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Why am I finding this so hard?

(33 Posts)
AEJS Sat 16-Jun-18 18:50:36

Two weeks ago my 14 year old DD came out as trans. I know she would prefer me to refer to her as he and as my DS but I’m just not ready for that quite yet. Please don’t judge me.

After much discussion we have agreed, DH,DD and I that she may dress as a boy, she already has short hair. We have a GP appointment next week to talk about counselling and getting her referred to the Tavistock centre. My DH feels it’s too soon for name changes etc and we are both worried about confusing our 12 year old DS.

Today I helped her choose some new, more masculine clothes including boys trousers for school. I was fine while helping and then when I stopped to think about what I had just done my heart broke all over again. I am a very tolerant person and not at all anti trans but this is my little girl we are talking about. I am terrified about what the future holds for her.

I have told her that I love her and I will be behind her supporting her 100% and I mean it. I’m just so sad.

yes17 Sun 17-Jun-18 02:48:20

Hi, I'm not a mum, I'm am LGBTQ+ teen and I hope that I can help in someway.

Please, please, please call your child by the correct pronouns, do not deliberately call your ds dd. If they say that their pronouns are 'he/him' not 'she/her' you must refer to them using those pronouns. If you accidentally use the wrong pronouns it's forgivable, as long as you learn from your mistakes and correct yourself as soon as possible.

If you believe that it's too soon for name changes, i suggest making a gender neutral nickname. Try not to use ones like 'darling' or 'sweet-heart' etc as these sort of ones have inherently female connotations which can make someone feel uncomfortable and I assume that it's in your best interests to make your ds as comfortable as possible. Also, if they do start to mention about changing their name, you could always try and get them to lean towards unisex names like 'Sam' or 'Alex' etc, this might make it easier for you to adjust.

You might not feel quite comfortable with this yet, but you absolutely cannot show that to your child, unfortunately, you've got to do that by yourself, or with someone else who feels the same as yo, but it's a definite no to letting your child know how you really feel, because coming from experience, it can lead to bad bad things (self-harm, increased suicidal thoughts, increased likelihood of an eating disorder, the list goes on...)

Don't get me wrong, I'd probably be a little shocked if my child told me they were transgender and I understand that it would take some getting used to, you've watched them grow up and you've thought about what their future might look like, and suddenly you're hit by something you didn't expect... If I were in your position, I'd talk to them about it, and although it might not be what they want, I'd wait a little longer for them to think about their transition. I'm glad that my parents did anyway, I used to tell them that I wanted to be a boy (from about 5-10/11yrs) but now that I'm just a little older, I've realized that i'm just gay.

Let them wear the clothes that makes them feel comfortable, it will make it easier for them.
You don't have to tell your 12yr old that their sibling is transgender, but explain the concept of it to them, explain some other LGBTQ+ stuff to them too, it'll be beneficial to them an hopefully more people that they'll meet in the future (if you'd like any knowledge on the lgbtq+ community i'd be happy to help!)

piebarm Sun 17-Jun-18 08:48:46

Message deleted by MNHQ as the poster had privacy concerns.

PinkfluffySlippers63 Tue 19-Jun-18 20:15:36

OP thanks v much for posting. I'm at the same stage with my 14 year old DD now DS. Yes17 I found your comments really helpful - thanks for sharing.

ar44455 Thu 20-Sep-18 22:55:38

@AEJS my opinion is very unpopular but I completely disagree with transgender teens I think it's suppose to make you popular now a days! She is still currently a girl so you can call her her/she. The world has gone made with all this transgender stuff. Tell her to wait until she's 18 before she makes any decisions and if she feels the same then then you will fully support her

IDoLoveToBeBesideTheSeaside Thu 20-Sep-18 23:04:47

On what planet is 'darling' related to sex/gender? I have three sons and one male husband. I call them all darling!

lackingimagination Thu 20-Sep-18 23:09:56

The world has gone nuts. yes17 you really think it’s reasonable that a mother who has carried her child and raised them for 14 years is to stop calling them by their correct pronoun within 2 weeks so as not to cause them distress??? Really?? Perhaps it’s your youth not allowing you to realise how utterly ridiculous that is.

PlaidPjamas Thu 20-Sep-18 23:11:31

Maybe just go along with it, the clothes, name, hair. But I wouldn't be pushing counselling and a GP referral for what could be a confusion or a trend led choice.

Counselling if your child is feeling distress possibly though. But I'd be choosing a family counsellor not a trans specific agenda one.

cricketmum84 Thu 20-Sep-18 23:14:14

@lackingimagination how fucking insulting. @yes17 has been through this and experienced it and I am absolutely incensed at your reaction.

When you have children you love them and accept them. Regardless. Full stop. If my DS at age 14 told me he was trans and asked me to use a female pronoun I would do that without even thinking about it. This is what you do when you HAVE CHILDREN AND LOVE THEM.

jeez.

SlowlyShrinking Thu 20-Sep-18 23:14:53

I’ve always called my male partners ‘darling’ and now I call my son darling too. Imo it’s completely bizarre to suggest that darling is only for girls or women. How sad too sad
I don’t know if you’re still checking the thread op, but I just wanted to suggest reading this by a mother whose daughter identified as trans, but then desisted. They kept a respectful dialogue going and eventually she was able to become comfortable in her female body. It also gives the young woman’s POV smile
4thwavenow.com/2016/12/17/a-mums-voyage-through-transtopia-helps-her-daughter-desist/

SlowlyShrinking Thu 20-Sep-18 23:18:35

If my DS at age 14 told me he was trans and asked me to use a female pronoun I would do that without even thinking about

Don’t you think your job as a parent would be to think about it, at least a bit. Perhaps you could even speak to your ds and try and find out what was going on in his life to make him feel like he didn’t belong in his own body? I think a parent owes their child that, at least.

DaniC18 Thu 20-Sep-18 23:19:12

It's totally normal for you to feel upset as you are loosing a DD but gaining a wonderful DS. It sounds as though you are being very supportive and are taking steps to safeguard your DC's wellbeing. At 16 they are certainly capable of knowing what gender they are and as difficult as this will be for them having supportive parents will mean soo much and help your DS to be happy with themself. Take time to process and let go of your DD while allowing your DC to discover who they are and how they want to move forward. You are doing a great job so far! Good luck to you and your DS x

LibraryLurker Thu 20-Sep-18 23:24:14

Going to the GP is a good step. It will prove to your child that you are taking the matter seriously. It is natural to find this hard. One step at a time. Re name, go with idea of a unisex nickname such a Nick, or Sam or Alex or Chris or Jamie or Jordan. Good luck to you all.

Babdoc Thu 20-Sep-18 23:26:09

People are far too quick to accept the child’s opinion that they are trans.
In the majority of cases they will either turn out to be simply gay, or just distressed by puberty and the ghastly stereotypes and gender roles forced on them by living in a patriarchy.
What girl wouldn’t want to try and “identify” out of the pornified, demeaning, inferior, underpaid, undervalued, frilly and silly sexist role that society imposes on females?
What most girls need is radical feminism, not mutilating surgery, male hormones, and sterilisation.

SlowlyShrinking Thu 20-Sep-18 23:35:05

There’s also a strong correlation with identifying as trans and having been sexually abused, so instant unthinking acceptance is not the best way to go. Communicate with your child and ask questions. Let her wear what she wants but don’t allow her to rush into blockers and hormones.

yes17 Thu 20-Sep-18 23:39:59

yes i absolutely think it's reasonable. Whatever they say their correct pronoun is... their correct pronoun(s) are those pronouns!!

you decided to become pregnant (i know this is not true in all cases, but in this case, i'm assuming that you made the consensual choice to become pregnant) and with that you should love your child unconditionally. Unconditionally would include calling them by their correct pronoun and I'll repeat this: their correct pronoun(s) are the ones that they tell you, not the ones that they were assigned at birth.

My youth (and experience of being in the LGBT+ community) allows me to understand how distressing and harmful this can be.

I'm just going to say this bluntly because I don't have a lot of time to type all this out, if we were in vocal conversation itd be much easier...

Just go with the flow, if they say their pronouns are he/him she/her they/them or literally anything else just doooooooooo itttttttttt it'd just be so much easier for the both of you how hard can it be???? I understand you're older than me, considering i'm 16... but truly.. how can it possibly be that hard i don't understand. Loving your child unconditionally comes with this as a possibility and it's just occurred in this family and it might not with other families, but they'll have to deal with other variations of this.

Go watch www.youtube.com/user/AmandasChronicles there's a whole bunch of stuff on there.

campion Thu 20-Sep-18 23:42:48

You also need to add increased likelihood of asd - often undiagnosed - to your list Babdoc
There's pretty general agreement that it's often a significant factor, and adolescence/ puberty is an especially difficult time for anyone on the autistic spectrum.

Op really don't rush into believing your DD is now DS; you won't be doing her any favours.

yes17 Thu 20-Sep-18 23:43:37

yes i absolutely think it's reasonable @lackingimagination . Whatever they say their correct pronoun is... their correct pronoun(s) are those pronouns!!

you decided to become pregnant (i know this is not true in all cases, but in this case, i'm assuming that you made the consensual choice to become pregnant) and with that you should love your child unconditionally. Unconditionally would include calling them by their correct pronoun and I'll repeat this: their correct pronoun(s) are the ones that they tell you, not the ones that they were assigned at birth.

My youth (and experience of being in the LGBT+ community) allows me to understand how distressing and harmful this can be.

I'm just going to say this bluntly because I don't have a lot of time to type all this out, if we were in vocal conversation itd be much easier...

Just go with the flow, if they say their pronouns are he/him she/her they/them or literally anything else just doooooooooo itttttttttt it'd just be so much easier for the both of you how hard can it be???? I understand you're older than me, considering i'm 16... but truly.. how can it possibly be that hard i don't understand. Loving your child unconditionally comes with this as a possibility and it's just occurred in this family and it might not with other families, but they'll have to deal with other variations of this.

Go watch www.youtube.com/user/AmandasChronicles there's a whole bunch of stuff on there.

SlowlyShrinking Thu 20-Sep-18 23:45:56

Loving your child unconditionally doesn’t mean you just accept anything they tell you at 15. You’re A LOT younger than me, but when you get a bit more life experience, you’ll realise how much the average person changes between 16 and 30. It’d be a bit shit if someone was left with irreversible changes to their body (T causes permanent facial hair and permanent lower voice, even if you stop taking it). There’s no reason to rush in here at all, and social transition paves the way for medical transition, which is being sold as no big deal, but is actually a MASSIVE deal.

SuburbanRhonda Thu 20-Sep-18 23:53:24

I'll repeat this: their correct pronoun(s) are the ones that they tell you, not the ones that they were assigned at birth.

Babies are not assigned pronouns at birth. They’re not assigned anything. Their biological sex is noted and recorded by a HCP.

I can understand someone not knowing this if they haven’t had children but once they're told what happens when a baby is born, it should easy enough to remember.

ArcheryAnnie Fri 21-Sep-18 11:11:20

The Op has long gone, I imagine, but PinkfluffySlippers63, I do feel for you and your child, too. I was a gender nonconforming child many, many years ago (I am now middle-aged) and bizarrely in some ways it was a lot easier then. You got a ton of shit if anyone thought you were, or might be, a lesbian, but at least nobody said you weren't actually a girl.

I'm a big advocate of letting your child wear whatever they like - clothes aren't "boys clothes" or "girls clothes", they are just clothes. I lived in my brother's hand-me-downs!

Ignore the poster upthread who is trying to police eeryone's language. There's a million women here on mumsnet who call their sons "darling", "sweetheart", etc - mine was "sugarplum" until we decided on an actual name for him, and for years afterwards, too. You'd have to be very young and very ignorant indeed to think these are solely gendered endearments.

There's so much social pressure on girls at the moment, and in many ways I don't blame anyone's DD one bit for subscribing to the fantasy that you can escape girlhood - I'm only more surprised more girls don't do it. But it is, ultimately a lie - you can't change sex, girls will always be female. They can be as gender-nonconforming as they likes - and this is a good thing - but they can't change sex, whatever the current orthodoxy is.

But most teenagers who declare they are trans won't be ready to hear any of that at the moment. There's a lot of very harmful narratives around at the moment, so please everyone do be very, very wary of organisations like Mermaids, who are supposed to support families with gender nonconforming kids in them, but in reality push the incredibly dangerous "transition or die" narrative, and are actively homophobic - which would be the worst thing possible for children and teens who later turn out to be gay or bisexual, which is what most gender nonconforming children turn out to be. Also be wary of anything like chest binders, etc - they restrict breathing and can horribly deform growing ribcages.

You all might find the organisation transgender trend helpful - www.transgendertrend.com/

Good luck to any parent going through this.

Starkstaring Sat 22-Sep-18 10:23:32

https://inspiredteentherapy.com/gender-sexuality/

You can support your child and love them unconditionally without agreeing with a self diagnosis of gender dysphoria.

It is incredibly hard to be a parent in this situation. Some teenagers will go on to transition and it will hopefully work out well. For others it will be a mistake. In both cases there may be unknown long term effects of serious medical interventions so "just using the right pronouns" is not a neutral act.

Namechangeforthiscancershit Sat 22-Sep-18 10:28:23

Unconditional love and support is not the same as just instantly accepting that your DD is now male and must be referred to as such. Of course you need to ask questions and get advice from professionals. And you are not at all unreasonable to struggle with this.

How is everything for her generally? Have there been any problems leading up to this?

Starkstaring Sat 22-Sep-18 13:14:49

Also it is possible to avoid using pronouns altogether - takes a bit of mental gymnastics and practice but a way of keeping yourself sane.

yawning801 Sat 22-Sep-18 13:20:14

At the end of the day, as long as the child is happy, what else matters?

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