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Transgender child "bullied by adults, not children"

(33 Posts)
hester Wed 14-Sep-11 18:23:23

Anyone else see this?

Portofino Wed 14-Sep-11 18:29:25

Well it sounds very difficult for all concerned. I have no clue on this condition to say whether the parents were handling appropriately or not, but my instinct says not - there must be a better way.

ImpyCelyn Wed 14-Sep-11 18:31:50

Horrible people. How can they do that to a child, and what a terrible example to set for their children sad

It's nice to hear the children have accepted her though.

PonceyMcPonce Wed 14-Sep-11 18:32:02

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ImpyCelyn Wed 14-Sep-11 18:32:27

I mean the adults that are bullying her, not her parents ^

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 18:36:06

It's a really hard one, Portofino, with no consensus on 'a better way'. It seems so risky and extreme to reassign the gender of a child, which is why doctors used to wait until they were adult and could give truly informed consent. But forcing these children to undergo adolescence has really catastrophic effects, too, with lots of mental health problems, suicides, self-harming... So now many doctors are saying that if gender reassignment is looking necessary, it should be sooner rather than later.

I truly don't know what I'd do if it was my child. But my blood runs cold at how evil you have to be to call a child like this a freak.

ImpyCelyn Wed 14-Sep-11 18:43:11

From what I've heard on the subject (came up when I was a student a couple of years ago) her parents are doing it pretty much as well as they can. There is no other way. We were told it's better to accept it as soon as possible and allow them to live as the other gender.

Forcing these children to keep and act like the gender they're born with leads to terrible MH problems. Like hester said, they tend to self-harm and commit suicide.

Such a difficult situation to be in.

Hulababy Wed 14-Sep-11 18:44:43

Regardless of what is happening with the child the parents doing the name calling and bullying are totally in the wrong and should be thoroughly ashamed of themselves and their behaviour. What a dreadful example to set to their children! Grown adults should not be bullying children, full stop.

maypole1 Wed 14-Sep-11 19:25:04

But I do still think you can dress female like with out drawing to much attention

For example you could were a summer dress with the bows and frilly socks or you could were black girls trousers and a white shirt

This boy has a mother so I am just nit sure why she didn't go a more stutel route with the dress style

Portofino Wed 14-Sep-11 20:17:24

This is a big argument in my mind as to why pre-pubescent children don't NEED to dress that differently. Pre-puberty there is no real difference between them. I guess I am a little shocked that a 10 yo can decide he wants to be a girl. It is totally different from an adult male feeling the same.

ImpyCelyn Wed 14-Sep-11 20:48:31

But these children don't just decide they want to be the opposite gender. They know that they are the opposite gender. They don't say "I'd rather be a girl because I like the clothes", they say "I am a girl, in everything except my body".

When they have been left to grow up as the gender they're born with they still want to change as adults, but it's much harder to do it once they've been through puberty. Hence the early intervention nowadays.

WhollyGhost Wed 14-Sep-11 21:47:30

how can a 10 yo child know what it really means to be a woman or a man? What can being a girl mean to them besides the difference in fashion styles?

I don't doubt the child concerned is being very brave, and there is no excuse whatsoever for any bullying, especially from adults, but it sounds like she is being made into a poster child, and that doesn't sit right with me.

From the link above:

"Her mum said that she had known that her daughter was was different since the age of two-and-a-half.

She said: “She would rather play with a doll than a car.

“She is a girlie girl. She wants all the latest fashions. There is nothing about her which is male.

“It wasn’t a problem until she got to primary school at the age of seven-and-a-half.

"Then she would have to lie about what she got for Christmas and say a football or an Action Man when in fact she got a pair of sparkly shoes and a Barbie.

"Everything she was having to do was a lie.” "

What is it about little boys that makes them male, besides the obvious physiological differences? Their liking for Ben10 or toy cars or prams are socially conditioned.

My own two and a half year old is currently telling everyone that she is a boy, and only wanting to wear boyish clothes. It never entered my head that it might mean she is "different". If it turns out she is, so be it, but AFAIK she is just playing out the differences in gender roles.

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 21:51:15

Everything in my upbringing, education and personal politics leads me to agree with you, WG. But then I am struck by how very, very strongly transgender people talk about 'knowing' they are in the 'wrong' body from a very young age. I don't get it, I don't want to believe it, but it does seem that the approach of just kind of humouring them until they get old enough to decide for themselves goes catastrophically wrong for some of these children, who urgently crave affirmation in the gender they believe they are.

I don't know, I just don't know. I think gender is so fundamental to our sense of self that it's really hard to imagine how this could work. We tend to either think it's impossible, or think it shouldn't be important. But you can only do that by ignoring the voices of those who have lived it...

Tortington Wed 14-Sep-11 21:55:41

i reckon you have a fair idea at 10 thats its more than sparkley shoes

i think the choice not to have medical intervention until after puberty is the right one.

i know children who have changed their very northern accents to v. southern ones in a matter of a couple of weeks to fit in with their classmates, kids and adults can be cruel, this child is very brave

WhollyGhost Wed 14-Sep-11 22:00:39

hester - that is a great post. I would be worried about children who are so concerned about their gender, so desperate to change it, that they might have been influenced by media representations of what it means to be male or female.

"She has been our daughter from the age of two-and-a-half really,"

creeps me out - but that is probably because I have a small girl of that age who is pretending to be a boy, and I know she has no concept of what it all means. Not even the physiological bit.

onagar Wed 14-Sep-11 22:10:05

"She would rather play with a doll than a car."

Well that proves it then.

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 22:10:06

Yes I agree. And I'm remembering now that when I was 19 I joined a young lesbians group, and one day we were talking about gender identity as children and EVERY GIRL THERE (except me) said that she had wanted to be a boy when she was little. Now, you could say that those girls were all little back in the 60s and 70s, when 'being a boy' was the only culturally visible option if you happened to fancy girls. And maybe I didn't feel like that because I came from a very liberal family and was given a positive view of homosexuality from a young age. That argument would fit with my feminist politics, and indeed for a very long time I stuck to the orthodoxy of not 'believing in' transgender, thinking it was a symptom of a patriarchal world that doesn't allow individuals to step out of gender roles, forcing some to change gender in order to express their individuality.

BUT - and I'm arguing against myself here - there's something deeply problematic in believing that you know better than a whole community of people about their lived experience, that they are all labouring under false consciousness and that you have nothing to learn from their understanding of their own lives. And there is no doubt that transgender people describe adolescence as a time of absolute purgatory.

So. That's a lot of words to admit that I don't know.

fivegomadindorset Wed 14-Sep-11 22:15:21

My daughter wants to be a boy.

She wants a willy.

My heart breaks every time I buy clothes for her as she refuses to wear girl clothes.

She has been this way since she was 2.

She is now 5.5.

I accept that it is far to early for her to decide what she wants to be, but living this is hard.

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 22:19:31

Is it hard for her as well, fivegomad? Have you got any kind of professional help, and what do they advise? Is she doing ok at school?

Sorry to fire questions at you - I will understand if you don't want to answer them.


motherinferior Wed 14-Sep-11 22:21:30

I feel (a) conflicted (b) not in a position to argue with transwomen friends that they are Wrong and/or Not Women.

<hester, will email you!>

WhollyGhost Wed 14-Sep-11 22:24:58

hindsight is 20:20 though

The people who have chosen to become transgender are probably not reperesentative of the children who want to play at being the opposite sex. I'd expect the second group to be much larger than the first, and the ones who did not go on to live a transgender life probably don't remember their childhood interest in sparkly shoes and dolls.

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 22:38:30

Hi MI, I've missed you!

fivegomadindorset Wed 14-Sep-11 22:39:05

No it isn't as we don't make it hard, we don't protect he but very honest with people as to what is going on as most people say she is more than a tomboy. All our friends have been fantastic and the parenst who have asked have been great. We have been to see someone and on his reccomendation have asked for the ed psych to be involved at school. This is to help with any bullying issues should this occur and if her desire to be a boy continues to help with the transition between primary and secondary.

hester Wed 14-Sep-11 22:40:12

Yes, WG, and I don't know enough but how the doctors assess transgender children, and how they make a distinction between 'real' TG and children playing with the concept of gender/desiring whatever attributes they are assigning to the opposite gender.

fivegomadindorset Wed 14-Sep-11 22:47:41

Rhe child psychologist who we went to see said that 5 was way to early to diagnose whether DD transgender issues, but in teens they all said that they felt this way since 2/3.

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