The Scarleteen chat service has been a bit slow lately, at least when I’ve been on shift, so I was happy to talk with someone on there yesterday. I’m particularly glad when I have the chance to talk to trans or otherwise gender-questioning folks, because while all the ST volunteers are great with trans users, I do think there’s a usefulness in being able to say “I am a Real Trans Person who has dealt with this, I got through it ok, and I think you will too.” I don’t generally talk about myself in ST chat, because my job is to center the user, not myself, in the discussion, but there are times when sharing even a little bit about myself can make what I have to say have a greater impact.
This particular user mentioned not taking their gender-questioning feelings seriously because they were pretty sure that “Real” trans people have known they were trans their entire lives, and that’s something I feel particularly well-equipped to handle. I can say: hey, this is a common assumption, but it’s not universally true! Trans folks like me who haven’t Known Forever aren’t less valid for it! It’s ok that you haven’t figured things out yet, because big questions about identity can take lots of thought, so please be patient with yourself!
Apparently this was helpful, because while our conversation was brief, as we wrapped up the user said “thank you for being such a helpful little bean!”
And I have to say, y’all, that’s probably the best (and certainly the cutest) user feedback I’ve gotten at Scarleteen. I cried a little at that; it was such a sweet and heartfelt thing to say. Sometimes I feel a little burned out on constant pregnancy scares, or I have so much going on in my own mind that it’s hard to feel as connected to my volunteer work as I want to be. Small moments like this one help me remember: this is why I’m doing it.