DSD wanting to 'come out' as trans is destroying our relationship ...

(90 Posts)
steppinstone Tue 20-Sep-16 13:55:42

DSD is 18 and for the last year has been saying she is 'trans'.

CAMHS have been no help - although she is on their caseload but 'held' until she has been to the gender clinic (current waiting times nearly two years). They have said this is not a mental health issue but a physical health issue. So no counselling, despite previous issues with anxiety/eating disorders/self-harm/possible ASD type behaviour. We have offered to pay for therapy and tried to persuade her to attend family therapy with us but she has completely refused and said there is nothing to talk about.

We have largely told DSD that we love her but we cannot take this seriously. She was always quite happy with typical girls' clothes/presentation and only ever mentioned gender issues after she joined a LGBT teen club (saying she was bisexual at the time).

Now she is saying she wants to come out to the whole family and wants top surgery/hormones and change her name.

This is destroying our relationship with her because it's ridiculous. She has two younger siblings (also girls) and they spend all their time doing 'girlie things' together (hairdressing, make up, singing) and DSD has never, ever, exhibited anything like 'boyish' behaviour - and she still doesn't.

I don't know how we deal with this without it destroying our relationship with her. Things are so tense at home now. DH is largely baffled and also really embarassed about it. We really don't want to 'tell the family' because she is and always has been very feminine that the narrative is just laughable.

We are veering between being cross and just burying our heads in the sand. We want it all to go away. How do we cope with this without completely losing her? Where do we even begin?

Smrendell Tue 20-Sep-16 14:34:46

If she decides to do that she'll have to go through a lot of counselling anyway.

They don't allow anyone to change their gender without it.

reallyanotherone Tue 20-Sep-16 14:40:25

The fact that she's "never, ever exhibited boyish behaviour" rings alarm bells for me.

Is that what you expect of her? If she wanted to cut her hair and play with cars as a child what was your reaction?

Do you think she has realised she doesn't fit the "girl" stereotype so wants to try the boy one?

Counselling for sure. But in the meantime try telling her she can dress how she likes, and behave how she likes. There is nothing a boy can do, wear or think that she can't. Therapy and surgery are down the line.

Bobochic Tue 20-Sep-16 14:46:01

Try the opposite tack. Let her do whatever she thinks a boy would do and agree vehemently that she's always been very masculine.

SolomanDaisy Tue 20-Sep-16 14:49:37

Why are you having to argue with her about it now? She won't be making any decisions about hormones or surgery until after significant counseling at the gender clinic. Just tell her you support her for now and anything else can wait until then.

SpookyRachel Tue 20-Sep-16 14:59:53

How about you just support her?

I am very sympathetic to your feelings of panic and incomprehension - I would be having all those feelings too. But this is her journey, not yours. Yes, your relationship with her is at real risk - but the answer is not for you to bully her into fixing herself, but to work on how you can give her the support she needs. Perhaps some counselling for you and dp, to give you strength, resilience and a shared approach? Perhaps contact a support group for parents of trans teens?

Like many other MNetters, I am concerned about this huge rise in children and young people identifying as trans - I think there's a lot going on under the trans umbrella. But your dd is 18, an adult, and whether she is 'truly' trans or working through something else, you should be there to support her, not to say, in effect, "I don't accept this and I don't accept the new you".

Incidentally, I've talked about her and she as you did. But if she now prefers the pronouns he and his, it would be a REALLY good place to start to use those rather than demonstrating that your disapproval is more important to you than their happiness and wellbeing.

Best of luck.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Tue 20-Sep-16 15:01:54

flowers for you OP, this must be a very difficult time for your family.

I can't claim to be informed on this subject particularly, although on the subject of disordered eating and self-harm I am perhaps more so. What I will say is I would be pushing for more investigation into the ASD behaviours you mention. Gender dysphoria is I believe a common phenomenon accompanying ASD/aspergers diagnoses, as are eating disorders in young women.

steppinstone Tue 20-Sep-16 15:02:14

We haven't argued with her. And we don't care what she looks like or who she sleeps with! We've supported her so far but largely just by shrugging.

It's the ramping up now and saying she's a man now with a male name and pronoun - and telling everyone - that is proving the sticking point. We cannot bear it.

We would be far more happy if she was undergoing counselling. It is her uncritical acceptance that is just... Unconvincing? We don't believe any of it.

melibu84 Tue 20-Sep-16 15:03:42

We have largely told DSD that we love her but we cannot take this seriously.

This is destroying our relationship with her because it's ridiculous

DH is largely baffled and also really embarassed about it.

It sounds like you're destroying the relationship with her because you're not supporting her. I believe she won't be allowed to have the surgery until she has lived as a man anyway, so at least just support her in that. At a time like this, she needs your love and support, not your skepticism and embarrassment.

steppinstone Tue 20-Sep-16 15:06:20

I've no idea how to support her, when I don't believe her narrative. It's like supporting someone joining a cult. How do yo actually do that? When using 'their' language is not something you remotely find believable?

0phelia Tue 20-Sep-16 15:09:36

It's the new "punk" it's narcissistic and fashionable to be transferred right now.

I'd say to her go for it. Change name, change pronoun but don't do anything permanent in a surgical sense. You can mimic top surgery in non surgical ways.

I suspect she is trying to fit in with the LG BT crowd and likes drawing a lot of attention to herself. Such is the way with teens now. At the end of the day she will never be male with a functioning Penis capable of producing sperms so it's deluded and buying into damaging gender stereotypes.

She can still be a girl called Phil or whatever with short hair etc.

0phelia Tue 20-Sep-16 15:10:35

*trans not transferred obviously.

greenfolder Tue 20-Sep-16 15:10:47

Could you and Dh pay for counselling for the 2 of you. I understand it's baffling and you are at a loss to know what to do and how to act. I think stop focusing on help for her. Let her wait for gender clinic etc. Find a therapist that can help you and Dh come up with a strategy to deal with it.

0phelia Tue 20-Sep-16 15:12:23

It's hugely damaging to deliberately make yourself infertile on the back of a trend. So encourage her to not do anything irreversible.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Tue 20-Sep-16 15:18:35

We would be far more happy if she was undergoing counselling. It is her uncritical acceptance that is just... Unconvincing? We don't believe any of it.

steppin this sentence I feel sums up your reluctance to jump on board with her. From a parenting perspective I can relate to this; whilst your child is living their own experience you as a parent can sometimes see better than them when their thought process isn't... well, isn't adding up. Or perhaps it is but that isn't apparent to those who care most about them.

I think what you need to do is speak to your dd and explain it isn't her conclusion (that she is a trans individual) that you find ridiculous or incredible, but as her parent you feel she hasn't taken the steps she needs to take as a grown-up to explore this assertion. I would tell her you fully intend to support her journey, but that she needs to be open to the process and the road to get there, not just to insist on the outcome she expects; and the first step is to embrace counselling. Say that if she says she's sure you respect that and that you are open to that as an outcome, but that that assertion is the first step in her journey and not the final one; and that you want to be there to support her exploring this but that counselling definitely the next step to take for someone in her position.

Does that sound at all useful?

Amandahugandkisses Tue 20-Sep-16 15:18:52

It sounds v strange for this to come out of the blue at 18 with no previous signs.
It sounds like attention seeking. I would just play it down and let her crack on but don't let her touch medication as it can have irreversible side effects.

midcenturymodern Tue 20-Sep-16 15:19:42

You can buy puberty blockers and binders online. You can get top surgery abroad without counselling (not sure if you can in the UK but I wouldn't be desperately surprised if you could).

We are moving towards self declaration so 'they' will let you change gender by saying you have changed gender.

it's narcissistic and fashionable to be transferred right now

Totally agree. I'm not saying some people don't suffer from dysphoria, but every third kid in my children's secondary school has 'come out as trans'. There are 2 FTT girls in my Y6 dds class, and there are only 28 kids altogether. It's the new goth - the conformists rebellion.

I would keep a very close eye on her internet access/spending to try and ensure she doesn't take blockers or hormones but otherwise go along with it. I'm a bit puzzled as to why it's not a mental health problem given that asd, eating disorders and transing are comorbidities.

audreyharley Tue 20-Sep-16 17:43:41

I feel SO sorry for your son [yes son, because that is what your once daughter has asked you to call him so you should gain some respect], he's been brave enough to tell you this although it couldn't have been easy and frankly you are just being ignorant and a bigot.

Just because he acts "feminine and girlie" does not mean that he is not transgender, it's quite disgusting that you believe in these gender norms and think that a boy cannot do things that are considered "for girls".

This is 2016 not the 1960s.

Just fyi, calling it "ridiculous" and saying that your Husband is "embarrassed" of it, is far from supportive, it's in fact the complete opposite.

You're offering to get him counselling and I'm sure that it's with the intention of them convincing him out of it, convincing him that he is not who he wants to be. I would understand if he was still a child, but he is 18 years old, he's old enough to know that he's serious about this.

How about you try supporting your child, respecting their life choices and respecting the pronouns they chose to use. It's absolutely nothing like "joining a cult" it's like opening your eyes, it's like respecting the fact your child is not who YOU wish them to be. It's like respecting the fact that not every person in 2016 fits into your gender roles or your gender binary.

I have no sympathy for you, the only way you won't lose your child is if you choose to accept him. And if you don't choose to support him, he's clearly better off without you.

corythatwas Tue 20-Sep-16 17:51:45

You do not have to believe wholeheartedly in something not to get into arguments about it.

My husband no doubt believes my faith is a load of codswallop but he doesn't tell me so; he asks in an interested and pleasant fashion if I had a nice time at my prayer meeting and how was so-and-so. He takes me seriously, and that is good enough. Ours is a happy marriage. We just don't get into arguments about faith.

I am sure you can find a way to be sympathetic to your (just adult) dsd without going into what you believe or not. Ask questions rather than tell her/him, talk about other things, if really pushed say you don't quite understand. The more open and calm you seem, the more of an input you will be able to have on matters that really could affect her/his wellbeing, like hormone treatment.

eatsleephockeyrepeat Tue 20-Sep-16 18:12:28

audrey I see where you're coming from, but I think you've overstepped. You're acting like you are in a better position to understand OP's DSD than her own family. And based on what? Based on her simply "coming out" as trans? That does not trump the OP's very genuine sounding concerns that this is part of an otherwise worrying pattern of behaviour.

Not every trans or potentially trans teen's experience is the same so who are you to call someone a bigot for treating their DSD as an individual and exploring the individual circumstances? Obviously there is a case to be made for checking our own prejudices which you're right to bring up but I think you went too far.

MephistoMarley Tue 20-Sep-16 18:25:26

Bollocks. This isn't the op's son it's her female child. The word for that is daughter.
This young woman doesn't have sex dysphoria, she's not a transsexual person. She has decided to cleave to a fashionable and transgressive identity that she may feel will fix her mental health issues and body dismorphia (it won't)
If my son came and told me he was trans like fuck would I start calling him my daughter and calling him 'she'. Like fuck. That's pandering to the whole delusion and reality is not subjective.

MephistoMarley Tue 20-Sep-16 18:26:04

Sorry op- forgot to give any advice. The cure for this shit is feminism and good self esteem. Work on that.

lemonzest123 Tue 20-Sep-16 18:30:02

I'm not sure called her "ridiculous" and "embarrassing" is going to help hmm

audreyharley Tue 20-Sep-16 19:14:19

eatsleephockeyrepeat I appreciate what you're saying, I think the point of this entire topic is that the OP's family don't understand them, the OP has no reason to be concerned because their child has simply has came out as something that the OP didn't expect.

The background of every trans person is different, but the circumstances are the same, the transperson expresses a desire to transition and the parents are supposed to try and understand and be supportive of this, but this is clearly not what is happening.

The bottom line is, if an 18 year old adult comes to you and tells you that they want to transition into the opposite sex, it's completely different to a 3 year old saying "I want to be a boy". The OP isn't treating their child as an individual, they're treating them as a problem, a situation that they can not and will not attempt to understand.

As OP's child is 18, they're old enough to make their own decisions, the only thing the OP can do now is to be supportive of whatever their adult child chooses. And right now, they are not.

MephistoMarley You're extremely narrow-minded, all I got from your message was "I'm not transgender so it must not be real, I don't understand it so I'm not going to try." It seems you're the "delusional" one here. I hope that your poor child doesn't come out as anything other than fits your small mind because I can see what an unsupportive parent you are.

And why on earth would anyone choose to be transgender, when surely being cisgendered is the easier path? You're ignorant. Being transgender is not being a handbag, it's not a fashion trend, it's an actual condition that can only be treated with respect and not ignorance and repression.

Msqueen33 Tue 20-Sep-16 19:16:34

If she does have asd it's literally she won't identify to any gender. I've got asd and never felt female and swung towards the man (masculine clothes, not into typical girl things) but I never wanted to be a man.

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