I didn’t think anything of it.
This story sounds familiar to anyone who’s been paying attention to the stories many newly trans teenagers post online. An intense period of bingeing on social media accounts of being trans leading to the teen suddenly identifying as trans themselves.
Two months ago, I started thinking about this. What if I was female? I liked the idea of it. I changed my gender on a few sites to female. One month ago, I started really reading up on it. I was a bit obsessed for one night, then I stopped thinking about it. Because I stopped thinking about it, I dismissed it again. Even though I thought I stopped thinking about it, three weeks ago I came out to my boyfriend, and then one week ago, my sister. They both took it very well. Last night, I was thinking and reading up on this like crazy, I was obsessed. I saw that most people realised at a young age, and so I thought I must be doing this for attention, or forcing myself to think this, or it might just be a phase which will go away.
I apologize in advance but I am desperate for insight and am feeling hopeless!! I’ve been considering if I’m a trans boy for the past two months (thinking about gender for almost a year) I am 14 and hopefully any of you can help.
It all started with my best friend and I talking about our characters (we dream of writing a series one day together haha) and I proposed if one of my characters was transgender and while exploring the character it was as if they way i saw them changed, that they were happier in the end and it was as if I was supposed to create them as a trans character to begin with (it’s strange and probably hard to understand)
After this I became uneasy, like something had shifted and when I asked my friends about my feelings they said maybe physiologically I identified as that character and was actually trans myself. This at first seemed unreal but also made sense in a away.
I have a obsessive personality and continued to research the hell out of the Internet, watched hours of youtube videos and began looking back at my self as I grew up. It seemed I was okay with being a girl as a child nothing really struck me as typical trans story of knowing at a young age(not trying to invalidate other people’s transitions whatsoever) but as a child I often enjoyed portraying the boys in pretend, years even. When I started puberty I became very insecure about my body (breasts and starting my period) I was always humiliated when people brought things even if it was my mom and it was just us. It seems I tolerate being a girl but I know I’m something other than that. Now more than ever I think about my gender for hours at a time, during school, while bathing and before I go to bed. I seem to be more comfy able with male clothes.
It’s again a similar story. Being obsessed with transition videos on YouTube. Feeling uncomfortable during puberty. Feeling more comfortable in “male” clothes.
Not a single person who replies to this child mentions that most of the experiences being described are 100% normal and common. Which young woman has not felt embarrassed about getting breasts and a period? Nobody tells this child that which clothes you wear don’t make you a man or a woman.
The poster goes on to post again a month later, still confused:
Need some insight. I’ve been wondering about my gender for a year questioning If I’m trans for 3 months and have been in gender limbo since. I’m a indecisive, awkward and sensitive person which I believe relates to the fact I can’t make a decision on who I am. I believe being on t would make me happy but I’m terrified of loosing hair and being overly hairy, im uncomfortable with my chest and hips as well. Im not very masuline but neither am i feminine, it’s hard for me to imagine myself as a woman in the future but a man just seems like a far off dream. I can’t seem to imagine myself with anyone or having children and I believe that may relate to my gender issues. I feel like a fake and a phony and am terrified of realizing this is a phase. I’m only 14 but I’ve been obsessively researched everything (hours and hours, while in bed, sitting in bath, during class) and am in this exhausting gray area where everything is awful and just ‘exploring’ my identity isn’t an option. Am I maybe in denial or just confused ? (I understand people can’t tell me exactly who I am but still) Please any advice would be lovely.
Teenagers have always been struggling to fit in, to figure out who they are, to label themselves. But it’s not until now that discovering your true self involves taking hormones and getting surgery. And it’s not until now that questioning whether it is wise for teens to be getting medication advice online is bigoted.
This post shows a few more examples of young teens coming to online transgender communities and being convinced to take hormones and/or puberty blockers.
A 16 year old boy who has been questioning his gender makes a post, stating that “even when I was young, characters in the games I played and protagonists in my imaginary stories and worlds were almost always female”, and that he wants to be “a social, somewhat nerdy, somewhat scene, girl who is tomboyish in attitude but not in looks”. He also plans to “get more into fashion and socialize a lot more” as a girl.
The commenters jump in to stress the importance of immediately transitioning:
“If you won’t do it you’ll regret it for the rest of your life.”
“Yes, seriously don’t wait! (…) it’s best to start as soon as you can. These feelings will never go away”. Note that the commenter in the above screenshot is twice the age of the poster.
“Puberty ends around 17. If you don’t do it when you’re young. You’ll be miserable and unhappy with your body for the rest of your life.”
Another poster, confused and distressed, asks “I want to be female so much but is that even possible?”
And is told that yes, it is possible:
“What is there to be afraid of? You’ll be way cuter after HRT. (…) The longer you exist without HRT, the more your body’s natural testosterone will fuck you up. So don’t be afraid of it, embrace it!”
In this post, another 16 year old wants to know how to get medications to halt puberty, and receives advice regarding specific subreddits, as well as concrete advice on how to order and obtain packages with a PO box, as well as offers to chat via PM:
And finally, yet another 16 year old looking for advice on obtaining hormones, behind parents’ backs. In this comment chain a person twice their age offers advice, and ends the conversation by asking “mind if I PM you?”
This is what trans people are saying online. This is what happens to kids who stumble onto “helpful” adults online.
I don’t think that I fit the typical profile of someone who actively wanted to be female from a very young age. I feel like I’ve just… fallen into it? Maybe I’m just trying to distance myself from it all by saying that. I can’t tell.
In the past two years, despite the risks of living with my family I’ve gone so far as to go out shopping and buy female clothes to cross-dress in private, frequently shaved my body clean and even dabbled in makeup, though I was getting scared by how far I was taking it and the risk it posed (how the hell do you remove nail polish from the edges of your fingernails?) and binned some of it a few months ago. Still, until recently I’ve always dismissed it as a fetish, because it’s been so tied up in eroticism.
I’ve never had a great relationship to my body, but especially now that puberty is essentially over I’ve come to distaste, if not sometimes hate my maleness. I look in the mirror and feel like I’m staring back at a gorilla. The body hair and stubble, the muscle, the flat profile, huge nose, rough skin, deep voice… but lately, at least for the first few seconds, I see a female “soul” in my eyes, and so I increasingly can’t face myself in the mirror. Self-awareness is becoming dysphoric. At the same time, it isn’t a constant feeling, at least yet. Being male isn’t all bad.
Still, I’m also so sick of the emotional shutdown I’ve had to impose on myself for being male. Despite how analytic I’ve become, it’s absurd how easily I’ll cry sometimes when watching sappy videos or listening to powerful music online. Part of the reason why I’m such a recluse is that I’m expected to be stoic when I’d like to have a good cry at the end of a movie, you know? I can’t contain myself despite the walls I’ve built up.
After saying all of that I in some ways feel foolish to not think that I’m transgender, but I’ve spent my entire life in such doubt over almost everything that matters, and I’ve consistently made poor decisions when I have acted, so I feel incredibly torn.
Am I just reinterpreting history to suit a self-indulgent narrative? Is this just escapism taken to its utmost extreme? How can you possibly tell if you’re in denial, especially when you’re consumed by doubt? Are dreams just an exploration of hypotheticals, or an expression of deep-seated desires?
I’m not sure if I am transgender, but I’ve read enough stories to know that I don’t want to suffer with dysphoria and regret for the rest of my life.
The gist of this seems to be that this is a guy who likes to crossdress for sexual reasons, who feels like being male is “not all bad”, but dislikes stereotypes like being expected to “be stoic”. He’s unsure if he’s reading too much into these feelings. Note the last paragraph – he has been reading trans stories online. A very common theme in these narratives, as we have seen many times on this blog, is that being trans is a lifelong condition and that the only way of treating it is by invasive medical treatments.
Here are some of the replies:
(the link in the first comment goes to a page that simply says “yes”).
There are more replies of the same type. Either straight up “you sound trans”, or “your story sounds so much like mine!”, with the implication being “so therefore you are trans too”. This is the problem with communities like these, they are like funnels. There might be people with the same experiences who aren’t transgender, but they don’t hang around in r/asktransgender, so the young questioners never get to talk to them. Combine this with a solid dose of the sentiment “cis people don’t question their gender” that we have seen here, and we have a very effective way of convincing young people that medical transition is the right thing for them.
As adults, we know that people on the internet aren’t always who they claim to be, and that they don’t always have our best interests in mind. For young people, like teenagers, who can be both naive and impulsive, this is not always immediately obvious. Predatory males exist all over the internet, also in the transgender communities. We have already seen that there are plenty of young teens posting to these communities, and after being exposed to them for a while, many of them start wanting to take hormones. How convenient that there are older people (males) available to offer their assistance!
The person in the first two screenshots is an adult male, and a moderator of several trans and LGBT subreddits.
The same 42 year old male offering a 13 year old to come to his apartment in exchange for prescription medication.
Another example of creepy behavior: an 18 year old posts their picture in r/transpassing. An adult male makes this comment:
The poster also get this reply:
This is the advice given to a suicidal 15 year old desperate for hormones. This commenter is an adult:
Other posters try to get the 15 year old to disclose personal information like location: (this commenter is also an adult)
Here we see a male in his early 20s offering hormones to a 16 year old:
This is just some of the behavior that goes on in the open. We can only imagine what goes on via private messages.