Tom­boy’s un­hap­pi­ness may be start of gen­der change

The Guardian (Charlottetown) - - FEATURES - Abi­gail Van Buren Dear Abby is writ­ten by Abi­gail Van Buren, also known as Jeanne Phillips, and was founded by her mother, Pauline Phillips. Con­tact Dear Abby at www.DearAbby.com or P.O. Box 69440, Los An­ge­les, CA 90069. Good ad­vice for ev­ery­one – teens

DEAR ABBY: I just had a big fight with my best friend. Her name is “Alex.” There was a lot of curs­ing.

The ar­gu­ment was about her want­ing to be trans­gen­der. I didn’t agree with it, and she got mad at me. Alex is a tom­boy. To­day she cut her hair short – too short for my taste – and she keeps com­plain­ing about how she hates be­ing a girl. She hates her pe­riod and is afraid of hav­ing breasts. It has started to an­noy me. A lot.

Alex and I have been friends since kinder­garten, and I’m scared our friend­ship may end. I don’t know if all this sounds child­ish, but please help. I don’t want to lose my best friend. – VE­GAS GIRL

DEAR VE­GAS GIRL: If you re­ally want to keep Alex as your best friend, go on­line and start re­search­ing what it means to be trans­gen­der. She may hate her fe­male char­ac­ter­is­tics be­cause she feels trapped in the wrong body.

Be­ing trans­gen­der is much more com­pli­cated than cut­ting one’s hair and be­ing a tom­boy.

What’s go­ing on with your friend isn’t a friv­o­lous de­ci­sion. Alex is go­ing to need un­der­stand­ing and emo­tional sup­port dur­ing this process, and if you can’t stand be­side her, you WILL lose your best friend.

DEAR ABBY: I was raised in the Chris­tian faith by my pas­tor par­ents.

As I reached my early teens, I re­al­ized that those be­liefs didn’t re­ally fit, and I grad­u­ally stopped at­tend­ing church. I stayed away all through col­lege. My time away only so­lid­i­fied that, in terms of be­lief, Chris­tian­ity wasn’t for me.

Af­ter I grad­u­ated this year, I re­al­ized I missed the com­mu­nity and rit­ual of the faith and the church.

There are a num­ber of churches in my area, but I feel guilty at­tend­ing one when I don’t be­lieve in the same things as the other mem­bers. My fam­ily al­ways taught me to be con­sid­er­ate of the be­liefs of the peo­ple around me, and it seems dis­hon­est to go to a ser­vice and lis­ten to prayers my heart doesn’t em­brace.

I’d still like to at­tend church. Have you any sug­ges­tions for what might be a good course of ac­tion? Should I go to church or stay home? – UN­ORTHO­DOX IN OHIO

DEAR UN­ORTHO­DOX: You don’t have to stay home. In­stead, ex­plore a de­nom­i­na­tion that has no dogma or creed. One in par- tic­u­lar, Uni­tar­ian Univer­sal­ism, has been men­tioned be­fore in this col­umn.

Uni­tar­ian Univer­sal­ists be­lieve in the dig­nity and worth of ev­ery hu­man be­ing, and en­cour­age and sup­port oth­ers in fol­low­ing their per­sonal spir­i­tual paths.

If you would like more in­for­ma­tion, visit www.uua.org.

DEAR ABBY: The mother of a friend re­cently passed away. I wanted to send a nice plant to the fu­neral home and was shocked at how much it cost to have a small plant de­liv­ered. Is it a “no-no” to buy a beau­ti­ful plant and de­liver it to the fu­neral home your­self? – BUD­GET­MINDED

DEAR BUD­GET-MINDED: If it’sa “no-no,” I never heard about it. If hav­ing the plant de­liv­ered would stretch your bud­get, by all means take it over be­fore the view­ing.

It’s the thought that counts, and your wish to com­mem­o­rate the death of your friend’s mother is thought­ful and beau­ti­ful.

DEAR ABBY: I have started see­ing this guy who doesn’t want me to join the po­lice force. I know he cares, but my dream has al­ways been to be a part of the jus­tice sys­tem.

On the other hand, I don't want to lose a great guy over this one de­ci­sion. Do I choose the dream or the guy? - DREAMER IN THE USA

DEAR DREAMER: You are jump­ing the gun in think­ing you must make a choice right now. You haven’t men­tioned whether you have the qual­i­fi­ca­tions to join law en­force­ment. If you do, then for you to sac­ri­fice your dream for some­one you have only started see­ing would be a huge mis­take, and I urge you not to do it.

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