By Dr. Elyse Pine
The LGBT Health Resource Center
Being isolated during the COVID-19 pandemic is tough for everybody, but for gender diverse and transgender youth, it can be even harder.
For some people, home is a very affirming and safe place. But for others, it may be a place where your name, pronouns, and gender identity are not respected. The people you live with may not even know your name and pronouns, and it may not be a safe space to share it yet. Hearing a deadname and being misgendered can feel like a form of violence and can add stress to an already stressful situation.
The important thing is to remember you are not alone. There are people who care about you and affirm you and are happy to celebrate you as your authentic self. If you are in a situation where you are not feeling supported by the people you are living with, please check in with the people who do support you. Talk, text or play video games together.
I have missed seeing my patients in person, but have been able to continue delivering care via telehealth appointments. Some of them are feeling good about being home from school, saying it is more relaxing to learn from home, and to choose the people they want to socialize with. For others, it is hard not to have the support from daily contact with friends, teachers, guidance counselors, or to be able to attend Sexuality and Gender Alliance meetings. You may want to find out whether your school is continuing those meetings online. If not, check out the groups offered by Gender Spectrum, which is holding online meetings. Another great organization is PFLAG, also having online meetings.
If you are on great terms with your immediate family, that’s wonderful. If not, there are other parents who would be happy to listen and to chat. The group Ally Moms is made of parents of transgender kids, teens, and adults who have provided their phone numbers and the states they live in and are available to talk whenever you need to.
The Mazzoni Center, a published a “Holiday Survival Guide” that is full of great tips and advice. Though their guide is focused on being “stuck” with family for the holidays, many people have been and will continue to be stuck together much longer during this pandemic.
If you need a daily boost, check out The Validation Station, which allows you to sign up to receive daily text messages of warmth, affirmation, and validation.
Finally, Chase Brexton maintains a list of resources, including national sources of support for LGBT individuals.
Remember to affirm yourself. Remember that you don’t need anyone else’s approval. Remember that you are amazing just the way you are.
Remember: we are here for you.
Dr. Elyse Pine is the lead physician of the Gender JOY program at The LGBT Health Resource Center of Chase Brexton Health Care. For more on the Center, Gender JOY, and other programs, visit resourcecenter.lgbt.
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