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by Abigail Van Buren

Tomboy's Unhappiness May Be Start of Gender Change

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.