Ask Amy Amy Dickinson, Ask Amy

Amy Dickinson is a general advice columnist.

DEAR AMY: I am a 19-year-old transgender female. I am in an excellent life position -- I have a high school diploma, a good part-time job and I am on track to get my associate degree. But I would gladly throw all of it away in order to just be me 100 percent of the time. While I have not been forced out of my parents' house or denied their support, they've always supported their "son," not me. Many of my personal habits are "typical BOY things." When I point out that lots of girls are somewhat masculine, my folks say, "Yeah, but it's still typically male." My parents always seem to think they'll persuade me to be a guy by buying me men's clothing, which implies that I'm not a real girl. They don't mean to hurt me, but their actions make me feel like their "I love yous" are empty words because they also say, "Even if you get the surgeries, you'll always be our son." They won't let me get my gender legally changed, with the reason of "you don't look like a girl," and "you're too young to really know for sure." To me, those are biased excuses. To them, I'll never pass as a girl because they refuse to see me as anything but their "son." Caitlyn Jenner (the only famous transgender person they focus on) has openly said she regrets that she didn't transition sooner. I want to tell them how much they've inadvertently hurt me. I don't want to hurt them, but at the same time I want to just scream at how they're being such jerks and tell them to take their dreams and chuck them out of the window because reality is never perfect. What should I do?

Respectfully Disrespected

DEAR DISRESPECTED: It's called "transition" for a reason. You are making a transition, but you are jmoving from a feeling of inner alienation toward a feeling of completeness.

For your parents, the transition is going in the opposite direction, from the son they raised and thought they knew intimately, toward the daughter they are still getting to know. While you are feeling ever more whole, they are feeling more alienated.

Some of what you are experiencing is unique to your situation, but this dynamic is also more typical parent-teen tension, expressed in inappropriate ways.

These protestations represent their efforts to continue to parent you, which for them consists of telling you who you are. Nobody wants to be told who he or she is, and yet parents have been doing that to their children since the dawn of time.

It doesn't seem fair, but to some extent you will have to reject their ignorance or inappropriateness while still reassuring them that the person you are becoming will always love the parents they are, complete with their flaws and misapprehensions.

Please keep talking. Gentleness toward them might inspire gentleness from them.

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DEAR AMY: What can I do when my mother tries to push her design taste on me by continually buying items for my home that SHE likes, but I hate? It is driving me crazy!

Design Secure

DEAR SECURE: The best answer is to tell her specifically that you would like her to stop imposing this upon you. You say, "Our taste is really different. I am making my own home now. When you do this, I feel like you are trying to impose something upon me. Can you understand how this makes me feel?" After that, you should listen to her motivations, thank her for her interest in you and your home, but stand firm that you won't accept this loaded form of generosity from her.

DEAR AMY: You dismissed the concerns of "Pro-Vax RN," the nurse who didn't want to invite unvaccinated children to her home, even though her children were vaccinated.

No vaccine is 100 percent effective, so it is best to be careful.

Disappointed

DEAR DISAPPOINTED: If the fact that no vaccine is 100 percent effective is justification for keeping unvaccinated children away, then why not keep vaccinated children away too? After all, a room full of children vaccinated less than 100 percent effectively could spread and contract disease.