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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.

Yougotbale Fri 04-Oct-13 17:02:57

I don't know what to say. I suppose a positive is that she told him early. It sounds like he needs a break to figure it all out

if its too big for your (very grown up sounding) son imagine how much too big this is for the 16yo girl.

Poor them. Poor you.

Your DS sounds like a loving, sensible boy. Just be there for him.

Charlottehere Fri 04-Oct-13 17:07:21

Gosh .....don't know what to say. They are so young.

CogitoErgoSometimes Fri 04-Oct-13 17:09:40

I'd just be there for him, listen to what he has to say, and support any decision he subsequently makes. This is a game-changer, they're only dating, and he shouldn't feel under any obligation to make it work

shockers Fri 04-Oct-13 17:10:07

I understand that this must come as a real shock, but she has lived as a girl for 7 years, so she is not 'fucking with his head' for kicks, presumably she loves and trusts him to tell him after such a short time. Her past could really blow up in her face as a vulnerable teenager, if she picks the wrong person to fall in love with. I think she's lucky it was your son. I hope you both manage to get your head around it.

Whatnext074 Fri 04-Oct-13 17:11:59

Your son sounds absolutely lovely!

It must have been so difficult for this young girl to divulge this information and I'm sure she has come up against many people judging her in the past.

I know your concern is for your DS but sometimes, our fears come out of not knowing or understanding something. Perhaps if you do some research on it yourself to help you understand and then you might be in a better position to support your DS if he needs to talk to you.

I don't think this is a make or break situation, if they are smitten with each other, even after a month, then they will talk this through and you can be there for support if needed.

EarthMither Fri 04-Oct-13 17:12:57

They're both very young OP and it's unlikely to last. Maybe they should agree to have some time apart so your DS can process what is undoubtedly a bit of a bombshell for him?

VoodooHexDoll Fri 04-Oct-13 17:16:44

I think you need to slow down abit.

Its up to your son.

Its early days in the relationship. I would not expect a 16 year old to marry his first girlfriend. He cant get her pg so thats a posative. They can get marry and adoped in the future if it does work out.

She is who she said she is. She is honest and thats a good thing. I would try to be supportive and hope that i rasied by son to know its ok to be in this relationship and its also ok if he choses not to be.

I think he needs time to work out how he feels and to know you will support him whatever he choses. Its important to let him know you will except her in your family if he wants to have a relationship with her.

With the freedom of choce and the change of law and people being more open to alternative relationships young people are more able to be themselves and have a loving careing supportive relationship be they gay/bi/hetro or transgender. This is a good thing but its also a personal choice for your son to make.

AmethystMoon Fri 04-Oct-13 17:17:02

He obviously trusts you and has been very open. Which suggests you have a fantastic relationship. He is asking for your support, so I think just be there for him.
Listen without feeling the need to provide answers. Maybe help him to work out what questions he has? Questions for his girlfriend and maybe more generally about the situation/condition.
Try not to scare and confuse him by looking too much to the future at this stage. There is time for that later. Take it day by day and be there for him as he sorts out his thoughts and feelings.
This poor girl has done nothing wrong and my heart goes out to her. They both sounds very mature. You should be proud of your son what ever may happen.
Just remember you don't need to solve anything or have all the answers. They will work things out themselves based on their own feelings. Good luck OP

Lovingfreedom Fri 04-Oct-13 17:17:43

Leave them to it. They are 16, it's unlikely to last forever, they are both into each other. What is the problem? It's not up to you who your son goes out with or whether or not he takes a break etc. if he decides he wants out encourage him to be kind and respectful.

Offred Fri 04-Oct-13 17:21:26

I know this might be hard but I really feel you should take your lead from your son. No-one is under any obligation to be in any relationship with anyone and I think he should understand that he should only be with her if he wants to be and not because he feels he owes it to her.

But that said I think whatever he decides you need to keep your own feelings out of it and away from him. This has to be his choice and it won't help him to have the burden of your feelings as well.

Perhaps it would help you to talk it through and work out what exactly is making you so upset? I always find that helps when I've had an emotional reaction that I don't really understand.

Clearly you are very upset and I think it is silly to be worrying about having thought of yourself as open minded, you can't help the reaction you've had but you need to get control over it now for his sake.

binger Fri 04-Oct-13 17:25:14

It's your son's relationship so I think this is what you need to remember first and foremost. Don't judge, this girl has really put her trust in your ds by telling him this so just support them through this confusing time. Treat her as you would any other girlfriend, if she treats your son respectfully then she should be treated the same.

You will get used to the idea once the shock has worn off.

PTFO Fri 04-Oct-13 17:25:22

Message deleted by Mumsnet for breaking our Talk Guidelines. Replies may also be deleted.

TheFabulousIdiot Fri 04-Oct-13 17:27:02

"So your ds has fallen in love with a boy pretending to be a girl....?"

so wrong on so many levels.
She is a woman/girl.

Charlottehere Fri 04-Oct-13 17:27:43

Ptfo, horrible comment. That case was different. This girl is not pretending.

JohnnyUtah Fri 04-Oct-13 17:28:41

She isn't pretending, this is who she is. (Assuming it us true, which it could well be ). I think it would be hard for anyone to deal with, I'm sure your son will do his best. Knowledge is power. Read up on the situation.

AmethystMoon Fri 04-Oct-13 17:29:45

Nice PTFO. As sensitive as a brick! Maybe re-read the OP or of you don't understand do some research!

AmethystMoon Fri 04-Oct-13 17:30:33


MrTumblesKnickers Fri 04-Oct-13 17:30:43

Poor girl, this must be so difficult for her. The courage it must've taken to tell your son must've been great. And as she's so young, chances are she'll have more relationships throughout her life in which she'll have to broach the subject, facing rejection and worse.

I would just support your son whilst keeping neutral. I appreciate it's hard for him but sorry, it's the girl my heart goes out to in this scenario.

MadameOvary Fri 04-Oct-13 17:31:10

There's always one hmm

Bonsoir Fri 04-Oct-13 17:32:08

Of course it is terribly upsetting and I think that the transgender girl he is in love with has been fantastically deceitful to let the relationship develop without telling him.

MadameOvary Fri 04-Oct-13 17:33:26

It's only been a month, Bonsoir...

SecretJewel Fri 04-Oct-13 17:35:14

Hang on minute, here.

Surely you would have to be of a certain age before you can embark on the whole sex change thing?

I can't imagine anybody taking a 9 year old boy to a GP saying that he thinks he wants to be a girl. And even if they did, surely a GP would send them away to come back in a few years if they still felt the same?


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.

WithConfidence Fri 04-Oct-13 18:17:26

"Transphobia (or less commonly transprejudice, or trans-misogyny when referring to transphobia directed toward trans women as it intersects with misogyny) is a range of negative attitudes and feelings towards transsexualism and transsexual or transgender people, based on the expression of their internal gender identity (see Phobia – terms indicating prejudice or class discrimination)."

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 04-Oct-13 18:19:37

I think the main thing is for both you and him to find out more.
I do not really see how this Will necessarily ruin his future. why should it? If anything it Will just teach him that it is who you are (personality) that matters not what you are.

Would you have had a major issue if he had embarked on a relationship with a boy?

And I do think a month is a reasonable time frame to reveal this kind of info. long enough to judge how he might react (quite well it seems) but not so long that he feels he has wasted years if it is a deal breaker.

It is probably less traumatic than for example when this happens within married couples and one decides to change gender the same gender as their spouse when this had not been on the cards when the marriage took place. and even then people often cope.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 18:21:26

It is not transphobia, confidence, to acknowledge the OP's son will be shocked, and may not want to continue the relationship.

onefewernow Fri 04-Oct-13 18:27:25

It is a huge issue for a lad with presumably his first real girlfriend . The girl is not the OPs concern, as someone said.

I think it would surprise many of us, were it our child involved, and that therefore some of the posts here are quite judgey, and worse than useless.

FWIW, my older daughter is gay, or at least bi. She is 26. I have NO issue with this at all, but it doesn't make me a right wing closed minded twat to worry that she will suffer from prejudice.( mind you, at least she is unlikely to suffer from the worst of domestic sexism).

Having teenagers and older children forces all of us to examine our politics closely, and it's easy to judge when you have younger kids only.

BitOutOfPractice Fri 04-Oct-13 18:28:19

I know you're shocked but I do think you need to calm the fuck down a bit. All this shaking, can't breathe stuff is not helping. Certainly can't be helping your son. So calm down. Nobody died.

cuppachai Fri 04-Oct-13 18:30:44

I think I would say that you make sure that they don't rush into a physical relationship until he is quite sure about things / got his head around it properly. It could be quite confusing for him otherwise. He sounds so lovely and mature about it all though.

The girl is clearly not out at school, of course she wouldn't tell her boyfriend until she was sure she could trust him. A month is not long, even for 16 year olds.

OP you should be very proud you've brought up a son open-minded and decent enough to be trusted with something like this.

headlesslambrini Fri 04-Oct-13 18:31:07

sorry - haven't had time to read all the replies but my advice would be to stress to him the importance of keeping the information secret. It isn't his secret to tell, it's hers. If he confides in someone else, then this could lead to all sorts of things.

He has to make the decision as to whether or not he still wants to be with her, if he does then I would suggest to the girl that you and your son sit down with her family, if she agrees then she will be telling the truth, if not then this would sound fishy to me. You need to know how to support your son but also the girl.

tough one as a mum though.

Yes, to those saying airily its note a problem, I should imagine that for the boy and girl involved it is, and yes, as a parent, you know that relationships are tough enough without complications like this.

Most straight 16 yr old boys are interested in vaginas, he must feel v weird poor lad. (And her too, poor thing)

Still op, all you can do is stay out of it really.

usualsuspect Fri 04-Oct-13 18:32:17

My children are all grown up, I would support my Son in whatever decision he made.

So not all of us have younger children.

chchchchchangesusername Fri 04-Oct-13 18:32:58

I haven't disappeared btw, am still reading. Most of you are saying the same as I would if I was outside this - its a lot more painful though when it is your own child hurting and confused and I don't think it is easy for people to appreciate that.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 18:34:44

Yes of course it is painful. This is an issue you would never have expected your son to have to deal with. <3

usualsuspect Fri 04-Oct-13 18:35:17

Yes, he probably is hurt and confused.

Does he want to continue his relationship with her?

Op you must be a lovely mum that your son would confide in you.

Keep that great relationship you have and make sure he keeps up with his school work and plans for the future.

Dededum Fri 04-Oct-13 18:37:11

I know a 12 year old boy who has gender dysphoria - she spent her time at primary/junior school playing with girls etc.. She has gone to secondary school as a girl, uses disabled toilets etc for changing. She is a very confident child, has had counselling etc..

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 18:38:07

It is not transphobia, confidence, to acknowledge the OP's son will be shocked, and may not want to continue the relationship.

I agree.

FannyFifer Fri 04-Oct-13 18:41:04

Is this an actual real life girlfriend or someone he met online maybe winding him up?

JohFlow Fri 04-Oct-13 18:42:46

As a parent; I would want to be as informed about LGBT issues (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgendered) issues as possible. It is a very interesting area. Some children (and their parents) know very early on that they are born into the wrong body and psychologists can confirm this. It hits these special children to the core of their identity and therefore is a little more complex that people initially think.

She has had the courage to tell your son early - this is no mean fete. Your son probably needs time to understand his gf better and decide what he wants to do next. is an organisation that offers information that is trans friendly for either his gf or you as friends. All the people that provide this advice have had to sit regular exams to ensure that all their info is up-to-date, non-discriminatory and supportive to all those supporting trans. young people. It may also act a something that your son and his gf can do together - to understand their situation together.

Open communication is essential with these things.

I don't think it should affect any future relationships. It would be up to him whether he tells his later gfs about it.

chchchchchangesusername Fri 04-Oct-13 18:53:53

Its a real girlfriend, I've met her a few times briefly.

And as for the 'I cant breathe' comment - I want you to understand I'm not throwing myself around as a tragic wreck, but when I think about it (and I haven't had much chance to as he told me very late last night and I have been at work all day) now I am feeling a little overwhelmed and pressured to get it all straight in my head before she comes round this evening. So yes a little panicky cant breathe feeling. They will be here soon and I don't even know if she knows I know. Or silly stuff like that.

MrsMinkBernardLundy Fri 04-Oct-13 18:55:07

It is up to your son if hd wants to keep this as a gf bf r/s. but perhaps whatever has happened they Will both gain a lot from their friendship.

I think it Will all become clearer and easier to deal with once the should and surprise has worn off. brew

(I also think it shows a lovely, mature, respectful side to your son and his gf that at that age they had not already embarked on a physical r/s)

His gf must know a lot about this and can probably point you to some sources of information.

Good luck to your son with his school etc. lots of emotional things do happen to teens (not to down play this) so hopefully this will not affect him too much in medium term other than as I said to give him an open broad minded approach to life.

But yy to keeping it quiet, as attitudes bbeing what they can be to gender and sexuality any fall out from this Will not only affect her but him too. and that he could probably do without at least until he is confident in any decision he makes.

chchchchchangesusername Fri 04-Oct-13 19:01:04

Thank you all for your posts btw I am paying attention.
Someone mentioned earlier about us parents getting together and that is something I was hoping will happen.
The fact that she has told him this means their relationship is one they think is serious, and that is reason enough to meet parents anyway - even without the extra stuff.

Longtallsally Fri 04-Oct-13 19:17:42

chchch - just wanted to send you best wishes for seeing this young lady tonight and her parents soon too. It is clearly a huge step into the unknown for you and your son, but he and his gf sound like very level headed people, who will work out what they want in their own time. It's a lot for him to take on, but life does deal out the unexpected to us sometimes and the fact that he has an open and trusting relationship with you (and the advice of MN to build on) means that he should be able to navigate this sensitively. He doesn't know what to think or feel yet. He will need a time to process the information, to do some background research of his own, and to talk things through quite a bit, I should think.

Best of luck to you all.

ITCouldBeWorse Fri 04-Oct-13 19:28:34

I think it would probably be very surprising. I have only know two trans people in my entire life, so it is not everyday. At 16 of course anyone would be shocked.

However, they may be fond of each other, but it is presumably not a very sexual relationship, and they are unlikely to run out and marry , so it kind of buys them a buffer of time.

Your ds gets to accept her as a person, his girlfriend hopefully gets a positive first excursion in to t he world of dating . With any luck they will both benefit from knowing each other.

However, I think he should respect her privacy and not share this information.

Chibbs Fri 04-Oct-13 19:34:31

i think the only thing you can do is support him and take your lead from him.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 19:38:14

I agree that your son should respect this confidence. But if they were to carry on the relationship, this will be an issue. Keeping such a big thing secret from everyone would be stressful. After all, she will have had counselling, but he will need to be able to talk about this too, say to close friends.

chchchchchangesusername Fri 04-Oct-13 19:38:35

Thank you for the kind words on here. I think if I'm honest all I wanted/need is a bit of a 'there there, he will be fine don't worry' kind of hug of words!

It is what it is and that's it really isn't it!

I gave up smoking and drinking for 'stoptober'...timing sucks a bit!

sisterofmercy Fri 04-Oct-13 19:50:51

Keep focusing on the pride you must feel that your son has shown himself to be worthy of this girl's trust.

What a wonderful boy your son is to be so accepting and loving at such a young age. It shows great maturity and emotional intelligence.

She hasn't fucked with his head on purpose has she. She told him fairly soon and presumably before they got physical. Good on her, it must have been terrifying.

cafecito Fri 04-Oct-13 20:00:41

your son sounds wonderful and I think you should be proud of him. Also please do some research on a number of genetic conditions which may cause an intersex birth - surprisingly common. It doesn't mean she's a boy just perhaps that she was born with the external appearance of a male and chromosomally she is female - etc etc - there are a huge number of conditions which medically mean gender can be a bit of a question mark. If she is female, she is female - and she surely loves and respects your son to tell him this so early on.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 20:00:55

A very old and dear friend of mine is engaged to a girl who used to be a chap.
She is quite open about her past - she went to a boy's boarding school.
She's hard work but they make each other happy.
Her drink habit is more of a pita than the sex change tbh

Some people are born with the wrong external genital characteristics.
We are luck that society now lets them live as who they really are and make settled relationships once the surgery has been done at 17.

And in your case, she thinks of herself as a girl. It will literally be an afterthought to mention what she once was
I used to be blonde
I used to be a guy - except I never was in my heart ....

My sister is transgender and she has had a very hard time forming relationships. For this reason, she has stuck mainly to the trans community when meeting people.

It must be so hard for the both of them...16 is so young and she IS incredibly brave to be coming out to him. Maybe if your son feels he is unable to continue in a romantic relationship he can still be a person for her to turn to.

I wish you all the best, living with this condition and having people you love and care about affected can be damn hard. Most people are ignorant about it...not usually through fault of their own, but it isn't something you see every day, so little is known about it unless you encounter it.

BettyBotter Fri 04-Oct-13 20:52:50

If you're feeling confused and shocked, you can be sure your ds is feeling a hundred times more so.

Just be there for him.

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 20:59:00

*Some people are born with the wrong external genital characteristics.
We are luck that society now lets them live as who they really are*

I'd reverse these statements actually. Nobody is born with the "wrong" genitals, we are all just people; and it is brutally, devastatingly unlucky that gender roles are so punishingly defined by current society that anyone can feel that their character traits are so fundamentally unsuited to their assigned gender role that they need to resort to irreversible surgery, which often fails to provide any real relief.

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 21:06:30

Yes I agree wit.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 21:08:50

I've seen old pictures of the lass in question. She was a crap boy.
Some sort of imbalance in the womb made her external genitalia not match the rest of her chromosome expression.
The surgery merely reversed the error that was created at birth
a bit like brunettes who are blonde the whole of their adult life
or people born hairy who choose to wax
seriously : its not a big issue for her, because she was never him.

the fact that her name happens to match a sleb has made it all more fun.

runningmad Fri 04-Oct-13 21:13:22

Witsalmader is completely right.

Gender dysphoria is extremely painful, not just for those who suffer from it who so often become completely self-absorbed, but for those close family members, many of whose lives fall apart too - which of course rarely anyone every gives any coverage too (not newsworthy is it), especially if the transgender person has spent many years lying to partners and children. Rates of sectioning for close relatives are high and suicides of transgender and partners / children too. Marriages and relationships rarely survive, pretty much accepted less than 1% survive those "coming out" and believing they are changing gender by either dressing as the opposite sex or by having surgery. Sadly true that gender reassignment surgery often fails to solve the underlying issues that sex / gender is not straightforward man / woman or gay / straight male body / female body.

Better the 16 year old has come out after a month, rather than 16 years. But pity the OP's son has already had to be put in this situation. Their is no easy solution, OP can only be there for the fallout.

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 21:29:45

Some sort of imbalance in the womb made her external genitalia not match the rest of her chromosome expression

What do you mean by this? Are you referring to an actual chromosomal condition or is this just a way of describing a male child with a face that had "female" features? This is a genuine question - I don't understand your statement. What do you mean by "chromosome expression"?

a bit like brunettes who are blonde the whole of their adult life or people born hairy who choose to wax

Err... Are you serious? Really? Being prescribed puberty blocking drugs as a child, having your breasts cut off, being castrated - this is the same as bleaching your hair or waxing your legs? In all seriousness, are you fucking joking?

seriously : its not a big issue for her

Well obviously it IS a big issue because otherwise why would they bother going though with it?

CookieDoughKid Fri 04-Oct-13 21:30:34

At my workplace we have transgenders and we have explicit policies that these people are treated the same. They are people and I think if it was me, I'd try to focus on that. If this girl is kind, considerate, mature, open and certainly, the latter from the sounds of it, I don't think I'd have an issue with it. Much the same if I discovered my son was dating a gay man. There are far worse people your son could be dating. Count yourself lucky you have two people who love each other and are dealing with it. Be supportive and open minded. And I think they will thank you. Else you will end up being resented.

Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 21:38:20

If you read the scientific press on epigenetics and chimeras its a lot less threatening : all on a sliding scale
what breasts ????
what castration ????

and she being underlying female needed minimal 'work' : male to female is blocking what little testosterone there is and turning the willie inside out (her words not mine)

who she was was an issue - how she got to who she is now is not an issue.

nothing medical was done till she reached adulthood (which is another story altogether)
and the kids they treat young now are tested and checked constantly = in a far more constructive way than ever there was before

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 21:48:22

If you read the scientific press on epigenetics and chimeras its a lot less threatening

What was "threatening"? confused

and she being underlying female needed minimal 'work'

Who are you talking about? OP's son's GF? Where does she say that?

the kids they treat young now are tested and checked constantly = in a far more constructive way than ever there was before

That depends very much indeed on where the child lives, doesn't it?

I'm sorry, I'm not being deliberately obtuse but I genuinely don't understand much of your post. I am very very tired though.

First of all OP, congratulations on raising a son who sounds incredibly considerate and mature. I think most of the 16 year old I know would have competley freaked out at this information (and probably said some very nasty things sad )

This is bound to be a shock for all of you but I think all you can do is support your son in whatever decision he makes. It sounds like he is very much in love with this girl (and vice versa) but at the end of the day they are both 16 and have only been together a month.
At their age, Chances are the relationship will not last forever but if it does, with your suport, there is no reason why him and his gf can't live a normal, happy life with all the things you've wished for him.

Sorry for typos. I won't blame my phone- too much wine


Talkinpeace Fri 04-Oct-13 21:50:27

sorry, I know little of OPs son's GF, but I know a lot of the GF of a good friend on whom my comments are based

OP is not alone

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 21:51:57

what breasts ????
what castration ????

Um. Well. When born females have surgery to "become" male they typically have what's called "chest surgery" ie breast removal. And when a born male has surgery to "become female" they have their penis removed. What is it that you're confused about?

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 21:53:52

peace - if she had a penis, she was born with a male body.

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 21:54:36

I know a lot of the GF of a good friend on whom my comments are based

Does the GF in question have chimerism? Even if so, what does that have to do with OP's son's GF?

Mogz Fri 04-Oct-13 21:57:47

You've already had some great advice OP, but I thought I'd drop in to show you a link that you might like to share with your son. It's a web comic written by a youngster born a girl going through the changes to become externally male. It is honest and sweet, sad and funny and really helpful if you want to understand a bit more. I'm going to link to the first page here and I hope it helps.

perfectstorm Fri 04-Oct-13 22:26:59

Honestly, I think your reaction is both human and normal. I used to think transgendered people were men "wanting" to be women and with a stereotyped idea of what that meant because I knew absolutely nothing about transgender people, or transitioning, or, well, anything much. Despite growing up in a liberal home where homophobia was on a par with racism. Then I had to study the subject as part of my degree and (as with many things) being educated on the facts was eyeopening. I now understand why LGBT includes the T part. I just didn't know enough to have a sensible opinion, because it had never been part of my life.

It must have taken huge courage for your son's gf to come out to him like that, and she is effectively putting a lot of power in his hands. Likewise I do understand how confusing and surreal it must seem to him, and he's only a kid, too.

I think research by both of you into what this means for her is a great idea. And I am so pleased you want to meet her parents. For what it's worth I think your son sounds a lovely young man, and she has chosen well. And I am so pleased you clearly want to support them both.

Young love is generally rocky, so forgive me for mentioning it, but have you talked to him about the importance, no matter what happens in future, of respecting her confidence on this subject? He may tell someone in a rash moment if they have a fight and obviously the consequences for her (and him, sadly) could be immense. It should be up to her if and when she ever tells people of her transitioning. I just think he needs to really understand that, before he decides where he wants to go next with the relationship.

I can't remember the username of the person who thinks she is "pretending to be a boy", but it's worth pointing out that this is a recognised medical condition and post-operative transsexuals have been allowed to have all their paperwork altered to reflect the new gender and to marry as members of that gender for decades now. If they were "pretending" then marriage to someone the same sex as that given on their birth certificate would not have been legal, and conversely marriage to someone in their new gender would have been, because they wouldn't have been seen as the altered gender. Gay marriage was not lawful, but marrying in the new gender, post transitioning, was. It's a recognised medical condition and not a whim. You might as well say a gay person is "pretending" to desire someone of their own sex.

AngryByrd Fri 04-Oct-13 22:27:14

look, if this was my son ...

I wouldn't really be upset, I would be sooo very happy that he'd met someone who was in-tuned with what they really wanted.; and I would teach him not to mind too much about her genitals...but when it gets to sex and if he knows he's not interested in penises then..well maybe it's a game changer.

is this girlfriend planning on becoming full female? if so, then i would tell my son to give her time.

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 22:43:15

I think research by both of you into what this means for her is a great idea.

You've been given this advice a lot on this thread, and I think you should take it.

But make sure you research the issue THOROUGHLY, and look at material from as many different sources as you can. Look at it from the point of view of pre-transitioned people and look at what they say (and do) post-transition. Look at the rate of occurrence of transgenderism in different societies and why rates might vary. Look at outcomes. Look at procedures. Look at vetting processes for drug treatment. Think about primary school children being diagnosed as transgender, and what that means.

"Educate yourself" is usually a veiled insult. In this instance, it's excellent advice.

witsalmader Fri 04-Oct-13 22:46:49

is this girlfriend planning on becoming full female?

Absolutely amazing that "castrated male" = "full female." This is genuinely amazing to me. Women are not mutilated men. We are actually a different thing.

BillyBanter Fri 04-Oct-13 22:52:50

If your son wants to continue the relationship then I think you need to support him in this. I can completely understand your can't breathe moment, but you need to find a way to move on from there in order to be supportive. This is something most people don't encounter close up. As said, educate yourself. does the girl know that your DS has told you? You can find out as much as you can online and maybe you can talk to her too. Be accepting and admit your ignorance and let her educate you too, if she chooses. Maybe you and your son can look into it together too. Try not to let your own can't breathe moment influence your son. Most people are not transgender but some are. It is what it is. Remember that she has done nothing wrong. She has a 'condition' for want of a better word which is being addressed with medical intervention.

sonlypuppyfat Fri 04-Oct-13 22:56:59

How is it wrong to expect the girl you are going out with is actually a girl. However open minded you are anything else would be a shock.

SignoraStronza Fri 04-Oct-13 23:46:15

There are very, very few m to f transsexuals who have been fortunate enough to begin the massive step of hormone treatment at age 9 (those who do tend to appear on 'This Morning'/ pages of the waily fail.) There was a poster earlier who described her troubled teenage ts daughter too.

Assuming everything your son tells you is correct, I'd leave him to it.wink

Grennie Fri 04-Oct-13 23:54:12

It actually isn't foirtunate to begin hormone treatment at age 9. The NHS UK site says that 75-80% of children with gender identity disorder, do not have it once they are teenagers. There is no reliable test to determine which children will still have it in their teenage years. So hormone treatment at 9 years of age, would not be ethical.

fifi669 Fri 04-Oct-13 23:57:51

I think it's actually kind of beautiful that he's fallen for the person and will dismiss the medical gender. They're young and it's early days, it will prob be a flash in the pan. However you can be proud you've raised an open minded, loving son.

Lizzabadger Sat 05-Oct-13 00:00:11

I agree with Wit. It's certainly interesting to look at rates of trans-gender people cross-culturally (high in Australia with its macho view of masculinity and low in Scandinavia iirc).

I seem to remember that around a third of people who have gender reassignment surgery subsequently want it reversed, presumably when they find out it doesn't mean all their problems are solved.

superstarheartbreaker Sat 05-Oct-13 01:45:44

Hmmm...tricky one. All I can say is I wish id never bern so serious aged 16 with my abusive ex. His gf sounds lovely and so does he but if theres one thing I learned need to get all Romeo and Juliet about things at such a young age. Fair play to them both if they can make it work. However equally fair play to them if they decide its too full on at this age. ( I suspect your son may feel this especial ly.)

something2say Sat 05-Oct-13 09:30:52

I've come cross this at work.

Say you are born with make external genitalia but then have ovaries. Usually the parents decide what tend the child shall be brought up as.

But imagine if the child grew up feeling like the other gender?

Be open minded. Treat it like a physical thing the girl lives with. The wider world needs to understand that things are not always that simple.

And does she deserve love? Yes.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 09:35:22

Someone born with say male genitalia and ovaries is intersex. That is a biological condition. Intersex is different from transgender. If you are transgender you are born in a clearly female or male body, but at some point, want to be the opposite from your body.

something2say Sat 05-Oct-13 09:49:25

What's the story in this case.....was the girl born intersex?

I must say I am surprised by mumsnet in this matter. Very many comments about how shocking it is and so on. It isn't, unless you aren't exposed to difference a lot.....

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 09:51:07

All this talk of open mindedness and understanding great, but I would worry if this was my DS. At 16, he is vulnerable. This is probably among his first couple of sexual partners and she has a penis. It can be confusing and will likely influence him in ways that can't always be predicted.

Pinkpinot Sat 05-Oct-13 09:58:56

I would be surprised if she's transgender and having hormone treatments as early as 9
That's what made me think she was intersex

Pinkpinot Sat 05-Oct-13 09:59:36

Op, are you in the UK?

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 10:01:32

She may be on puberty blockers. This is allowed in the UK

something2say Sat 05-Oct-13 10:12:23

Cote d what?

I would like to add that your teenagers live in the same world that the rest of us do. They are going to come across car accidents, gay people, illnesses in friends, divorces, all sorts of things really. Why make this any different?

All this teenager needs to do is work out how he feels. If she has a penis and he doesn't mind, is attracted to her still and so on.

notapizzaeater Sat 05-Oct-13 10:13:43

This girl has been so brave, your son is possibly the first person she's told out of family. How this pans out could set her blueprint for life.

Your son must be special to trust him with this.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 10:14:02

Are you saying that I would not have the right to worry if this were my DS?

What else, in your opinion, am I not allowed to feel? I'm curious.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 10:23:09

something - This isn't coming across something. If she was a friend and said she was trans with a male body - okay. But this is his girlfriend. Totally different ball game.

theboutiquemummy Sat 05-Oct-13 10:30:37

Sounds like she was born with both genders this happens sometimes and they chose one for her but at the onset of puberty it became obvious she was female that's the only reason they'd do gender reassignment on one so young

Unless of course it's a great big wind up can you speak to her parents maybe they can shed some light

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 10:34:20

She is transgender. Transgender is different to intersex.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 10:36:58

The OP says she was born a male. If she was born with a male body, she is not intersex. Intersex people are born with biological abnormalities to their body, although in most cases it is still clear if they are female or male.

For example, one of the most common intersex conditions is a boy born with a micro penis.

And intersex people get pretty frustrated at how the public often mix up intersex and transgender.

SalmonellaDeGhoul Sat 05-Oct-13 10:46:02

It doesn't sound like she was born with both genders.
It sounds like she was born with a male body but identifies as female so is living as a female and having some sort of medical treatment to make her more physically female but still has a penis. She may or may not decide to have genital surgery to correct this.

And it is one thing for the OPs son to be nice and accepting and he sounds like he is. But he is 16 yrs old, probably hasn't had a sexual relationship with anyone at all and it is a big thing for him to have to decide if this relationship is OK, given that he would have assumed that she had a vagina like most girls.

He shouldn't feel that he must have a sexual relationship with her just to be nice and accepting.

EarthMither Sat 05-Oct-13 10:56:30

He shouldn't feel that he must have a sexual relationship with her just to be nice and accepting.

Absolutely THIS.

ethelb Sat 05-Oct-13 11:10:20

wit and talkinpeace, you are confusing intersex people and transgender people.

A person is born intersex, often with features of both genders, or external features of one and internal (gonadal) features of the other. Or anything inbetween.

Surgery on people who are intersex was done a lot on the past and is increasingly controversial as there was nothing 'wrong' with them in the first place and surgery is quite high risk as there is so little knowledge of the anatomy of people who are intersex and everyone is different as it exists on a kind of continuum.

A transgener person is not intersex. Don't confuse the two.

Pinkpinot Sat 05-Oct-13 11:12:34

I'm not sure we can speculate about intersex/transgender until the op comes back
I'm sure there's lots if questions that they want to ask.
Grennie, from what I've read micro penis by itself does not necessarily mean intersex
And I think you can be born with a penis and have ovaries, so not necessarily noticed at birth
Medically there is a big difference, but in regards to counselling the ops son, I'm not sure there is that much different advice, except maybe to understand the girlfriends experience

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 11:25:34

Pink - intersex is an umbrella term for a whole range of medical and biological conditions. The public when they hear intersex think of hemaphrodites, but it is actually more varied than this. And yes, medically micro penis does count as intersex - although I appreciate that may not be how the public views it. This is why when people talk about the rate of intersex, it is so high. Hemaphroditism is rare. But some of the other conditions under this umbrella term, are not rare.

hermioneweasley Sat 05-Oct-13 11:41:30

Cote - seeing a penis will not turn him gay. Even if it did, so what. What an incredibly small minded attitude.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 11:46:47

Yeah cause that is all this is about isn't it hmm

CeliaFate Sat 05-Oct-13 12:02:34

It's a huge shock for you and your ds, but his attitude speaks volumes for the lovely young man you've brought up.

His girlfriend must feel scared to death and wondering how you and he are coping.

Incredibly difficult to get your head round initially. Find out about her - talk to her. She will be more scared than you.

chchchchchangesusername Sat 05-Oct-13 12:03:20

It was a bit weird last night. I thought he was meeting her after college and they were coming back here together later. I got a call from her in the evening though asking where he was. She then called back and asked if she could come here and wait for him. Just before she got here he turned up looking awful, red eyed and shellshocked. Before we could really talk she turned up and they went off to his room.
He came down a lot happier and we had a bit of a chat and he said she was willing to answer any questions I had. So I said I don't want to give her the third degree or anything but I do think I need to have a chat with her yes.
She came down and we talked. OMG bless her heart, she hasn't had it easy.

I will be very brief, she knew from forever she was a girl really - she was finally diagnosed with Gender Identity Disorder when she was around 7. They started her on erm...puberty suppressants? Is that right, I cant remember now - anyway basically her penis hasnt developed further than a 9 yr olds. She goes to US every year for treatment, she has operation booked for when she turns 18.

God I'm glad we were able to talk. I'm totally ok now. She is my sons girlfriend. I did say to her, and him, that she has had counselling all her life to deal with this, her family all has too so I think it would be very sensible for my son to have some counselling as well. They've both agreed that might be a wise idea.

I cant believe how much better I feel.

I am so fucking proud of my son y'know. He only turned 16 a couple of months ago. He is so much more mature than I give him credit for sometimes.

Thanks for 'talking me through it' yesterday....I really needed somewhere to get it out. And it had to be here, anonymous like - not a subject for discussion in real life cos it is no-one elses business.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sat 05-Oct-13 12:07:14

The Intersex Society of North America on the confusion between intersex and trans* though the UK society also has information which is often clearer on what intersex is though doesn't discuss this particular issue.

I'm sure it will be a lot to process for the OP's son, especially as trans* people have very little representation, and even less good representation, for him to use as a frame of reference and not often discussed, so he's jumping in at the deep end. I don't think it needs to be a big deal, but the current systems as they are will make this far more difficult that it really needs to be.

Thankfully the OP's son is obviously a good guy, revealing ones status is incredibly dangerous, especially after only one month she was taking a big risk. The idea it needs to be put up front rises my rage - it completely ignores the concerns for safety for the young woman for the concerns of the feelings of a cisindividual (transwoman murder rates are incredibly high, and almost all are linked to others reaction to their trans* status) and places a higher priority on her genitals (and for others their previous genitals) than it does for them as a person - which is what I'm going to assume most people fall in love with.

CeliaFate Sat 05-Oct-13 12:07:21

This is such a lovely outcome.

marissab Sat 05-Oct-13 12:11:31

What a lovely so you have. And to the person who says shes still a man. Well no. She has never been a man. Shes a woman born with a penis. My daughter has a large birthmark. No one can help how they are formed and no one is perfect. I have a dear friend whos trans daughter also has a penis. It has been heartbreaking for her to do simple things like go to the loo. Imagine if you, as a woman, had to ise a urinal or even a cubical in the mens every time you needed the loo. Just imagine that. Imagine if you, as a woman, grew hair on your face. Every. Day. This girl is courageous. Your son is lucky to find such a brave and courageous girl. As for the sex part, you don't need the details. They'll work it out together. Its private between the two of them.

Mogz Sat 05-Oct-13 12:15:52

Your son is an absolute star, you are so right to be so very proud of him. Thank you for taking the time to get to know this girl, I'm sure it was hard for you all to talk about but you've done a wonderful thing in helping someone feel accepted. They're only 16 and even if this doesn't last between them the acceptance you and your son have shown at this early stage can only be good for all of you going forward and reflect in all the relationships you have.

Morrigu Sat 05-Oct-13 12:21:51

I applaud you and your son chchch . He is showing remarkable maturity for his age and you should be proud of him. He's obviously been brought up well by yourself.

Thanks also for the link TheSpork as my own son has a chromosomal variation that some believe may be on the intersex spectrum and some not. I'll be passing it onto the on-line support group who mainly concentrates on the US side.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 12:24:44

Am I the only one feeling uneasy about all the congratulations to OP's son hmm

Rooners Sat 05-Oct-13 12:25:17

Coming to this very late but if no one has mentioned it already, is it possible she was neither gender - sort of between, iyswim, and chose to take the femal role rather than the male?

Might this make it a bit easier to contemplate if so? I saw a documentary about a child who was born being neither gender and had to choose. It was very sensitively done and he/she was a lovely person.

Rooners Sat 05-Oct-13 12:29:19

SORRY, completely crossed posts there, I had it open before I posted for a while.

Sorry and I am glad that you have made some progress.

marissab Sat 05-Oct-13 12:32:59

Grenniw whats wrong with saying congrats to a boy whos grown up so sensible and sensetive. Their not saying congrats you've got a trans girlfriend like its some sort of prize.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 05-Oct-13 12:39:44

Such a shame that certain people are using what is a sensitive and tricky situation to bang the drum for their own unpleasant views on transgender people.

Do we assume a gay person is "lying" and "deceitful" if they are still in the closet? Although I would argue that it probably far more acceptable to come out as gay then as trans.

To describe trans people as "mutilated" as a previous poster has done is vile.

Likewise the "most trans people reject transition", Grennie you said this only the other day, a trans poster explained to you that this was a misconception and took the time to detail exactly why trans people may still have high suicide rates post-transition, but it still seems you think you know best.

O.P it's ok to feel shocked. Like others have said, just reiterate to your DS that it's ok to take things slowly and just like in any relationship, he shouldn't feel pressured into doing anything he doesn't want to do.

But I would also caution about keeping her secret, it isn't his to tell and there is a high rate of transphobic abuse out there.

witsalmader Sat 05-Oct-13 12:44:11

To describe trans people as "mutilated" as a previous poster has done is vile.

No, it isn't vile, it's a statement of fact. A castrated man is a castrated man. It's a form of mutilation. And it does not make him a woman.

The fact that ANY HUMAN BEING feels that their identity inheres in their sexual organs is fucked beyond all measure.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 12:48:46

Gorilla - most trans people do not have genital surgery - that is a reality. There are all kinds of reasons for this.

Marissab - Because it seems to be glossing over the inherent difficulties. OP's son may overcome these, but it is madness to pretend they don't exist.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sat 05-Oct-13 12:49:13

"statements of fact" are very rarely without bias.

People identify with their bodies, and many want their entire bodies (not just their genitals) to match how they want to look and function. People modify their bodies all the time, why is this specifically worse to any other plastic surgery?

CeliaFate Sat 05-Oct-13 12:50:37

What are the inherent difficulties, Grennie?

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 05-Oct-13 12:50:39

Wit - it's their body, not yours. Mind your own bigoted business.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 05-Oct-13 12:53:31

Grennie - citation please.

marissab Sat 05-Oct-13 12:53:59

I am very open minded i admit, but i don't see that many difficulties on a one to one relationship level. I honestly believe you fall in love with a person not their genitals. If you mean problems with society and its opinions, well i'd say sod off to society. But then i don't care what other people think of me.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 12:54:58

The inherent difficulties are sex, children and going through surgery at 18. Talk to any partner who has been with someone when they are going through this genital surgery. They need a lot of support, so it is not straightforward. What happens if the surgery isn't satisfactory for example and needs to be repeated?

Also taking hormones for the rest of your life as many trans people do, carries with it recognised health risks. In fairness not so much of an issue when you are young. But as you get older, this is another issue to deal with.

This doesn't mean couples can't work things out. But you never work things out by pretending issues don't exist and everything is hunky dory.

CeliaFate Sat 05-Oct-13 12:55:00

"most trans people do not have genital surgery - that is a reality." How do you know this?

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 12:55:57

marissab - I know some people don't care about bodies. I do. I fall in love with the person. But I am not bisexual, so their body matters to me too.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 13:04:17

Celia - It is well recognised in most trans communities taht most don't. I have seen figures quoted of 75-80% in NHS documents that don't. But don't have time to look for it. But a 2 second google threw this up.

"It's also important to note that most transgender people who live full-time as women do so without genital restructure."

And this site is trying to educate people about transgender issues and be supportive. There are so many myths around this subject. In fact I have seen trans people on the net playing stereotype bingo over the usual documentaries that are shown on TV about transgender people.

GoshAnneGorilla Sat 05-Oct-13 13:04:38

Grennie - these difficulties could exist in any relationship where one partner has a long term health problem. Would you still be clanging the chimes of doom then?

Also still waiting for some evidence for these various "facts" you keep asserting about trans people.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 13:05:45

I am not clanging the chimes of doom. I am saying there are real issues here. Some couples do overcome them. But don't pretend they don't exist.

marissab Sat 05-Oct-13 13:06:50

Ok so there are treatment things to consider, sure. But no more than anyone else with a disibility or needing long term medical treatment. Its not a choice shes mind, its treatment she needs. So i wouldn't rate the issues than anyone else needing long term treatment really. If she was diabetic no one would bat an eye for example.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 13:09:04

This NHS site gives good information about the medical treatment transgender people under 18 years of age, receive in the UK.

"Guidelines from The Endocrine Society do not recommend endocrine treatment for young children because a diagnosis of transsexualism cannot be made before a child has reached puberty. Transsexualism involves deep and long-lasting feelings of gender dysphoria that causes someone to seek to change their sex.

The Endocrine Society found that 75-80% of children who were diagnosed with gender dysphoria before they reached puberty did not have the condition after puberty. Therefore, endocrine treatment is not recommended until after puberty, when a diagnosis of gender dysphoria can be confirmed."

Although I note that the OP said this girl went abroad for treatment, which suggests the NHS guidelines may not be being followed.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 13:09:45

It will have an impact on sex though.

chicaguapa Sat 05-Oct-13 13:12:12

Agreed that this is a situation where it's easy to have opinions but it's different when you're dealing with it yourself.

I'm glad you're feeling happier about things now.

I think that you should also be very proud that your 16 year old will have such a positive impact on his GF's future experiences as a transgender and whatever happens with their relationship, her first experience of telling someone will have been positive thanks to how maturely your DS and his family has dealt with it.

marriedinwhiteisbackz Sat 05-Oct-13 13:13:01

I have only read the first and the last but if it were my son I think I would be contacting the girl's parents and talking this through with them. If it turned out to be untrue the girl needs help; if it is true then I think there needs to be some open discussion for all concerned.

Viviennemary Sat 05-Oct-13 13:21:53

I don't think medications are given to a child because they want a sex change. Unless there is already some hormonal inbalance present or there is doubt at birth of a person's true sex which can happen sometimes but is very rare. And that of course is an entirely different thing.

shockers Sat 05-Oct-13 13:28:19

OP, your last post brought tears to my eyes. Whatever happens in the future, this young lady received acceptance from you and your son and that will be of enormous importance to her on her journey.

chchchchchangesusername Sat 05-Oct-13 13:35:19

Chicaguapa's post brought tears to mine!

I am going to change out of my alter now and leave this thread for a while. Its done what I needed it for and for that I am grateful. I'll leave it now for whatever debate it is turning into.

Thanks everyone smile xx

ALittleStranger Sat 05-Oct-13 13:52:47

greenie I think you are getting way ahead of yourself. How many 16 year olds do you know who have had kids and grown old with their first partner?!

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 13:54:11

Stranger - fair point! I guess the existence of a penis and sex would be an issue for some - but not everyone.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 13:56:01

This site explodes some of the stereotypes.

"Studies suggest only about 20% of male-to-female (MTF) individuals and 3-5% of female-to-male (FTM) individuals have undergone genital reassignment."

fatmumjane Sat 05-Oct-13 14:04:15

As the mum to four boys, 19, 15, & 2x 11 I'd say to try and take a step back and realise that most 16 year olds fall in love on many occasions before they meet their life partner. I can hardly remember who I was dating at that time...

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 14:06:01

Maybe I was different? I nearly married my boyfriend I had at 16 years of age!

runningmad Sat 05-Oct-13 14:18:04

That sounds about right Grennie. About 1000 people, roughly 800 men to women and 200 women to men have been operated on in the UK. If that's 20%, that's 5000 all together - some will have gone abroad too, Thailand being popular - add on maybe another 1000, to make 6000. Taking an average of estimates of transgender being about 1 in 10,000 (yes hard to estimate as many take years to admit / may never seek help), that's 6000 in a UK population over 60 million. Estimating at 6000 TG in the UK, the internet has had a profound effect on how they now meet and communicate, for families, many would say the effects have been even less positive for them, the forgotten victims. Indeed it's an area where if you've never experienced it, you may feel very open minded, if you're on the receiving end of its effects personally, either as TG yourself or family members, you may have a far different view of how "open" you feel. There is without doubt some biological factors, the fact that male - to - female is far more common, the fact that first born and only sons are a big factor, but also social factors, the fact that sons with overbearing mothers are a big factor, the fact that in some societies, macho ones, TG rates are far higher male - to - female than societies where machoism and male / female roles are less important, all these mix to produce a condition which devastates lives. Until any of you have lived through it, I really don't think you can truly comment about how you would feel.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 14:39:14

hermione - re "seeing a penis will not turn him gay. Even if it did, so what. What an incredibly small minded attitude"

It would have been, if I said anything of the sort hmm

For the record, I don't think you can turn someone gay (or turn a gay person hetero).

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 14:47:23

I think bi people can choose to be hay or Hetero. I think this is the reality for those who were gay and say they were "cured", and are now happily married.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 14:48:56

Also most FtoM do not have genital surgery, because usually the outcomes are so poor. It is obviously easier medically to invert a penis, than to create one. It might be much higher for FtoM if surgery outcomes were more uniformly successful.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 14:53:34

I don't know any gay men who claim to be "cured" and get married. I do know two married men who left their wives to be with men, saying they can't live a lie anymore. I guess they "chose" to be hetero but it just didn't work.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 14:58:09

Most people find out about transgender issues from TV programmes. Sad ly although they can give an understanding of what individuals go through, they also perpetuate many of the stereotypes.

A poster up above said that most relationships don't survive a partner transitioning. This is true. But this is in established relationships where a partner tells an unsuspecting existing partner that they want to transition. It is not surprising that many don't survive when you think about it.

For example a couple married with kids and the Husband tells his wife that he is really a woman and wants to live as one. That would mean that the wife would have to accept being in a relationship with a woman. Most MtoF do have breast implants and take hormones. So a wife who is Hetero and married as she thinks a man, suddenly would have to accept being in a relationship with a woman.

Of course some couples do survive this. But many Hetero partners decide they are not gay and so do not want to be in a relationship with someone of the same gender - no matter how much they might love them.

I do know this is nothing to do with the OP's post though!

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 14:59:35

Cote - The gay men being "cured" is not uncommon in USA Christian communities. I think if you are really gay you can't be cured. But I can see if you are really bi, you could learn to ignore your same sex attraction.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 19:28:44

I might be wrong but my reading of that situation is one of suppressed sexuality. Convinced that they will burn in hell otherwise or some such, these gay men suppress their urges in order to "please God".

The reason why there is so much sympathy for the GF of OP's son is the assumption that sexuality can't just be chosen. If not, "she" is a man who has just chosen to be a woman.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sat 05-Oct-13 19:38:43

I ink you should be very proud of your son's loving open-mindedness. Other than that just listen and be there for him.

GuybrushThreepwoodMP Sat 05-Oct-13 19:43:38

Just read your latest update. Really lovely smile

CeliaFate Sat 05-Oct-13 21:23:42

"Cured"? Really? Being gay isn't an illness or disease. The Church's involvement in the USA Christian communities is hideous. It's tantamount to kidnap, torture and abuse.

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 21:31:35

Of course it is not an illness. And what the church does in running programmes to "cure" gay people, is hideous.

But some people say they were born gay. Some people say they chose it.

CoteDAzur Sat 05-Oct-13 21:36:58

Who says they chose to be gay?

You have been talking about gay people beaten into denying their real urges choosing not to be gay anymore. Not heterosexuals choosing to be gay.

SummerRain Sat 05-Oct-13 21:56:05

I think a lot of assumptions are being made. I assumed from the OP that the girl was born intersex and had made the decision to live female and has been undergoing treatment to that end.

Whilst it doesn't matter really to the OP's situation I think it's worth remembering that this is a complex situation with many possible reasons and there's really no point in speculating or having arguments about it with the few details here. Whatever the cause this girl has had to go through so much more in her short life than most of us can imagine and she has shown remarkable bravery.

Most teenage boys would have freaked out and then told everyone, I'm not surprised she waited a month to tell him, and it took courage to do so even now as it was no small risk.

fifi669 Sat 05-Oct-13 21:56:21

I think what was said was bi people can choose to live a gay or straight life.

SummerRain Sat 05-Oct-13 22:01:44

Whoops, sorry.... I missed a page before I posted so hadn't seen the OPs update.

She sounds like an amazing young woman OP, and well done to your son for listening to her and accepting her, even though I can imagine how shocked he was.

Good luck to them both flowers

Grennie Sat 05-Oct-13 23:21:04

Cote - Some gay men and lesbains say they chose to be gay. There is not only one view on this amongst gay and lesbian people. For example, Julie Bindel, and out lesbian and journalist in the UK, says she chose to be a lesbian.

witsalmader Sun 06-Oct-13 07:37:56

Who says they chose to be gay?

Some political lesbians say they choose to be gay.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 06-Oct-13 12:20:39

Yes, but those some are of the political opinion that saying people are 'born' gay and thus have no choice is treating it like a disability and that consenting adults should be able to love and live with whoever they want regardless of why without legal or social implications. They say choice because the word choice is powerful and they want to change the frame of the discussion, not because they have any desire to be otherwise.

And bisexuals/pansexuals/demisexuals/asexuals are completely different sexualities alongside heterosexual and homosexual and really none should be compared to another. Bisexuals and Pansexuals do not "choose" heterosexuality or homosexuality anymore than a sexual person chooses to be asexual if they aren't in a physical relationship. Choosing to have a relationship with one individual does not invalidate a sexuality nor does it make it one sexualities lifestyle.

fifi669 Sun 06-Oct-13 14:27:14

What is a pan sexual or a demi sexual?

CoteDAzur Sun 06-Oct-13 14:28:05

No, not like a disability but a natural instinct that is cruel and arguably pointless to mess with.

Did the "girl" in the OP choose to feel like a girl in a boy's body?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 06-Oct-13 14:43:57

I'm just putting point the political argument across to explain why some argue that they chose - it isn't because they have desire or impulse otherwise and choose to ignore that, but that many feel that conversation around debates around sexuality should not centered on the argument of being born with but on consenting adults being able to do as they wish without social or legal problems. It has nothing to do with this girl's situation - she's trans*, that's gender and not sexuality, and trans* political arguments do not include the same rhetoric.

fifi - pansexual is someone who is attracted to people regardless of gender (including those outside of the gender binary), demisexual is someone who only gets sexually interested in a person once they are very romantically involved in a person.

Grennie Sun 06-Oct-13 14:48:20

Am I the only one that feels all this labelling has gone overboard? It makes me feel very old.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 06-Oct-13 16:35:47

I highly doubt it, that comment comes up often in similar discussions.

However, it isn't about making you feel old, it's about people being able to find people like themselves, being able to have a clarified identity for themselves that is recognized as important enough to be represented and have a term, and having terms people can use in discussion, academics, activism rather than having to spell things out every time a concept is used. Having words is important, words and language and representation have power, and calling it "overboard" and putting your feelings first is quite dismissive of that importance.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 06-Oct-13 16:44:55

Gender binary, what does that mean someone please explain!

Retroformica Sun 06-Oct-13 18:49:24

I would have assumed she would have to have been a certain age to convent to a proper sex change - 18?

But maybe she was one of those people born neither a girl or a boy. Mixed sex so to speak and may have been slightly more male initially until medical intervention.

I would let your son make up his own mind. I might ask him if he wants kids in the long term?

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 06-Oct-13 19:01:14

Gender binary - in the sentence I used it in, it means outside of the categories of male and female (genderqueer, genderfluid, and so on). As a general term, gender binary is the concept of gender being...well...binary - in two distinct categories. While this concept has become more common through Abrahamic colonization, many cultures and group (and many scientist) would view gender [and sex] to be a spectrum rather than two cateogires.

Retroform - as I showed in a previous link, there is no evidence that intersex people (the term for what you called mixed sex) have any higher rate of being trans* than those who do not have intersex variants that they are aware of.

sonlypuppyfat Sun 06-Oct-13 19:06:16

Oh that's crystal clear....

CoteDAzur Sun 06-Oct-13 19:08:55

"bisexuals/pansexuals/demisexuals/asexuals are completely different sexualities alongside heterosexual and homosexual and really none should be compared to another"

Ok you have clearly spent about a thousand hours thinking about all this smile but demisexual sounds like many heterosexual women I know and I can't see how that is a different sexual orientation in itself.

I also know quite a few people who have gone through asexual periods in their lives, so does that mean they switched sexualities? In fact, classifying asexuality as a sexual orientation is contested and is by no means accepted unanimously by all professionals.

TheSporkforeatingkyriarchy Sun 06-Oct-13 19:19:59

Not particularly Cote, I'm just in an environment where this language is often used so it rolls out quite easily, sexuality isn't my main area but it obviously intersects - Lorde's no single issue lives and all that.

demi- can be used in from of any of the other grouping (demipansexual, demihomosexual, demiheterosexual), but it is still an experience that many feel needs recognition of its own. My main reason for putting that sentence was people kept saying that bisexuals chose homosexual or heterosexual lifestyles, when really there is no such thing as either of those and bisexuality should be recognised in its own right, not as a comparison to others.

Sexuality for many is fluid and professionals shouldn't be gatekeeping sexuality as unanimously "accepted" or "unaccepted" for consenting adults. Professionals don't override people's personal experiences.

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