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What should I look to do first when I'm settled in college?

Discussion in 'Gender Identity and Expression' started by Natasha Elyssa, Mar 8, 2017.

  1. Natasha Elyssa

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    If I get accepted to college, and everything goes to plan, I'll be moving out of my house and will most likely be living in a dorm (99.99...% chance of dorm; parents don't want me even considering apartments). Once I get settled and all that, and I feel good and ready to start taking the first real steps towards transition, what do I do first? What do I look to do period? Do I immediately go and tell the school, visit a therapist or counselor, or visit a local LGBT center or organization first? Like, who do I see and in what order? I know the first thing I want to do when I'm safe away in college is get my hair styled, cut, and dyed but I also want to maintain a low profile while I'm still testing the waters sort-to-speak. I want to adjust and adapt and get used to things before being all gung-ho about it. I also kinda want to be quite about being Trans and transition and stuff, and kinda like don't really want to talk about with strangers (unless they ask and I feel okay with it). Like, if somebody in class asks me if I'm Transgender, I kinda don't want to talk about it. I want to blend in and operate under the radar. Plus I also kinda want to put school and work as my top priorities. School is 1, work is 2, transition is 3. I've also never walked around and been out and everything, like, I've only told my mom and sister and I'm not exactly walking around being open about it.

    I understand that I'm going to need to do a lot of work to accept myself and "normalize" myself in my mind. That's something I'm going to have to deal with no matter what. It's easy to be openly Trans here, when I'm hiding under my blanket and nobody IRL knows. But, it's like something that I keep as a deep secret. A lot of things I keep to myself and just stay quite and go with the flow, but I don't want that anymore. I want to go somewhere and start a new life and feel free and safe. I'm probably going to have a lot of trouble trying to accept myself and actually muster the strength to do what I want and be open about myself. Like, I can't bring myself to tell even my own family a lot about myself because they alienate it and make me feel bad just because of who I am. Like, I'm scared to tell people I like warm cuddles and passionate romance and all that gushy stuff. This all connects to transition and how I have to start. I don't know what to do when (IF) I get to college and can start transitioning.

    Where do I go? Who do I turn to? Who's going to help me? What should I be doing to prepare myself mentally and physically? How should I go about it? What can I do financially? How can I hide most of this from my parents? My parents pay most of my expenses, I'm very much a dependent, how can I get them to pay for these things? They're probably going to see stuff on the bills and interrogate me about it. What should I do? Or be doing?
     
  2. Ronin

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    My knee-jerk reaction would be to go to the local LGBT/Pride center. They'll likely have a good idea of what your college is like for trans people and could give you advice, network or at least brainstorm with you for your particular desires. It can also really, really help to physically be around people who trans-positive.
     
  3. Kasey

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    If I knew what I knew now? I'd start presenting from day one and meet the LGBT club to start. But that's just me.
     
  4. Kodo

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    I am in much the same situation, Natasha, and will try to share what I have been and plan on doing. Perhaps some things will be helpful.

    First, it is tricky when you are dependent on your parents still, and wanting to transition. This leaves you with only a few possibilities: come out to them in the hope they support you, become financially independent of them, or try to transition while under their care and without them knowing. The last option seems to be what you are looking at, but please be aware that it is very likely they will figure out at some point - and you will need a backup plan for yourself should it go wrong. Think about coming out plans or alternative housing (such as with a friend or relative) should yoiu be displaced.

    As for what I did, I came out to my parents over a year ago now and it went very, very not good. As a result my going to college was delayed another year mostly because I was experiencing significant mental health issues and couldn't do what was needed. Also I am not dependent on my parents for money, and thus they cannot do anything to me (like refuse to pay or house me) if I were to transition in college. I say all this to note that our situations are a bit different.

    The first thing I did was to check whether the universities I was applying to were LGBT friendly. After that, I applied under my birth name and gender because, as I am not publicly out and did not want to risk my parents finding out about it, it was safer. The next thing I did was apply and check for gender therapists in the area of the college. Last and most importantly, I spoke to the school about their housing amenities for trans* students and found that they have confidential gender inclusive housing specifically for such students. So I applied for that too.

    I am not averse to sharing a dorm with women while I am first starting my transition, but I would notify the college and make sure my roommate would be cool with me first. This is if there wasn't gender inclusive housing available.

    When I attend college this fall, hopefully, I will be introducing myself as Alec and going by male pronouns. I will dress how I like and have the haircut I want. There will undoubtedly be paperwork and communication with school staff, but that can be dealt with as it arises.

    My advice to you is to make a plan and consider all possibilities. It is important for you to come out and begin transition, but it also important to stay safe and utilize all the resources in your area. If you have insurance, I would check the areas of the colleges you're applying to for therapists, LGBT centers, or even Planned Parenthoods (some in NY offer HRT services). It is important to know where your support network is. The next would be to work closely with the college and inquire about sanctions for LGBT students. Last would be to just do it. Live your life one day at a time and it'll be great.

    This is a big step for both of us, sister, and I wish you all the best.
     
    #4 Kodo, Mar 9, 2017
    Last edited: Mar 9, 2017
  5. Shorthaul

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    Find a good food place. Doesn't matter if its a taco truck or a quirky little pub. But someplace you can go once and a while to treat yourself and take a little study break.

    Course all of the places everyone else mentioned could likely point you to the kinds of places I mentioned. lol