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As a trans person, how can I navigate authentic gender expression and avoid the identity police?

catpaw asks:

I'm a 17 year old transmale and I've identified as male for about 2 years now. I am 100% confident that I am a boy, but I am also fine having breasts and a vagina. I don't think of them as female. They're just my parts! I like wearing things like dresses and skirts as well and I enjoy makeup, none of these things make me less of a boy in my eyes. However, I fear that people will not take my identity seriously because of this. Even in the LGBTQ community, I feel like people will say I'm not "really trans." Dressing the way I want to really boosts my self-esteem (and I have struggled with horrible self esteem my whole life, so I really need it) but being called "girl" and "she" really hurts. I guess my question is, how do I deal with wanting to present a certain way but hating how it makes others perceive me? I will be going off to college in a few days as well, and I know that could be a time to show how I really want to be, but I'm scared of how people will react or treat me.

Decoding Sex in the Media: Tampon Commercial Weirdness

I’ve noticed recently that, of all the hygiene product advertisements—ads for deodorant, toilet paper, diapers, soap, tissues, etc.—menstrual pad and tampon commercials are by far the weirdest.

Many involve cheerful women in colorful clothes and tampons that bloom and twirl in mid-air. Many demonstrate the effectiveness of pads and panty liners by pouring blue liquid —to represent red menstrual fluid, as if red fluid was somehow unavailable that day —onto the product. Many show random men staring at attractive women—these seem to say “You need our product so that men will still enjoy looking at you while you have your period."

Freakier still, a Russian tampon brand released an ad in which a woman is eaten by a shark because she decides to swim in the ocean with a leaky tampon. Admittedly, I laughed when I watched this, because I know that it is highly unlikely—maybe even impossible—that menstrual blood would attract a shark, but tampon companies certainly shouldn’t perpetuate these typ

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Resources for Parents & Families of Trans/Gender-Variant Youth

Recently, I attended the Gender Spectrum Family Conference, which focuses on helping parents and caregivers understand and meet the needs of their transgender and gender-variant children.

One of the things that can be hard, when choosing to come out to parents, is the fact that you might feel like you have to educate them about gender issues, both on a general level and in terms of your own identity; this can make a process that might already feel overwhelming or stressful even harder to manage. Letting an organization that's dedicated to this sort of education do some of the work for you can take some of that weight off of your shoulders.

Also, it's helpful for parents to have their own source of support in handling a child's gender identity or transition. Of course, you're going to be the best expert in your own identity and what support you specifically need from your family and loved ones, but it might be a big help for everyone involved if you can connect them to some of these

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My girlfriend says she loves me, but doesn't want to be sexual with me now that I'm transitioning.

praying-for-a-miracle asks:

I'm transgender. My girlfriend has supported me from the time we got together, celebrating my "transliness", even finding tips to help me transition easier. When I got my packer, she laughed at it and asked me to take it off. I felt humiliated, but did so. Ever since then, she begs me to take it off if we start to become intimate. (The term there is "if"; our intimacy has been on a steady decline ever since then.) Now that I'm on testosterone, she's shying away even more. It seems that being able to afford a decent quality binder has really halted anything. She's even refusing to kiss me more than once or lay against me. A few nights ago she said that something was bothering her and to not get offended. She admitted that she is a lesbian, and only got with me originally because I was female bodied. She says that she's fallen completely in love with me, but is no longer sexually attracted to me unless I take my packer and/or binder off. She coaxes the binder off by offering a back massage. (Seeing as I have pulled every muscle in my back and slipped 2 discs, I can't refuse.) I have absolutely no idea what to do. I'm humiliated. She says that she will always love me, but is sexually frustrated. She doesn't want to leave me because she loves me, but would rather have sex with a girl. Any advice or..?

Trans Boyfriend, Uncomfortable Girlfriend

Sarah H asks:

My boyfriend is transexual and often likes to express it. I'm completely fine with this kind of lifestyle but I find myself becoming nervous/distant when he brings it up too much. How should I become more comfortable with it?

How should I have sex with him if I hate his body parts?

rainbowboy asks:

So I am 17, and I am a gay boy. I was talking to this guy for a while over the internet, we met, and we both really hit it off. Well one thing that I didn't really notice is how feminine his body was. Well we were texting, and he told me that he was a FTM (female to male) transgender individual. The issue I am having is that I really like this guy, but I don't like females. And while he has a female anatomy, he still acts completely male. So I was wondering what a smart way to experiment, to see if it would work, would be, while at the same time not hurting him. Please let me know... I really like this guy, but hate his body parts.

A little more background: I am a pretty sexual person, so it makes a kind of a big deal to me. I can watch straight porn and enjoy it. I can imagine having sex with a vagina. I never have experimented with a girl. I have always been with boys, and have always acted as the "bottom."

Our Spirit

Our Spirit believes that the true basis of life and religion is love and that all people deserve to be loved, including – especially! – youth who don’t fit the straight and narrow vision of sexuality. Our Spirit uses the broad reach of the internet and the intimacy of film to help youth develop tools for self-acceptance.

I'll Show You Mine: Emily

This is our fourth installment of stories and photographs from I'll Show You Mine, a book by Wrenna Robertson and photographer Katie Huisman, and by all of the women featured in the book, collectively. To find out more about the book, Wrenna, and why we think this is such an important project, check out our interview with her here. Or, you can visit the website for the book to find out and more and get a copy for yourself.

If you would like to ask the person whose body and words are featured in each entry any questions or have a conversation with her, most of the subjects have agreed to make themselves available here in the comments for discussions with our readers. As mentioned in Wrenna's interview, so many people never get the opportunity to talk about genitals in an honest, open and safe way with others, so we encourage you to avail yourselves of the opportunity, and are so grateful to the women involved for making this kind of conversation available to Scarleteen readers.

We're

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Do these pants make me (look) trans?

guitargirl19 asks:

My early childhood consisted of Legos and Hot Wheels. In junior high, I listened to more metal than pop, wore hoodies and Vans shoes, black nail polish and eyeliner. Nowadays, I've been getting more interested in piercings and tattoos. I've never felt like a girl for the most part, but I've never considered getting some sort of sex change or anything either. I've only been attracted to guys, as friends and romantically. Because of my hardcore tomboyishness, guys never ask me out/respond favorably when I flirt. In high school, everyone assumed I was a lesbian. I said no, since I don't like girls.

Since I feel more like a guy, but like guys, would that make me transgendered somehow?

Trans411

Connecting you with trans gender-friendly people, places & services.

Information on this site is provided for educational purposes. It is not meant to and cannot substitute for advice or care provided by an in-person medical professional. The information contained herein is not meant to be used to diagnose or treat a health problem or disease, or for prescribing any medication. You should always consult your own healthcare provider if you have a health problem or medical condition.