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No one understands what it’s like to be trans. I think I’m going to drop out of school. Is there anything else I can do?

First, you are not alone. It can be hard to find people who understand and are there for you. And school can be a scary place, especially for anyone who feels different or who is perceived to be different. Some people are bullied or physically threatened because they are transgender. The good news is that there are some steps you can take to feel safe and to find people who will stand by you.

High school can be one of the hardest times to feel like you don’t fit in. It is especially hard to feel like people don’t understand you. It is important to remember that, for many people, the ticket out of a bad situation is a good education. If you feel it is not possible to obtain your education safely, explore other ways to complete your education. There are many options such as taking college classes during the regular school day or earning a diploma in a General Educational Development (GED) program. GED provides an opportunity to earn a high school equivalency diploma. It allows a student to show they have a level of learning similar to high school graduates. The GED is sponsored by the American Council on Education.

You can also find out if your school or community has a gendersexuality or gaystraight alliance (GSA). This might be a place to find some allies or, in other words, some people who have your back. If not, find an adult you trust at school and consider starting a group yourself. There are lots of resources to help, including Q Chat Space—a website that hosts online chats designed for LGBTQ teens and facilitated by staff and volunteers at LGBTQ youth programs across the country. GLSEN and the GSA Network also have resources for students dealing with transphobia at school. While these resources may not end the transphobia in your school right away, they can help you create a network of people who support you and care about you. If you live in a bigger city, there may also be an LGBTQ community center.

Consider whether and when to talk to your friends. Think about caring adults you know (family, friends, teachers, a school counselor, a health care provider) who may already be in your life and who might be good advocates. Consider talking with teachers and administrators about small changes (like teacher training or safer bathrooms and locker rooms) that would make a big difference.

Bending The Mold: An Action Kit for Transgender Youth” has many more ideas for you and your allies to make your school safer and more inclusive for all students. Check it out!

A book that can be helpful—and really fun!—for anyone who wants to better understand their own sense of gender is called My Gender Workbook: How to Become a Real Man, a Real Woman, the Real You, or Something Else Entirely by Kate Bornstein. And to hear from transgender teens themselves, check out Beyond Magenta: Transgender Teens Speak by Susan Kuklin.

What does LGBTQ mean?

LGBTQ stands for “lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning.” For some, the Q stands for “queer.” Heterosexual,…

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