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Mum of Trans child on Affirmation, Celebration & Lying - wider risks?(16 Posts)
I am the mother of a teenage trans identifying child. Whilst well meaning, this obsession with publicly affirming Trans people makes it harder for gender questioning young people (or adults) to ever change their minds. Of course trans people should be treated with kindness (I wouldn't want my child discriminated against) but the culture of celebrating 'bravery' cements young people on a path towards medicalisation. What Daniel Radcliffe, Emma Watson etc need to understand is that, even if they have trans friends (how cool they are), stating that “Trans Women Are Women” steps beyond kindness and fuels a very dangerous collective lie. Dangerous because Transgenderism is actually a very complex issue and experimenting with different gender expression is something which some young people need to do (for all their own reasons) - without being strapped to the juggernaut... by well meaning people who have no IDEA of the complexities involved for some young people (many of whom have underlying vulnerabilities, eg. autism). MY CHILD's life is being insidiously affected by these naive idiots who just want to feel warm and fuzzy but have not considered the wider effect of their words. Interestingly many desisters/detranstioners say that they are angry that they were led to believe that they could actually 'be' the other sex. By all means let's promote kindness and understanding (and in some cases that will involve some degree of affirmation), but not outright lying. Why not lie, to be kind? Because, quite apart from the v real issue of women's spaces & women's rights (including women's rights to not be erased) there is ALSO the very real issue of what lying does (long term) for young trans people.
Thank you for your thoughtful and thought provoking post, OP.
for you and your child, Feline. I hope you both find your way through this issue in a way that brings you peace and a fulfilling life.
You are absolutely right - instant affirmation and celebration denies people the space they need to explore issues thoroughly and carefully.
What a genuinely enlightening post, thank you for sharing your experience and perspective as the parent of a trans identifying child.
I hadn't even thought of this angle previously
Thank you Feline. Trying times.
Thank you Feline. Trying times.
I wish you all the best in supporting your child.
I'm so tired of gender.
I do not believe everyone has a gender identity. I think pushing the belief that everyone does is harmful.
Years ago, I became somewhat confused because I was friends with a few people who were changing or questioning their gender. I asked myself why I didn't feel like a woman, I didn't feel like anything.
This period of my life made me very unhappy, until I came to the realisation that I dont have a gender. I have a body, and society has treated me and continues to treat me in a certain way because of it, and I have a personality, which is why I like what I like. There's no gender to be found.
I know other people have genders, because they feel very strongly about it, and I try my best to be respectful. But I do think we're missing a step because kids these days are taught a lot about gender but they aren't taught that they don't actually need to feel one way or another inside.
I work with young people, and am coming across small, but increasing numbers of young people choosing to transition. I respect their decisions and treat them with kindness and helpfulness in negotiating difficult, but necessary admin. I have to admit to feeling no celebratory feelings towards any braveness on their part. I find myself feeling sad that we seem to be putting ourselves back into boxes my generation has tried to break out of.
Thank you for your post. I have a very young grandchild who has spent two years asserting that he is a girl, and we have supported this, whilst telling her that if she ever changes her mind, it will be no problem. I have lived long enough to remember what homophobia was like, and what it was like for transvestites and transexuals. I have personally known two people who transitioned, and experienced the utter joy of one of them, and the hell of the other, who found that transitioning had been a big mistake. I met a transvestite who went deep into the countryside to cross dress, and sit in his car so nobody would see him, and even grew a beard so that people wouldn't guess. I met a gay man who had lost his "flat mate" of thirty years and who had to continue to work and deal with his grief alone, because he couldn't risk having anyone find out that his flat mate had actually been the love of his life.
It's because of all these people that I'm glad that the tide has turned and that people are more accepting of people who are different in any way, but I totally understand your point of view, and I hope that your child and my grandchild never feel that they can't revert to their original gender, if that is what they need to do.
My niece is transitioning, and has been taking hormones for a year. She can't wait for major surgery to remove her breasts. I worry for her and the other lovely young people like her.
Thank you for such a very important post OP. And best wishes to you and your child, who is lucky to have such an intelligent and careful mother.
@Mumoblue I think you are absolutely right that we don't have to feel particularly male or female
@81Byerley Yes thank goodness for the fact that people are more accepting today, the stories of the people you knew are very sad. I hope your grandchild find the right path for him/her
Thank you for your replies. It is very difficult to get the balance right between being compassionate towards those that are going through this, whilst at the same time ensuring that there is a way back for those for who might want to come back from it. I am just concerned that kneejerk affirmation (which is what is being pushed in schools, workplace 'training' etc) can sometimes cause inadvertent harm to those very people it seeks to protect. The only narrative being promoted these days is "I always knew I was born in the wrong body " and then everything was fixed by transitioning. It is a cosy narrative for virtue signallers to hang their hat on, but it is astonishingly simplistic & not applicable to all. How do we encourage people to realise that promoting equality, acceptance & kindness is good, but that 'celebrating' and lying is a step too far? How do we sensitively allow (encourage?) trans people to explore their personal journey - and even get off that juggernaut if they so wish? As a parent I would ideally wish for my child to love and accept themselves as they are. If that cannot be, then I wish for the best & happiest life in their chosen gender (and obviously I will love my child either way). But I am concerned that the current narrative & affirmation model narrows options for these vulnerable young people.
Thank you for writing this, this is one of my main concerns with Mermaids and the whole trans lobby, which seems to be turning something which used to be quite an unusual medical diagnosis into something mainstream and trendy.
I can remember being a teenager and how black and white issues seemed, and how hard it was to admit I’d made a mistake. I can think of at least two of my classmates that I’m certain would have come out as trans if they’d been born 20 years later because they had quite complex home lives with neglect and parents on drugs who were desperate to be different and special.
I look back now and cringe at the way I was then and they only thing I’ve got to be ashamed of was some dodgy fashion choices and drinking too much alcopops in the local park.
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