Ask Gabriel: Culture and Information

Ask Gabriel is an advice column series where you can get your questions answered about being transgender, coming out, changing your name, hormones, sexuality, representation, dating, etc. These are questions that have been submitted to me by transgender and nonbinary people! You can read my last column here.

Hi Gabriel,

I’m scared, I’m a nonbinary lesbian and I like the feeling I get when I dress more masculine. I can’t buy any because I still live with my parents and they think I’m a girl and think I choose to be this. They don’t use my pronouns which are they/them. I don’t remind them cos I feel like there’s no point in doing it. They support Trump and my mom has yelled at me for looking the least bit masculine. She’s even yelled at me that you can’t “change to be a boy”. I’m a girl and that’s it. It’s pretty transphobic what she says sometimes and I don’t know what to do. She’s not like being gay is a sin but she thinks it’s a Choice. I have anxiety and it’s hard, I like feeling feminine sometimes but I like the illusion of a flat chest. I don’t know what to do. – Anonymous

Well unfortunately, there’s not much you can’t do to convince them if you have already tried. You can lead them to resources and articles that disprove what they say but they need to actually make an effort to educate themselves. In other words, it’s up to them if they want to change and, by the sound of it, it looks like they are steadfast in their beliefs. The best thing you can do is show them that they are wrong through actual scientific studies, articles and leave them to reach out to you if they are interested.

Here’s one article that I would show them:

You sound underage (correct me if I am mistaken) so the best thing I would suggest is to start planning ahead to move out as soon as you are 18. Get a job as soon as you are able to, put aside some of that money and plan for the future. Look at colleges you may be interested in. Get an idea where you want to move to and who with. Surround yourself with positivity, with good friends and maybe reach out to your local LGBT center and see if they have any further resources for youth like yourself.

You’re not alone in this, remember that. Good luck!

Hi Gabriel,

I just wanted to pop this question in but do you have any advice or tips on speaking about understand what being transgender is to your family but in complete Spanish? I’ve been struggling with trying to find ways to further explain myself but sadly the only response I get is that I am “man lesbian” or “a lesbian trying to be a man”. This has been quite the problem since I’ve searched far and wide for more brothers who are Hispanic/Latino but I haven’t been successful. Please and Thank you! I’d greatly appreciate it. – Eli

When I first came out almost 4 years ago, I didn’t see myself in other trans men on YouTube, who were predominantly white, so I made my own YouTube channel. Even now, Latin@ trans men and nonbinary folks are still few and far inbetween but there are people out there like Shane Ortega and Laith Ashley.

As for explaining to your family, you could explain it to them like this:

“Ser transgenero es como decir a todos que soy un hombre pero todos me dicen lo contrario. Nadie me toman en serio, no es lo mismo que ser lesbiana porque yo nunca fuí mujer. Lesbiana significa que soy una mujer que quiere estar con otra mujer.”

To be fair, my Latinx family still doesn’t get what being transgender is because they do, at times, say things that would be considered transphobic or just plain ignorant. As a matter of fact, they don’t even know that I am nonbinary! It’s pretty hard to explain when Spanish is such a gendered language and coming out (again) is a can of worms I’m not willing to open since it took them this long to just call me Gabriel. They still believe that I am a transgender man (close enough), that me being out and proud would provoke people to be violent towards me, that I chose to be this way and that I automatically like sports and drinking beer simply because I am perceived as a man.

Even 3 years into my transition, it is a work in progress. :/
With that being said, I’m hope that your family is much more understanding.

Hi Gabriel,

I’m having some trouble getting started. I’m 28 and known for several years that I want to start T and get top surgery, but I’ve yet to even make my first appointment. I’ve been binding for 2 years and using preferred pronouns for about a year.

I’m a recovering addict, so the last 6 months have given me a boost of determination, and while I have a small group of support, I don’t personally know anyone who’s gone through it.

What was starting the process like for you? What advice can you give on getting the ball rolling? By the way, I think you’re amazing and love seeing how much you’ve grown just from the evolution of your videos. You really are inspiring. – Brit

Thank you, I do my best! As for how I started, I was originally looking for a gender therapist that didn’t cost me an arm and a leg but I went informed consent when a trans man I met in college (who is now my boyfriend) reached out to me on Facebook and said I can go to Callen-Lorde instead. He was in the youth medical program there which allowed him to start testosterone at little to no cost to him and I was able to start testosterone very quickly without having to go through therapy sessions and get a referral to an endocrinologist.

I would suggest seeing what your options are and what you are comfortable doing. Informed consent is generally the fastest route to getting on testosterone if you are over 18 years old; you just need to find a clinic or a primary care physician that offers it. Planned Parenthood is a well known clinic that offers transgender services; however, not all of their clinics have those services so I would find the nearest one, call their number and ask. If not, try calling the other Planned Parenthood clinics and see if they do.

If nothing else, try contacting LGBT centers in your state and see if they know any clinics that offer transgender services. If there aren’t any, ask about gender therapists that they recommend (preferably those that take your insurance). Hope this helps!

Got a question for Gabriel? Submit them here and they will be answered in a future post!

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