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Not to accept that my DD is 'really a boy'?

(371 Posts)
Scootering Mon 07-Dec-15 13:05:36

This is actually about my DSD, who is nearly 18.

Over the last few months she has told us she is 'trans' and wants us to call her 'David' (not this name exactly...).

Her father and I (and her mother) think this is crazy. She has always been perfectly happy as a girl, long hair and dresses, not remotely tomboyish. This has all happened since she has met a group of very 'out' gay men and I think she really wants to be like them. Her idea of 'being a boy' is to be (frankly) a raving queen (very camp) with flowery shirts and pink hair.

We have NOT started to refer to her as 'our son' or called her 'him' or 'David'. She says we are ruining her life and will never accept her.

We have said we will not do these things until she has been through proper counselling to discuss this. We paid for her to start this but she gave it up after the first session because she 'knows who she is' and 'doesn't need to discuss it'.

So we are now at a impasse. She says we are ruining her life. We are really not remotely convinced we should be acting like she's a boy.

Are we being unreasonable? Are we torturing her? I'd really be grateful for advice because we are finding it all really embarassing and difficult (particularly with elderly parents).

Scootering Mon 07-Dec-15 13:08:16

PS I should say we have other children (girls) and we have always brought them up to believe that 'gender' is not really 'a thing' - that they should not ever think that there is anything they cannot do. This is fueling my rage over this whole thing: I feel as though DSD is telling them that they are 'missing' something. This is probably unreasonable....

TattyDevine Mon 07-Dec-15 13:10:40

Bloody hell. Not sure what to say but I suppose if she is not actually "a boy" then it will pass? I was a vegan for a while at that age, it soon got old grin

KakiFruit Mon 07-Dec-15 13:14:31

I'm going to use 'she' here since 'David' won't read this...

Has she mentioned getting any surgery/hormone treatment, or does she just want to be called 'David' and have male pronouns used? If the latter, I'd play along - sounds like she'll get bored of it as she moves on from this friendship group. I think her choice of name and pronoun should be respected.

But if she is thinking of gender reassignment, she will have to be very, very serious about it to get anywhere (especially since she's been through puberty) and it won't be you she'll need to convince, it will be medical professionals. I think, again, I'd play along with the name and pronouns and support her with counselling etc as you've already tried to do. No need to alienate her.

KakiFruit Mon 07-Dec-15 13:15:34

By the way when I say support her, I mean support her to make the right choice for herself, not support her with the aim of changing her mind.

MyFavouriteClintonisGeorge Mon 07-Dec-15 13:19:33

First of all, this sounds really really difficult, so you have my sympathy.

But: raving queens are still boys, aren't they? Is she only trans if she acts out the traditional stereotype in her new gender?

I would be tempted to go along with the new name and pronoun while being more insistent about the counselling, pointing out it isn't some sneakily undermining way of testing her resolve, but a safe place to discuss and anticipate all the ramifications of what she is doing, including seeing other people's point of view.

I would avoid saying to her that she has always 'been perfectly happy as a girl', because you can't really know that, and it will shut down any kind of communication by making her angry. Point out that it is an adjustment for all of you and not all the changes she wants will necessarily just slot into place overnight, e.g. you are all likely to forget now and again and call her by her old name. This desire to transition may or may not last, but helping your DSD to know she is loved and accepted is vitally important.

Most importantly, agree to disagree on gender theory (for lack of a better expression) rather than try to fight it out with her. It is not as though, if you win that argument, all problems will magically disappear.

SaucyJack Mon 07-Dec-15 13:19:37

Is (s)he happy as David? Will it hurt anyone if you humour D for a bit- even if you do think it's a phase (s)he'll grow out of? I think disrespecting D could do far more harm than good in the long run.

Obviously if and when there's talk of hormone treatment and surgery, then it would be wise for you all to take it far more seriously.... but for now, just chill out and appreciate D for who they want to be right now.

Scootering Mon 07-Dec-15 13:23:19

At the moment she does want to go down the surgical route although she hasn't actually taken any steps to do that.

Is there any harm in it... I think it is VERY confusing for the younger children - how would I explain it to them? When I've brought them up to believe that gender is crap?

The family situation also - explaining this to six grandparents in their 70s and 80s? Where do I start?

stairbears Mon 07-Dec-15 13:24:29

Whether this is a flippant choice or not, it's the choice they are making and they are asking you to respect it. It's hardly illegal, or immoral, or hurting anyone. It's their life.

Is your current stance going to help? Would they look back on their life and think:

"Phew - glad they didn't play along with that, how silly I was being!"

Or

"I'm still so hurt that my family made no attempt to connect with what I was going through"

Even if you're incredulous about it, can't you humour them for now and see what happens? Surely knowing you're loved and supported no matter what is better than running the risk of alienation and hurt?

And as a side note - he won't get far with full, physical gender reassignment if that's what he wants, without seeing out a course of counselling.

stairbears Mon 07-Dec-15 13:25:54

And your definition of what she should be acting like as a "boy" is not the point...

KakiFruit Mon 07-Dec-15 13:26:13

Is there any harm in it... I think it is VERY confusing for the younger children - how would I explain it to them? When I've brought them up to believe that gender is crap?

She isn't responsible for your younger children's views on gender. You really can't put that on her.

The family situation also - explaining this to six grandparents in their 70s and 80s? Where do I start?

"I don't fully understand it either but let's call X David since that's what she wants and it makes her happy."

KakiFruit Mon 07-Dec-15 13:27:24

Actually "I don't fully understand it either but let's call X David since that's what he wants and it makes hhim happy."

I can't imagine how tough it would be to remember to change pronouns for someone you know, I can't even do it after reading one post where the person is 'she'!

WhirlwindHugs Mon 07-Dec-15 13:28:54

I'd probably just avoid using pronouns or names tbh.

Fighting against it won't help because they will dig their heels in. I would try and be meh about the whole thing.

If they really are trans they won't feel rejected if they aren't it won't be a big deal to change their mind.

Scootering Mon 07-Dec-15 13:29:13

I am not sure how to explain it to the younger children AT ALL. I don't have any language to explain that someone 'feels like a man'.

I think it DOES make a different that she is acting like a camp man. She is not remotely coming over as a male. She doesn't have a boy's haircut. She just says that 'boys can wear whatever they want and look however they want' - even if that's like a girl. To me, that makes a mockery of the entire gender theory she claims is true... none of it makes any sense.

MrsDeVere Mon 07-Dec-15 13:29:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

Just because it's only just come out and she was never 'tomboyish' (do you have to be?!) doesn't mean it's just some fad to fit in!

One of my best friends at secondary school was stunning. Gorgeous long blonde hair that she often wore wavey, looked a bit like a doll tbh, wore loads of make up, liked to show her figure off. Enjoyed spending hours getting ready just to go in town, enjoyed girly shopping,had the biggest make up haul you could imagine!!! She also liked boys.

She is now a he. All those years of her doing her hair, make up and clothes was her/him trying her best to feel female and fit in.

stairbears Mon 07-Dec-15 13:30:21

If you are hurting your DSD in favour of avoiding explanations and explorations with young and old family members, then YABVVU.

greatbigwho Mon 07-Dec-15 13:30:51

I think it's probably more harmful for your younger children to witness you overruling your elder child's wishes because you don't agree with them. Your child has asked for your support in something huge and you're belittling them because you don't feel they're doing about it in the way you feel they should. Your reasons for insisting on ignoring their preferred pronouns and name is that it'll upset other people. Are you not concerned about upsetting your child?

Maybe they'll be ready for counselling at a later date. In the mean time, maybe you should seek some counselling to work through your issues and problems with someone else's life choices.

Scootering Mon 07-Dec-15 13:31:36

I have tried avoiding pronouns and names - but she says we must get the younger children using her 'correct' name and pronoun too.

Seriously, how do I explain it to them? Like some sort of weird game of dress-up?

LemonySmithit Mon 07-Dec-15 13:33:34

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

TimeToMuskUp Mon 07-Dec-15 13:34:00

I don't think you can use the younger DCs as a reason not to support her; you can easily say to them "DSD wants to spend a bit of time working out who he is, and he'd like us to call her David, can we try our best to be kind to him while he goes through this?" because, frankly, children are far more chilled-out about this sort of thing than adults can be, and I see no reason that this should damage them unless it creates a divide within your family. And if it does, it'll be bloody hard to recover from in the years that follow.

murmuration Mon 07-Dec-15 13:34:09

Regarding the relationship with your daughter, going along with it is the best thing. If s/he really is feeling like a man and will stay that way, it is supporting him versus disbelieving him. If it is just a phase, fighting it will still only lead to resentment and sure not her eventually thinking, 'oh, they were right all along, silly me'; supporting it will leave her believing she can trust you with her life.

Regarding the siblings, as said above, just say, "This is what he wants right now." Regarding elderly relatives - same thing. And their reactions are not your problem, it's theirs. You don't want to teach her/him or your younger children that they should not be who they want to be for fear of how other people will react.

greatbigwho Mon 07-Dec-15 13:34:25

No. Do not treat this potentially life changing thing your child is going through as a huge game, a big joke.

m.kidshealth.org/parent/positive/talk/transgender.html

TimeToMuskUp Mon 07-Dec-15 13:34:26

*him David, sorry

StrawberryTeaLeaf Mon 07-Dec-15 13:34:27

I'd probably just avoid using pronouns or names tbh.

How do you do that? confused

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