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I'm a gender critical feminist with a 'trans' child.

(140 Posts)
Theoryofparenting Sun 24-Sep-17 14:33:03

Just a question I've been wondering. I have 15 year old twins, both of whom are biologically female. However, one of them 'presents as male' and has done for a couple of years.

He tells me that TransActivists are stupid. He doesn't believe that people are born in the wrong body. He knows you can't change your sex. He doesn't 'identify as transgender'.

As a young child he would tell me that he was a boy, that he would be upset if he became a woman. I assumed it was a developmental phase (I was similar as a child), however as soon as puberty hit at 11 he went downhill. Eating disorders, self harm, depression, anxiety. He would never tell us the root cause until he came to us at 13 and told us how he was feeling. He does not have 'gender dysphoria' - he has 'sex dysphoria'. His feelings are not caused by gender roles/expectations.

When people ask about it, he tells them that he isn't 'transgender' as he never had a gender, just a sex. He says he feels more comfortable presenting how he does and that he strongly dislikes his body, not societies expectations.

He has never been to a gender therapist. He isn't on blockers or hormones. Anything like that is being delayed, by his choice as well as mine.

I strongly agree with the gender critical feminist point of view (as does he). We've been through so much because of how my child feels. He gets annoyed when people associate him with TransActivists, because he is nothing like them and disagrees with everything they say/do.

I made this thread to show that not all parents of 'trans' children agree with the agenda. All I want is for my child to be comfortable and happy. If anyone has any questions then I am more than happy to answer them.

cromeyellow0 Sun 24-Sep-17 15:27:30

That's a very interesting perspective, good luck to you both.

In case you don't know, there's a fascinating BBC documentary on the artist Gluck, who flourished from the 1920s. Born to a wealthy family, s/he (?) always dressed as a man, insisted on male pronouns, and used the word 'husband' with respect to her many female lovers. There are several vivid self-portraits (shown in the Queer Art exhibition at Tate Britain).

I like this historical example as it comes well before the invention of transactivism. I've no idea what Gluck would think of current developments, but perhaps would share your son's views?

ParsnipLeekAndLemonSoup Sun 24-Sep-17 15:32:12

But your kid isn't trans then??

morningrunner Sun 24-Sep-17 16:14:37

Message withdrawn at poster's request.

ParsnipLeekAndLemonSoup Sun 24-Sep-17 16:45:06

Wtf what? The ops child has gender dysphoria. That doesn't make them trans.

They sound like they think the whole trans thing is bollocks.

theendisnotnigh Sun 24-Sep-17 16:51:23

Theory, all the best to you and your child. There are a number of trans parents on here who have generously shared their experiences and have really helped inform us about their journey and what helps as well as the the obstacles.

TheSmallClangerWhistlesAgain Sun 24-Sep-17 16:55:26

You sound very reasonable and sensible. Your child is lucky to have you.

Theoryofparenting Sun 24-Sep-17 16:57:07

By definition, my child would be labelled as 'transgender' however he doesn't want that label. He has SEX dysphoria. Not GENDER dysphoria. He presents to the world as male because that is how he is comfortable. He doesn't 'identify' as anything. And yes, we do think 'the whole trans thing' is a load of bollocks, especially nowadays with TransActivists and the like. My child doesn't want a label, especially one that is associated with saying that 'people are born in the wrong body' or 'it is possible to change sex'. He knows what is and isn't possible, he knows what is true and what isn't. Him preferring to present as he is comfortable doesn't mean he has to label himself something he doesn't want to, especially when he doesn't agree with the opinions of most of that community.

DamnDeDoubtanceIsSpartacus Sun 24-Sep-17 17:00:28

You sound like you are doing what any one of us gender critical feminists would do. Just take one day at a time and see how things develop in the future. They may grow out of it, they may not, only time will tell.

AdalindSchade Sun 24-Sep-17 17:06:16

I'm sure you're doing the best you can and your child sounds very switched on. By sex dysphoria do you mean she wants a male body? Because you say she presents as male but the only way to do that as a child is to wear boys clothes and have short hair. And that's gender, not sex.

Theoryofparenting Sun 24-Sep-17 17:09:40

Adalinde Yes, that's what I mean. They have dysphoria surrounding their physical body. They present as male because it will make other people see them as having a male body IYSWIM. They've always had short hair/worn 'boys' clothes, so their dysphoria has nothing to do with that. We've always let them have whatever hair/clothes they want.

Lenl Sun 24-Sep-17 17:15:33

You sound fantastic. He's lucky to have you.


EvelynWardrobe Sun 24-Sep-17 17:16:01

Can I check I've understood? I've been lurking on lots of the feminism/trans threads but I'm not 100% confident I have my head round all of it.

So your DC presents as male because whilst he doesn't identify as one (because he knows he cannot change his biology) he fits a stereotypically male appearance better than a stereotypically female one?

Happyemoji Sun 24-Sep-17 17:19:55

I think you should be proud of how you have handled things and also your son. He sounds very sensible and mature for his age. Good luck to you both.

Theoryofparenting Sun 24-Sep-17 17:21:51

Evelyn Yes, he 'presents' as a stereotypical male so people will assume he is biologically male. He does want a male body, even though he knows he won't actually be a male, because he has dysphoria about his body. He doesn't identify as male because he knows that identifying as something doesn't make you that thing. He sees self-identification as a bit controversial too. Basically, he wants to have as much of a male body possible and be read as male because that is how he is comfortable, but knows that he can never be one.

Sorry if I'm a bit unclear. DS struggles to articulate things properly and it's very complex to explain.

AdalindSchade Sun 24-Sep-17 17:26:02

Your kid sounds smart as a whip. Keep her away from the online crazies.
Do you think there is any scope for her to reconcile with her female body? Does she appear 'masculine' - do you think her hormones are unbalanced? Could be that puberty will make her feel more comfortable with herself as she produces more female hormones.

EvelynWardrobe Sun 24-Sep-17 17:27:15

No, you are clear, I just wanted to check I was understanding properly. smile

Does he plan to have surgery/drugs when he's older to be more convincingly male in appearance?

And is his mental health better since talking to you about it all?

EvelynWardrobe Sun 24-Sep-17 17:29:51

And (sorry, another question!) when did the male pronoun usage come about? For me there's a tipping point somewhere between displaying an outwardly male appearance and saying, "I want you to call me X name and refer to me as 'he'".

Theoryofparenting Sun 24-Sep-17 17:31:39

Adalind The only social media they have is Facebook, so no worries there.
Honestly, I don't know if they'll learn to accept their female body. AFAIK there is no hormone imbalance. They look like a stereotypical tween boy - pretty androgynous. They get very upset over breasts/periods, despite having them for 4 years now. At the moment I'm just letting him discover who he is.

When they first came to me I used to pray for it to be a phase, because I know that if my child doesn't change their mind then their life won't be how it could be, iykwim. Now I've accepted how they feel and just hope that they do whatever makes them happy/comfortable.

Theoryofparenting Sun 24-Sep-17 17:35:31

Evelyn He does plan on surgery and hormones, however he's told me that he's putting it off for as long as possible as there are possible side effects of testosterone, and he wants to be absolutely certain he is making the right choice (he's pretty certain at the minute). His mental health has improved drastically. No more eating disorders, self harm or depression. Still a bit anxious though.
The male pronoun usage came about a month after he told us, as we gradually got used to it and accepted his feelings. He was patient with us (especially his twin sister whom it took longer to get used to). We've also used a stereotypical male name since then too.

QuentinSummers Sun 24-Sep-17 18:13:02

Oh dear. It makes me sad to hear of people with female bodies taking T as the side effects can be pretty gruesome. I would hate it if my child was thinking of cross sex hormones and body modifications flowers for you OP
I have heard other girls in this situation have found it helpful to read up on butch culture and to meet butch lesbians. Has your child looked into that?
Hopefully they will meet someone who helps them to love their body as it is.

Rufustherenegadereindeer1 Sun 24-Sep-17 18:58:24

It sounds like you both have a great attitude towards the issue

I hope it goes well for you both thanks

nauticant Sun 24-Sep-17 18:59:43

The way you explain this is very clear OP. You are lucky in having a child with such self-awareness who is able to think independently. It sounds like you're handling this as well as anyone could. Best of luck to you both.

Ohyesiam Sun 24-Sep-17 22:29:58

You sound like a great mum x

sillage Sun 24-Sep-17 22:43:14

"He doesn't identify as male because he knows that identifying as something doesn't make you that thing."

I don't understand why your child insists on the use of male pronouns if they don't identify as male.

Nor do I understand how male pronouns plus, "He does plan on surgery and hormones" can coexist with, "He knows you can't change your sex."

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