transgender teen, also autistic?(17 Posts)
Hi. My son (who used to be my daughter) is 15. He always presents himself as male, is wanting to change his name and title to Mr at 16 and wants to start hormones soon, but I'm worried incase he regrets it. I know hormones will make him feel better about himself but I'm scared incase he can't deal with the changes, the testosterone changes are irreversible. I can't stop him from starting hormones at 16? But I don't know how to tell him to think about it either? Help?
Your enthusiasm for question marks is slightly confusing
Are you saying your son is diagnosed as having autism? Or are you wondering whether he might have autism?
It must feel as thought everything is moving very fast at the moment. I can understand why you feel worried
How far off is his 16th birthday?
He is diagnosed his birthday is in August. Still quite a while away.
So you have six months.
My knowledge of transgender teens is second hand, but I do know a lot about AS teens first hand . I wonder if you could get a one-on-one with his consultant and get some reassurance that his autism will be fully considered and discussed before setting timescales? Let him/her know how concerned you are and make sure typical teen-autism issues are really weighed up as part of the process.
He can't just start hormones as soon as he's 16, he would need in depth assessment from specialist and to fully understand all potential effects both physical and psychological
Thanks to PP for the interesting statistic, I've not heard that before
Caspar, once testosterone is started it is irreversible, in that the ovarian function will be affected, some more than others which is why the run up to having T therapy is much longer than for M>F as if the feminine hormones (oestrogen) are stopped the natural testosterone levels are quite quickly restored. Full fertilty is not guaranteed though.
(this is based on advice from Nottingham gender clinc)
I am sure there will be extensive psychological testing and discussion, but it might be worth flagging up to his consultant if it isn't already as they have to have an adult with them I believe if under 16.
There is a common misconception that in the UK hormones and life altering surgical procedures are handed out to anyone with dysphoria, but that is not the case. Many hoops have to be jumped through to assure the specialists that there is no underlying history of anything else Mental Health wise that needs addressing.
The key is getting your boy lots of counselling, encouraging discussion about all the possibilities, from staying physically a girl but presenting as a boy, dressing as one, right up to full hormones initially & then surgery at a (much much) later date. Also including a complete about turn later if he decides that's what he wants.
Some young teens are so confused about their feelings and the media is full of absolutely every possible life choice at the moment it's mind boggling. However keep up the lines of communication and loving support (even if you don't understand or agree with it!) is the key.
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daily mail claims birthing transgender children is a sign of autism.
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Tavistock take autism into matter when looking at cases. One of my DD's friends' parent has another child who has ASD and is currently going through Tavistock. They have been affected and Tavistock have taken the ASD of said case way out of proportion.
Run that one past us again, a bit more slowly? What do you mean by ‘taken into account out of proportion’?
Autism has pretty profound effects and should certainly be taken into account when taking a family history.
From what I have been told the therapist up there said that because her child has ASD that it means they do not understand gender at all. That is what we call taking it out of proportion
And are you an expert in autism? How are you qualified to decide they're taking it out of proportion?
For what it's worth I don't think its possible to take autism out of proportion. It affects the way a person communicates, understands the world around them and how they perceive themselves. It's really common for autistic girls to want to be a boy, and yes, for most it's a phase. Its usually connected to struggling dealing with puberty and all the changes it entails. You can't underestimate how isolated autism can make a person feel, and its easy for an autistic child to jump on trans as an answer to all their problems and why they feel different to everyone else.
Besides you can't separate autism from the person who has it, it has to be a part of the picture in any mental health related assessment
Jan - that's very well put. I'd add that an austistic young person, like any other, who undergoes medical transition is at risk of becoming sterile and other unknown long term "side effects" - are we really advocating that as a solution to an identity difficulty? Surely we should not be seeing autistic people as defective, as people who need to be fixed?
Surely we should not be seeing autistic people as defective, as people who need to be fixed?
Unfortunately this is the exact message that autistic people get from society pretty much their whole life. Everything is geared around making autistic people adapt and fit to the NT world, even when it's to their detriment. For example time and time again I read about parents (and schools) that are determined to stop autistic people from engaging in non-harmful repetitive behaviours (stimming) because it makes them "look autistic." That's the worst thing in the world apparently. But none of them ever stop to think about what purpose the behaviour they want to stop has. Because all they care about is making autistic people look as normal as possible. And they don't care about the cost.
As for the point about sterilisation - that's got to be one of the most disturbing aspects of the whole trans thing. Sterilising children is bad enough, but when it's autistic children, it just reeks of eugenics. I mean what are you supposed to make of a movement that so readily advocates preventing disabled people from being able to have children?
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