I'm a moderator of a mailing list for transgender people in my part of the world. Today, I had a membership request from somebody self-describing as a young person with transgender feelings.
We all want to help someone like that. We went through that, and it was awful. But we can't, because of course such a person is a vulnerable young person who really shouldn't be talking to people they don't know on the Internet. Child protection laws aside, it would be irresponsible of us to admit someone in that position, so the group has an age policy of 18 years old and over.
Here's the mail I sent. I hope I hit the right note.
Thanks for joining our group. I'm Jenny, group moderator.
I'm mailing you directly because you mention you're a young person.
Having grown up having to hide gender dysphoria I guess I know
something of what you are going through and I know just how confusing
and dreadful it all is. I think we'd all be very anxious to help
anyone in your situation to ensure you don't have to go through what
we had to.
However, because you say you're a young person we have to proceed
with caution before I can approve your membership. There are all sorts
of child protection laws to stop Internet predators and all kinds of
dodgy people who might take advantage of young people, and as well as
being highly irresponsible we'd probably be breaking some of them if
you are under 18. Though we're all pretty normal people we are after
all people you've never met, and I don't think any of us have the
background checks that for example teachers have.
So I guess I have to ask some slightly difficult questions.
First of all, are you 18 years old or older? If so, welcome aboard,
how can we help you?
If you are under 18, are you out to your parent or guardian? If you
are, we'd be only too happy to provide you with whatever support we
can, but only through them. Don't worry if you aren't out to your
parents, we understand that only too well. I was in my 30s before I
came out of the closet.
If you're under 18 and still in the closet then don't worry! We can't
help you directly for the reasons I outlined above, but there is an
organisation just for you. It's called Mermaids, and you can find it
The Mermaids support page is here:
And their Yahoo group for transgender young people is here:
I hope the above is of some help to you. I feel rather crap for having
to proceed with caution in this way for someone who needs the help I
wish I'd had when I was younger, but I hope the Mermaids people can
If I can leave you with a few words for a trans person at the start of
their journey, here goes:
(1)You are not alone. You'll find men and women like you are
everywhere, getting on with their lives and doing fantastic things.
You do that too.
(2)There are as many routes through all this as there are trans
people. There is no single path you have to take if you don't want to
or aren't quite ready. Choose the way you want to go and do it in your
own time. Being young you have the luxury of time to get it right. You
don't have to transition at all, but if that's what you end up doing
it's better slow and right than fast and wrong.
Good luck :)