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My 15 year old son says he is transgender- I don't believe him.

(128 Posts)
starfishsunrise Fri 29-Dec-17 10:46:43

Hi

Name changed here.

A few months ago my son (15) was in an intense relationship with his first girlfriend. One day I got an accidental email from an account with a girls first name but the girlfriends surname. I assumed it was a relative of the girlfriend but no...my son used the opportunity to tell me it was his other identity and he wanted to be a girl.
We chatted for a bit and I told him I loved him but hoped it was a phase. He didn’t want to tell anyone else. The only ‘sign’ was he started to grow his hair. Everything carried on as normal. He never wanted to chat about it, didn’t want a GP appointment etc.
The girlfriend has since broken up with him. I was hopeful he could move on
Yesterday he left a letter for us all to read to say he wants to be a girl. My husband and older son have read it. We are ok about it. One of the phrases he used was he was jealous of female bodies.

But here is my issue. I just don’t think he is transgender. In the gap between him telling only me and telling everyone in the family I have read a lot. Nothing I have read about anyone else’s experiences seem remotely similar. He has no mental health issues, ( reading shows me depression or autism etc can feature in gender issues). Seems happy enough but quite private, lots of time on his computer.
My son has never shown any interest in anything traditionally female. He’s not a butch boy by any means, hates sport but then my husband is not a traditional character. No football or beer here! We could be seen as hippies by some. My son likes more traditional male things - machines, computers
( I totally know all things are for both sexes, I’m making generalisations for speed)
He still stands up to pee! I had found some girls underwear in his drawer. I assumed it was the girlfriends.
He also goes to an all boys school. He is in Year 11. His friends are boys and they play video games, watch films, eat pizza. The 6th form is mixed and non uniform. Changing schools not an option as the other girls school does not offer the engineering subjects he is determined to take.
There is a bit of phase in the girls school of transgender. He is friends with a few.

So that’s my brief outline. I wish I had been able to go ‘ oh, it all makes sense now’
I love him, I don’t mind if he’s gay or straight ( he said he still likes girls) I want him to be happy. But how could he hide all these feelings? Wouldn’t we all have had some sort of clue?

Cards on table : I don’t want him to change gender. Be gay, be straight, wear flamboyant clothes but don’t mess with your hormones or chop your body up.

BeyondAssignation Fri 29-Dec-17 10:50:47

I have no experience myself, but friends of mine in similar positions have found 4thwavenow.com a helpful site

flowers

SoapAndGloryAddict Fri 29-Dec-17 10:53:51

Please be supportive.

If it is a phase then she will grow out of it and will look back on it with the knowledge you were there for her.

If it isn't, being unsupportive could have such a negative effect on her life.

It takes a long time with therapy before any hormone treatment might come about and the fight for surgery takes even longer so don't worry about that for now.

And trans people hide it very well, often over compensating so don't feel bad for not 'spotting it'. It's often so well hidden.

Good luck x

Gerbil17 Fri 29-Dec-17 10:57:15

It could just be an avenue he is exploring through thoughts alone.
It sounds like he is finally accepting there is a difference and has opened up about it which hws brought on the excitement to explore his options iykwim.

I would just support him best you can while he figures out what is best for him.
Just because he doesnt fit what you have read, does not mean he isnt.

You want him to be happy. If that means he has to change gender then so be it.
Only i wouldnt jump to that just yet, as i say, opening up about it is all new to him so his thoughts are probably running wild with a new sense of freedom.

I hope your ds finds happiness and peace from whatever he decides and you sound like you are a great support for him

user187656748 Fri 29-Dec-17 10:59:50

Soap I'm concerned that you've switched immediately to referring to the OP's DS as 'she" when he himself has only just started to explore these feelings.

QueenOfTheFlatPack Fri 29-Dec-17 11:02:12

Sounds like you have a great relationship, well done! I have no experience of this but my son is also Y11. It seems to me that with all the modern 'openess' and freedom has come a feeling with teens that it is totally ok to experiment and change how they feel, in public, on an almost daily basis. And of course it is ok! In my son's small (mixed) year group are one out and proud gay boy, one girl and one boy who think they're bi, two girls who might be lesbians and about three children who are confused about their sexuality and gender. And thats just his friendship group smile They all seem perfectly comfy talking about it with each other and a few parents know about their kids' feelings. I think the main thing is that no one is making a big deal of it. Its a relaxed school that wouldnt be outraged by boys wearing skirts or makeup or girls playing football. They take things on a case-by-case basis and care for the individual needs. This, to my untrained eye, seems to work. Keep talking and being relaxed about your DS's feelings and fingers crossed he will reach a conclusion that causes him the least pain. He's a lucky kid having you thanks

SoapAndGloryAddict Fri 29-Dec-17 11:03:13

Why would it concern you? I know how hard it is to have people use the wrong pronouns. (No, I'm not trans myself) so if Ops child said 'I want to be female' I will address them as so out of respect.

If the decision comes about that it's no longer the causenits so easy to revert back. So why not just be supportive from the get go.

ineedamoreadultieradult Fri 29-Dec-17 11:08:13

In this kind of a situation I would probably just say something like "that's fine as long as you are happy we are happy' then carry on as normal. Don't swap pronouns unless asked to by your son, don't arrange doctors appointments until asked to etc. You might find he never actually takes it to that level and is just experimenting and trying to find his place in the world. Online is a relatively safe way of doing this (if all the usual internet safety rules are followed) he can have a female persona online and see how that feels etc as long as he doesn't hurt other people in the process by starting online romances etc.

TheRottweiler Fri 29-Dec-17 11:08:26

Tis just a fashionable phase that the little darlings are going through. A fad. It won't last.

Friends talking about it, SM full of it, the tele whispering about it in the back ground.

Just another 'let's jump on the bandwagon' .

Antheanna Fri 29-Dec-17 11:13:43

I would struggle to believe it too OP. I would also be thinking that surely there would have been signs before now.

I had to roll my eyes at the poster who is so right on they're already referring to your son as 'she'. Give the situation ten minutes...

starfishsunrise Fri 29-Dec-17 11:16:26

Thanks for the replies so far. It helped just to type it all out. No one to talk to in real life. I already feel some relief that you all listened.

He is very convinced himself but then he is quite single minded.
I suggested that when he gets to 6th form he just dresses more ‘interestingly’ ( business suits are required) and maybe wait until he goes to Uni to really go for it. But that means 2 and a half years of him not feeling happy.

Although, again, he is hiding any unhappiness very well. He’s grumpy but he’s a teenager.

I’m tempted to give him the Next directory and tell him to pick an outfitter see if he has the nerve to wear it in front of us. Call his bluff?
I can’t shake the feeling of not wanting it to be true.

user187656748 Fri 29-Dec-17 11:17:15

Because its like you're trying to immediately turn it into a self fulfilling prophecy soap. The OPs DS might have changed his mind next week.

DS1 told me and DH separately that he was jealous of girls and wanted to be like a girl and in particular wear girls clothes and have nice soft things like a girl when he was 9. He was fixated on it. We changed nothing whatsoever but told him he could have soft and silky things if he wanted them. Within a couple of months he was very firmly not jealous of girls anymore (but very pleased with his satin duvet cover). He is now 4 years on and if asked about whether he still has those feelings he scoffs and says 'no don't be ridiculous'. Still likes his duvet cover though.

If upon him telling us his feelings we had immediately started to call him 'she' and dress him in skirts out of 'respect' I suspect we might be in a very different place now.

titchy Fri 29-Dec-17 11:21:52

What Rottweiler said. It's the new Goth.

Don't give him the Next catalogue! I'd be going down the 'Are you darling. Lovely, lasagne for supper?'. Acknowledge, but disinterested.

juneau Fri 29-Dec-17 11:25:01

I would wait and see OP. If he's not pushing to talk to the GP or anything like that, I would say okay, but let's just see how things go. Lots of teens are confused about many things and all this trans stuff is just another shade of that. From what I've read many of them who express these kinds of feelings while going through puberty often grow to feel comfortable in their bodies once puberty is over. As he's presumably going through puberty now I would be kind, understanding, keep the lines of communication open, but don't do anything drastic and don't suggest any interventions.

Being a teen is about finding out who you are and experimenting with different stuff, whether it's clothes, drugs, sex, political views - or these days, gender. Let him experiment with the support of his family and hopefully all this will blow over in time.

juneau Fri 29-Dec-17 11:27:04

If upon him telling us his feelings we had immediately started to call him 'she' and dress him in skirts out of 'respect' I suspect we might be in a very different place now.

And yes this ^. I would not be making a drama. Just play it cool and FFS don't start referring to him as 'she', like the right-on twit above.

llangennith Fri 29-Dec-17 11:29:38

Queenoftheflatpack today 11.02
Excellent post.**

RestingGrinchFace Fri 29-Dec-17 11:30:55

Quite frankly if he isn't aiming to transition I don't see a problem. If he thinks he's a girl or is just a bit unsure and is exploring his gender it really doesn't matter.

What does matter is that he understands the consequences of transitioning. He's never going to have one of those women's bodies that he is so jealous of and, in his attempt to mimicking one, he may compromise his health and sacrifice his ability to have children. I think that what you really need to be doing here is giving guidance while you still have influence. If you suppress this until he goes to university it could cause more problems than it solves.

It is also certainly worth considering the role of peer pressure here. Is there any way you could remove him temporarily from his friendship circles to give him some time to think about this on his own and come to an understanding one way another without the weight of social pressures? Maybe a family gap year to darkest Peru where there is no internet connection? Or an exchange trip?

YetAnotherSpartacus Fri 29-Dec-17 11:56:15

This isn't going to be a popular comment but my guess is that the knickers are a masturbatory fantasy and dressing up as a girl arouses him.

MisDescamisados Fri 29-Dec-17 12:46:08

Soap dear , as - no doubt said by others by now - “being supportive “ , even with pronouns , is little more than enabling . The kid might well change their mind (as it’s “in the mind “ that , psych wise , gender exists) , but - having been thus enabled - He a great deal more to regret .
Anyway , the kindest thing - since kind is what your keen to be seen as - is not actually supporting a delusion , but rather the gentle but firm adherence to reality, inclsuding pronouns ?

StealthPolarBear Fri 29-Dec-17 12:49:38

The world is mad and posts like soap's are a huge part of the problem

Iamagreyhoundhearmeroar Fri 29-Dec-17 12:56:28

Do you have an agenda, soap? I too find your post a little disturbing...

AirandMungBeans Fri 29-Dec-17 13:01:16

I cant help but feel that this is particularly dangerous fad for our young people. I suspect that the vast majority of those teens who state that they are trans or fluid are not in reality. Teens are at such an impressionable age and not able to fully grasp the gravity and long term effects of such decisions. There is the potential for there to be a huge wave of extremely confused and unhappy adults in the future, more so than there ever would have been if this issue was the domain of those truely experiencing gender dismorphia. This is the danger with removing the need for medical guidance and counselling before these decision become "official".

SleepFreeZone Fri 29-Dec-17 13:02:24

Agreed. Soap's response is part of the problem thats going to have a negative impact on all of us very bloody soon.

If I were in your position OP I would just go along with him/her and see where you end up. I really don't believe anyone makes the decision to remove their genitalia lightly so if it's a fad or a phase i suspect it will go so far and no further.

I would be hugely happy to start calling Steven Sheila, but I'd try my best I think.

SleepFreeZone Fri 29-Dec-17 13:02:53

*wouldnt

joystir59 Fri 29-Dec-17 13:09:54

Encourage him to express however he wants to, as soft as he likes in terms of how he dresses but tell him he cannot become a girl, it simply isn't possible. I badly wanted to be a boy when I was an adolesCent, and grew up to be a very happy women. Perhaps he is gay, perhaps not, but he definitely isn't a girl.

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