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“How should a new trans man deal with all the increase in anxiety after finally being honest with themself?”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Liam Lowery as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Liam Says:

You know the expression, “It’s not what you say; it’s how you say it”? Here is what I perceived from the way you asked this question:

I am guessing that there was always a nebulous question mark looming over your head when it came not just to sexuality—but to more basic things, like your name or preferred gender pronouns.

I am guessing that you eventually decided you needed to answer those questions about yourself.

I am guessing that inevitably, you saw a plot arc on The L Word, or came across a Tumblr featuring cute trans guys in bow ties, and a chord was struck somewhere deep within you. For the first time, maybe, you felt called towards an answer about yourself.

But, given societal transphobia, lack of inclusion in some LBGT spaces, and the entire overwhelming process of transitioning (though that means different things for different people), maybe you didn’t want that answer to be “trans.” You thought about the process of telling family and friends, and your heart sank. Could you really take this on?

Maybe I am just projecting.

You see, the hardest person to come out to is always yourself. Because when you come out to yourself, it sets you on a path lined with decisions only you can make. When I realized I was trans, I wanted to shove the realization deep into the recesses of my mind and never deal with it again. But I couldn’t, and I’m glad for it now.

I have news for you, new trans man. Since you’ve come out to yourself, you are not so new after all—in fact, you’ve already done the hardest thing. Congratulations!

For the anxiety:

[First, I want to say this: if at any point your anxiety is overwhelming, or makes you think suicidal thoughts, seek the help of a mental health professional immediately. Not to be a downer, but it is important to be aware of since one of the sad legacies of our community is an increased rate of suicide and depression.]

Early-transition anxiety varies a lot from person to person. Some people may have a hard time talking to their family about their new identity. For others, it might be trying to gain access to trans inclusive healthcare or afford things like new gender affirming clothes. For others, it might be gaining trans-specific legal resources to aid in their transition. For others, especially those who are geographically isolated, it might be establishing a trans support system. All of these problems can be solved using the Internet: PFLAG’s website for families, eBay for cheap clothes,Sylvia Rivera Law Project and Lambda Legal for legal resources, Art of TranslinessOriginal Plumbing and Bklyn Boihood for community resources, and to meet cool new friends.

Then there’s the stress, though. The stress of trying to decide what medical steps, if any, your transition will involve, and how to afford them. The stress of convincing your family and friends to respect your identity and, when they do, reflecting how your relationships have changed as a result. The stress of legally changing your name and/or legal gender, if you decide to do so. The stress that even when you do “transition” (whatever that really means), even if you are stealth and passing, you can never un-learn the questions you had to ask to get there: what does gender really mean, and how does gender inequality inform everyone’s lives.

Deep stuff, right?! When I was newly out, I felt like I was on a long road with no end in sight. It’s scary. I totally understand. As such, the last thing I wanted was more information on how to start a Kickstarter to fund my surgeries, or how to do a testosterone shot. I wanted to know (preferably from someone a few years post-coming out) how to get through the dark days when you feel bad/ugly and your family isn’t talking to you and everyone at school thinks you’re a freak. I didn’t want advice on the beautiful butterfly I would become (I am sure you know that you, too, are a beautiful butterfly), I wanted to hear how to survive as a caterpillar. In case you can’t tell, I am about to get mad real.

Take a bath.  No, seriously. Take a bath. Make yourself a nice cup of tea, light a candle, get in the tub. Or if you live in a place with only a shower, go get one of those shower steamer things that makes your shower smell extra good.

Or: eat an ice cream cone. Clean your room. Do a yoga pose. Buy a plant and keep it alive. Wash your clothes with fabric softener. Take a walk. Paint a picture. Nap. Make yourself a dinner like you’d make if company were coming over. Sleep in.

The goal of this is two-fold: 1. Remind yourself that you are special and deserve to be taken care of. 2. Spend some time with you, in leisure, since you are already spending lots of time working on you. Get to know you, get to like you. You deserve that.

Then, after your bath/nap/ice cream/walk/laundry, take a minute to be grateful.

Take a second to say to yourself: I am so lucky to have the clarity to know myself. I am so lucky have already done the hardest part. I am so lucky to have good things in my life.

Gratitude is a practice, and often throughout any transition (whether you’re moving away from home for the first time, or changing your life to better reflect your gender identity) gratefulness is often the only thing that can ward of anxiety and fear.  It is one of few sure ways to foster happiness in yourself without any external motivator. It is very good for sustaining you through long journeys, like the one you are on.

And then, always, remind yourself that the hardest part is behind you.

Click through to read more about Liam & our other Second Opinions panelists!


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"My parents have literally NEVER mentioned anything gay or culturally diverse AT ALL. We don’t talk about any of that stuff, but they’re not mean people, so, maybe they’re down? I don’t know. Whatever. My point is, how should I come out to them if I have no clue how they might react?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

This is kinda where I was sittin pretty when I was about to come out to my parents. I knew my dad was cool, but the only thing I knew about my mom was that she referred to John Kerry as “scary kerry” but she loved Ellen.. So it could have gone either way.

I ended up sitting both of my parents down and very calmly, quietly, and awkwardly telling them I was “dating someone …and it’s a girl” I LITERALLY SAID THOSE WORDS. And soooo dramatically. Y’all, no regrets (justlove), but if I could go back in time I think I would make it wayyyy less of a deal. If this were now and I was dating a girl, I would say, “Hey, mom, I’m dating someone I’d like you to meet, her name is Demi Lovato.” If my mom had questions, I’d let her ask questions, but my mom and I don’t really TALK ABOUT STUFF, so it isn’t something I think I’d wanna spend a bunch of time preparing myself for…ALSO

Sorry, next paragraph, *clears throat* ALSO. I think coming out by way of letter or email or gchat is totally fine. I feel like we get dirty looks and eyes rolled for doing that, but who cares?! It’s much more comfortable and you give your parents the space to think for a hot minute before saying the first thing that comes to mind, which may very well be “You know you people can adopt in Romania now” (legit, my mom said that). So, know that the time and space that coming out via written word allows is awesome and you should absolutely do that if it’ll make things easier on you.

Kristin Says:

Parents are tricky little buggers, aren’t they?

This scenario really hinges on who you are, and how you prefer to express yourself when it comes to your family members. The first thing you’ll want to think about is whether you’d like to take the TIPTOE approach or the CONFETTI-GUN approach. Never heard those terms before? That’s because I just invented them.

The TIPTOE approach would go as follows: You bring up tiny tidbits of news over time to suss out their more general reactions. For example, you’d say, “I read this article today about some of the movements that are happening in Russia because of their anti-gay laws,” or, “My school’s GSA had a bake sale today to raise money for The Trevor Project and the cookies were SO GOOD,” or anything else that teases some gayness into the convo. Perhaps they will engage in a positive manner. Perhaps they will grow a bit quiet. Perhaps they will go into a rage about the evils of homosexuality. Hopefully it will be one of the former, but these reactions will help you better understand what kind of a climate you’ll be facing once you come out to them directly. Perhaps you’ll be able to talk about some of their feelings on the issues, and even bring more knowledge to their experience before coming out, which will help them to better process the information.

The CONFETTI-GUN approach would go as follows: You just f*cking do it. You hold your breath, and you shoot gay confetti all over the house for better or for worse (I mean this metaphorically, but if you really want to cover your house in confetti whilst screaming I AM A GAY, that is fine, too). It might be in a letter, it might just be blurted out of dinner, but it will almost certainly feel weird and awkward. It almost always does… that’s okay. This method is a little riskier, of course, but it comes with the freedom of knowing you’ve said what you needed to say, and you have catapulted to Phase 2: Dealing With the Aftermath. I wouldn’t recommend the confetti-gun approach to anyone who thinks that they might get thrown out of the house or cut of from necessary financial support — those situations require more planning and preparation — but moreso for those of you who are unsure, yet confident your parents will still protect and care for you as they always have… but just possibly be upset, mad, confused, scared, ignorant, or all of the above.

Like we say often: coming out is not just that isolated moment of saying who you are… that is just the very beginning. Regardless of your approach, you will likely need to be patient with your parents as they (hopefully) try to learn about what this means, understand terms and new concepts, and re-imagine a life that they may have always viewed in a different light. If you remain patient and strong, there is a good chance that your parents will be able to grow along with you, despite some potential bumps along the way.

PS: The Parents Project will be up and running in about a month, and our book for parents whose kids have just come out to them comes out this September, so STAY TUNED.


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"I’m in love with my straight best friend. She is perfect. WHAT THE FISK DO I DO?!"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:

We get this question all the time, so we wanted to revisit because (1) helping people (2) FISK. LOLOLOOL.

Anywayzzzz. I was 100% head over heels, ready to lay in front of a bus for, could have been married that second, spend your life together, in LOVE with my straight best friend in college. What did I do? I asked her to date me almost every day. She said no almost every day. This story does not end in ‘turns out she was gay and we are in love now” at all. In fact, it was a helluva journey.

I didn’t tell her for a while that I was into her because I was afraid it would make things weird or uncomfortable or she would think I was an idiot or whatever. I just couldn’t do it. BUT Y’ALL. It was already weird and uncomfortable because I FELT WEIRD AND UNCOMFORTABLE. Once I finally told her and she was like ‘I’m not gay, tho’ things were a lot easier. I still totally wanted to date her, but I could make jokes about it, talk to my friends about my feelings, and I wasn’t obsessing over it in my head.

When I was obsessing over everything in my head, nothing made sense. I was convinced that when she said, “ooh i love this song” what she meant was “this love song represents how I feel for you.” Spoiler: SHE JUST ACTUALLY LIKED A SONG, THAT’S IT.

Also, what happens if she has feelings for you, too? If you don’t say something, you will NEVER KNOW. You will CONSTANTLY wonder. You will literally be thinking ‘what if’ for the rest of your life. And trust me, that shit will ruin you. I think you should totally say something.

Kristin Says:

Yes, there are two main things to remember when you are in love with your straight best friend. Since almost all of you are, have been, or will be in love with your best friend, pay attention:

1 – Things will, almost always, be weirder in the long run if you aren’t honest about your feelings. Bottled up love-feelings make you act in ridiculously strange ways, make you feel more and more distant from your friendship, and just turn your brain-head into general, all-around mush.

When I was in college, and in love with my straight best friend, I didn’t tell her for years. For YEARS I would think about what it meant when she’d ask me to come watch Felicity, I would be filled with enormous amounts of hope when I was asked to sleep over, and I would go out of my way to be present at any party that she attended (“what if THIS IS MY NIGHT?!”). Eventually, after my love-feelings were gone and I was in a long-term relationship with another lady, I told her about my past feelings. Her response? “Yeah, I knew all along. There was one night where I almost did roll over and make out with you.”


2 – It will be okay if you have feelings and hers are not the same.

You don’t have to pull a Dannielle and ask her to date you everyday (tho, you can and it works pretty well if you’re of a similar personality type). You can explain that you have some feelings and that you know she isn’t into ladies, but that because you value your relationship so very much… you just had to be honest so you could work through things.

Sure, if she says “I’VE BEEN WAITING FOR YOU TO SAY SOMETHING,” and then romantic music swells in the background, and you kiss and flowers spring up all around you while a choir of angels descend… that would be wonderful.

If, however, she seems a little weird, or things feel a little wobbly, that is okay. If your heart feels like breaking into bits and you believe you’ll never love anyone like you love her: your heart will mend, and you will love other people. I can promise you that from over here on the other side. Be patient with your own feelings and remember that even if things are weird for a bit — a friendship, like any relationship, goes through ups and downs!

Your friendship will carry you through if things get a little wonky, and there’s a good chance that being honest will help you move through the feelings in a much healthier way.



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"How can I stop acting like a dork-waffle and a half in front of people I find attractive?"

- Question submitted by Anonymous

Dannielle Says:



sigh. I have no idea. bye.

JK. I mean… real talk I don’t have an idea, but I will regale you with some words that will maybe help. First of all, I am a born-n-bred dork waffle. I can’t NOT be a dork waffle, so I spent a long time learning to accept my dork waffliness. The fact of the matter is, I AM WHO I AM and who I am is a dork full of waffles (??) and when I like someone, I want them to like me back because they actually like me back, not because I played it super cool around them for a while and they thought the fake super cool version of me was the real me…

Second of all, accepting your dork waffliness is difficult. HOWEVER, it is possible. Think about it from the opposing POV. If a girl walked up to you and was like “heeyyyy sooooo you’re cute i’m leaving bye ttyl that paper has my phone number haha bye” one of two things would happen (1) you would think “holy shit that was the cutest thing on earth” OR (2) you would think “that was bizarre, I’m not at all attracted to that kind of human interaction.” If you’re not into it, you’re not into it, AND THAT’S OKAY. But if  you arrrrre into it, good lord everything just got so awesome.

My point: Do you. Be true. Fall n Luv.

Kristin Says:

You guys. I love dork waffles.

I am like the Leslie Knope of Dorktown.

Get it? Bc Leslie Knope loves waffles and in Dorktown they would be Dork Waffles so if I am her it’s like a metaphor for loving dork waffles.

*drops mic*
*picks mic back up*

Seriously, though. All the things Dannielle said. Who ever told anyone that dorkwaffles weren’t totally attractive?

If you want tips to keep your cool a little more FINE, plan a couple of things to ask about, make eye contact, keep breathing, say goodbye one time instead of four times, blahblahblah. There are your tips. You know what you’ll do with them? You’ll make a plan to ask her about where she got her jeans, and instead you’ll say “Jeans! HAHA!” and instead of making eye contact you’ll accidentally look at the zipper on her jeans bc you were going to say something relevant but your eyes will get stuck there for a second too long and then you’ll be all “OH GOD I WASN’T LOOKING AT YOUR CROTCH I’M SORRY. It was your zipper. I was thinking about jeans. Because I like your zipper. I mean your jeans. Anyway…” (At this point you will have forgotten to breathe and you’ll gulp air like you are preparing for an underwater challenge) “…HERE’S MY NUMBER IF YOU EVER WANT TO TALK ABOUT THINGS BESIDES JEANS.” Then you’ll run away and forget to even say goodbye at all.

Being a self-proclaimed dork waffle is a beautiful thing. Don’t fight it.
Lots of us out here really like our dork waffles just the way they are.




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“I want to have sex with my girlfriend but I want to know the cautions and what to do in order to be safe. I’m female.”

- Question submitted by Anonymous and answered by Dr. Justine Shuey as a part of Everyone Is Gay: Second Opinions

Dr. Shuey Says:

Sexually Transmitted Infections (STIs) do not discriminate, so it is important to protect yourself and your partner(s). There are ways to get STIs without ever having sex (through birth, skin-to-skin contact, sharing IV drugs / needles / injection equipment, etc) so it doesn’t matter if your partner is a virgin, or if you are – you always need to protect yourself and your partner(s). STIs can be transmitted sexually in a variety of ways via bodily fluids, which include blood, semen, vaginal secretions, anal secretions, breast milk or even skin-to-skin contact.

Using Latex (or non-latex) dental dams during oral sex prevents the transmission of bodily fluid and some skin-to-skin contact. Some even come in yummy flavors to make oral sex taste sweeter. If you can’t find dental dams you can make them using regular latex/non-latex male condoms or gloves. You can find easy to follow instructions for this online.

If using sex toys, you should know what material the toy is made of, if it can be completely sterilized, and if it is safe for sharing (when cleaned appropriately). You might also consider covering sex toys with condoms to prevent the spread of infections and for easier clean up.

You should also considering using gloves/finger cots for vaginal and anal play. It will make things smoother and will help lubricants last longer.

Individuals with penises can use male condoms during oral, anal or vaginal sex. There are even flavored condoms made specifically for oral sex (which could be cut and used as dental dams).

There are also “Female Condoms” & “FC2” condoms which are insertable condoms and can be used during vaginal sex or used during receptive anal sex by removing the inner ring. These are made of non-latex materials and can also be cut and used as dental dams.

There are a variety of lubricants available: A good water-based lubricant is best, though you can use flavored lubricants externally during oral sex on the outside of condoms/dental dams. Silicone lubricant is another option but be cautious as silicone lubricant will break down silicone sex toys.


Click through to read more about Dr. Shuey and our other Second Opinions panelists!