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Struggling with DC's recent revelation

(32 Posts)
OKsoWhatNext Thu 04-Apr-19 16:36:53

I've namechanged in case this is outing. I was hoping for some support and handholding.

And as much as I know saying Daily Mail and other media outlets are not welcome to use this information probably won't have any effect, I'll say it anyway. This is really sensitive and I'm just on here for support.

Pronouns in this will change and vary - please bear with me, I'm trying really hard to get my head around it.

My DC (DD) last week gave me a letter telling me that she wants to become a boy, with a boy's name and male pronouns. She was shaking and crying. My approach was to thank them for telling me, say the'd been very brave and to be supportive. I also suggested they speak to their CAHMS therapist that they were seeing the next day.

Some background is that my DC is 12. They have had a difficult few months. Began self-harming by scratching at the beginning of year 8. Threatened to jump off a balcony at school and me and her dad (who I'm not with) had to take her to A&E, which is why she is getting CAHMS help.

On top of this, I think it is very likely that they may be on the autistic spectrum - My child came to me saying they thought they had a special need and asked if they could be assessed after I'd been privately wondering for years. My DC's father (who I am about 98% sure is also autistic himself) does not agree. However, school and I got the Ed Psych involved and they are due to see a paediatrician for assessment in a month.

DD's father is not an easy person. Given to ranting and pontificating. She always idolised him and spent years parroting his theories and believing everything he said. Recently I think the scales are falling from her eyes which is so tough for her. When she started self harming and talked to the safeguarding lead at her school, she told them that part of the self harm was to do with the fact that her father always tells her what to think.

I think it is highly unlikely that DD is a boy trapped in a girl's body. I am not anti trans - it's just that it seems to have come out of nowhere. I know people that have transitioned and it's made perfect sense, but in this case it really doesn't. I think the mental health problems, the possible ASD and other issues are feeding into a much more complex picture, I think this is something that DD is following in order to feel "right".

However, I also feel very strongly that a lot of the self harm and acting out is to do with a sense of not being heard or taken seriously. Though this is not how I see things - it is their truth at the moment and it's hugely important to them.

My DC has told key adults at school and friends. Both have been very supportive.

I'm using the new name at home and trying my best with the male pronouns - sometimes I use more gender neutral ones - including in emails to school. The plan is that I am taking them to a trans friendly hairdressers for a male haircut and they are going to change their name and pronouns at school after Easter.

DC's Dad is apparently supportive of the haircut and living as a boy thing but will not call them by the male name, will introduce them to people as his daughter and will only use female pronouns. DC is very upset about this.

Having seen so much anti trans stuff on here I'm really worried about seeking support. I don't want to go down an anti trans route. That's not how I see things. I also can't totally embrace the idea of my DD transitioning as I am sceptical based on information I know about my own child. I really don't know how best to have a sensible discussion.

I don't know whether I'm doing the right thing in supporting but also being honest that I find it difficult and I am open to the idea that this may just where they are right now - whilst doing the whole male name, haircut, male pronouns thing.

Has anyone else been here?

OKsoWhatNext Thu 04-Apr-19 22:30:54

Bumping

SonEtLumiere Thu 04-Apr-19 22:33:54

There will be amazing support for you, and your child here. You (all) will get safely through, and Mumsnetters will help and support how they can.

HermioneWeasley Thu 04-Apr-19 22:35:25

Sorry to hear this, it must be very hard. Transgender trend is a good resource for parents. I think the advice is to go with presentation re clothes and hair, name etc, but no medical pathways as 100% of kids who go that route go on to fully medically transition. This includes “breast binding” which causes a number of short term and sometimes permanent health problems

jackstini Thu 04-Apr-19 22:36:14

I have no real experience of this but didn't want to just read and run

It sounds like you are doing all the right things and probably still reeling from the news

Just be there for him, see how things go with the counselling and take every day at a time
thanks

sockatoe Thu 04-Apr-19 22:55:52

I have no advice but your love, support and open mind really shout out.
My instinct is that you know your child best, and if becoming a boy is a transient desire (perhaps dad would love/interact with a son better in her mind?), it's important that your child can change her mind. All the best, I hope she gets as much help as she needs to become happy in the short and long term. Also for you - im sure supporting and researching is pretty tough for you too

LonnyVonnyWilsonFrickett Thu 04-Apr-19 23:03:20

There is a huge amount of social contagion around unhappy young people, and often unhappy young autistic people, identifying as trans. I would look very carefully at what social media your child is using and continue to monitor that. Meantime, it sounds like you are doing everything right - I think the situation with your Ex will be extremely difficult for your DC to manage though. I don't have any real advice about that, except that it isn't your burden to pick up - you can only control what you can control, and that includes loving and supporting your child in the way you think is best, and giving them tools to work around their father's choices.

OKsoWhatNext Fri 05-Apr-19 08:42:52

Thank you so much. I really appreciate you all replying.

I think the thing that brought this into the open was that I saw DC had been watching something on breast binding on You Tube (I have been monitoring) and I asked them about it. Later that evening they brought down the letter they had written me about wanting to transition and confessed to trying breast binding earlier.

I have talked them through the possible medical implications of breast binding which shocked them and they have promised not to try this again.

I have also said that I don't support medical intervention at this time.

I must admit that I am nervous about the whole thing of everyone at school calling DD by the male name and using male pronouns and if this does prove to be transitory, how difficult it will be for them to admit this and return to female pronouns. That's not to mention any teasing etc, though my communication with school is good and I trust them to be hot on this.

Haircut today...

OKsoWhatNext Fri 05-Apr-19 08:48:52

And I know this is silly, but I feel gutted about them dropping their "daughter"ness - does that make sense? I love my daughter so much. I know I will also love them if they are my son - maybe nothing will change really, but I do feel as though there is something to grieve.

Xiaoxiong Fri 05-Apr-19 09:11:18

The love for your child absolutely shines through your posts thanks

From what I've read on here and elsewhere your child is going through textbook steps - onset of puberty, possible autism which manifests differently in girls, discomfort with their changing body which is well known to be exacerbated by autism, other issues going on in their life which is affecting their emotions and mental health on top of the usual rollercoaster of puberty. I think the advice usually given in these situations is absolutely to watch and wait, don't make a fuss about it, reassure them of your love and support, keep them busy with real-life activities, avoid social media like the plague especially YouTube and Tumblr, don't let them do anything that will affect their developing body like binders or blockers, don't medicalise this beyond accessing therapy and support for the other issues going on in their life. The evidence shows that the vast, vast majority of children who feel like this will have those feelings resolved by going through puberty without any interventions.

The videos of detransitioned women at the Pique Resilience Project and the resources at the Transgender Trend were very helpful for me to get my head around this - and there are a lot of parents over in Feminism Chat who have been through similar. thanks for you OP

NellieTheElephant1 Fri 05-Apr-19 09:43:54

Hi, I have been through a very similar situation with my daughter, even down to the unsupportive father, in her case it lasted 3 years and she now no longer identifies as trans. Happy to chat if you want to x

OKsoWhatNext Fri 05-Apr-19 09:48:39

Thank you so, so much. It's good to feel less alone on this.

SeeYouLaterUserData Fri 05-Apr-19 09:53:16

Hi OP I came on to recommend Transgender Trend. There's a lot of info you can read and download on their website...last year they were shortlisted for the Maddox Prize (an award for efforts to promote science-based discussion in difficult subject areas). They also produce a schools information pack which you might find helpful to use as a basis for discussion with the school. Good luck, try not to worry and you will find a lot of support here for you and your DD.

Etino Fri 05-Apr-19 09:59:30

flowers
I bumped into one of my dd's friends yesterday- I’d last seen her 6 years ago when she was still at school and identifying as a boy. She now looks lovely and relaxed, not groomed, not butch, happy in her skin and introduced herself with her childhood, not boys name.
It made my heart sing!

buzzbobbly Fri 05-Apr-19 10:19:33

First off, I second and third the recs for Transgender Trend. As well as curtailing use of the internet, Tumblr, FB etc.

I would also avoid like the plague any outfit like Mermaids or Allsorts who will push you and your child down the path of unquestioning affirmation and towards medicalisation, hormones, and worse.

Finally, I would also strongly recommend you take another look at what you call "anti trans" on MN. Every woman I have "met" discussing the current aggressive transgender ideology (a very specific thing) is passionately pro-children and women's health and safety, and are fighting tooth and nail to stop unnecessary medicalisation and drugs for vulnerable children like your daughter. They are also a mine of information on resources and help for both of you.

Skyzalimit Sun 07-Apr-19 21:20:01

OKsoWhatNext

In my opinion as someone who works in this field and knows a lot of trans, nonbinary and gay people of all ages, the advice regarding TransgenderTrend comes from people who are anti trans. I've closely read their schools guidance and shown it to lawyers and I think it is really bad- misinformed, badly written, old fashioned, and exclusionary. Read it by all means, but please check out genderedintelligence.co.uk/ and www.mermaidsuk.org.uk/ too. Go onto their forums and talk to a range of people before writing off any particular route.

I will probably get criticised for saying all this as for some reason MN- especially Feminist Chat- has become a strange corner of anti trans so-called feminism.

Most importantly, and whatever you decide to read and trust, please take care of yourself. When a child is going through this sort of thing their family also needs a lot of support. Make sure you ask CAMHS for this.

borninastorm Sun 07-Apr-19 21:26:53

You sound like a lovely, understanding mum.
Have a search for studies and research on autism and transgender. Apparently there appears to be a correlation between them.
It’s been suggested to me that being autistic can sometimes mean that because they feel so different and like they don’t fit in anywhere as themselves they begin to question their gender as perhaps the reason they don’t fit, or feel different, etc.
I’m not suggesting your child isn’t transgender, just that there could be a correlation with autism and it might help you if you read about it and the outcomes for many of the young people.
Your child is lucky to have such an understanding parent.

WeepingWillowWeepingWino Sun 07-Apr-19 21:27:14

You mean pro-women and children, Sky. Not anti-trans. No-one who is pro-children would even consider sending a child down a path of (at the very least) sterilisation and a lifetime of medication, or indeed telling them lies such as it’s possible to change sex.

And if you know lots of gay people you will also know that lots of gay people can be very gender non-conforming. Transitioning can be a homophobic response to that when pushed by adults.

Skyzalimit Sun 07-Apr-19 22:29:50

WeepingWillow

anyone who has been even an inch down this road will know that nothing happens for ages. Let this parent choose for herself without scaremongering.

SummerHouse Sun 07-Apr-19 22:36:34

Your DD is lucky to have you as a mum. There is no right thing to do here. Just keep following your instincts. They are spot on. flowers

stucknoue Sun 07-Apr-19 22:59:06

It's possible they are, but of the 4 young people I know who came out as trans, one has fully returned to being a girl (after 3 years ) and another is saying they are non binary but keeping she pronouns. 1 is fully transitioned hormones, had one surgery and is awaiting a date for the final one, the final one lives as a man but hasn't had surgery. All came out around 14/15.

Just let them know you support them and it's ok whether to continue on this path or return to their birth gender

3dogs2cats Sun 07-Apr-19 23:46:18

Transgender trend are lovely.loving parents doing the best for their children.. I am in a similar position to you. Have dealt with it slightly differently. I just do what feels honest and right to me.
I don’t use the pronouns. I also don’t let this just be about the child’s feelings. I don’t believe that how we feel as teenagers is how it ever will be. I wouldn’t let mine get a tattoo for that reason.
I remember saying to older son at 17 that one day he would tell me off for not making him work harder at school, and he said oh, I already think that.
Just read everything you can, read what she’s reading too, and make your own mind up.

slappinthebass Sun 07-Apr-19 23:56:28

She is too young and vulnerable to have open access to the internet even if you are monitoring after the fact. In my line of work I've worked with several children who have attempted suicide or self harmed and been very interested in transitioning. All of them were extremely influenced by tumblr, YouTube and other social media. It is an online contagion of anxious depressed teenagers creating an echo chamber. At 12, I'd only let her have access to YouTube in the same room as you.

buzzbobbly Mon 08-Apr-19 07:25:12

Let this parent choose for herself without scaremongering.

Says the poster who has tried to word a post based on the 'appeal to false authority' fallacy and then suggests OP restricts themselves to only those campaign and lobby organisations which promotes 100% unquestioning acceptance and affirmation ONLY, with hysterical and fake claims if any questions it.

Not for her transparent and factual resources, oh no....

WeepingWillowWeepingWino Mon 08-Apr-19 09:12:35

Today's Times, front pager and 3 further articles.

www.thetimes.co.uk/edition/news/calls-to-end-transgender-experiment-on-children-k792rfj7d
www.thetimes.co.uk/article/it-feels-like-conversion-therapy-for-gay-children-say-clinicians-pvsckdvq2
www.thetimes.co.uk/article/doubts-over-evidence-for-using-drugs-on-the-young-2vk26hrvx
www.thetimes.co.uk/article/families-exploited-by-gender-lobby-groups-pushing-for-treatment-5fddvml8r

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