It’s not conversion therapy to learn to love your body: A teen desister tells her story

Noor is the 14-year-old daughter of Brie Jontry, spokesperson for 4thwavenow (see here for more from Brie).

Noor believed she was male for 2.5 years, from age 11-13, but has changed her mind. In a Skype interview (transcribed below), we asked Noor to tell us about her journey towards a trans identity, and how she came back home to herself as female.

 Noor, along with her mom Brie, are available to interact in the comments section of this post, as their time allows.

All artwork in this post is by Noor.


For a couple of years, you thought you were transgender. How did it start? Why did you think that?

It started when I was 11. I thought I might be trans after spending time online where I saw people saying that if you feel dysphoric, you must be a different gender. So many people were saying it, that I came to believe it. At first, I identified as agender and then after thinking about it more, I realized I was a boy because I wanted to be “masculine.”

What did that mean, be “masculine?”

 For me, it meant wanting the physical characteristics of adult males: a beard, being taller and strong. And being masculine was about feeling safe.

Were you dysphoric?

I felt like I didn’t want to be in my body. I didn’t like it. It kinda felt like my body wasn’t mine and I wanted a different one.

What was going on that made you feel like that? What was it about your body that “wasn’t yours?”

A few different things. Mostly, it was previous trauma and being in the early stages of puberty. I don’t know anyone who isn’t uncomfortable during puberty, but at the time, I thought the way I was feeling was something extreme and different.

I used being trans to try and escape being scared about being small and weak. I thought that if I presented myself as a man I’d be safer.

What first got you thinking about being trans?

Things online. First, it was on DeviantArt. It’s an art-sharing website, but the DA communities I was in, which were made up of kids drawing animals and other original characters, went from sharing and commenting on each other’s art to being super dramatic and depressed. It also turned into a disrespectful “call-out” culture.

noor color cat

Some of the people I was watching, whose art I admired, came out as trans. Some people posted about how much they hated themselves and how badly they wanted to transition. Some started to transition and talked about how amazing they felt. Suddenly, a lot of the people I knew on DA were making transgender artwork.

Why do they call it “DeviantArt”?

There are some “deviant” areas of DA but the places I spent time in were for kids sharing art but I don’t think it is the main focus anymore. It was originally a great art site and I made a lot of friends there and everyone was very nice to me. I liked it. It was a friendly art community.

But now it’s mean. And it’s also a place for kids to post about all their self-diagnoses and identity issues. I know lots of kids who post about their self-diagnosed schizophrenia and other mental illnesses.

All these self-definitions, are they real?

I think the kids believe they’re real. But I don’t. If someone calls themselves “schizophrenic,” I believe they believe they have it! But it isn’t a disorder a teen can self-diagnose.

Were there other online places besides DeviantArt that influenced you?

I started to use Tumblr, also because of the art. Reading people’s bios, I learned more about being trans and that what I was feeling is called “dysphoria.” There are a lot of artists there expressing their dysphoria in comics and I identified with some of the things they were saying

From Tumblr, I found YouTube transition videos. When my dysphoria got worse, I started watching a bunch of FTM videos. All of the ones I watched were like, “I feel amazing!” and “I am finally my true self!” I thought it was weird that no one regretted anything but I wanted to believe medical transition would help me too. I started wanting hormones and maybe even surgery later.

I also talked to some of my friends. I was in a homeschool group and lots of the kids there were also trans.

“Lots” of the kids were trans? How can that be, when trans make up a miniscule proportion of the population?

 I wonder how accurate the data is that tells us only a “miniscule proportion of the population” is trans, because most teens I know identify as anything other than “cis.”

Hollow wolfIn my homeschool group, there were only two girls who didn’t have trans identities. Talking about gender identity and sexuality was very popular with my friends and also some of the parents. There was a parent who identified as pansexual and “demi gender” or something like that. She came and talked to all of us about using preferred pronouns and sexuality stuff. She was a facilitator there but not for my group. It was just a bad time even though I had a few really good friends there. There were some kids who were always talking about how oppressed they were and they weren’t. At all. They thought disability and mental illness were cool. They’re not. It was hard for me to hear them talk about all their self-diagnosed issues when I had to give myself insulin every day (I’m diabetic) and I hated my body. Also, my grandfather had just died. My mom started not wanting me to go there because I would get really anxious and have panic attacks and she would come pick me up early.

 Trans activists and some gender therapists insist that some people are “born in the wrong body” and that causes terrible dysphoria. They claim this is very different from not just conforming to gender stereotypes (even though many published accounts of dysphoric people also include stereotypes). Is dysphoria real?

It is definitely a real feeling! But being uncomfortable is part of being human. If you can’t cope with those feelings, then you need help learning better ways to cope. My psychologist understood I had dysphoria and we worked through the trauma that caused it.

Feelings are feelings. Feeling something doesn’t mean it is true or real. I didn’t understand that at first.

noor catAnd I thought that I would feel better as a boy. I wanted to stop my natal puberty because I didn’t want to be female. I thought taking testosterone would make me male. But now, I don’t think it’s healthy to be hurting yourself with hormones. Taking T is a very harmful thing to do to your body. There are YouTube channels where they’re talking about how great T is. But I wonder what they’re going to say in a few years? I wonder what’s going to happen to their bodies? If they say it’s totally safe, they’re wrong. I wanted to medically transition, so I looked up a lot about it. All I found was, “oh this is safe for you, you’re gonna feel better.” But then I found some other articles, that talked about heart disease; things like needing a complete hysterectomy in 5 years if you’re on testosterone because of what it does to your uterus and ovaries. My mom found other things for me to read. But you know what? At first, I didn’t want to believe that it was dangerous. I even thought I could block puberty forever and when my mom said that wasn’t true, I argued with her.

I talked to our friend who is a scientist and she told me more things about blockers and my brain development. I trusted her and I trusted my mom so I knew they were telling the truth but I didn’t want to believe them.

In my homeschool program, I tried to talk to my friends about this stuff but they said it was transphobic and I was wrong.

Do you think there are some young people for whom transition is a good choice ?

I know one person who’s on testosterone, and I believe transition is the only way for him to be happy. At the same time he’s very aware of how it’s going to hurt him.  I think he’s very young to transition, even though he’s 19, it’s very young. But he believes something bad will happen to him without testosterone.

Some people may need to transition but it should always be a last resort.

How is your dysphoria different? Why is medical transition not appropriate for you?

Extreme dysphoria might mean you can’t get out of bed in the morning or function at all.  But thinking about it in a more critical way, what teen doesn’t experience being uncomfortable about their bodies? Dysphoria is just an extreme version of that discomfort.

It was that bad for me for a while, and sometimes it can still be bad, but I’ve learned to move my body when I feel that way and do other things that don’t feed the feeling.

What kind of things do you do to work with your dysphoria?

I draw. I pet my animals and play with my Madagascar hissing cockroaches. I don’t lay in bed doing things that make me feel worse.

I used to watch FTM transition videos when I felt dysphoric. They made me feel even worse and also jealous and anxious that I might not transition soon enough and that I would never be masculine enough.

I know this sounds cliché but you have to find something to love about yourself instead. For someone like me, who thought I was FTM, think about the ways you’re already “masculine.”

Discomfort about your body and sometimes dysphoria are a normal part of being a teenager and having your body change.

I know some people who feel so wrong that they want to mutilate their bodies. That was me for a little while but it isn’t me now. Even when I was wearing a binder, I thought I looked physically better but I still hated my body.

So the image you presented to the world was “better” but it didn’t make you feel any better?

I remember being 11 and it was the beginning of summer. I was downtown with friends and their parents and one of the men made a joke about the way another little girl was dressed in short-shorts and a tank top. He said something like “I’ll never let you dress that way” to his daughter even though her brother was already dressed just like that! Then, a little bit later in the day, when a woman walked by he said “I love booby season.” That’s the kind of thing that made my dysphoria worse and made me sure that I would be happier as a boy.

noor muralIt made me think of myself a little better when I was wearing a binder but it wasn’t a good solution because it was physically hurting me. They’re not comfortable. I didn’t care then that it hurt to wear it and it didn’t really help wearing it, because I knew I still had boobs. My ribs still hurt and sometimes it is still hard to breathe even though I haven’t worn a binder in over a year.

The kids I know who are trans brag when they’re having a hard time breathing. They act like it is a cute little “trans-relatable” experience when they feel like passing out from wearing their binders for too long.

What made you change your mind?

 I realized that the only reason I was trans was because I wanted to feel big and safe and also, I didn’t conform to what I thought being female looked and felt like. But then I learned that being female isn’t a feeling. It’s a biological reality and I could feel however I feel without it meaning I was male.

Also, I have type 1 diabetes. On my five-year anniversary of going into the hospital to be diagnosed, a friend who was on testosterone injections texted me to complain about her monthly shot (she has detransitioned and uses female pronouns now). When I read her text, I felt anger, but I knew she wasn’t trying to hurt me or be mean. But I was so jealous. She didn’t have to get shots. Why would anyone want to be dependent on medication if not absolutely necessary for a serious medical condition? I saw everything clearly. I changed my mind at that moment. I would never transition medically.

At first, even though I knew there could be side effects with blockers and testosterone, I was okay with going ahead with that. Because if I hurt my body, I was in control of that. When I identified as trans, there was always a way I was hurting myself: wearing a binder, pinching myself, picking at my skin, cutting.

But why should I hurt my body to feel control over things around me that are messed up?

I remember driving to one of my homeschool programs and I was telling my mom that I wanted to transition because I would feel safer. And my mom said something about me turning my back on other women. I also realized that I was wrong thinking transitioning would make me safer. It wouldn’t. And I’d also always be afraid of not passing.

Your mom told us she took you to the Philly Trans Health Conference so you could learn more about trans issues—you even had a pizza party with Jazz Jennings. It sure sounds like your mom was open-minded about all of this.

My mom was always very open minded. She never pushed anything on me or tried to push any ideas away from me, unless it was something dangerous, like crossing the street without looking.

One of our friends posted my mom’s interview on Facebook and one of the comments was “this mom is pushing things on her kid.”  It was never like that at all. My mom wanted me to explore the thoughts I was having. She just didn’t want me to medically transition but even then she was being supportive. She never flat out said “no,” she just said that I needed to think about it and research it.

Do you think if she had been more resistant, if she’d said, “no way we’re going to that conference” or “no way you’re a boy” do you think that may have made you want to do it more?

I definitely think that. You know, as a “stubborn teenager” I would have wanted it more.

What was it like going to that trans conference? Did you feel connected to the other kids there?

All the kids were really friendly. But I did feel some pressure after talking to kids there to “look more masculine.” It was interesting. It wasn’t a bad experience.  But most of them were like Tumblr-SJW trans; I definitely got that vibe from them. When I was identifying as trans, I was what they call “truscum” or “trans-medicalist:” you have to have chronic dysphoria to be trans, and you definitely want to get some kind of help for that problem—not necessarily hormones, but maybe talk therapy if you just want to learn to cope with your dysphoria.

Philly trans health banner 2015

None of those kids were trans-medicalists like I was. I hate saying the word “snowflakes” because it seems rude, but…There was stuff like, “you can’t be a trans boy unless you get your head shaved and dyed.”  It’s like the trans-boy starter pack. They all had the same haircut. I don’t remember if anyone said exactly “you need to cut your hair and take hormones” but I felt that vibe from the other kids who were all talking about their anxiety over passing and being more “masculine.” I wasn’t wearing a binder yet but I was sure I was trans. I had long hair and I loved my hair so I didn’t cut it. Even then, I thought it was silly that all the transboys I knew had the same haircut, shaved on the side and dyed blue or green or some blue streaks, and that they thought boys had to have short hair.

That sort of made me question. I mean, all these kids were following the same exact trend. I never wanted to brag about being trans. Stuff like pronouns was the least of my concerns; I just wanted to deal with my dysphoria.  Because that’s a mental feeling, something people can legitimately feel.

In the banquet hall where they had a pizza party for trans kids and their parents, a few of the moms had their kids pull up their shirts to show off how great their binders worked to flatten their breasts. My mom remembers that a few transboys also showed off their bare chests and people talked about what a good job their surgeons had done. Some of them were like 14 or 15.

So did that event push you more or less in the direction of thinking you were trans?

It pushed me toward wanting to medically transition, but I saw what those kids were doing as trendy. Like, there was a whole line of penis packers there, in different colors and sizes. There was a neon pink one hanging up on the wall. It was horrifying. There were some for 6 year olds. Six year olds shouldn’t be worrying about what’s in their pants unless there’s a problem going on. I think it would make little kids sad to think about having to fake it.

Did you want one?

God, no. During that time I did want a penis, but not a fake one.

So you eventually wanted surgery?

No, I didn’t want bottom surgery. I just wanted to be a biological male.

So the gender therapists and activists might be saying right about now, ok. This kid figured out she wasn’t really trans. No harm done. Mom and dad, chill. Use their pronouns. Take them to a trans conference or a gender therapist. No harm done.

I think if I had gone to a gender therapist, I would still think I was trans now. If my mom had thought that hormones and blockers were the best solution for my anxiety and dysphoria, I would be taking T right now.

I’m glad she didn’t believe I was a boy trapped in a girl’s body. I’m glad she found a psychologist who saw how scared and angry and hurt I was and who wanted to help me with those things first instead of also helping me transition to be a boy.

But parents should be supportive and respectful of their kids. They should take them seriously and learn about side effects of transition and alternative opinions about gender together. Let them break stereotypes and talk about those stereotypes and where they come from and how they hurt people, not just girls, boys too. And kids need good therapists who will ask them questions they never thought of.

Until quite recently, believing oneself to be the opposite sex was considered a mental disorder and treated as such.

It is a mental disorder sometimes. People who feel mild dysphoria are like “I hate this thing about my body” which is different than “I hate this thing about myself and I am willing to hurt myself to relieve the feeling.” The second is a mental disorder. Somebody wanting to hurt themselves is a mental disorder. Dysphoria always has a deeper root.

“Trans” isn’t the right word. We’ve learned to know it as trans but really what I think some people feel is extreme, chronic dissociation, possibly from trauma and PTSD.

And for adults, it is different. Adults can do whatever they want, even if they don’t have dysphoria or other mental health issues. But kids need their parents and sometimes a psychologist to help them think about why they feel the way they do.

I don’t know any trans kids who have gender-critical therapists. And by the way, being gender critical wasn’t pushed on me either, but my mom and my therapist and other friends would gently suggest that I think about things beyond just “being trans.” They’d say I should think about why I felt that way, the reasons for feeling that way, and any other perspectives or reasons someone might feel that way. And that I should also think about my history and my experiences and relationships and why I might feel uncomfortable or not want to be a girl.

Parents who put their kids on hormones are trying to take care of their kids. I know they want to do the best thing. But what if they haven’t heard other ideas and they don’t understand about being gender critical, or about how to see their kids’ identity or presentation without stereotypes?

Most parents just want their kids to be happy, and their kids say “I need hormones to be happy.” Some kids even threaten to kill themselves if they don’t get the treatments they want. I’ve also seen kids say that after they started cutting, their parents took them seriously, and let them take hormones. There are places online that tell you, “This is how you come out to your parents to get hormone therapy.” I always hated those, because it was always … just threaten something to get what you want. That’s just putting so much pressure on your parent to make an impulsive decision and it’s such a terrible thing to say. I know people who’ve killed themselves and also people who have tried to kill themselves. People who are suicidal need help and love but using suicide as a threat is manipulative and cruel.

 Did you see a lot of that online?

 Oh, everywhere. Everywhere. Most ways to come out were like, “say this, you’ll be sure to get them to take you seriously.”

We see this in every news article—“Would you rather have a live daughter or a dead son?” It’s why most parents decide to agree to medical transition. It’s the worst thing that could happen to a parent. It sounds like people are being coached to say they’re suicidal, when they aren’t?

 I think being truly suicidal is rare. Like the true trans thing.  Some trans identified people I’ve known will threaten to cut or hurt or even kill themselves when they would never do any of those things. For the few that are serious, it ties into mental illness: If you are going to kill yourself because of gender roles, or stereotypes, or even dysphoria, that’s a mental illness. And it can’t just be fixed with a bunch of medication. Some of the accounts of boys trying to cut their penises off in the bathtub—that’s clearly a sign of mental illness.

You’re 14. Pretty young still. How do you know you’re not going to change your mind again or want to go on testosterone?

I’ve read a few comments on Facebook about my mom’s interview. One was really insulting because it said that I’m too young to know what I want and that my mom is manipulating me.

But if I had said I am trans, I’m sure that person would believe me and not worry that my mom influenced me. So, can’t I also know that I’m not trans?

How can any thirteen-year-old or their mom know that they’re “really trans” either? That’s why you shouldn’t make any permanent changes to your body at such a young age. I don’t know anyone my age who hasn’t felt uncomfortable about their bodies at some point. Everyone I know wishes there was something different about their bodies.

If it is on your mind 24/7 and you feed that idea, you give that idea power – and you start to feel like you need to do something to your body to feel better.

The idea of gender is harmful. It encourages dysphoria. It locks people into stereotypes.

Some people say that you shouldn’t help kids feel comfortable about their bodies or even feel okay with being a little uncomfortable. They say that’s “conversion therapy” to talk someone out of wanting to hurt themselves. It isn’t conversion therapy to learn to love yourself or at least, feel like you can live in your own body without hurting it on purpose.

That was Dr. Ken Zucker’s goal: to help younger children, especially prepubescent children, come to feel peace about themselves and in their own bodies. He says that in childhood, gender identity is subject to change, and if you can help a child not become a permanent medical patient, that’s a good thing.  It was controversial, but in at least some cases, he discouraged “gender nonconforming” behavior in young kids—things like toys, haircuts, and clothes more typical of the opposite sex. What’s your opinion on that?

 Toys and clothes don’t have genders. Kids should get to play with whatever they want and wear whatever they want. Kids should be allowed to explore the things that they find interesting. When I was little, I didn’t see clothing or toys as gendered. Parents need to keep gender ideas like that away from their kids. “Female” isn’t a way of dressing.

I was shopping with my mom when I was little, before I thought I was trans, and we were in the “boys” part of the store because I liked those clothes better. They’re more comfortable and have better pockets. And a salesperson came up to us and asked my mom, “What is your son looking for?”

I wasn’t offended. But it’s silly that she thought because we were looking at comfortable clothing we were shopping for a boy.

And agreeing with a girl that she is really a boy because she doesn’t like to wear dresses might lead to going to a trans support group or seeing a gender therapist and other things that result in a kid thinking they need hormone therapy. If medical transition wasn’t available,  I don’t think it would matter if a girl thinks she’s a boy for a while, because she wouldn’t be encouraged to do things that are harmful.

Parents should give their kids more choices about more things in life but not about things that will harm them.

What would you say to other girls who think they are boys? Any advice for them?

 There’s nothing wrong with your body. To be straightforward, you will never be male. You will never have a Y chromosome. You will never have a real penis. Stop hurting yourself. Not wanting to be female doesn’t mean you’re really male. Not wanting to be female makes sense when girls are sexualized before we’re ready to even feel sexual, and when people think we’re weak both intellectually and physically, when people don’t take us seriously, when people tell us to smile and be nice.

You weren’t born in the wrong body because that’s not possible.

You were born into a society where looks mean everything. But really our bodies are just what keep us alive. Why don’t we fight back against the idea that any person looks wrong as they are? Your “outside” doesn’t need to “match your inside.” The outside isn’t important enough to hurt yourself over.

Get angry at gender stereotypes. You can dress however you want but that’s called “fashion” or presentation. Your identity should be who you are and the things you do, not what you look like. I have resting grouch face. I don’t need to train my face to look kind or have surgery to make my face look kind, I just have to be a kind person.

You think, how can I act male? There’s no such thing as acting male. Male is a biological sex and you will never be that. Just act like you.

Go outside. Move your body. Make art, do something. Don’t spend time with other people’s stories about self-loathing and self-diagnosis. Stop feeling oppressed when you’re probably not oppressed. I know transitioning can make you feel like you get a lot of control but medically transitioning doesn’t give you power. It just makes someone else money.

Find people to talk to and ask for help if you need it. And find people who will ask you hard questions.

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41 thoughts on “It’s not conversion therapy to learn to love your body: A teen desister tells her story

  1. Noor you are wise beyond your years,and amazing that you came to this realization. I would love to read your intetview to my daughter who is now 22 and been going through similar body dysphotia for the last 2 years.She wears a binder and told me a few weeks ago that she was going to look into a masectomy. As soon as I commented on it and said it is irreversible,she stopped talking to me about it. I have had so many discussions in the past wuestioning that she is not transgender as she never had any afgiliation to being transgengender until 2 years ago after her last boyfriend break up and then her distaste for men started,which led to saying she was gay, I believe she may have body dysphoria but do not believe she is gender fluid. Because she is an adult I have no power over which therapist she sees. If you or your mom have any advice on how to approach her on the subject I would be grateful.

    Liked by 3 people

    • That sounds hard. I think this is an excellent essay about binders from the perspective of a young woman. I would calmly, lovingly, ask your daughter to read it. Maybe if you go on a long-enough car ride together, that would be a good time. Don’t push her then and there to talk, but ask her to at least hear one other voice who has come to look at binding from a different perspective: https://patheticfallacies.wordpress.com/2017/08/01/back-from-the-blogosphere-dead-to-say-something-about-binders/

      My best wishes to you and your daughter

      Liked by 3 people

      • Brie, thank you for posting this blog link. In hindsight, it amazes me how little we talk about all the issues outlined. Brutally honest and not overstated. I recall as a girl having to traverse all those waters, as all girls must. I am so grateful trans wasn’t a thing when I was growing up. Trans capitalizes on the normal discomfort of puberty. :/

        Liked by 5 people

    • Oh, goodness, I wonder if there’s some internalized homophobia happening?

      It can be surprising and invasive, and can happen even if you are a liberal and open person.

      Being angry about bad relationship breakups is so normal. And it’s just as normal to experiment with other kinds of relationships.

      Does she have a good lesbian community?

      It sounds like a lot of anger and frustration that’s been internalized.

      Like

  2. Noor, you have taken your trauma and your trans period and gained great wisdom. You thought you wanted to be “masculine” to be stronger and safe – I hope you see you have come to be *very* strong – on the inside where it really counts. And your intelligence, introspection, and new ability to watch for red flags – learning to cast a critical eye and think about things – will help keep you safe. I predict that you will be a success at whatever you choose to do with your life.

    We do have to deal with a system that often sees us as second class and as sexual objects, but I hope one day you come to the place where you know what a blessing it is to be a woman 🙂

    PS Your artwork is beautiful. And I love that you’re 14 and use semi-colons! (it’s the smart kids who are the truly cool ones 🙂 )

    lorac / @newfielover41

    Liked by 5 people

  3. Wow…what a read, I thank you for sharing such words of wisdom! My daughter is 13 and is so convinced she is trans, its tearing her and all of the family apart. I am going to ask her to read your article tonight, when she is home from her counselling session. I know it will hit home, especially the parts where you are so frank and see reality. My daughter cannot see reality or that there are other options out there and other ways of looking at this issue. Please know that you have helped a family in distress already…Thank you. Now…wish me luck!

    Liked by 7 people

    • Caring Mom, I do wish you luck, and pray for it. Noor’s beautiful essay, and your response, hit home for me too, as my 15-year-old daughter is struggling with this as well. We can only love them and try to help them love themselves. Honesty is the first step. Thank you, Noor, for your eloquent honesty.

      Like

  4. Noor, thank you. I am thrilled that you were able to step back and look critically at what you describe as a group of youth obsessed with illnesses and symptoms. I LOVE that you realized what works for you is movement and getting away from the tube and outside as well as into your art. I was blown away by your young age–certain you must at least be 18+. You are very wise. I love your art. Keep just doing you! Xo

    Liked by 5 people

  5. Noor, you are a teen with so much wisdom already in the short time you’ve been here.

    One thing that struck me in the gut before I even started to read your post and I was just looking at your artwork was that those pictures are the exact style of art that my daughter does on DevientArt. DA is where she met her now “boyfriend”, a female who transitioned, when she was 13 or 14. Now she’s 19 and they’re still together. My daughter still considered herself a girl when she first started DA. When she met this person (P let’s call her), P was a lesbian, then came to the conclusion that she was trans. They had been “together” (P lives in another country, but close enough to visit) for a year before my daughter finally came out as trans, too. Not only was I surprised, but she told me that P was surprised, too. But of course, the friends all go along with it.

    Of course, I was blindsided and didn’t know much about the this trans trend at the time and had I known that it was so prevalent in DA, I would have cut that access right away.

    My question is, is the artwork that you displayed here what you call “transgender artwork” and what are the typical characteristics?

    I truly hope my daughter will come to the same conclusions that you have because I’m so fearful that she will harm herself (both physically and mentally) beyond repair. But then again I have been much more reactive than your mother ever was. I guess you take after your mom because she really knew how to navigate this time in your life so that you could come out the other side much more conscious of yourself and wise beyond your age.

    I congratulate both of you and hope that this post will touch other girls lives to help them out of this.

    Liked by 5 people

    • I’m responding with Noor here….

      Noor: No! This is just my style of art. Trans art, at least what I was seeing, was about how horrible it was to have a female body. Go to DA and search “dysphoria art” or “ftm cartoon” and you will see what I’m talking about.

      Brie: A wise friend said to me, after reading Noor’s interview:
      “The part about deviant art bothered me the most.
      Imagery AND words, and friendship, and feedback. Too emotional.”

      I agree.

      And – I was there, in the same room as Noor while she was browsing/reading/interacting but I didn’t “see” it

      Liked by 1 person

      • Noor: Thank you for responding. Your style and my daughter’s style are similar in a lot of ways. I’m really glad that this is not representative of “dysphoria art”. I did look it up and I see what you mean.

        Brie: Yes, I think this was her community, not so much anymore. I don’t think my daughter was so much obsessed about being trans as she is obsessed about her trans “boyfriend”, but who knows? I didn’t know anything until it was too late.

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  6. I just want to say thank you! My daughter is 15 and is adamant that she is a boy. It is tearing our family apart. It seems I just keep hearing the sad stories – the stories of kids who (or have therapists who) tragically persisted without considering or pursuing alternatives first . So this piece gives me tremendous hope. I am incredibly grateful for your willingness to put yourself out there. I pray that my daughter will change her views over time, and be able to think critically as you have.

    Liked by 5 people

  7. Noor, what amazing maturity and insight you have. You have covered so much in your essay on what dysphoria can mean.
    Parents know about the internet influences, but they don’t know them intimately. Thank you for illuminating DeviantArt and Tumblr.
    That was a great observation about feeling oppressed but not actually being oppressed.
    How to be a girl? How to be a woman? It’s great that you could so openly consider what it was about becoming a woman that was frightening to you. I think this one often gets over-looked. We live in a highly-sexualized culture. What if you don’t fit in with the girls adopting that identity? Yes, you are still a girl! Our messages to girls are often negative and polarizing: rape culture or Cosmo girl?
    I am glad that you had your mother to shepherd you through this storm. I think your essay will help many other girls.
    Love your artwork and that you spend so much time in nature.

    Liked by 3 people

  8. I wish you the best Noor. Your story is heartfelt and fills me will hope. My 15 year old came out as trans (FTM) a couple years ago, although she will say she felt this way much longer. She was a tomboy to sorts when younger but also loved all the things about being a girl. She believes the only way she will ever be happy is to start T as soon as possible and eventually transition. This scares me to death and has torn my little family apart. I would love to have her read your story, and I just might, but I’m also afraid it will spark a fire in her and yet another fight between us. Do you have any advice? Thank you.

    Liked by 3 people

  9. Thank you Noor!!! I love your emotional intelligence, frank and clear writing style, and stunningly fabulous art work. You are a force to be reckoned with! Bravo!!

    As you already know, some people will discount your story and say it’s the rare exception. Essentially, they are marginalizing you – which is so hypocritical coming from a community claiming to be marginalized. And you and I know – along with the hundreds or probably thousand or more visiting this site over time, along with the several thousands more that haven’t found this site – this is NOT the rare exception. There are many youth that thought they were trans but then realized they are not trans and then there are the de-transitioners and many, many more who are transitioning now that do not need to.

    Your statements: “I think if I had gone to a gender therapist, I would still think I was trans now. If my mom had thought that hormones and blockers were the best solution for my anxiety and dysphoria, I would be taking T right now.” are the essential, critical statements that need to be acknowledged and understood by today’s youth, their parents, and the “gender experts.”

    You and my daughter have a lot in common and I’ll share your story with her. She’s funny, emotionally intelligent, uniquely kind, and would love your art work! She had some trouble finding friends after two major school changes and hated feeling weak and insecure. Like you, she wanted to be a strong, powerful male. She was convinced she was a boy and very convincing to her therapist. We stopped the “therapy” and spent a lot of time with her doing fun things, offered lots of questions for her to ponder, and then we proposed scenarios for her to consider. She is happy now just being an ‘almost 14-year-old girl’!

    Liked by 1 person

  10. While reading your story, Noor, I heard so many echos of my stepson’s experience: T1 diabetes, the dregs of DeviantArt and My Little Pony fandom, gender support groups, mental illness… and the way I got through to him, too. I’m so happy that you have found your way out of this maze, and that you are finding your voice to describe your journey through. I hope other young women will read and identify with what you’re saying, and come to the same conclusion.

    My stepson is also now sure he’s not trans, and sure that most of the kids in his peer group who claim it are not trans either.

    Our journey began when he first encountered DeviantArt and MLP fandom- about 6 months before he declared he was trans. His posts showed me that he used the community as a supply for his emotional vampirism that is a hallmark symptom of borderline personality disorder (which also has a component of not having a stable sense of identity.) I found that he was having explicitly sexual roleplay chats with older men in PM’s on DeviantArt, in which he would role-play being female. He was drawing the aforementioned trans-furry pictures, including some graphically sexual.

    In his case, being trans wasn’t a way to become more powerful, it was a way to become acceptably dependent, as he thought girls/women lived with people doing everything for them – that we all get to experience an idealized version of chivalry. (Dependency is another hallmark of BPD).He also thought being trans was a way to escape the powerful testosterone urges that he couldn’t control – intrusive sexual thoughts (because girls don’t get horny), and aggression (because girls don’t freak out). He thought being trans would be enough to make people like him, or at least pay attention to him (IRL, many people find him needy, immature, and unpleasantly annoying.)

    I tried to limit his times of navel-gazing – blocked websites that fed his emotional vampirism, didn’t take him to Triple-Point center support groups like I was encouraged, did take him out into nature, encouraged him to develop friendships IRL, and let him dress however he wanted while being clear that he wasn’t special for doing so – outlier kids have been dressing like freaks since time immemorial.

    I worked to dispel his myths about femaleness, and helped him to understand that being “woman” or “man” is a bio-psycho-social experience. I let him in on the biological realities of womanhood – period shits, having to pee more often (one more reason we shouldn’t have to share bathrooms – there aren’t enough for us as is), having tender boobs, being expected to wear clothes that constrain our movements or make us vulnerable in other ways….

    I coached him on the social expectations of being a girl. He HATED being a bridesmaid, that he had to wait to eat until after wedding pictures were taken. He hated being told to wear something under a sheer blouse, or that he couldn’t climb stuff in a skirt.

    My stepson’s endo at Oregon Health Science University also treats trans adolescents and when she first heard he was thinking about it, he was offered blockers, and then cross-sex hormones – she did not ever consult the mental health professionals who had worked with him since age 8 for his mood disorder (which he inherited with a strong family history, and for which he takes psychotropic medications).

    She didn’t even ask any questions why he felt that way, nor did she tell him anything about the effects of cross-sex hormones on his glucose levels (most studies have found high levels of cross-sex hormones, whether endogenous or artificial, make a body insulin-resistant, while same-sex hormones increase insulin efficacy.)

    I changed endos and the next one did the same – but she at least asked some questions about why he felt this way and homed in on the phrase “I want to” (as contrasted with “I AM”). She ceased offering hormones after the 1st appointment, whereas the 1st endo offered every time even when we expressed misgivings about how it would impact his other medical conditions.

    Sadly, these two endos are the only two pediatric providers in the entire Portland metro area. (It makes both of us mad that he has to wait increasing lengths of time to be seen for his life-threatening condition as the number of transkids seeking endo services increases.)

    In the end, all these pieces came together to finally shine a light on how harmful this line of behavior is to the ones pursuing it, to women and children, and to social sanity. Now he is 17 and wants to shine this light so that others can understand but he doesn’t know how to articulate it. Thank you, Noor; I can point to your words and let him know that he doesn’t have to worry so much, that someone’s done it.

    Liked by 1 person

  11. You are so insightful, Noor. The wisdom that you possess at such a young age is rare. Adults have a lot to learn from you. Thank you so much for sharing.

    I am sure the past few years have been difficult for you. But I want you to know that you and your mom are helping other people SO much by sharing your experiences and observations. I applaud your bravery in speaking out.

    My daughter is 16 and has identified as a trans boy for three years. She’s smart like you, but also has autism and always felt like she doesn’t fit in socially. While she has had friends, they have been superficial. Her friendships are mostly one-sided. I think her trans identity is more an expression of not being comfortable being herself – not just not being female. She is a very rigid thinker, and has a hard time understanding other people’s perspectives. Discussing controversial topics with her has always been stressful — she has such difficulty understanding different viewpoints and she knows she is right!

    One thing you wrote about your mom: “She never pushed anything on me or tried to push any ideas away from me, unless it was something dangerous, like crossing the street without looking….My mom wanted me to explore the thoughts I was having. She just didn’t want me to medically transition but even then she was being supportive. She never flat out said “no,” she just said that I needed to think about it and research it.”

    What I think many of us parents struggle with is how to talk to our kids about this without harming our relationship and pushing them away further into their trans identification. You mentioned that you and your mom explored this issue together. It sounds like her respect of you and your feelings was key. I am curious if you both mostly focused on the medical dangers and if that is what led you to the truth…or if you also explored trans ideology or any feminist writings? Do you have any specific recommendations as to any books, blogs, or videos that you think would be helpful to share with a teenager who is deeply entrenched in her trans identification — something that maybe I could view with my daughter that would lead to a healthy discussion…one that she would not find condescending or immediately dismiss? Thanks for any suggestions you might have.

    And again, my words are inadequate to properly express my gratitude to you and your mom for sharing your story. Thank you, thank you, thank you!

    Liked by 1 person

  12. Thank you so much for sharing your experience with us! This is a gift. I would really like to share this with my daughter but not sure how she will take it if it comes from me. I’d love to hear from other parents who share this with their kids. I’d like to know how it was received.

    Liked by 1 person

    • Hello. I ended up sharing this story with my almost 15 year old daughter who claims to be a boy. And as expected, she insisted that this was nothing like her because well, she doesn’t just want to be a boy to be seen as strong, but that she is a boy. I had hoped she would read it with an open mind and ask herself valid questions about why she thought she felt this way, but unfortunately, she is still immature and only said “This isn’t me.” I hope you have better luck. I pray for all parents going through this.

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  13. If a lot of women want to transition to be big, strong and safe, how many of them do the things that both men and women need to do to make that happen – weight training and the diet that goes with it to maximise strength, self defence, martial arts and firearms training? If not, could steering them towards such an undertaking lessen the appeal of transgender? Although women can’t get as strong as an equivilently trained man, they can still get pretty freakin’ strong:

    All those physiques predate the invention of steroids so must have been developed naturally.

    With your still painful ribs, first I’d suggest going to an osteopath or other manual therapist and see what they can do with it or what they recommend (good osteopaths are nigh unto gods). But something you might want to try yourself is to get a Doxy vibrator, crank it up to full power and work over the painful areas. I’ve had a lot of success with that for both weightlifting and industrial injuries (and now that I think about it, jaw pain after a root canal – it fixes many ills).

    One thing that can cause breathing problems is breathing with your chest (even for people who never bound). It’s much better to be a belly breather. You can test which you’re doing by laying on your back with a shoe (or similar object) on your chest and another on your stomach and watching which goes up and down as you breathe. Ideally only the belly one should move significantly. If the chest one is moving a lot, that may be part of the problem.

    Finally, I both love and fear Cyclops Cat. 🙂

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  14. This story gives me some hope for my 14 year old son. Your maturity is astonishing! He is still young emotionally and can’t really even answer the question “Why do you want to be a girl?” He told us he was trans early summer this year, so this is still kind of new to me. I believe his feelings have to do with trauma from my husband’s anger, our separation and many losses in the last year or two. I have debated whether to seek counseling for him/ us but I doubt I will be able to find one that will not immediately push him towards transitioning. Does your mom have any advice how to weed through counselors?

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  15. Also, my son showed me a video on YouTube this week called Dear Parents of trans kids which was pro-transitioning. Would love to see you two post a similar video with your story. OR are you aware of any videos already on youtube? I realize this would be really making yourself vulnerable to criticism but I have had such a hard time finding info online to help us think things through. I’m sure there are MANY parents feeling the same way I am, desperate for help. There needs to be more out there that presents this side of the issue.

    Liked by 2 people

  16. Noor, your story reads like a word for word account of my daughter’s. Deviant Art, online bios, YouTube videos, gender nonconformity, ( I don’t know your orientation but I know my daughter is a lesbian. An inexperienced one but she likes girls.) I’m an artist by trade and I was always supportive of her posting her artwork on deviant art, but we did monitor as best as we could. I never suspected that posting art would lead to this. I’m sure it was just part of the puzzle. She’s definitely a tomboy, likes to have a buzz cut and wear boys clothes. I never had a problem with that either. I just thought she was rebelling against stereotypes. I know I’m a stranger on the internet, but I would so love for her to talk to you. She’s almost 14 and she doesn’t have any peers who support her being female. In fact the transgender thing has made her more popular. Maybe I can get her to read this, and email anonymously if you’re willing and your mom says okay. I can hope! It’s a lot to ask so of course no pressure, but sometimes it doesn’t hurt to ask!

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  17. I never knew how much of a dank little rabbit hole deviantArt actually was… the Internet provides so much good, and yet causes so many problems.

    Noor, I am glad that you have found peace, and I am glad that you have the wisdom to discern actual feelings from fancies. It is bizarre how prevalent these trans diagnoses have become.

    Not much else to say, from there. I will be taking an extended leave from the Internet after today. You hit the nail on the head when you say that the best remedy for sour feelings is to get up and move. The Internet is a time-suck and people don’t even realize it. I have school and friends and a partner whom I love, and a career which I want to pursue. Becoming too involved here and other anti-trans and pro-trans sites has become unhelpful. It is a debate I swore I would never allow myself to become entrenched in, but here I am, entrenched anyway.

    But before I leave, I wanted to give some parting words.

    This group has such love in its heart and that love is palpable. All of you genuinely care for your children and want the best for them, as all good parents should. You are wise people asking good questions and are far more open-minded than my own parents.

    Always be careful in the things you do and how you approach your children on these topics. Educate them, as you have, and encourage them to educate themselves. I find it unsettlingly to hear that I am virtually the only trans youth who had done any sort of research into the long term health complications and risks of surgery and into cases of regret. It seems like a no-brainer. Someone who wishes to pursue this should want to know that they will not regret it.

    Medical transition is, at its core, medicine for a serious mental condition. Media has done well to paint it, instead, as a lifestyle rife with “special” feelings of “specialness”. But the “special” feeling wears off, especially once everything that can be done is done, and after that, there is nothing special about it, it’s become normal life. Anyone undergoing this should realize that at some point being trans will become mundane and no one will bat an eye or ask them questions (most especially FTM individuals, who often pass far far better than MTF). Then what? Normalcy should be the goal of transition, not “uniqueness” not “specialness” (and I mean normalcy in the sense of having a normal functional life).

    Finally, empathy is so, so important. My mother was not empathetic. She was dogmatic and narcissistic. She saw only what she wanted to see in any given situation and discounted/redefined all things that contradicted her way of seeing the world. She was manipulative. The choice to desist should always be the choice of the child. Manipulation helps no one, it only damages. Manipulation makes decision making harder in the future. It breeds self-doubt and a loss of confidence in one’s own decisions. Do research not only in tales of regret and gender critical literature, but also in good salesmanship. Find out how your child can be drawn to the message of their own volition, not because they were told to. Few like doing what they’re told, especially children.

    I wish there were hard answers for this problem, but there are not. Everyone’s shooting in the dark, and it’s frightening because someone, somewhere, is inevitably going to be struck down. Hopefully not too many.

    Best of luck to you all. And to you Noor, and your mother as well. Do what you can to help curb the insane ascent of the trans cause before it brings undue destruction not only to children, but to clinically-diagnosed transsexuals as well.

    -Alex

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  18. This is amazing and is very, very close to what I am experiencing with my 14-year old daughter. Puberty set in last December, then she turned 14 and I think a large part of things was buying her a smart phone where she could access things I really never dreamed of. This gives me hope. I only hope I am being supportive in the now. It’s hard. Probably the hardest thing I’ve gone through. Bless you for sharing.

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  19. Pingback: Children at Risk: Transgender Ideology - Part 2 - Harvest USAHarvest USA

  20. I am FTM and type one diabetic and Id like to share my perspective. I have an insulin pump because my body doesn’t make any insulin when it should. I take T because my body doesn’t make any testosterone when it should. For people who don’t need T they will feel worse if they take it, just as a nondiabetic would get sick if they took insulin.

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    • Lewis, I’m sorry for your situation. However, the idea that people who are “truly trans” “need” exogenous hormones and these make them feel better, and that people who aren’t “truly trans” don’t feel better on exogenous hormones is an urban legend. Unlike your diabetic condition, the only thing that is dictating the need to take hormones is your mind. The placebo effect is incredibly powerful, otherwise medical studies would not adjust for it (and they always do, by using a control group that takes the placebo). If you “feel better” on testosterone, it’s because you expect to, that’s pretty much the sum of it. It could be a sugar pill or a water shot, whereas if you took counterfeit insulin the results would obviously be hugely detrimental.

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    • Your comparison of insulin and testosterone is not accurate. If it were, then athletes, including female athletes who take testosterone would actually “need” it if they felt good and performed better when taking it. If the test of “need” is that you feel better when you take it, then heroin and other drugs people become dependent on would qualify as necessary.

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  21. Pingback: This Formerly Trans 14-Year-Old Has A Message For Questioning Kids -

  22. Pingback: Covefefe Press & News Coverage This Formerly Trans 14-Year-Old Has A Message For Questioning Kids

  23. Pingback: This Formerly Trans 14-Year-Old Has A Message For Questioning Kids – Novus Vero

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