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Transgender pupil

(49 Posts)
mummybear701 Fri 13-Jan-17 17:55:02

Not been posting much but could do with some advice here. I've found through DD a pupil in her class (1st year at secondary) has come out as transgender, a boy now a girl. Personally I have no issues with this and why should I? Actually I admire someone for having the courage to come out at a young age. Perhaps unsurprisingly DD and others are not so sure how to understand this and not sure how to help. What it means in practical terms is they have officially changed name, wear the girls uniform/long hair etc., mostly female friends and interests (as before transition). I'm told they do use the girls toilets which unsurprisingly some are not happy with, but do change separate for PE.

EvilTwins Fri 13-Jan-17 17:56:47

So what advice are you after?

I am a teacher. We have a transgender student in year 8 and one in year 12.

Amandahugandkisses Fri 13-Jan-17 17:56:50

Why do you feel you have to help?

KimmySchmidtsFakeXmasSmile Fri 13-Jan-17 18:04:38

DD I guess just needs to understand that this pupil wants to be called X and treated with the same level of respect/kindness as any other pupil of her acquaintance. In terms of how to help, if she wanted to ask said pupil to join her and her friends' activities/groups or when they have to choose partners/get into groups in class: that would be lovely but if the pupil already has friends might not even be necessary.
Certainly if she has no interests in common, she shouldn't feel pressured into helping/extending hand of friendship but if she sees a situation like with a new student, that noone wants to pair up for a classroom activity she could step up to the plate if she wanted to.
Otherwise treat as usual. Up to you whether you have the debate regarding gender stereotyping/transactivist issues with her or not. Depends on her current viewpoints at 11.

mummybear701 Tue 17-Jan-17 23:49:26

Thanks for the answers. AHAK, I 'feel I have to help' DD understand this as its not an issue kids are familiar with, or purposely concealed from them until they realise there are peers affected by it. At first she came home and asked why the 'boy' is coming in as a girl. She and other pupils are slowly realising its just how they are and the school are being supportive from what I can tell. I agree about the correct name and pronouns and gently remind her of this, the girl is very sensitive to hearing her old name or being misgendered. Stereotyping is not something I am discussing that much though I suppose it has opened their eyes somewhat, though the girl probably stood out more before transitioning talking about girly things, not fitting in with the boys but not accepted by girls. Over time I hope DD and everyone will accept them as any other girl as thats what they are. Tbh I'm in 2 minds about the toilet issue myself as some girls made a fuss about this, and nothing against the girl herself. Interesting how other schools handle this. It was suggested she use the disabled toilet.

AndNowItsSeven Tue 17-Jan-17 23:56:25

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

mummybear701 Wed 18-Jan-17 00:04:48

"She" is like any other girl. Even MNetters struggle with pronouns in these circumstances. But DD would agree on the toilet issue and I posted this to see if anyone else had experienced this.

HolisticAssassin Wed 18-Jan-17 00:26:11

My DD has a girl in her class who has declared herself to be transgender (transman) and bisexual. The parents have basically said: you can be known by another name, by all means get your hair cut short, choose your clothes you want to wear...but at 14 you are too young to think of taking hormones or buying breast binders. You can look at that again when you are 18.
Which given the trend for gender fluidity and labels, along with the health implications for testosterone, added to puberty being a confusing time and the potential for said girl to be simply coming to terms with being attracted to girls...the parents and school are being supportive BUT not steering child onto a path with physical repercussions.
My DD did not turn a hair or need to do anything. She shared a room with this child and three others on recent trip (child did not ask to go in a different dorm and the girls are his friends). She is calling her friend by his preferred name. Does not care that her friend is attracted to girls as well as boys. Short hair/masculine clothes as far as DD goes is fine whatever you identify as. I have not asked about toilets: will ask DD tomorrow whether her friend still uses the girls or not and what they do for P.E.
My DD is well read though, is au fait with trans due to vlogs, Ruby Rose etc so I had nothing to explain other than asking her to think critically about gender presentation and that was just a conversation because I was curious to hear her views.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Wed 18-Jan-17 12:48:23

I think the current affirmative approach will eventually be debunked because it seems that encouraging social transition in turn encourages medication and, eventually, surgery. As 80% of kids with gender issues will come to terms with their body and their sex a far more hands off approach would seem wise.

I also feel strongly that a boy who presents as a girl should not be allowed to use the girls' loos, etc. It's not fair on the girls.

CancellyMcChequeface Wed 18-Jan-17 21:38:13

They are not like any other girl, though. They deserve to be treated with kindness and respect, and to go by whatever name and wear whichever clothes they please, but that doesn't make them a girl.

If they're uncomfortable using the boys' toilets, a third space should be provided for them (disabled-access toilet is a good solution) They do not have the right to use the girls' just because they suffer from dysphoria. It does not make them female, and as Prawn said, it isn't fair to the girls who are uncomfortable with it.

Tbh I'm in 2 minds about the toilet issue myself as some girls made a fuss about this

'Made a fuss' is quite dismissive phrasing. It might not have been your intent! But it's equally valid to say that the dysphoric child is 'making a fuss' about not using the boys' toilet - neither statement is very considerate of the feelings of the young people involved.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 08:12:15

Why is there a problem with the toilets? Girls use cubicles, so what's the problem?

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 09:11:15

Would you have wanted boys in the girls loos during puberty, Traalaa? Menstrual disasters and the rest?

And I agree with Cancelly that OP's use of the phrase "some girls made a fuss" is dismissive. Girls have a right to privacy. Either there is sex segregation or there is not.

Foureyesarebetterthantwo Thu 19-Jan-17 09:18:03

I would hope my girls would treat this girl (who identifies and lives as a girl) with as much compassion as possible and just accept them for who they are, as I would do a colleague who transitioned. I don't think they need to do anything beyond that. I don't think the world is collapsing in if the toilets are used by one girl in these circumstances, and I would encourage them to see this as a compassionate intervention, but I would also consider it to be a mental health issue for the student, and my girls already know you can't change sex at the biological (DNA) level. I don't think it would be a huge issue for them at all.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 10:23:56

Sorry Prawn, but I still don't get it. Even if you have a menstrual disaster you sort it in a cubicle with the door shut. This girl needs a bit of compassion and understanding. It sounds to me like the school are doing just that by letting her use the toilets.

If you have a problem with them changing with the girls for PE, etc I get that. I'd bet all of that's tricky for her anyway as she'll still have a male body, but the toilets seem fair enough to me.

mummybear701 Thu 19-Jan-17 11:09:57

I am not trying to be dismissive at all. I would agree with Traalaa (and I've already said they change separately for PE as thats communal changing rooms), but I'm hearing they have now been asked to use the disabled or other single toilets due to discomfort from other girls including DD. Feel bad for her but my first duty is to my own DD. I think its important to be sensitive to everyone including the transgender child, and the school are doing their best to accommodate.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 11:51:36

Why does your DD feel uncomfortable with the girl using the toilets, mummy? What are the girls who object using to back up their claims. I agree totally that the school need to be sensitive to all of the children, but it does sound a bit as thought the girls have ganged up on her. Even if not to her face, behind her back.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 12:43:20

I am surely not the only young girl who has stood at the sink trying to rinse blood out of clothing? Or speaking to a friend about what best to do? Girls are often very self-conscious about their periods at first, and not used to dealing with them.

But actually, although I feel these things matter, TraaLaa, to my mind the most important is that girls have a right to boundaries, and this right should not need defending. I'm very taken aback by your comment "What are the girls who object using to back up their claims?" Why on earth should the girls need to back up an objection against losing their single sex facilities? Surely those who wish to remove their rights should be the ones who need to justify this move?

It seems very wrong to teach girls that their rights matter, that they are equal, and then to demonstrate that - actually - that what males want is more important that what females want.

glenthebattleostrich Thu 19-Jan-17 12:51:08

The school are taking a very sensible approach. There is an 80% chance that this is 'a phase'( for want of a better term) and the child will detransition. If not then they have been treated sensibly.

For what to teach your daughter, gender is a social construct and it's ok to present yourself to the world in whatever way you like.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 13:35:33

But Prawn, the trans gender girl has rights too. She sees herself as a girl and the school are accepting that and trying to support her. I know it's tricky, but I still think she should be allowed to use the girl's toilets. I don't remember too many incidents of menstrual blood at school, mostly kids want to be as discrete as possible and I'm guessing the trans girl will be hyper sensitive to such things. As to talking about sex, relationships and all other things that girls talk about, well surely she'll want to talk about such things too.

'What are the girls who object using to back up their claims?' is an honest question. So much depends on what they're saying to explain, as that will show how much they accept this young fellow pupil. She has a right to be happy in her own skin just like all of the other girls.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 13:54:14

Do you support abandoning single sex facilities - changing rooms, loos, etc - altogether, TraaLaa - or is it just for a special class of different? What you call a transgirl I would call a gender non-conforming boy. Gender is all about stereotypes, it's not about biology and loos are about biology. The transgirl does have rights - the right to use the boys facilities. The idea that girls should have to justify refusing access to boys is so regressive. We appear to be losing women's rights at a terrifying pace.

Given that - as Glenthebattleostrich says - 80% of children with gender issues revert to their original gender you're making assumptions about this child which are almost certainly not true. I find it striking that you talk about the trans child having a "right to be happy in her own skin" when the one certain statement you can make about transpeople is that happy in their own skin isn't happening.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 15:40:18

Prawn I think we'll have to agree to differ. smile

I've already said that I can see using the girl's changing rooms for PE would be different. fwiw, I think a girl transitioning to a boy using the male toilets would be different and I would be against that. Boys have urinals, so it's all far more public. I still honestly don't see what the problem is with girls toilets though. They're not getting body parts out in public!

What you say about the transgirl having rights, is both true and not true. You clearly see her as a boy, I'm happy to respect how she sees herself, so see her as a girl, but transitioning. If you think like I do, it's cruel and unreasonable to make that girl use the boy's toilets. Think of her for just a moment as a girl - how awful for her to have to use the boy's toilets? Just how mortifying is that for a young woman? And whether it's transitory or not, that is how she perceives herself at the moment. Think how driven she must be to take on the school and tell them. She's changed her name, dresses as a girl. That's a massive deal for anyone, let alone a school aged child.

I'd say tolerance and acceptance of others is paramount here and so I stick to what I first said. She shouldn't be ostracised from the girl's toilets. They should be listened to of course, but be encouraged to accept all other students for who they are. It should be no big deal for the other girls, but it is a huge thing for the trans girl.

Traalaa Thu 19-Jan-17 15:42:20

btw Prawn, I can't quite see how you think this is about women losing rights. That's not what this is about at all. It's about whether it's reasonable or not for someone who lives as a girl to be treated as such.

glenthebattleostrich Thu 19-Jan-17 17:49:46

It is though Traalaa. Girls are loosing the right to their own space.

The trans child is not being made to use the boys toilets, they have been given a viable option which is a fair compromise for everyone.

Perhaps instead of teaching girls to accept this nonsense perhaps we should be teaching all children that gender is bullshit and you can wear and like what you please.

Prawnofthepatriarchy Thu 19-Jan-17 18:23:12

I cannot understand why the distress felt by girls being told that they have to share their loo with a boy is less important than the distress of that one child, TraaLaa. Unless, of course, boys are more important than girls...

There is also the angle that it's becoming clear that encouraging social transition isn't harmless. It typically leads to puberty blockers and once a child is on blockers, the next steps becomes inevitable. There's a cascade effect. We have heard some scary stuff from ex-Mermaids members on the Feminist Chat boards, describing parents coaching each other to obtain desired medication for teenagers.

If you haven't already watched it, Newsnight's documentary last week on Transgender Children gives a lot of food for thought. It's available on iPlayer - There's a heartbreaking section about a young woman who, having been told that if she didn't transition she would probably end up killing herself, now finds herself not a man, but a lesbian, in her early 20s with a double mastectomy, a beard and a broken voice. All permanent. Some of what is going on is very, very wrong - hugely irresponsible.

There is also the angle that transactivists are very keen to sell a "born this way" mantra to distract from the heavily sexualised motivation of a lot of adult men who transition.

irvineoneohone Thu 19-Jan-17 19:02:13

This "girl" is mentally girl, so I would have no problem sharing same restrooms with her. How can anyone send the person who identify as a girl to boys room?
I once shared flat with transgender girl, and she was a real girl inside, with young man's body.

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