Thank you so much for your concern, I really appreciate is!
Even though I have very little time for myself, I've been doing quite good lately. My health problems have been also less annoying so I have a lot of free energy to dedicate to helping people around me (like helping classmates with school, spending time with my grandma in a hospital, doing more chores...) And being able to be at least a little helpful to someone in those small ways is making me overall happy What is bothering me the most at the moment is probably the upcoming presidential election, lol
Hi! I’m really happy to hear that things are going well for you!! I feel the same—I get a lot of happiness from helping those around me and feeling useful. I also know how politics can be bothersome. We actually have a topic section called Sex, Culture, and Politics if you want to lay out your thoughts somewhere. We’re always here if you need us!
Thank you for the offer, but I don't want to take up even more space than I already do here. But if anyone is interested in the political situation here, I'm happy to talk about it more ( it's actually quite scary and stressful - no surprise when a person with very fitting nickname "our country's Trump" has a chance to win and there is SO MUCH at stake)
Anyway, there's also one other thing that I'd like to hear your opinion on. Over the past few weeks I found some new friends, or more like got accepted into already existing small friend group. They're great, mostly kind, accepting, funny, queer... And I also feel accepted for some things that I normally am not and it's such a great, freeing feeling to be able to relax around some people a little. So yeah, it's been mostly great but even though it's been just a few weeks I'm already afraid it won't last. I realized that some of them are more judgmental about some things that I thought and there is a lot to judge on me. Some things that I either can't or don't want to do (heavy drinking, drugs, lots of sex, self-harm...) are very normalised in that group and maybe even seen as a prerequisite to be considered 'cool'. And it's just a question of time when they realise I'm very different from them in some aspects. And I've already experienced that at least some of them won't accepted those differences. I've spent one night out with them (because my parents weren't home) but it was mostly awful for me for example because one person (coincidentally the boy that claimed to really like or even love me a few weeks ago, if you remember him) was constantly forcing me to drink a lot even though I really didn't want to (I promised to myself that I'll limit alcohol as much as possible after some unpleasant experience). Anyway, I just wanted to illustrate that probably not all my worried about not being accepted by them are just in my head. I know I'm overthinking it, but I'd like to do the right thing. Maybe I should tell them now that I'm just not compatible with their 'group culture' to spare them the trouble of pretending they like me. But on the other hand, I don't want to give up the chance to have good friends. I know it's been just a few weeks but I'm already so scared of losing the feeling of finally BELONGING somewhere and I just don't want any more evidence that I don't fit in anywhere...
I don't think you're overthinking anything. Feeling pressured to "conform" to a friend group's standards is extremely real. From what you're describing, it seems like there are some factors that set you guys apart, but that doesn't mean you can't enjoy spending time together. If they have an issue with you not wanting to partake in those activities and are pressuring you to do them, then it might not be the best environment for you to be in. It just seems like blatant peer pressure to me.
Aside from that boy (which was not okay), did the other people in the group encourage you to drink? Did they see what the boy was doing and try to intervene? Did they say anything negative about how you're not interested in these activities? I know plenty of straight-edge, sober people who hang out with friends who drink, smoke, etc. and they get along great! It may not be necessary to bring this up to them if they haven't made any comments about it. I would definitely mention what that guy did to you since their reactions to that can really show you their true colors. I like to think of it this way: if they're not forcing you to do anything, then they seem alright to me. For instance, if they ask if you want to drink and you say no, then they should respect that. If not, then I would recommend leaving. With that being said, I really recommend that you stay away from that guy...I don't want to assume anything, but he could have some ulterior motives behind his actions and that is extremely alarming.
I know it might have seemed like he did from my post,nbut I'm quite sure he didn't mean me any harm, he is sometimes impulsive or unpredictable but I believe he's a good guy.
And rather than wanting me specifically to be drunk he seemed to be anxious about me not following some 'unspoken rules' of the group. I don't know what everyone else thought about it, they mostly ignored it, but when he once urged another person who to drink more even if they didn't want to and I told him to let them be (funny how I can't never stand up for myself but sometimes have no problem standing up for others), someone else said that I'm taking it too seriously and should chill out. I guess that this group being so judgemental about some things (and I don't mean just drinking) surprised me so much because they look and act like people who don't give a damn about society norms and stereotypes, well, I guess there is some exclusivity in every group. And unfortunately being part of one group seems to often mean being excluded from others - for example one classmate has already told me that her mom doesn't want us to be friends because I hang out with that group. It's like I have to choose some parts of me and just one group of people and hate the others in order to be accepted, when in reality I'm not accepted anywhere. Those new friends are great, but it feels like I can't not have sex, not drink or be good at school if I want them to like me. I can't wear second-hand clothes, not have a boyfriend or cry if I want the rest of the class to accept me. And I can't read classic or philosophic literature, enjoy hiking, think about politics or listen to my favourite music in both of these groups if I don't want them to make fun of me. Some of those few examples wouldn't probably be a problem for most people and it's just mine own fear to be different that's scaring me, but way to often there is so much unnecessary hate among people just because they are different. I wonder why is that? Is it because the society demands that everyone has to fit in some tight boxes and otherwise they are seen as 'less real' and therefore when someone defies those boxes (even just by being a handwork-loving rock fan or an exceptional student that swears and has coloured hair) they are afraid that their own existence might be considered invalid by the society? I know many people have faced this hate on a much larger scale and I'm so grateful to all those queer, disabled and people of color who have fought for their rights so that most of us can live way more freely now. I'm just sad that it seems like there is still so much unnecessary hate left, not only, among young people (but interestingly I haven't noticed such exclusivity in friend groups between adults). I understand that many people just aren't compatible but I don't understand why instead of just finding those who get along with them many people hate those who aren't as well. Anyway, I got a little carried away with all this thinking and assuming, I'm not even in a place to judge the whole society with my limited experience and feeling not part of it most of my life.
I just wonder how do other people cope with not being accepted or being accepted just partly, even for some small differences. Because I'm not special in any way so there are definitely many people with similar interests, opinions or experiences. But I don't think I've ever met someone visibly like me, so where are they - do they learn to conform and fit in, do they find real acceptance?
Anyway, sorry for all those theoretical thoughts and questions. As for my situation, I realized that it's unlikely I will be allowed to hang out with those friends apart from school anytime soon so I probably don't have to worry about being forced by them to do some things. On the other hand I'm afraid they'll get tired of me pretty soon if I have to decline all their invitations... do you think that they will understand if I say them that my parents do not allow me to go or will it be seen as an excuse?
I'm going to start with that last, more practical question first. There's not a lot of predicting what each member of the group will think, but if there's no reason to assume they'll think you're making excuses, especially if any of them have a sense of how your parents are.
I'm also glad you were able to stand up for that other person, and it sounds like yourself to some degree. Drinking is one of those things where there can be weird social pressures or expectations around it (my husband doesn't drink alcohol, and people can get VERY weird about it when he tells them that), which isn't great when you consider it's a substance that can seriously impair function and judgment, and that people can have variable tolerances for. I will say that it sounds like it was mostly this one guy who was pushing people to drink more. If you set his behavior aside, does it feel like the group has more of a relaxed attitude to people who aren't interested in drinking?
As for the bigger question of acceptance, I think that's one of those things that there are a lot of approaches to. Some people are perfectly happy to have the dynamic of sharing only certain parts of themselves with each social space they're a part of (and honestly that ends up being a thing all of us have to do to some degree). Others like having one or two close friends who they really feel like they can be their total, true selves around balances out all the times they have to hide parts of themselves. I think there's also a process of accepting that some spaces just aren't ones we can, or want to be, accepted in, and learning to be okay with that.
Sorry that last post was a but chaotic and sorry for the late reply (we can't access pages labeled as sex-ed through the school wifi anymore, I don't have time to go to the public library and I'm not allowed to use internet after 10pm at home)
Anyway, my dilemma about that friend group has kind of solved itself. I had a bit of a tough week and didn't go to school for a few days and that was apparently all it took for them to lose all interest in me... They haven't invited me anywhere nor initiated any contact since and when I tried to do that their response was absent or unenthusiastic. I could probably try to reach out more directly but I'm not sure if I even want to. I guess it isn't surprising that the friendship lasted so short given how different we were in some aspects but I can't help feeling quite sad because of that. I miss feeling like I mattered to someone, like I belonged...I don't even know what happened or what did I do wrong that we went from talking a lot every day to barely saying hi when meeting in school corridors. I know the friendship meant way less to tham than to me, it's like that in all my relationships, and it's not such a big deal, but my already non-existent confidence that I can have nice relationships with people took a big hit again.
You know, one of the tricky things about forming friendships in your teen and young adult years is that people are still very much in the process of figuring themselves out. So that adds this extra layer of changeability and fluidity to social relationships, often without anyone doing anything wrong. So as much as you can, I'd try to see this as less about something being wrong with you or with your ability to form relationships and more about the fact that you, and the bulk of people your age, are in the process of figuring out what kinds of friend groups are actually a good fit for you, you know?
Thank you, it's nice to hear that I don't have to have everything figured out yet. Most people tell people my age things like that the easy and fun part of my life is ending, the hard one is coming and I should know everything by now or I'll never be a "good proper adult". And it makes me feel like I have somehow wasted my childhood because it never felt especially easy or fun...
I'm also wondering what might 'figuring oneself out' specifically mean? I feel like I've learned a lot about myself over the last year or two - the things, opinions or values I like or dislike, things that make me uncomfortable, things I'm good/bad at etc. But the more I learn about myself in this way the more I feel like I don't fit anywhere, not in all cases but overall it feels like that.
Well, I guess it has a lot to do with the place where I live, the school I go to or my family and I just have to wait to find out if it'll get better over time.
Hi Theansweris42, hope it's okay if I jump in!
I agree with Sam that there isn't anything wrong with YOU here, and it's normal to have fluctuating friendships/friend groups, especially at your age. It doesn't mean it doesn't suck, though, and it's understandable that you're feeling a bit down. When I feel rejected by a friend/group of friends, I find it helpful to do some intentional rephrasing in my head (or write it down) and remind myself it isn't personal. There could be a million reasons they are acting this way and even if the reason IS that they don't like me as much as I like them, I remind myself that that's okay, not everyone will be compatible with me and not all friendships are meant to last forever. It can be hard to reframe it that way but it's the truth! You will find a place where you feel you fit in, but don't give up and know that this isn't because anything is wrong with you. Did you want to talk more about the whole figuring yourself out thing?
Hi, so nice to hear from you! And thank you for the reassurance, it's just what I needed.
There seem to be some disagreements among people from this group so I think it was probably more about the group generally falling apart than me doing something wrong.
I also realized something about my relationships. There's been a lot of arguing and hating on each other at school especially lately (we're having a prom in a week and that creates a lot of pressure...) and there is always a lot of shouting, shaming and crying at home as well. And I'm thinking what if being in similar environments my whole life I kinda got used to this atmosphere and ways of treating people? What if see those things as normal and will act like this in my future relationships?
When I see your interactions with me or other people here or read through some resources you have recommended me such as Captain Awkward for example, I'm still so dumbfounded every single time by how empathetic, respectful, kind and just overall amazing you are. But what if it's not only because you're all great special people but also because some of it is how it should look like always in all relationships.
And I'm afraid I'll never unlearn and learn everything I need to be a decent person. I don't to blame my family or anyone else and I'm probably overthinking it, but there is still the fact that over the past few years I didn't manage to have a single long-term friendship that'd be both sided and that'd make me feel good...
I'm also worried about involuntary adopting some harmful relationship patterns because I've been thinking about studying teaching when I start college next year, but being a teacher comes with so much responsibility and I'm afraid I'm just not good enough for that...
It's nice to hear from you! I understand where you're coming from. I've been impacted by hostile environments and picked up on some pessimistic and negative behaviors/attitudes from people in the past. I went to a small high school and the students were quite disrespectful, entitled, and competitive, and it definitely rubbed off on me in some way. From that, I've learned that it's important to recognize that we are all constantly learning and growing. I think it's almost impossible to know everything in order to be a decent person. The fact that you're even acknowledging this and trying is good enough, in my opinion. Just recognizing this and thinking about improvement is doing better than most people!
I'm curious, do you think you're directly at fault for not having long-term friendships? What makes you think this way? Have you been showing signs of involuntary adopting harmful relationship patterns, or is this just a general concern for the future? I wouldn't want this concern getting in the way of you pursuing a career in teaching!
Please let me know if my response resonates with you in any way.
I'm not a very confrontational person so probably the only place where I get honest and direct 'evaluation' of my behaviour is at home and I'm often called things like toxic, heartless or selfish there, but it's hard to say whether this is or isn't true in my other relationships as well. Also, it's not like I have had tens of closer friendships and each relationship has been quite different so it's hard to see some patterns or mistakes.
Some of my friendships slowly faded during covid, some during last summer and I let one fade voluntarily. But the fact is that it almost always meant way less for the other person than it meant for me (and in the one case when it at first didn't seem like that the friendship turned out to be quite unhealthy...) so there were never any serious conversations about if I did something wrong or not. There are so many possible reasons why those people didn't want to talk with me anymore and some has nothing to do with me but I still tend to blame myself all the time. But more than mourning past friendships I just wish I had someone close now.
So yeah, like you suggested, this fear seems to be more about future and worrying that I might be somehow inherently a bad person and probably is mostly irrational. So thank you for helping me understand that!
I also realized I've brought up the topic of friendships and feeling like a bad person already so many times here and I'm not sure if you find these conversations productive or not. So please let me know if you'd prefer me to keep off from this topic.
And also I know I sometimes make it sound like I don't have any friends but that's not entirely true, there are for example a few people who often come to me for help with school, something elso or just to vent, I'm just not sure if I can call them friends when there one-sided exchanges are all that's between us. Sometimes it can get a lot to listen to a lot of other people's life troubles and I don't understand why I'm the one who they trust with this but generally I'm very happy to help them when I can. I'm just wondering if I might be doing them a disservice by trying to be so helpful all the time - maybe they would figure some things out by themselves sooner or they would get a better help somewhere else if they didn't have me?
And also, is it even possible to turn a relationship that started like this into a more traditional and reciprocal friendship? There's one person who seems to be interested in that but I'm not sure if I'd be able to switch from only helping to also asking for help sometimes.
I do feel I need to point out that whoever is calling you selfish and heartless at home is likely doing so more to manipulate you than give you any kind of honest feedback. Too, from conversations we've had, those terms seem to often be applied to you when you ask for care or indicate that you have serious needs or boundaries, actions which are far from heartless.
As far as the acquaintances you're describing, there are for sure friendships that have developed from those kind of dynamics! Honestly, people asking each other for support or for help with school stuff is a really common starting point for friendships in settings like schools. Do you have one or two of these people you think you'd most like to become closer friends with?
Out of those three people, there is one that isn't interested in talking with me at all, one that I don't want to get closer to for several reasons and one who I guess already is my friend, I just have hard time seeing it like that and letting him closer to me. I'm not sure why I'm so reluctant to open up to him, he is a great person but I have irrational troubles trusting him after some things he did to me a long ago but mostly I don't want to talk about myself with him because I know he struggles with finding and setting his boundaries so I might easily overwhelm and overburden him. I think the first issue just needs time and I hope to have a conversation with him about the second one one day. It's a bit weird because it seems to me like I care about him way more than he does about but on the other hand he is the one who brings everything into the relationship - we talk just about him and his life. Someone said it's not a healthy relationship and sure, it isn't how my ideal friendship would look like, but when are both happy with how it is, there isn't a reason to change anything, is there?
There's also something else regarding that person I'd like to talk about, I hope it's okay if it's mostly venting. In two days we have a prom (it's called graduation ball here but I believe it's an equivalent) and it's like the most important event of the whole high school if not of the whole life for some... several halls, more than fifteen hundred people, super formal clothes, lots of alcohol and other stuff... and everyone expect me seems to be super excited about it. Anyway, all students in senior year had to pair up for the event so I asked said classmate and, thankfully, he agreed, I didn't think of it much at first, he is the only one I could possibly feel comfortable with but now I'm afraid I might spoil his big day. There's the part when every student pair in senior has to come up in front of everyone and there are some ceremonies and stuff. And the friend is going to use this opportunity as a coming out - he'll be announced by his name and pronouns, wear a tuxedo and have a pride flag with him. I'm exited for him and greatly admire his courage to do it like this I'm just worried about him and my ability to support him through some negative reactions that are bound to happen. People in our class are the only ones he is currently out to and knowing other students, teachers and just the general atmosphere in the city, it's gonna be a huge thing. I have no idea how bad can the negative reactions get but if nothing else there are definitely going to be some discussions with teachers and quite probably with parents. I have acted as sort of an advocate for him in our class since he came out, communicating his needs about pronouns or answering people's questions when he wanted me to, but this might be quite different. I'll already be under so much stress - a huge social event with many social rules, uncomfortable clothes, many judging people including classmates and my parents watching, plus I still have this underlying fear that someone (my family) will assume I'm queer just because I support a trans friend. So with all this I can't even predict how able to support him I will, I might be totally fine or I might break down in front of everyone. I haven't been at school the past few days so I didn't get a chance to talk to him about any of this and I haven't come up with any way how to make this easier for myself. I can't just tell him I'll stand silent next to him when someone says transphobic things to him, I would never do that, I just wish he had someone better than me there to help... Anyway, if you have any suggestions how to prepare better for this I'd be very happy to hear them and if not, thank you so much for reading this overly long rant!
It's great that you and this friend are able to go to the event together! And it's awesome that he's using it as his coming out and trusts you enough to be there as his support for it.
I totally get where those nerves are coming from for you, and I suspect he's dealing with some on his end as well. With that in mind, I think a sound next step would be for the two of you to talk about this and make a plan. That plan could include things like what he'd like you to do if someone directs transphobia his way, or how you two will approach things if it feels like the space is getting hostile. I think that once you know how he'd like you to support him if people get weird, some of that anxiety will go away because you have a sense of what to do if that happens.
He didn't want to talk about it beforehand but in the end I'm glad we didn't have any plan because it at least means I didn't break any promises when I wasn't able to provide almost any support to him... I was in a lot of pain most of the evening due to some health problems so instead of spending time with him I was hiding in a corner trying not to let it show or break down. And even though I know it's not technically my mistake I feel so bad for not being there for him. I haven't even gotten a chance to apologize yet because there were always other people around us during the evening and he hasn't been answering my messages since. So I'm both worried about him and afraid that he is really angry with me.
I tried asking other people how was the evening for him and if he encountered any transphobia and from what I heard there was almost none. He didn't take the flag with him in the end so most people didn't know it was a coming out and those who knew were thankfully (and often surprisingly) either supportive or in most cases didn't react at all. I myself have dealt with just a few drunk students with homophobic 'jokes' so I really hope that what others are saying is true and he didn't experienced any severe transphobia or other hate during the evening.
I hope it's okay that I just wanted to vent a little because without the chance to talk to him and apologise the guilt for not being there for him is really weighting on me.
And I also wanted to share one nice moment in relation to his coming out. Quite unsurprisingly, my parents wanted to talk about it and about him afterwards and even though their questions stemmed mostly from ignorance and it wasn't entirely pleasant it was the first time when a conversation with them about something related to LGBT+ didn't feel like their attempt to criticise and change my feelings and opinions but rather like a real conversation when they actually listened to my answers and genuinely tried to understand, not only to satisfy their curiosity but also so they can treat my friend right. They are even trying to use the right name and pronouns! I know it's not much but I'm so glad they won't say anything hurtful to my friend and hopefully are okay with us talking and it also gives me a small but powerful glimmer of hope that this attempt at understanding and respect might last and may extend to me as well one day
Oh, ouch! I'm sorry you had to spend the dance in pain, that sounds like such a bummer! But I'm glad your friend had a relatively smooth time at it, since I know you were worried about that, and that your parents are actually trying to understand and be respectful. If you can, I wouldn't put off talking with him; from what you've said, it doesn't sound like he has any reason to be mad at you, and a good friend won't take you having been in pain from something you can't control personally.
You are right, Im sure he would hold it againts me if he knew why I wasn't able to support him, but he doesnt know it so he might think I just didn't want to, but on the other hand there wasn't allegedly any trouble and he had other friends there so he might not even realise I wasn't around. I wish he would talk to me and tell me if he is angry, how is he doing, how did the coming out feel for him overall, if his family is supprtive, if he wants me to correct teachers when they mess up pronouns etc. It's kind of funny that the whole thing seems to stress me out way more than him. Unfortunately I don't have a way to contact him because he is in covid isolation and isn't answering my messages but at least he is in contact with others normally so I know he is okay.
Maybe he just doesn't feel like talking with me because while not going to school he doesn't need anything from me, it has happened before and fot even longer spans of time.
The majority of the time I'm perfectly okay with our friendship being mostly one-sided exchange of help and support but sometimes I wonder for example if it is the reason why he doesn't value it enough to answer my worried messages or ask how I am doing from time to time. Maybe when I gave him 'everything' that he wanted from me without asking anything in return he didn't feel the need to put much energy into the friendship anymore. But would it even be okay to want him to? And is it even possible to form a positive relationship when I have this attitude?
I'm not asking specifically about this friend, I'm happy with how the relationship looks like but I'm wondering about relationships in general (though I suppose there probably isn't one general rule that would apply to all). I never saw relationships as something that should be strictly reciprocal, I've always had it more like I give what is asked for and what I want and am capable of giving and then see what the other person wants to 'offer', instead of asking for the same amount of time, energy, advice, attention etc. in return. It feels more 'natural' to me and seems logical because everyone has different needs, feelings or amount of free time and energy. But one the other hand it has ended in a very one-sided relationships quite a few times and while I don't mind those (in fact in can be quite good because I get a lot of satisfaction from being able to help people without the need to disclose too much about myself etc.) it can get a bit too much from time to time and also I would really like to be capable of having deeper and more 'equal' relationships someday. So, what's more possible - that those people have just liked having someone to listen and help them with school but haven't liked me personally and the nature of our relationship wouldn't change no matter what I would do- or - if I asked for something in return from the beginning they might care about me more? I refuse to believe most people would selfishly jump to the first opportunity to use someone willing to provide some kind of support while not liking that person at all, so I can't help thinking that I'm doing something wrong or there is something wrong with me.
Anyway the ultimate question is something like "is there some 'rule' about how should reciprocity in relationships including friendships generally look like? Are those relationships that aren't equal always bound to to become unhealthy?"
Sorry if this doesn't make much sense, I know I'm probably awfully overthinking and 'over-theorising' it but I feel like I'm somehow going about all this completely wrong but don't know how, so if anyone has any thoughts I'd be happy to hear them.
Hey 42 -- You raise a really good question about healthy relationships. Other may feel differently, but I'm not sure if there is a general rule around stuff like this. I think it has a lot to do with capacity to care and reciprocate, which I tend to picture in my head as a pitcher full of water and drinking glasses. Sometimes people, even if they care and want to nurture a relationship, just can't give the way others can. If there's nothing they can spare in their pitcher, they can't fill another person's glass. Or, perhaps they could fill it... and that may mean they can't fill their own glass to drink from. I tend to think about this as an endless filling and refilling of each other's pitchers and glasses. Some people may need a lot at one time, another person might need more another time. I'm hoping this is making sense! Like I said, this is just how I tend to think about it.
If you're feeling like you're always giving too much to others and frequently in relationships that you're identifying as one-sided... could it be that you're focusing too much on trying to fill their glass? Can you remember a time where you've consciously stepped away from a relationship like this? You've covered so much in this thread, apologies there's some stuff you've talked about that I'm not remembering. I think it's very apparent that you care so much about others and want to be there for them, but maybe it's time to think about your boundaries if this seems to keep happening.
Also, about your friend... I'm following your thoughts, and I think I'd wonder the same stuff, but I want to suggest that him not answering messages right now might not be as personal as it feels. I, for example, have about 50+ unread or unanswered messages at any given time, whether it be text or email or DM. I can see how it would be frustrating to know he is contact with others, but... I also think it's ok for someone to set priorities around what kind of messages they can answer at a given time. I can only speak for myself here, but sometimes that has nothing to do with who sent the message. If he is in COVID isolation, that might also be a factor here. I think it's best to give it some time.
As for the general relationship stuff: I love metaphors like this one! I would add that those pitchers and glasses aren't made of glass but from some opaque material so it's often hard to determine how much water has everyone, including ourselves, got left...
The thing is, I don't want to step away from those relationships, I like them, it's just that I'd like to have deeper friendships or even romantic relationship one day and I'm afraid I don't know how to even start those let alone how to make them nice for everyone involved. But I guess it's not something I can just make happen but I rather have to wait if I ever meet someone who will want that kind of relationship with me.
As for that friend: Thank you for the reassurance! He's back at school (apparently covid isolation isn't mandatory in most cases anymore) and even though I didn't have a chance to talk to him about the prom or why he hasn't been answering my messages, his behaviour towards me doesn't seem to have changed so I can only hope he isn't angry or anything.
But I'm still really worried about him, more than half of the teacher still use wrong name and pronouns, about third of the class, where he has been out for months now, still "forgets" his pronouns, trans students aren't allowed to use the restrooms they want to and there isn't any gender neutral one, several classmates are openly supporting awful ideas of people like Andrew Tate... overall our school can be a very hostile environment not only but especially for trans people. And I feel so helpless because there isn't anything I can do. I can keep correcting people that use wrong pronouns, I can talk with classmates about why misogynistic and hateful ideas like that of Tate are so hurtful (and surprisingly it really worked with two of them), I can be there for him to listen or talk and share wit him the joys of his life... but that's probably all I can do. I can never shield him from hateful teachers or random people on the street, I can't do anything about terrible and discriminating legislation, I can't change the minds of transphobic classmates. Maybe someone could but I can't. And another scary thing is that if something happened to him, if someone hurt him based on his gender, there is probably noone to turn to, at school or anywhere else. Our school is run by the catholic church so there aren't any anti-discrimination policies, there's a big grey zone regarding trans people rights in the state legislation and I haven't heard of any organisations advocating for LGBT people in our country either. I can't even imagine how hard it must be for my friend and for all other trans or gnc people at our school, in our country, in the whole world... I see how he is struggling every single day and there is almost nothing I can do to help.
Anyway, sorry for the rant, sometimes the hopelessness and worries pent up and it I definitely don't want to bring these negative thoughts to him. I don't know if there is anything I can do to not feel so hopeless sometimes but if you have any thoughts feel free to share them.
I also wanted to ask if someone has any media recommendations for this friend. A while ago Nicole has gave me several book recommendations (and read and absolutely LOVED all of those) and when I was telling my friend about Stone Butch Blues he was really interested in it and wanted to read it but he isn't a fan of longer books so I wanted to ask if someone here knows about a similar story (a bit of history, exploring gender...) but in the form of a comics/TV show?
I tend to tell people to not go searching for certain relationships, but rather let them come to you. This advice isn't ideal for everyone, but we seem to hold similar thoughts! Although, there is nothing bad about approaching new people and finding some common interests. However, if it doesn't work out, it's important to try to not get too upset.
As for your friend, I am really sorry about what he experiences on a day-to-day basis. It sounds incredibly difficult. Honestly, at this point, the best thing you can do is just to be there for him. You seem like you really care about his well-being and you want to protect him--which is great. Although, sometimes there is only so much you can do. I think you're already being such a wonderful and supportive friend, so keep that up! It could also help to just continuously check up on him. I do wonder, how is he reacting to all of this? Has he spoken to you about how he feels about what's been going on at school? If he's not letting those things get to him, then I wouldn't pressure him to think too much about it. However, I also think it's important to make sure he's not just putting up a positive front. With all of this in mind, it could just help you to ask what you can do for him. That way you will know how you can move forward in the most effective way possible.
I'm SO happy you loved those books! I'm going to assume that your friend is a trans man, so please correct me if I'm wrong. I know a total of two movies about trans men and they are honestly quite sad, so I don't think I will recommend those unless your friend is interested in them (they are historical). However, my queer friends and I love the show Pose. It mainly stars trans women, but it involves a lot of gender exploration and focuses on the 1980s NYC ballroom scene. It's a really wonderful show. Unfortunately, I'm not too familiar with any queer/trans comics or graphic novels. The ones I usually read are super, super fictional, or fantasy. I can ask around and see what people recommend.
Please let me know if any of this resonates with you or if you have any further questions. Take care!
Thank you for the recommendation, I'm sure he will love it!
And thanks for the helpful insights as well! I'm used to him being very open with me and sharing a lot of feelings and struggles so I probably tend to forget to actively ask him how he is feeling or what can I do for him so thank you for the reminder to do so. I know he is aware of those terrible conditions but paradoxically I sometimes seem more upset about it than him. It's admirable how he is dealing with everything that's going on in his life. Anyway, the good things is we are finishing high school in a few months so hopefully we will both be able to find some more supportive places soon
(PS: sorry if I forgot to thank you for those books recommendations earlier. I loved them so much and especially the one by Audre Lorde has a very special place in my heart, I often reread some parts and am searching the Internet for every little bit of her work I can find
Absolutely! Yeah, I think it's important to just keep up that positive energy and be there for him. You definitely have a lot of empathy, which is great, but don't let it mess with your own well-being too much! With all of that being said, I'm excited for you both to finish school and move forward into the world.
I'm really glad you loved the Audre Lorde book, she's a really fantastic writer. That book was probably the one that I recommended the most, so I'm so happy to hear all of this!
I have a more 'traditinal' sex-ed question today related to vaginal discharge.
Most of the time I have it quite thick and it leaves stains. I've never thought it a problem because it's always been like this and from what I've learned here it's absolutely normal. The thing is my mum saw it on my underwear when doing the laundry today and is making a fuss about it. We didn't finish the conversation because we were interrupted but the main points she made were that
-she thinks it means some disease and I have to change my diet or even see a doctor
- according to her it's disgusting to put stained underwear into laundry
I'm definitely not planning to visit a doctor because of this so my questions are just:
- is there something unhygienic or wrong about putting underwear with visible discharge into a washing machine together with other clothes?
-can I do something to prevent those stains?
I'm going to wash everything in hand from now on to prevent arguments but I'd prefer some long term solution. I know some people use panty liners but in my case it seems like a lot of unnecessary waste. Maybe making something like washable/reusable pads/panty liners might work?