School's response to a pupil transitioning female to male making me uncomfortable...

(254 Posts)

Hi everyone.
Long time MN'er, and although I haven't posted in this topic before, I am an avid reader and have learned so much from the posters here.

I suppose I am looking for a feminist viewpoint on a situation that has developed at my daughter's school which makes me feel uncomfortable.

A child in my daughter's year at Secondary school has chosen, since Y7, to live as a boy. She was a girl through Primary, a footballing superstar, and was described by many as a 'tomboy', though I dislike the expression myself.

Most of the children in his year have only known him as a boy and are unaware of his past, though there have been many rumours and much gossip about this.

After a few incidents on social media where children have made comments about him actually 'being a girl', he asked to address an assembly to set the record straight.
During this assembly he told the entire year group that he is a boy, has always been a boy, and would like people to stop saying otherwise as it was very upsetting for him.

Since transition he has changed radically, particularly, conforming to social gender stereotypes by having relationships with numerous girls, calling girls 'slags' on FB, and becoming friends with a group of disruptive boys who truant ,drink alcohol and spend lots of time discussing girl's physical assets on FB. Not pleasant.

My daughter's friend has begun a 'relationship' with this boy, and it has gone further than kissing. He has told her he has always been a boy which she believes, and has explained his use of the toilet in the staff office by telling her he has a hormone disorder.

I think school have been complicit in his deceit by allowing him to address the other children during assembly and I worry that my daughter's friend is being prevented from making a fully informed choice with regard to her relationship with him.

I would just like to hear other's thoughts on this, and what, if any, action you would take.

To add, I absolutely support other's choices to live 'as' the opposite sex, though I feel uncomfortable with the idea that he has the right to tell others he has always been a boy, as despite his feelings, this is biologically untrue?

Sorry it's a bit jumbled.

SevenZarkSeven Sat 16-Aug-14 18:28:34

Irrespective of the male/female side of things, he sounds like a nightmare.

How old are the children now?

I would be having strong words with a DD who was going out with a boy who was an overt misogynist, truanting and getting pissed up on school time, that would be my first thought TBH.

Although frankly teenagers do whatever the hell they like so whether that talk would achieve anything is unlikely!

I guess, would you have concerns if he was a well behaved boy who was respectful. What is your actual concern IYSWIM.

I am concerned about his behaviour, though I am inclined to think that is an issue for dd's friend's Mother and the parents of the boy.

My main concern is that he has led her to believe he is biologically a boy and school have been complicit in removing her right to choose. To all intents and purposes she is unknowingly participating in a lesbian relationship.
She knows he is a misogynistic bully but is at least able to make a choice as to whether that behaviour is acceptable to her.

So yes, my concern regarding her right to informed choice would still stand if he was respectful.

They are 13/14.

SirChenjin Sat 16-Aug-14 18:54:30

he has led her to believe he is biologically a boy and school have been complicit in removing her right to choose

The school followed his wishes during an incredibly difficult time, and for that they should be commended.

Does you DDs friend really have no idea that he is transitioning? I find that hard to believe - but even if she doesn't, what would you like to happen?

There was a case I recall reading about where a transman had sex with a girlfriend who believed he had a biological penis. Instead, he penetrated her with something else and was later convicted of raping her.

If I were in your shoes, I would also be concerned about both your dd's friend and the boy. My first step would probably be to make an appointment with whatever teacher has pastoral care of the children (or alternatively, a teacher in a position of responsibility who you trust to act sensibly) and speak to them about your concerns.

You could also seek advice anonymously from NSPCC or social services? At 13/14, both children need proper support from people who know what they are doing and this situation.

SirChenjin Sat 16-Aug-14 19:31:07

Why the NSPCC or social services? What makes you think she is at risk?

The school have followed his wishes at the expense of the girl's ability to make an informed choice about who she allows to be intimate with her.

She has asked him directly if he used to be a girl and he has said that it is a false rumour. She believes him.

Even my own dd said 'are you sure, mum? Because school let him say in assembly he is definitely a boy'.

I'm not sure what I want to happen. But I feel very uncomfortable with school's decision to support a lie.

She is at risk of making a choice which may be damaging to her in the future, SirChenjin.
In her position I would be furious about being misled in this way once the truth was revealed.

SirChenjin Sat 16-Aug-14 20:36:52

I presume his announcement came before they started a relationship? In which case, it wasn't at the expense of the girl's ability to make an informed decision.

I suspect that the school supported his decision to prevent the bullying he was suffering, and because he'd always been a boy in every way other than physically. I presume it was also done with the knowledge and support of his parents.

What does the girl's parents think? Ultimately it's up to them, but if you're concerned then you could raise your concerns with the school. However, it would not surprise me if the school are already well aware of the relationship and are seeking professional support and guidance from external agencies and local LGBT groups.

CKDexterHaven Sat 16-Aug-14 20:39:01

Ultimately, whether you are straight or homosexual isn't a decision for someone else to make for you so people need enough information to make their choices. People bang on and on about sexual agency and surely to exercise true sexual agency one needs a minimum amount of information upon which to base decisions. This should be the sex of one's partner, the gender identity of one's partner (even though I don't believe in gender identity) and the sexual health of one's partner.

CaptChaos Sat 16-Aug-14 20:39:58

I'd talk to her parents. Do they know that their daughter is in a sexualish relationship with this boy?

GalaxyInMyPants Sat 16-Aug-14 20:40:09

So you know this. Have you discussed it with your dd? I get the impression you have from one post. If so then surely she's told her friend?

SirChenjin Sat 16-Aug-14 20:44:06

I agree - but perhaps the girl is already fully aware and has just chosen to take the route she has because the alternative would be accusations of "lesbian", which she might not want.

All of this is speculation and conjecture however. The only people who really, truly know what's going on are the parents, the boy, and the school (and possibly the girlfriend). If the OP is really concerned then certainly raise it with the school - but they will not disclose any information about the case (or they certainly shouldn't), and the OP will be none the wiser. There is certainly no need (imo) to involve social services or the NSPCC.

'I presume his announcement came before they started a relationship? In which case, it wasn't at the expense of the girl's ability to make an informed decision.'

I'm not sure what you mean. He spoke to the year group in assembly and told them he was a boy, always had been, and would like the whispering to stop. Their relationship began after this so it might have influenced her decision.
Plus, since the assembly he has had other 'relationships' with girls that have involved kissing at the very least. They have also been misled.

'he'd always been a boy in every way other than physically.'

I am unsure of any other ways to 'be a boy' than physically.

Sorry, cross posts.
I have discussed it with dd. she has raised it with her friend who is insistent it is untrue, and has become angry with dd and other friends, accusing them of 'ganging up'.

PenisesAreNotPink Sat 16-Aug-14 20:51:52

I can't believe a school would go along with a lie, it just wouldn't happen.

As far as I'm aware there is no one in the country transitioning this young. I do not believe the agencies around the child would facilitate this. Or be complicit in having intimate relations with other people without them knowing.

I would feel uncomfortable raising this with her Mum, who I don't know very well.
I am sure this will be a fleeting relationship as most are at 14. What about the other girls he begins relationships with? And as they get older, the level of sexual activity they engage in.

I just think school have misjudged this situation and thought only of the boy, not the potential impact on those he has relationships with.

Coolas Sat 16-Aug-14 20:52:23

I can't understand how this is your business.

I think the school did the right thing. He says he has always been a boy and although he has not biologically, he obviously has mentally. It must have been an incredibly difficult thing for him to do. He is pretty obviously not going to say how he was a girl and no longer is. I think it is reasonable of him to say he has a hormonal problem so he can use alternative toilets. That seems like a reasonable adjustment that the school has made.

Far more serious in my opinion is his very poor and risky behaviour, but if that does not impact your daughter then for you there is no problem.

I assure you this is absolutely what is happening, Penises.

SirChenjin Sat 16-Aug-14 20:55:29

I honestly think you need to leave this to the school - or perhaps contact one of the local LGBT groups for support and advice, or perhaps speak to your DD's friend's parents - although they may not wish to discuss it with you.

Having one set of genitalia defines your sex. Your gender identity, however, is something different. That's what I meant by always being a boy - sorry, probably didn't explain that well.

WidowWadman Sat 16-Aug-14 20:58:51

It's a good thing that the school actually is supporting him in transitioning. I went to school with a trans girl who came out and transitioned during the last couple of yers of school. She really didn't have it

Coolas
You are right, it does not impact me directly. It still concerns me. If I believe a child is at risk I would like to take steps to protect her if I can, regardless of my relationship with her.
Also, am again unsure by what is meant by 'mentally a boy'?
Can you explain what you mean?

WidowWadman Sat 16-Aug-14 21:01:18

Easy. If you're worried about his behaviour, fair enough. But that surely is a separate issue to his being trans, and his medical history is not really any of your business?

DinoSnores Sat 16-Aug-14 21:02:42

"As far as I'm aware there is no one in the country transitioning this young. I do not believe the agencies around the child would facilitate this. "

Obviously I have no knowledge of this child, but professionally I know that it is not unheard of. Medication can be given to prevent puberty to avoid secondary sexual characteristics developing, such as breasts, Adam's apple etc, as it is felt best to give the child the opportunity to not develop the physical appearances of their biological gender but to also have the opportunity to return to that gender should they decide to down the line.

www.nhs.uk/Livewell/Transhealth/Pages/Transrealstorymother.aspx

www.theguardian.com/society/2014/may/25/transgender-children-gender-identity-bigots-media

www.dailymail.co.uk/news/article-2508704/NHS-Tavistock-Clinic-treating-transgender-children-therapies-prepare-sex-change.html

SirChenjin Sat 16-Aug-14 21:05:32

It's fine to be concerned - but you don't have the skills or training to deal with it, and you don't have the full facts. The school will be dealing with this behind the scenes, but have a quiet word with them if you think you can add anything.

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