12 year old told me she is gender queer don't know what to do

(13 Posts)

Feel free to inbox me with any questions or concerns you or your DD has.

apatchylass Tue 18-Jun-13 20:06:46

oops sorry - posted twice and also just read Littlesporks brilliant post - am glad she agrees on the sports bra thing rather than binding at this age.

apatchylass Tue 18-Jun-13 20:05:46

Hi,
haven't read all the replies but it might help to recognise that whether it's a phase or a genuine issue for her, there's nothing you can do to alter it, so continue to love her and value her as you already have.

When issues arise, such as her request to bind her breasts, take them one by one. That one isn't a good idea, as it could damage the tissue, so you could help her choose a close fitting sports style bra that minimises her shape.

I remember hating the changes in my body and wishing I was a boy. It wasn't a sexual choice - I was always heterosexual, but just saw around me that boys had more interesting lives, more choices, better conversations. Over time that changed. But I bet it's quite natural to resist puberty whether or not you are sure of your gender. Just keep the conversation open so she can chat to you about it. Find out a bit more about it, so that you can discuss issues with her, but I'd let her take the lead, so that if it is just a phase it can die a natural death and if it isn't, she knows she can come to you honestly for support.

(DS2 told me he thinks he's gay at 10. I felt thrown by the fact that he was so self aware as much as anything else. Could be a phase, or maybe it's not, but I realised it's none of my business, it's his. He is who he is and I love him. It is that simple in the end. That's what it boils down to.)

apatchylass Tue 18-Jun-13 20:04:14

Hi,
haven't read all the replies but it might help to recognise that whether it's a phase or a genuine issue for her, there's nothing you can do to alter it, so continue to love her and value her as you already have.

When issues arise, such as her request to bind her breasts, take them one by one. That one isn't a good idea, as it could damage the tissue, so you could help her choose a close fitting sports style bra that minimises her shape.

I remember hating the changes in my body and wishing I was a boy. It wasn't a sexual choice - I was always heterosexual, but just saw around me that boys had more interesting lives, more choices, better conversations. Over time that changed. But I bet it's quite natural to resist puberty whether or not you are sure of your gender. Just keep the conversation open so she can chat to you about it. Find out a bit more about it, so that you can discuss issues with her, but I'd let her take the lead, so that if it is just a phase it can die a natural death and if it isn't, she knows she can come to you honestly for support.

(DS2 told me he thinks he's gay at 10. I felt thrown by the fact that he was so self aware as much as anything else. Could be a phase, or maybe it's not, but I realised it's none of my business, it's his. He is who he is and I love him. It is that simple in the end. That's what it boils down to.)

WhoAmI17 Tue 18-Jun-13 19:26:37

Thank you littlesporksbigspork. I may have more questions once we start talking, if okay I will inbox you.
Thank you also rimmer.
My daughter does seem happier, maybe a weight has been lifted.

rimmerfleadick Mon 17-Jun-13 21:16:56

Good post Little

Pickle
I cannot agree about "steering her they way you think she could go"
only the OP's DD can do that.

OP all you can do for now is give her all the love and support you can.
Having a 16yo DS who identifies as pansexual, I can understand your shock, but in our case we had a gut feeling our DS was possibily gay from around 13-14. We just accepted that this was who he was.

Love them for who they are, not what they are expected to be.
On a darker note, I would also keep an eye out for any indications of self harming if she goes through any "rough patches".

If you feel she needs more support from her peers, look for local LGBT
teen groups.

Hi, I'm genderqueer and I want to start by saying that you must have a great relationship with your child and you should be proud of that even with all your concerns. I'm well into adulthood and have never told my parents (telling them about my sexuality was a big enough disaster...).

Trying to answer what's already come up: While some do find it later in life, my experience within the communities has been that the vast majority of trans* people know at an early age, we just don't have the words for it for a while as it's not really talked about. Some people do try on various identities at first trying to find something that fits and your child may find something else that fits better as she's obviously starting to explore and feels at this time this fits best so the firm starting point you already have of loving no matter what and not pushing any identity as important. If the child pushes forward that it's an important part of how they view themselves, that's fine, but one of the worst things for me was having my mother try to push me into having my sexuality as my main identity and giving me and judging things based solely on that - basically led to not being able to discuss anything with her.

Even if it is peer influenced, it's still her that is working through her identity and the opening up and playing with gender and gender expression within a peer group is far safer. I find it's very often described negatively and I don't think it should be - it's one of the safest ways to explore ones identity and much better than having these confusing feelings without the words or friends to discuss and explore our identity and options with. Feeling alone, lost, and wrong is not what we want and if someone feels they are genderqueer for a while but end up feeling they really they are cis but enjoy being both masculine and feminine, I don't see the harm or pressure in it. You can't make someone trans* anymore than you could make someone gay, and sometimes the first to announce will be followed by others both exploring and those that have known for ages but have been afraid.

The breast binder thing is concerning though - I would discuss what she thinks breast binders are going to do for her and have her look up the risks that come it and come up with ground rules. Basically, wearing them for too long periods can cause damaging to the muscles underneath - they're meant as short-term measures only and I'm worried that starting so young would mean the bigger invasive measures would have to come in soon due to damage caused. Never wear them to sleep in, don't wear them daily, and really I would recommend at her age starting with very snug sports bras and larger shirt, thicker when the weather allows it. I found lovely shirts as a teen really helped when I needed to look as masculine as I felt and wanted to register as male with those around me. I've personally never worn a binder, I find the right clothing choice works for me, but I have a smaller than average chest to start with so it's easier for me than for my larger assigned female at birth friends.

If you have other questions, I'll check back here and in my inbox. If you think she'd like a resource to help explain herself or explore ideas and terms, the Genderbread from It's pronounced Metrosexual is a great, neutral, friendly place to start - there are a few versions, you could print some or just show her the link after you've had a look at it.

WhoAmI17 Mon 17-Jun-13 18:41:13

Thank you all for all your advice and supportive words. It is just what I needed. The initial shock has eased a bit. Although neither of us are ready to talk, telling each other we love one another was really needed today. One day at a time. She is my baby and my only one.

Steffanoid Mon 17-Jun-13 04:39:33

I hope you're feeling ok op, like pp have said she needs love and support from you, she must be feeling very confused.

maybe one way of you learning about these things is not by googling but by calmly learning with her, she's your daughter, you and her could get very close over this, sit down together with some chocolate or ice cream hold your hands up and say hey I dont understand but I want to, talk to me about it, she'll be mote likely to open up to you more and this level of support from you will help her out no end.

AlanMoore Mon 17-Jun-13 04:16:10

I'd repost this in Relationships for more replies perhaps?

There will be people on MN who have been in your shoes and your daughters. FWIW it's 'normal' to be confused at 12. She will figure it out but she may 'try on' a few things that aren't right for her on the way - maybe she is gender queer and bi or maybe she is lesbian and/or trans and/or straight, who knows?

She sounds ace, imagine how much courage it took her to write the letter.

Try and sleep, this isn't something to solve, it's who she is and there's no need to do or not do anything just now but let her know you love her regardless and admire her courage.

You could tell her you need a bit of time to process things before you discuss anything like breast binding. I'm sure you'll be able to find some support online somewhere, and sounds like dd will have done her own research so you can discuss it together.

I can see you might need some support to almost grieve the 'easy' future you thought she'd have and I hope you can get it, but try not to show the sadness to dd. She will need your love and courage as she sadly may have a hard road ahead - life is not always easy if you don't fit the boxes.

But she will be grand, with her own intelligence and her loving mum. All she needs from you is the same as any other kid, love and support and a bit of guidance to follow her heart and conscience. She will have the same hopes and dreams and a first love, first heartbreak, worries about looking right, etc. and she's still, and always will be, your baby. Take care xxx

Pickle131 Mon 17-Jun-13 04:08:20

I don't really have advice but saw you'd just posted and I'm up feeding the baby and didn't want to ignore you. I know you don't want to dismiss, but if my 12 yr old (ds) came home saying he had a friend talking about this sort of stuff and that he was questioning things himself now, I'd be mightily suspicious this was down to peer influence rather than anything he'd have thought about on his own. A friend of mine's daughter goes to a school where one boy in the class said he is gay (they're 12) and now several others are claiming to be too. I don't believe there isn't a massive peer influence going on here. You need lots of time talking this all through I'd say, try not to freak out in front of her, stay calm. She's only 12 and I may get shot down but I'd say it's very young to be making identity decisions like this. Kids this age are struggling to fit in. It's a balance between helping her possibly genuine gender issue and steering her in the way you think she should go. But I don't pretend to understand her mind and would try to be compassionate towards anyone struggling like this. How good that she can talk to you. I see the note writing as a cry for help / attention, whatever the real reason. I hope you can get some peace over it soon.

BrienneOfTarth Mon 17-Jun-13 04:01:40

just love your child with masses and masses of love and make it clear that whatever happens the love will never ever stop.

Try not to speculate, either within or out of your child's hearing, on whether or not this is a phase. Maybe it is, maybe it isn't, but right now it's real and it's not up to you to encourage any particular direction or decision, just be there and be loving.

I can tell that you know this, and I know it will be difficult, but you can do it.

WhoAmI17 Mon 17-Jun-13 03:44:46

I am beside myself. My 12 year old left me a letter by my bed telling me she is gender queer and that she feels she is neither boy nor girl and likes both. She is only 12. I had never heard of this term until tonight. I have googled it and now don't know what to do, what to say. I am up in the middle of the night crying as I am struggling to know what to say or do in the morning. Some sites say parents will be in denial, will say it is a phase, , that it is friends influence etc etc. well I am all of that, especially as she never mentioned anything like this before she went to secondary school and her friend said she was bi sexual. 12 year olds should be at the start of understanding who they are and my daughter is asking for a breast binder, again something I had never heard of. I have always thought I was open minded but this has shattered me to the core. There is a huge divide between managing my response to my daughter so she doesn't feel rejected and my real feelings of horror. I know I need to be supportive as a parent but what I want to do is change her. Hormonal tantrums and homework arguments seem welcome by comparison to this as this won't go away. My thoughts are selfish, and they should not be. I thought my biggest worry would be boyfriends. Any advice, please.

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