Gender Issues and teenagers

(10 Posts)

Have already posted this in SN but this is also a relevant section.

That's it really- Any Wise Words please ?

My nearly 13 resident DSD, who is also diagnosed with ASD, has been struggling with this, especially in the past year. She is is currently seen by a psych team at CAMHS for several other issues such as self-harming, self image and social communication problems.

She has confirmed to us last year that she prefer girls. Fine with us, this is not an issue.

She currently uses binding and clothes to look like a boy and lately has been obsessively researching Transgendered , FTM sites and is looking up packing and such.

I feel we must handle this sensibly and try to give her the space to express herself. However, we are questionning ourselves because she tends to have very powerful obsessions, lasting from a few months to years, which completely fill her thoughts and days. OTOH, we feel we must manage this carefully as if it is really what she wants, she will need a lot of support with it IYSWIM.

TIA

Anyone?

Alexa12 Sat 19-Jan-13 17:44:13

Hi - I don't have any personal experience of the type of things you are talking about, but I work closely with CAMHS and have heard that a website called 'mermaids' is brilliant for support/advice etc if you are the parent or carer of a questioning/transitioning transgender child. It might be worth a look...

If she has ASD, does she see an Ed Psych regularly at all? Or, within CAMHS, does she have a dedicated worker that she meets with? It might be worth you seeking advice from those people as how best to move forwards, so that you can be sure you're doing the right thing with regards to her mental health and any other additional needs she has.

I'm sorry I have no really helpful advice, but I couldn't read and run. You sound like you're wonderfully supportive though and very open minded - she's a lucky girl to have such a network behind her during what must be a tricky time for her.

untitled Sat 19-Jan-13 21:33:52

Hi. I have sent you a PM

BrainGoneAwol Sun 20-Jan-13 03:25:55

I don't have any direct experience but do know if a couple of people who have been in a similar situation.

It does sound like you are being really supportive which is the most important thing. To have some rock of stable acceptance when you are questioning yourself and your identity is incredibly valuable.

13 is certainly old enough to be working out if you prefer girls... But it brings so many complications. Not least questions on whether that means you should be a boy, since culturally we do absorb the idea that only boys fancy girls. I think a lot of people who are gay go through a period of wondering these sorts of things.

I can only suggest you continue doing as you are and support the questioning as best you can so that she knows she has the time and space to explore. She's not committing herself to a particular path by binding etc so it's a good way for her to test out how whether that appearance 'fits'.

Of course if she does come to the conclusion that her gender identity is male then she'll be needing lots more support. So this is a good time to prove how much you are there for her.

If only more parents were so encouraging! smile

BrainGoneAwol Sun 20-Jan-13 03:26:09

I don't have any direct experience but do know if a couple of people who have been in a similar situation.

It does sound like you are being really supportive which is the most important thing. To have some rock of stable acceptance when you are questioning yourself and your identity is incredibly valuable.

13 is certainly old enough to be working out if you prefer girls... But it brings so many complications. Not least questions on whether that means you should be a boy, since culturally we do absorb the idea that only boys fancy girls. I think a lot of people who are gay go through a period of wondering these sorts of things.

I can only suggest you continue doing as you are and support the questioning as best you can so that she knows she has the time and space to explore. She's not committing herself to a particular path by binding etc so it's a good way for her to test out how whether that appearance 'fits'.

Of course if she does come to the conclusion that her gender identity is male then she'll be needing lots more support. So this is a good time to prove how much you are there for her.

If only more parents were so encouraging! smile

Thanks everyone and untitled for the responses and PM. smile

Ill be looking into mermaids and raising the issue with her Psych at CAMHS. Her current appointments is to assess her anxiety and possibly signs of depressions, and understanding what had led to her self harming. We only just finished a long year of assessment for ASD which wasn't easy either.

I have studied gender and women studies so I'm knowledgeable enough in that aspect to see that she is struggling with gender roles and such. We talk about it openly and there has never been any sort of taboo subject in our home so I would guess this is positive for her as she isn't feeling like doing something wrong. I made it clear there was nothing wrong with her feelings but that we need to investigate this properly with the help of professionals.

I will try and discuss it further at her next appointment to see if a referral would be wise at this stage.

hazelnutcoffee Thu 04-Apr-13 19:45:54

Hey! I was in the EXACT same position as your dd when I was her age! Here's what my mum suggested I do (<3 my mum):

"Try to live as boy as much as you can to have a feel as to what it's like. Cut your hair, wear only boy clothes, try to walk, talk and act like a boy. Try to talk to girls you don't know as a boy would. Try to talk to other boys you don't know like a boy would. Wear makeup that will make your face look more masculine (dark shadow under jaw to make it look stronger, shadow on brow to make it look heavier, etc). Use the boy's toilets. Show very little emotion outwardly. Live as much as you can as a boy, and if you find that's how you really feel normal and natural then look into medically changing yourself. But live it first!"

How right she was! It was an incredible experience, and I would not have changed it for the world. It really taught me about myself and how I felt about my gender. I turned out to be a masculine, butch lesbian.... but I didn't feel I needed to change my body/presentation to express who I was. Some people do though, and that's cool for them.

A lot of young trans/questioning people tend to jump straight into wanting hormones and surgery. It's a great option, but they really need to live the life first before they can make a decision. Some trans people find that they can live the life fully without going though medical procedures. Whatever works for the individual, I guess. smile

Good luck with everything!

hazelnutcoffee Thu 04-Apr-13 19:46:09

Sorry, DSD

Apples7 Tue 16-Jul-13 19:28:17

Well she could be transgender!
I know i am & im 14 & like guys meaning i would be gay if i was identifying a male!
Right now the best thing is letting her/him be comfortable in their body right now
Eg- if he/she want to get some guy clothes buy her/him some
If she want to bind let her but tell her the dangers of binding for a long period of time
At least she has had the guts to tell you i figured this out about 4 months ago & cant come out because im just not open about that stuff with my parents but have told a few friends

Just tell her she can identify as female & like males or females
She can identify as male & like female or males
Pm me if you want a teenagers opinion
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