Editor's Note:"Stories from the Helpline" is a recurring feature on The Bilerico Project, bringing in the personal accounts of Helpline counselors from The Trevor Project. The Trevor Project is the leading national organization focused on crisis and suicide prevention efforts among lesbian, gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) youth. Guest blogger Shelli Boone is a volunteer helpline counselor who volunteers at The Trevor Project's Randy Stone West Coast Call Center in Los Angeles.
Some people might call me an optimist. I am always looking for the silver lining and most of the time my glass is indeed half full. This outlook on life has definitely been tested working on the helpline. Our callers are at their most raw, revealing their deepest fears and secrets. It can be very emotional, and our training definitely comes in handy when dealing with difficult situations.
Perhaps that is why one of the calls that stands out in my mind was not about someone in crisis at all. In fact, it was quite the opposite. It was a Saturday night and I took a call from a 16-year-old - we'll call him Cole.
At first, he was a little down, saying that he was home alone and that his parents had gone out for the night. Immediately, I was concerned about him being alone, but after chatting for a bit I asked him how his weekend had been so far. Cole brightened up immediately, his sunny Southern accent shining through, and asked me if he could tell me something personal. I reassured him, and he began to tell me about his desire to dress like a girl. He said that he had felt that way for a long time, and that he told his parents and a couple of friends and they were all very supportive.
Cole said that this particular weekend, his mom had called a local department store and made an appointment for him to get his makeup done on Saturday afternoon. That morning they spent time at the house picking from some girls' clothes she had bought for him as well as a wig, and then they went to the mall for his makeup lesson.