Dear Teen Me
Photo: RJ Vandrish / Illustration: Erin McPhee
Dear Teen Me,
I know you might not recognize the name, but this is a letter from future you — me. There are some things I want you to know; things I really wish I knew at your age.
If you’re reading this, you’re probably thinking this is just a prank (not to mention questioning how sending letters back in time is possible). This is not a prank; I am you. Don’t believe me? I know things about you that you haven’t told anyone about.
Do you remember that time in grade 9? The time you asked yourself if you were a transgender woman? You didn’t really know what it meant to be trans, but you knew it had something to do with flamboyant drag queens in tons of makeup who hated their penises. You never told anyone this. You thought everyone felt bad about how puberty was treating them, but that no one talked about it. What if I told you that people don’t talk about it because most people don’t experience it the way you do? What if I said that you’ve never talked about it because you feel like it was something you needed to hide? I’ll give you a moment …
Teen me, you are trans. I know you don’t want to wear dresses or get sexual reassignment surgery, but doesn’t mean you aren’t transgender. You see, you were right when you decided you weren’t a trans woman, but there are so many more options than you realized. Gender identity is not black and white. Nothing is. I think you know this. I would have let you figure it out for yourself, but time is not on your side. I think you should begin to educate yourself about what it means to be trans — specifically what it means to be genderqueer.
There is a place in between maleness and femaleness that you identify with. You always have.
But you’re going to kick yourself later if you let you puberty masculinize your body in ways you can never reverse. Maybe you should consider taking puberty suppression drugs to buy yourself time so you can consider taking estrogen hormones?
I think there are many reasons people may be inspired to write to their past selves; letters of encouragement, warning messages, maybe tips on what to invest in in the stock market. I’m writing because I want you to get an earlier start on working towards your self-acceptance, your self-love and, of course, your transition. I want you to know that life will get so much better, people will love you, and quite honestly, they will think you’re beautiful. So promise me you’ll think about transitioning.
Oh, and since I’m writing you, you should also know these things: being queer is amazing (even though you’re getting bullied for it now), you have a lot of anxiety (and you can learn to deal with it) and you need to keep up with your French (even if you’ve internalized messages that it’s not cool. You’re going to risk forgetting your language and losing your culture.).
Rory Jade Grey
P.S. Do you like my new name? I thought you might.