Ask Gabriel: Haircuts and Identities

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,

So I’ve known for almost 3 years now that I’m a Trans guy. I go to high school and live with my parents still. I came out to my parents a year ago and my mom doesn’t think I’m a guy. My hair is a big problem to me. I can’t get my mom to cut it. If I snip a little off, she’ll punish me. If I ask my dad to take me to go get it cut, she’ll punish me. If I ask her politely, she’ll tell me to shut up and go away. Because of the length of my hair and femininity of my face, people call me a girl and it makes me want to curl up in a corner and cry. She cut it super short one time and I was never called a girl, only a boy, which made her insanely upset. I asked her if she can cut it like that again and she said she never will. I don’t know what to do and it’s causing me to go into a depression. I have no friends that I trust to talk with due to trust issues so I’m turning to you. How do I ask for a hair cut in this situation? Thank you. – Anonymous

This is a pretty tough situation; reminds me of how my parents were when I first got my hair cut super short. As for what to do, it all depends how much you want that haircut. Do you have any money of your own? If you do, it would be in your best interest to go out and get it cut by a barber. She will likely throw a fit again the next time she sees you but what’s done is done – she can’t make the hair magically grow back. It may take her a very long time to get with the program, maybe never, but YOU need to do what will make YOU the most comfortable and not your mother. Good luck!

Hi Gabriel,

I came out a out two years ago and my parents told me I was just following a trend and they were shoving me back into the closet to prevent me from losing good opportunities. I suffered a lot because of it and have been looking forward to university because of it. However, recently, I was yelled at because my mom could sense I have some resentment because of the fact that I wasn’t allowed to be trans and she doesn’t think that I am trans. And she told me if I wanna screw up my life then I can do so after college. This scared me because I moved to NYC so I could be myself and transition but she scared me and now I’m too afraid to take the steps to transition, change my name, get surgery, etc. I feel like out of kindness I should wait to transition for my parents and my younger sister but I also know that I’ve been waiting to be myself forever to do this. Can u give me some advice or some guidance on how to figure out what to do? – Anonymous

Are they paying for your college education? If so, you have to tread very carefully because one wrong step can result you in being unable to finish college because your parents are withholding funds. If anything, you can maybe go to a informed consent clinic in New York City (there’s Callen-Lorde and APICHA) and go on hormones but on a low dose so that changes happen slow but they will be happening and you will feel more comfortable in your body. It may not be much but it will be a start! You can get your hair styled if you haven’t already, start dressing more of the way you want, present yourself with your preferred name and pronouns. I know that more professors in college are starting to ask in the beginning of the semester what you PREFERRED to be called even though you might not have legally changed the name. Continue reading

Ask Gabriel: Dating and Books

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,

Do you have any advice for intra-community dating? I think for now I am only interested in dating other trans people, at least while I am early in transition. Since the community is so small IRL, I’m worried that if I dated someone and we had a bad breakup, I wouldn’t feel comfortable going to trans events (support groups, etc.) for fear of seeing them. – Anonymous

Dating is more or less the same. You just get out there, indulge in your interests, attend events geared towards transgender folks and just let everything take its natural course. The only big difference is that once you reach a certain point in the relationship, communication is crucial – especially when it comes to having sex where you need to establish boundaries of what is and what is NOT allowed be to touched.

That being said, there’s no need to rush trying to find someone; forming bonds takes time and even if you don’t click with someone on a romantic level, at least you made some friends that might introduce you to other awesome transgender people. And in the chance that you and someone date for a while and break up, it won’t be awkward in going to transgender events because people are there to celebrate our accomplishments, give support and make friends and not indulge in drama that doesn’t involve them. And if they do indulge, it’s best to look elsewhere for support because that’s just bullying.

Good luck and be safe out there! Continue reading

Ask Gabriel: Coming Out and Surgery

Hi Gabriel,

Where did you get your top surgery done? – Anonymous

Dr. Daniel Medalie from Ohio! I had to travel out of state.

Hi Gabriel,

Soo I’ve been out as transgender (ftm) for almost a year now but only a few of my friends and boyfriend know and I’ve been wanting to tell my mom but I don’t know how to tell her….any advice? – Anonymous

Well, there’s multiple ways of coming out to anyone; it all dependson your comfort with the subject and how close you are with your mother. You could tell them in a private conversation, send an e-mail or write them a letter and leave it on their nightstand.

You could simply go up, ask your mother to talk in private and then tell her straight out: “Hey mom, I’ve been meaning to tell you for a while but I’ve been scared to. But I’m ready to tell you – I’m transgender.” And let the conversation go from there, telling her how you’ve been feeling this way for some time, you’ve been going as your preferred name with your friends and boyfriend and that you’re looking to take the next steps in your transition (whatever they may be) and things along that line. This is great if you’re comfortable with confrontation and the possible repercussions that may follow.

If not, no worries – you can shoot her an-email or make a letter! What you would include in it is entirely up to you but here’s a quick example of what I would write: Continue reading