Note: Mumsnetters don't necessarily have the qualifications or experience to offer relationships counselling or to provide help in cases of domestic violence. Mumsnet can't be held responsible for any advice given on the site. If you need help urgently, please see our domestic violence webguide and/or relationships webguide, which can point you to expert advice and support.

Son has just found out his girlfriend was born a male...and sort of still is (physically anyway)

(197 Posts)
chchchchchangesusername Fri 04-Oct-13 16:57:38

Right, I am freaking out so please be gentle. I really really thought I was very open minded and tolerant and everything but I am very shaken and tearful. And I'm not completely sure which bit is upsetting me. So bear with me this might be a bit rambling.

My son is 16, he is very much in love with this girl and although they have only been together a month they ARE very smitten. She told him yesterday that she was born a male but since she was 9 she has lived as a girl and been taking meds to...blah blah blah - I cant remember much of the details but it sounded like she knew what she was talking about anyway.

He told me last night. I wasn't much help, much nervous laughter and disbelief on my part. I really thought she was having him on - I even got quite angry and told him if it wasn't true he should dump her for fucking with his head like that.

I asked him how he felt and he said his head was all over the place and that he loved her and didn't want to be without her. So I said ok but this is a massive headfuck and at his age college and his future has to be the most important thing and he needs to keep focussed too.

I am so out of my depth here I cant breathe. I cant think straight. Ultimately I suppose it is up to him...but he does ask for my advice and I really don't know what to say.

I guess I'm worried this might fuck his head up - more than it has already I mean. Now he knows she has a penis ffs, surely that's going to confuse his head. He did cry a bit last night but wants to make it work. It would be easier to get my head around if he was. I don't expect them to last forever but how will it affect his future relationships - I'm over thinking, am I? I don't know.

He is only 16 ffs, this is just too big.

I still cant believe its true. But apparently it is.

usualsuspect Fri 04-Oct-13 17:36:13

In the nicest possible way, I think you should leave them to it.

She is what she is, if your son is ok with it, then so should you be.

Just be there for him and support his decisions.

Pinkpinot Fri 04-Oct-13 17:36:52

Open minded and tolerant??
This is a medical condition not just a case of 'he thinks he's a girl'
I would suggest you educate yourself about the condition and then share this with your son, who sounds fab btw.

There's a show called Emily Owens MD, they had a case like this last week, if you want to start there. Obviously it's fiction, and a US drama, but they dealt with it quite well

Bonsoir Fri 04-Oct-13 17:38:01

A month is an awfully long time in teen relationships.

PTFO Fri 04-Oct-13 17:40:20

apologies, not out to offend, really im not.

Im not sure I see the difference, I understand that she feels she is a girl but op states she is still physically a boy...correct?

OP' said ds thought he was dating a girl, maybe she looks like a girl but surely shes/he not. even if she feels she is.

If a man dresses as woman, does that make him a woman!? If you met a man and a month into the relationship he admitted that he was born a woman but still had a vagina how would you feel?

Am I just being naïve here?

I feel for this girl, clearly she is having a hard time and has some very difficult times ahead. It cant be easy.

hermioneweasley Fri 04-Oct-13 17:40:58

Your son's girlfriend is phenomenally brave, and he is lucky to have such a fantastic influence so early on. She has a medical condition, and in a few years can have the appropriate treatment.

It is not a problem

HairyGrotter Fri 04-Oct-13 17:43:28

You are being very naive PFTO, read up on the subject.

What a brave girl, 16 and taking steps toward making the body she was born into the gender she is. Your son is also behaving impeccably, you should be super proud.

I'd say the best thing is for you to just be there, maybe read up on the subject, educate yourself and be ready for any questions later on.

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 04-Oct-13 17:45:25

As she started hormone treatment prior to puberty (and yes, they do do this these days) she probably looks convincingly female (boobs, a narrower waste, no adam's apple) and her genitals will be undeveloped or even shrunken.

SalmonellaDeGhoul Fri 04-Oct-13 17:50:44

I feel sorry for both of them. I don't really blame her for waiting to tell him, you would want to trust someone a lot before you divulged that.

But if he can't handle the idea of a relationship/sex with her, that is his choice too and he shouldn't feel obliged to carry on if it's too much to handle.

I wouldn't worry about future relationships either. Only someone very narrow minded would have a problem with it and those sorts are best avoided, anyway.

ithaka Fri 04-Oct-13 17:51:00

It is not a problem

I think that is a bit naive and blinkered. Would this honestly not be a problem to you if you found out your new partner, unbeknownst to you, was transgender & still transitioning. This young lad e is entitled to feel pretty rattle by what you have airily dismissed as a 'non problem'.

In my opinion, the transgender girl should have been ope with her potential new boyfriend from the outset. I would be annoyed if a child of mine had been deceived in this manner. His feelings are just as important as hers.

YoniTime Fri 04-Oct-13 17:52:42

I don't really see the problem. Either your son decides to continue the relationship or not.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 17:54:48

Her genitals will be like a boys pre pubescent. But what they give prior to 16, if you are in the UK, is hormone blockers to prevent puberty. The NHS forbids anything else, because the majority of children with gender identity disorder no longer have it once into teenage years.

This is a big thing for your son to deal with. And it is bound to be a shock. The decision has to be his though. Just make sure he knows that he doesnt have to stay with her, and if he does that is fine.

There are obvious physical issues there, that your son may or may not have an issue with. And not all MtoF have genital surgery.

Few relationships at this age last. So this may be a non issue whatever your son decides.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 17:56:32

ithaka - I understand why a 16 year old might not have been honest at the outset. But yes it would have been better to have been. As Bonsoir said, a month is a long time in a teenage relationship.

MrMeaner Fri 04-Oct-13 17:57:13

Maybe she was born as a hermaphrodite and since the age of 9 has been moving towards the female (apologies for the terminology). Then presumably it has nothing to do with 'transgender' etc but is purely biological.
I'd hope I'd have a bit more sympathy to the girl in this instance than a number of posters who seem to expect her opening line to have been 'Before we talk/kiss, just so you know, I was born male'. I think she's very brave to have broached the subject so early...

Clearly that doesn't diminish the shock, but as many have said, just be there to listen and let him work out his feelings, rather than his preconceptions.

Good luck to them both

ladymariner Fri 04-Oct-13 17:57:31

Well, get your blowtorches out then because I would absolutely hate this to happen to my son. Yes it's up to them and the op sould stay out of it and read up on it etc etc but hand on heart, how many of you would be happy if this landed on your doorstep?
I agree the girl is being very brave telling him but she should have told him at the beginning, not waited for him to fall in love with her. My sympathy is for the boy in this.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 17:57:54

Meaner - If that was the case, I think she would have said

OldLadyKnowsNothing Fri 04-Oct-13 18:00:16
LadyMacbethWasMisunderstood Fri 04-Oct-13 18:02:06

They have only been together a month. I don't see that she has been deceitful at all. It would hardly be the first thing she would say. It must have been very hard for to her be so honest and risk rejection or worse. It says a lot about how nice your son is that she felt confident to be so open with him.

Actually OP - assuming you have met her - I'd ask myself 'do I like her?' Does she seem a nice/kind/genuine person. If the answer is yes I think you have less to worry about than if he was involved with a 'regular' girl/woman who is unkind or unfeeling or manipulative. She must have been through a lot and chances are (though I accept this is not guaranteed) that her challenges have made her more tolerant and empathetic.

As others have said at 16 the relationship is unlikely to last anyway. But I say just support him and don't judge her (not suggesting you are judging her) and see it for what it is - a teenage romance.

And don't beat yourself up about your initial reaction. However open minded you are it was bound to be a shock. It's how you treat her that's important, not how you initially felt.

WithConfidence Fri 04-Oct-13 18:02:44

I wouldn't be horrified if a person I was dating said they were transgender, nor would I mind if my ds' girlfriend said she was.

Not everyone is prejudiced.

Bonsoir Fri 04-Oct-13 18:05:12

I think that being transgender is the same sort of level of information as being married to someone else is when you start a relationship: something you must disclose as it is information which may well change a person's desire to have a relationship with you at all.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 18:06:39

I dont think it is prejudice to be shocked that someone has a different body from the one you expect. It has implications. Sex? Children?

For some people these things wont matter. For some it will. That doesnt make them prejudiced.

YoniTime Fri 04-Oct-13 18:07:32

I didn't mean to be that flippant but I really don't understand your strong reaction. It's up to him, either he decides that it's love no matter what or he decides that a male body is a deal breaker.
It's not like being near a penis will ruin your son...or what is you afraid of regarding future relationships?

There are also a couple of threads here if you do an advanced search about transgender children.

There is also a transgender mumsnetter who is engaged to a young man. I think she has had some issues with her future mother in law.

Meanwhile, youthful love is usually shortlived. Your son sounds wonderful and accepting. Just support him and advice him as you would in any romance.

She is possibly still too young for a sex change. The first sets of meds would have been to delay puberty, to giver her a chance to work it out for herself before her body started to change to a more masculine shape. The next lot of medicines might be female hormones. I cant remember very well. The transgender child in my sons old school was just 9 when a letter went out to explain the situation for all the parents.

She had gone from wearing boys clothes to saving her hair long and starting to wear girls clothes (no uniform in schools in Norway) and play with the girls during Y3. It had nothing to do with sexuality. But everything to do with being a girl and wanting a girls childhood, but with the wrong body. She wanted plaited hair, play with dolls, wear dresses and talk about ponies, like any other 9 year old girl.

Branleuse Fri 04-Oct-13 18:10:43

Just be there for your son, encourage him to be kind and sensitive. This must be so difficult for his girlfriend.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 18:12:53

And difficult for your son. Dont encourage him to ignore or deny his feelings.

Bowlersarm Fri 04-Oct-13 18:16:00

Very difficult. I don't think people should be quick to judge those who don't understand btw. It does have all sorts of implications as far as sex, having babies, is concerned. An incredibly complex experience for a 16 hear old. And yes very difficult for the girl herself, but she's clearly not the ops first concern.

It must be very difficult for your son. He will have to come to his own decision whether to continue the relationship with this girl. All you can do is support him.

Join the discussion

Join the discussion

Registering is free, easy, and means you can join in the discussion, get discounts, win prizes and lots more.

Register now