It’s not just you – Not her

This post is part of a series on sharing individuals stories to help others realize, they are not alone. If you haven’t read the introduction to this series, please start here. This weeks post is about something I know very little about – The LGBTQA+ community. So please give me grace if I indirectly offend anyone. I don’t mean to. I am still learning and growing my vocabulary.

I have only had a handful of friend and relatives who identified as gay or queer growing up. My default reaction to this community was confusion and disgust. In retrospect, these responses were normal in the Filipino culture. I didn’t know any better.

The Trevor Project

Founded in 1998 by the creators of the Academy Award®-winning short film TREVOR, The Trevor Project is the leading national organization providing crisis intervention and suicide prevention services to lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender, queer & questioning (LGBTQ) young people under 25.

  • Suicide is the 2nd leading cause of death among young people ages 10 to 24.
  • LGB youth seriously contemplate suicide at almost three times the rate of heterosexual youth.
  • LGB youth are almost five times as likely to have attempted suicide compared to heterosexual youth.
  • Of all the suicide attempts made by youth, LGB youth suicide attempts were almost five times as likely to require medical treatment than those of heterosexual youth.
  • Suicide attempts by LGB youth and questioning youth are 4 to 6 times more likely to result in injury, poisoning, or overdose that requires treatment from a doctor or nurse, compared to their straight peers.
  • In a national study, 40% of transgender adults reported having made a suicide attempt. 92% of these individuals reported having attempted suicide before the age of 25.
  • LGB youth who come from highly rejecting families are 8.4 times as likely to have attempted suicide as LGB peers who reported no or low levels of family rejection.
  • 1 out of 6 students nationwide (grades 9–12) seriously considered suicide in the past year.
  • Each episode of LGBT victimization, such as physical or verbal harassment or abuse, increases the likelihood of self-harming behavior by 2.5 times on average.

Alex’s story

“When I let go of what I am, I become what I might be.” ― Lao Tzu

My name is Alexander Flores, and I’m a trans man.

At 14, I began to discover the depths of my soul. The security of routine helped dull the aching emptiness during high school. Wake up, shower, find something baggy to wear, grab my bag, and head on up to the bus stop. I had always wondered what the other kids were thinking of me — why they’d always have to stare. It was as if I’d been caged up for their entertainment. I was afraid of my own skin. What I saw in the mirror wasn’t mine and I thought my reality now was merely a fragment of my imagination, but with enough dedication I was finally able to begin my journey.

There was no “Transitioning for Dummies”, just a deep sea of information that we call the internet. I had to brace myself for the storm to come.

Pre hormone therapy, I was nothing. My mental state deteriorated, as well as my physical health. I had no reason to pursue a future in a body I was never able to recognize. Staring at the mirror only lead to feelings of despair and envy, daydreaming of what it would be like to be born in my true identity. To not be told “It’s just a phase,” or “You’re just a tomboy,” . With every step forward, I fell three stories back.

I attempted to fill the void with anything and everything. I pursued toxic relationships and dumped every penny I made to satisfy my craving to belong. I had to claw my way out of the darkness, for a spark ignited in me — it was time to face the world as one with my soul. Too many times I let myself believe I was the victim, when the only person harming me was myself.

I had finally came out to my mom. All the overthinking and self degradation began to wash away; she had known all along. I hesitantly asked her to pass on the message to my (step)dad, as I couldn’t find the courage to do so myself. Tension filled the room as I waited for the familiar ding from my phone, which read somewhere along the lines of “You’re still my kid, I love you, son.”

Coming out to my birth father was a hell, to put it lightly. Daddy’s little princess had transformed into Daddy’s little prince. Being his only child, I knew he wouldn’t be able to accept me for who I truly was. My senior year I decided to move to my mom’s after things weren’t working out at my Father’s. Since then, it’s been just about a year and a half since we had spoken. Only time will tell if he’ll find peace with me as myself — as his son.

A year and some months of hormone therapy later, I’ve seen not only a physical evolution, but I’ve experienced a spiritual evolution as well. Finally being able to recognize myself in the mirror was more than a victory of its own, my heart was truly beating. I finally felt alive. I used to live in the shadows of others, always concerning myself with how well I “passed”. Every passing whisper added to my anxiety. Often I would find myself avoiding public interaction as a whole in fear of exposing who I was born as. I dressed as androgynous as possible. Baggy sweaters, joggers, and anything black provided me with a sense of security as I ventured around public spaces.

Today, I speak with confidence, I wear what I please, and no longer concern myself with how others think of me. My story is mine alone and it is definitely a journey I’m more than willing to share. Embracing my life as a transman has not only empowered me, but it has given me the strength to show others that it’s more than worth your time to live as your true self.

Human rights

No matter your stance on the LGBTQA+ community, everyone deserves to be treated with respect. I can not ever imagine how Alex’s has felt through his journey of truth. Please know that if you are in this community, God loves you and meets you where you are and not where you should be. While I do not have any experience with this community, there are so many resources out there that do understand what you are going through. Please reach out.

And remember…it is ok to NOT be ok. Tomorrow is a new day!

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