Thoughts in a day: Transgender Teens

df7c489bed150386371a0988ac458763Climbing out of her bed to dress, the thoughts of school and friends rush around on top of goals, workouts, chores and clothes. Moments after rising she moves past the mirror and freezes. Her body is not a “her” but a “him.” Her day will not be filled with thoughts of what to get done or how to dress to express who she is. Instead, she looks for the outfit that hides the most; covering all the imperfections that she cannot workout to fix and study harder to change. She cannot dig herself out of her gender as one whom from poverty. Stuck. She sits. Looking in a mirror that keeps changing into what she does understand. Being asked to live a life that does not fit what is under her skin.

A yell comes from down stairs and now a girl who got up before it was time excited about her day, stands as a boy frozen in confusion and fear. The ‘late to school’ conversation that happens everyday starts as HE hits the bottom stair. His head fills with all the things he will have to do today. His conversations with friends that might not be friends ‘if they knew’ about the her that he is not suppose to discuss. He starts to question all his relationships, wondering if any are real. Isolating in his head and fearing to truly care about others he learns that self is the only person to trust and worry about. Moving from one class to another where they ask the boys and girls to separate for seating, restrooms, activities, sports, and/or games. Where does the Transgender teen stand? Where does she/ he fit in?

Transgender teens are being asked to ‘sit at the back of the bus’ and do as you are told. Where does it stop? Conform to societies standards of male/female. If your genitals determine who you are, what do we do with the intersex person? When do they get to move to the front and claim they are worth being respected? I work with teens that smile when for a moment in time they are seen from the inside out. Peace and respect sits with them as they talk and joy fills their face when their correct pronoun is used.

Just one. Condemning. Reaffirming. Little. Big. Powerful. Painful. Joyful. Word. 

He returns home, head down and moving on to homework. Then SHE smiles. In her room, she is real. She fits just fine into the clothes only she ever sees. She studies in the hat that makes her hair look longer. The words, the math is all making sense with room in her head. She draws hearts and a smiley to remember the steps to complete the problems.

In her room she is comfortable and safe for now. She knows the sadness that will come tomorrow when HE must return to the breakfast table and to school.

Parents. Friends. Counselors.

Read and learn about the transgender teen in your life. If you have questions, ask them, together is when family is the most effective.

I work with the LGBTQIA community and would be happy to help with questions or a direction for you to go in.

Melinda C. Porter, LPC


Teens and Media

Parents it is a whole new world out there!


The digital life that happens on your child’s phone, tablet or computer has a powerful presence. You need to be just as present in their digital world as they are.

I work with many teens that spend most of the time socializing in chat rooms or through apps. The only way to understand how that world works is to dive in. Sign-up and monitor! Sit down with your child and create a list of approved apps or games (which have chat rooms available) and place titles, usernames, and passwords for both parents to check in on.

Some parents / children view this as an invasion of privacy or a sign of not trusting their child / teen. Instead, I challenge you to view it being present.

The example that clicked with myself was that of a school environment. You do not go to their school and follow them around in all their interactions but you do attend parent night, parent-teacher meetings, at pick-up time you interact with other parents and watch how the children interact with your child / teen. You go to games, shows, fundraisers and / or band performances. You are a presence in their school life.

Ask them to show you the chat room or how to make an avatar.
Ask them about their avatar: forms, names, genders, and / or strengths. Many individuals create the person they hope to one day be in their avatar.
If they write on one of the story apps, such as, Wattpad. Go in to read their stories, print them if you think they would feel proud to know you wanted to keep them in the ‘real world’ or just email them letting them know you read it and what you thought. You know your child and how they need to be supported.
If you struggle with what to do to help your child out of the digital world it is okay to ask a therapist or school counselor for suggestions.
It is a new world that our children are growing up in. We have to meet them where they are inside the digital world to make sure they are safe.

Much Respect,

Melinda C. Porter, LPC