Being short makes me want to kill myself.

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Hi, so I'm a 14 year old boy turning 15 in September, but I'm only 4ft 10? I'll start with this, I was born female and currently socially transitioning and my height is my main source of dysphoria. All of my mates are taller than me - at least 5ft 4. I started puberty at around 9, and started having periods at 11. I just want to know if there's any chance I'm going to grow? My sister's are 5ft2 and 5ft4, my mum is 5ft 3 and my dad is 5ft 6. I must mention compared to my sisters I have wide shoulders and an athletic body if that has anything to do with it. My feet are still a size 1. My height kills me and it actually makes me want to die that I might not ever pass as male even as I start testosterone. Any chance I could grow?

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  • Posted

    Hi Conor, I note you're already socially transitioning and am wondering at what point you are going to start testosterone. I was a nurse many years ago but only in the British NHS and military, and in those days gender reassignment (especially female-to-male) was very rare. I therefore don't know a lot about this.

    Leaving testosterone out of the argument, I'd say it's not impossible that you'll grow a bit anyway. It is true that growth in adolescent girls is largely tied in with age of starting menstruation, but this definitely doesn't always hold true. I too was 4ft 10 at age 14, had my first period at 12 but ended up 5ft 2 at age 16 (and with size 4 feet). Both my parents were around 5ft 5 (but I was a survivor of twins, which would partly have accounted for my shorter height). There are so many factors that influence final height, including whether you were born at full term, your health as a child, your mother's health during pregnancy etc. And pure chance plays a role too.

    The great unknown for me is the age at which you're going to start testerone. This is going to depend on the guidelines in the country you're living in. Testosterone is what causes adolescent boys to grow, but its effect will obviously be limited by starting later. You really need to discuss this with your doctor or psychiatrist. (I'm assuming you're already under professional guidance.)

    On the bright side, though, size really doesn't matter all that much! Years ago I worked with a young Frenchman who was 4ft 11 and seemed to go out with a different girl every week. Most of them seemed to be of the Sharapova persuasion too! And I currently know a young man who is transitioning physically. He's 26 and has only recently started on testosterone, so it's not going to have any effect on his height. I don't know how tall he is, but he's definitely a little shorter than my 5ft 2. We've never talked about his height, so I don't know how he feels about it, but it certainly hasn't put him off his chosen path. I can well understand, however, that being unusually short for a man might add an extra challenge.

    You really do need to discuss this with your medical advisers and also with female-to-male transgender people who've gone through the whole process. I presume you're in touch with others like yourself through the internet. Please don't put this discussion off any longer - and be perfectly honest about all your fears and other feelings with your doctors. 

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    • Posted

      As there is no GIC for me to go to that caters to my age in my area, I have not been to a psychiatrist as of yet, but I am planning to be referred when I'm 17 which I will hopefully start T at 18.

      From what I know, I was born a week early although they thought I had developmental issues in the womb, I had a lack of growth in thw womb. Also, I was 4 lbs 5 when I was born and I had two chords instead of three around the umbilical chord. I was a perfectly healthy child, although I do remember being tested to see if I had growth problems.

      It just seems all the transguys I know are 5ft 4 and they are my age, some even younger and it just makes me really sad that they pass more than me or they are accepted for their own age. I know that my worth of being a man isn't based on my ability to pass but it's just something that is really important to me.

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    • Posted

      Conor, I'm just a bit concerned about how much support you're getting at this difficult time. Two years sounds an awfully long time to wait before seeing a psychiatrist. I'm assuming you can be open with your parents about all this. I'm wondering whether you also have a school counsellor or similar you can talk to, and whether you've been to see your family doctor. You don't say whereabouts in the world you are, but I'm guessing UK. You do know you can call Childline if you're feeling down, don't you? They also have a transgender section on their site that can be accessed from anywhere in the world.

      Something else I'd say is try and make allowances for your age. I know this problem seems insurmountable right now, but don't forget that a lot of people your age - regardless of sexual or gender status - go through periods of absolute despair. A lot of this is down to hormonal changes. Unfortunately, it's part of the process of growing up that we all have to go through, but you're dealing with a double whammy. You're clearly very intelligent and mature for your age. I think in another couple of years you'll have come through this dark tunnel and learned to accept yourself, however tall you turn out to be. I know that doesn't help much now but there really is light at the end of the tunnel. In the meantime cut yourself some slack. And please do try to find some kind of specialised support, even if it's only on-line or over the phone.

      All the very best my dear.


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  • Posted


    I hope you're feeling a lot better then you did when you posted this.

    Although I can not speak too much about transitioning (I am still trying to come to terms with my own gender identity) I can offer some general words about being short.

    I was shorter than you when I was that age. I was only 4 ft 5. And at 25 now I am only 5 ft 2. It's generally not that bad and actually a lot of fun when you get to climb to get things. But it also has its perks. I have lost count of the amount of times I have been able to get through crowds of people at bars and gigs (had prime spot for a couple of gigs when I was able to sneak through people and get to the front).

    Just keep your chin up sweeite. There's still time to grow a bit.

    Good luck with the transitioning smile

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  • Posted

    Hi Conor,

    I hope you're doing a bit better than a few months ago when you posted this. I was wondering if you would be able to be referred to the Tavistock Clinic, which is the only gender clinic in the country treating minors at the moment. The effects of testosterone are powerful, and it is possible that you would grow a bit more if you start early.

    That said, even if you don't grow much more, you'll likely have no trouble passing after a few years on T, its effects are really powerful, and you'd be amazed at how much a bit of facial hair helps with that.

    And in any case, many people keep getting taller until they're 18 or 20, regardless of gender! :-)

    Good luck!

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