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DD and the trans thing. She's really sucked in and not able to see an alternative view

(260 Posts)
FarmerJiles Thu 19-Jan-17 13:47:12

So, DD 14 is increasingly being exposed to the trans thing. She knows several kids in her peer group who believe themselves to be trans - both MtT and FtT, and are very vocal about it. Her school has definitely embraced the affirmation approach, and several boys wear skirts to school, and lots of names have been changed on registers.

I fully support these young people to express themselves how they want to, and to make whatever changes they need to feel at ease with themselves. However, I am very worried about this as a trend/fashion.

There is so much talk about gender, sexuality, and to express any views that might suggest a vaguely feminist take on it are immediately jumped on as bigoted. I fear that these kids are reinforcing each other and possibly going down paths they may regret because it is very hard to back off when you have been expressing such strong views so vigorously.

I have talked to DD about this, but in a rather ham-fisted way i think. I'd really, really like someone to point me in the direction of resources that DD and I can look at that take it back to basics, and show the issues the trans thing raise, so it can gently open her mind. I want DD to start to see this in a calm objective way, rather than me trying to criticise her (dear) friends.

I know about Magdelen Berns, but DD refuses to watch her (she is transphobic apparently according to her friends). So where to look/read/watch?

Thank goodness for this board, btw, but I don't think it would be a suitable staring point for DD at the moment!

MrsDustyBusty Thu 19-Jan-17 13:52:30

Do you feel like you're daughter is ready to engage with you right now?

FarmerJiles Thu 19-Jan-17 14:01:45

Hmm, good question, thank you. DD is smart, and usually happy to look for alternative viewpoints. The fact that she is not willing to do so on this is concerning me.

So, I don't know if she is ready, but I am worried that if I don't raise it now, she won't be doing herself or her friends any favours in the longterm. I'm not expecting her to get evangelical, just be open to alternative views, and be supportive in that context if appropriate.

I have a slight concern that she is feeling slightly this way inclined, although she has not said so. She has previously spoken of not being sure of her sexuality. When we talked about it, my view was that she is young, and your sexuality can change through your lifespan, so no need to worry about it. From what I have seen, this uncertainly about sexuality can morph into the trans thing. This isn't my major concern btw, just at the back of my mind.

Foldedtshirt Thu 19-Jan-17 14:05:37

I'd encourage her to keep her head down. You can let her know your opinions, but I wouldn't encourage a yp to go head to head with the trans lobby tbh sad
Are you worried she's going to suppress her own feelings and decide she's ftm rather than lesbian?

IndominusRex Thu 19-Jan-17 14:06:11

Sounds like you're doing the right thing by gathering as much information as you can. This may sound stupid but lots of casual drip feeding of videos/pics of eg Bowie, Prince, Beckham, anyone who was in a band in the 80s in skirts/make up, and similar vice versa eg Tilda Swindon, Ruby Rose, Nicola Adams to show that you don't have to fit into the boxes? I really hope she opens her eyes to it.

madwomanacrosstheroad Thu 19-Jan-17 14:13:11

I think it is totally normal behaviour. At 14 you are not sure about anything. Give her the space to figure it out. My daughter went through a phase were everyone wore their various confusion like a badge of honour but it seems to now ease off a bit. Gender has become so stereotyped from infancy on that it is not so bad to question it a bit more.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 19-Jan-17 14:13:27

No advice, but I had an interesting discussion about this issue with my very switched on 11yo the other day. We watched the BBC programme together, which gave various different perspectives.

We had a discussion about trans women using female toilets and other women only spaces. I explained that I absolutely support the right of trans men and women ( and boys/girls) to express their gender identity in whatever way they choose, but said that I was a bit uncomfortable about trans women who had not had surgery having unrestricted access to spaces that were intended for women only. DD was a bit shocked by this, and suggested that it was quite a trans phobic point of view. As we spoke further, it emerged that she had presumed that pre-surgery trans women were biologically different from men, and she was a bit taken aback to learn that that wasn't the case.

I know that there have been some tragic cases where trans people have been desperately unhappy, and of course I want those individuals to live in a way that feels right to them. However, I'm wary of the idea that someone can just say that they feel like a woman and automatically expect to be regarded as one. There are good reasons why some women might want access to female only spaces, and the rights of one group need to be managed carefully in order to ensure that they do not impinge on the rights of other groups.

I guess I was surprised to see how completely accepting and unquestioning dd was about trans issues. But then again, I am delighted when I see that she is equally accepting and unquestioning about homosexuality, and that leads me to wonder if it's me that's out of sync with regard to trans issues. And whether I need to review my own feelings about this issue.

Don't know TBH, but I do think the younger generation are much more open-minded about this issue. I'm honestly not sure if that's a good thing or not.

drivinmecrazy Thu 19-Jan-17 14:17:16

I found DD1 so bombastic at 13/14. Any alternative views were met by accusations of me being so out of touch, transphobic, homophobic, in fact any words ending in 'phobic ' actually.
She's now matured (slightly) at 16 as she has seen some friends skip from being militant lesbiand to rampant heterosexual beings, and her first boyfriend in yr8 being gay, declaring that DD had changed him, switch back to being gay when she dumped him (poor guy, I still feel guilty that my child caused him such confusion ) to now having a girlfriend to whom he has just declared that he thinks he's still 90% gay!
In many ways I think it's fantastic our children are growing up in a far more enlightened world than we did but along with that comes confusion .
We have always encouraged DDs to be accepting of themselves and others, they have grown up loving and being loved by several same sex couples. But my mind boggles when DD tells me there are now umpteen categories of self identification and sexuality. Growing up all I knew was gay, straight or bisexual. And I grew up in a very enlightened household

tartansnowman Thu 19-Jan-17 14:26:45

Does she have any friends, or know any peers who are lesbians?

0phelia Thu 19-Jan-17 14:28:51

There's nothing wrong with a boy wearing a skirt to school etc, actually it's laudable to break down gendered expectations.
The problem is conflating that with sex. Thinking you can only do certain things if you categorize yourself as being of one sex not the other because of the way you prefer to perform.

I agree with PP more of a drip-drip non dogmatic aproach would be advisable. Information around the harm of taking artificial hormones for the rest of your life and having surgery just because you feel you can't express yourself otherwise is important.

I saw a youtube vid of a transwoman who agreed while though they wore makeup and dresses etc they knew that did not make them a woman. Search "gender critical trans woman" on youtube...

Does your daughter understand the difference between sex and gender?
If so, leave her to it. She probably won't buy into the sex-change hyperbole, and just go with the fashion trend.

FarmerJiles Thu 19-Jan-17 16:48:36

Just quick replies as getting tea for younger DS before he heads out.

DD has peers who believe they are curretly lesbians, plus FtT friends who also fancy girls. In her peer group it seems to be mix and match and swopsies all the time!

I like the idea of drip drip images and conversations. She defintely gets the idea that boys and girls don't have to conform to gender stereotypes and that is great, but it is the unquestioning acceptance that her girl friends are now male, because they feel like a boy, and vice versa, that is worrying me. And being supportive of petitions to allow biological males into the female changing rooms and vice versa. Those are the oints when I want her to be starting to think more critically.

Thanks for the input so far. I will be back. This is such a thorny issue!

ApplePaltrow21 Thu 19-Jan-17 17:14:04

You can't attack this head on: you have to be somewhat strategic.

I would start really hammering home that things like rape, the wage gap, child marriage and the global feminization of poverty are still unresolved yet the 4th wave feminist movement is obsessed with identity and individualism. Can you direct her attention to other issues? Talk about poverty and disability? Global poverty? Environmentalism? Social exclusion? Hell, talk about Trump and Brexit and the National Front. She can't "win" that argument with you because under the rules of intersectional feminism, dismissing those issues makes her a racist. The main goal here is to widen her perspective so she is more like to pick an identity with "meaning" that isn't related to "gender issues".

Also, point out that isn't it weird that things that involve fun stuff like dressing up, picking names and choosing clothes is more popular than activism, boycotts and rejecting consumption? When I was her age, I was raising money for charities and volunteering with anti-racism organizations. Whereas she's being taught that being "progressive" means going shopping with her trans friends and picking out lipsticks. So force her to see that it's meaningless by putting it in perspective. Stop criticizing the trans movement as not gender critical and criticize it as a self indulgent movement that doesn't care about real feminist issues. Talk to her about what it was like to be a woman before rights and how this generation isn't doing a damn thing to keep them or get any more.

It sounds counter productive but it'll (1) knock off some of the reflexive black and white pronouncements she's making and (2) make her think more critically about the movement itself.

The whole point of the trans movement is to shut down critique by name calling as "transphobic". If you go on the attack over the failings of the movement that liberals can't deny, she'll start to see it as flawed. And then later, you can introduce the gender critical viewpoint as one of many failings of the trans movement.

Also: why is the school so liberal?

SomeDyke Thu 19-Jan-17 17:43:38

"As we spoke further, it emerged that she had presumed that pre-surgery trans women were biologically different from men,..."
I was rather gobsmacked by this, then realised that this is exactly the effect that current trans rhetoric has been trying to create. That trans is like a hidden intersex condition, a woman trapped in a mans body etc etc. The brain scan posts just go to further this misconception.

Trans is trendy and edgy, boring ole lesbians ain't, seems to be the message. And even butch dykes are seen as just closeted transmen....................(when I was at school, just seeing a butch dyke other than the one in 'The Killing of Sister George' would have been a revelation. And frankly, butch dykes are still are rare as hens teeth in popular culture.)

TammySwansonxx Thu 19-Jan-17 18:44:01

If you think she's open to discussion, I'd ask her what she thinks of sharing a shower at the gym with beardy Alex, where she thinks Davina Ayrton should serve their sentence for rape of an underage girl and how self identification laws allowed Christopher/Jessica Hanbrook access to 2 women's shelters where he sexually assaulted 3 women and 1 teenage girl.

Brokenbiscuit Thu 19-Jan-17 18:50:00

I was rather gobsmacked by this, then realised that this is exactly the effect that current trans rhetoric has been trying to create. That trans is like a hidden intersex condition, a woman trapped in a mans body etc etc. The brain scan posts just go to further this misconception.

Yes, exactly Some. DD had presumed that, because trans people often talk about having a "female brain" trapped inside a male body, female brains must therefore be biologically different from male brains. And while I understood her logic, it worries me on all sorts of levels that she was making that assumption! After women have fought for equality for so long, it cannot be right that we now go back to the view that female brains and male brains are inherently different.

Having clarified that particular misunderstanding, I think dd is now thinking a bit more critically about some of the issues, but it's easy to see how the rhetoric can take hold.

I remain very uneasy about this whole area. I don't want individuals to suffer because of their gender identity, but there are much wider issues at stake here that we can't afford to neglect.

FrameyMcFrame Fri 20-Jan-17 19:40:50

I'd agree with not encouraging her to stick her head above the parapet.
The bullying, both online and irl is horrendous.

My DD is 15 and has just started to switch on to the ideas of being gender critical. She's read up herself after reading something I had left open on the computer. She's now getting quite angry about it and i'm terrified that she will be bullied or targeted if she expresses her opinions. sad

Prawnofthepatriarchy Fri 20-Jan-17 21:19:28

Most people of any age seem to hold beliefs about the trans issue that are entirely wrong. If you look at comments under articles on the subject in sites all over the media spectrum, it seems that most people think that people really can be "born in the wrong body", that transwomen are exclusively sexually attracted to men and that "being transgender" implies that you have had, or are about to have, hormone treatments plus surgery. None are true.

Perhaps you could discuss what people think as opposed to what you both can establish, by Googling, fex.

Shallishanti Fri 20-Jan-17 21:24:54

it never occurred to me people really believed there was a biological basis for transgender - but I suppose they could! especially if you didn't have too firm a grip on biology, which actually is quite a few people.

AskBasil Fri 20-Jan-17 22:11:46

Show her Muscato's site.

That usually brings most sensible people instantly to peak trans.

Also, ask her what a woman is. What makes Danielle a woman? How is that defined?

Sometimes, basic questions are all it takes.

I'm glad I don't live in a middle class world. My DD is gobby about this issue and the idea that she'd get bullied for it is fanciful. No-one outside the middle class bubble, believes any of this shit. Seriously.

AskBasil Fri 20-Jan-17 22:13:00

But I agree, she shouldn't mention it on the internet. It's a different world.

Datun Fri 20-Jan-17 22:47:02

ApplePaltrow21 has a good idea.

I agree with getting her to think about the rights of women, and how long they have been fought for. Once she realises that these rights are fairly newly won, she might feel a bit indignant about gender stereotyping. She might then ask her transgirl friends what they think of these rights. If they are 'really' female they will be as much up in arms as she is. If they are dismissive, it might give her pause to think. EG that rape within marriage wasn't considered a crime until 1991 - and it took 15 years of campaigning to reach that point)

(The other one that shocked me was a pub landlord could refuse to serve alcohol to a woman based on her sex until 1982!)

shinynewusername Fri 20-Jan-17 23:49:40

There is a woman on Twitter called RemakingAdam whose DD identified as trans for 18 months but has now realised that she is not. Might be worth following her for advice.

MiddleGround Wed 15-Feb-17 19:13:18

If you use Twitter please do check out @LilyLilyMaynard but prepare to be shocked as she unapologetically tackles the issues head on and provides graphic imagery of what happens for example when young FtM use binders

buckingfrolicks Wed 15-Feb-17 19:21:34

I have nothing useful to add other than sympathy and fellow feeling. My DD almost divorced me over this issue, aged 16. It became The Subject we could not talk about, at all, because it had always ended in tears before.

I have no idea what her views are these days as I dare not dip my toe in the water, but I suspect via her FB posts, that she's less prone to shouting TERF at every feminist she meets, than she was.

It's a horrendous thing, that a young woman, brought up to think about gender politics, who identifies herself as a feminist, gets sucked into this morass of nonsense. Fucking hell - we can't even raise daughters to be feminists without having to fight the whole Transgender politics shite, these days.

Good luck with it, you have my heartfelt sympathy

JaxingJump Wed 15-Feb-17 19:29:02

I think you should let them figure out their own opinions. By all means give your own opinion but some of you are discussing ways to 'strategically' make them see the light. Are you really so unprepared to consider that THEIR alternative view to yours may have merit? May actually be perfectly decent ways to think?

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