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Talking to teenagers about trans issues

(41 Posts)
ApplejackCriesOnTheInside Wed 20-Jun-18 18:09:18

My daughters have drunk the trans Kool Aid. The mere suggestion that a transperson, or someone claiming to be a transperson, could ever have but the purest of intentions makes them cry hot tears. A mildly expressed view that perhaps trans rights should not be put first in all instances, or might sometimes conflict with the interests of woman and girls, causes more blubbing, because it means their mum is JUST LIKE TRUMP.

I can't be the only person dealing with this, so please help me explain to them - calmly and politely - why a perfectly reasonable 40-something middle class woman might object to self ID.

(I've namechanged for this because I might show them the thread and I don't want them to know my regular username, but I've been here a long time).

busyboysmum Wed 20-Jun-18 18:14:54

I have boys but I just had a little chat with them and said to them you do know it's not possible to be born in the wrong body don't you. They said yes of course Mum it's just a biological body that you are born with. They both seem pretty scientific in their approach to the subject.

They did both comment that a lot of the girls at school seem to be fussing about it. My oldest thinks it's attention seekers.

pombear Wed 20-Jun-18 18:26:44

We've been in the same process in this house.

It's been a slow, rational, teeny tiny steps process.

Started when the scales suddenly fell from my eyes of an 'oh my god, I need to show you something' moment.

It didn't go well!

So I started chunking up the elephant.

- Sport.

- Sex-segrated spaces.

- Science.

Nothing big, just 'oh, have you read/seen this, what are your thoughts''.

I'm pretty sure that in this house now we're all gender critical and aware of the issues.

The thing is that the pressure on our teenagers in this social media-driven, identity-is-all driven world is intense.

And given that some of us, who are adult women, are often nervous in expressing our gender critical views in our workplaces and spaces, particularly if we are people who have been championing LGB and women's rights for years, due to this new aggressive and cuckoo-ing agenda, worried about speaking out for fear of wrongful accusations of 'phobia'.

No wonder it's challenging for our teens to start to verbalise their own concerns. The wrongspeak is strong.

Sarahconnor1 Wed 20-Jun-18 18:44:29

Have you talked through some real world examples with them. I'm thinking of sport

Not only is this a grossly unfair race because biology places the two transwomen at a huge advantage but could have implications for the girls college education in America.

lostlemon Wed 20-Jun-18 18:45:48

I have 2 both know that it is impossible to change your sex. They understand that, for example, a man wearing a dress does not mean they are a woman. Both participate in a lot of sport and are very clear in their opinions regarding sex segregated spaces.

I am re-inforcing this as we go along.

LemonysSnicket Wed 20-Jun-18 18:48:35

I cried and shouted and thought they were so right until about 19. I peaked, 23 now and know the problem. It happens , don't worry, they'll get there .

gendercritter Wed 20-Jun-18 18:48:58

I think if I was in your shoes I would show them some sports stories. I would say if tw are women, is it fair for boys and girls to race together if it means the girl misses out on scholarships to university/a successful sporting career? What about if a grown man physically injures a woman playing sport?

Ask them if it's reasonable for rape victims to say they want spaces where no one present has male anatomy? (Depending on their age!)

I think ask them questions instead of telling them stuff. Get them to justify their opinions in a number of different ways. Challenge every part of what they believe. The more you pick it apart, the more I think the scales will fall from their eyes.

BettyDuMonde Wed 20-Jun-18 18:52:26

I think the Fallon Fox stuff is a pretty stark illustration of why gender presentation can’t replace biological sex. It’s a bit horrifying to watch though.

Someone posted a video about the Australian handball player earlier. That might be a more gentle introduction. I’ll see if I can find it.

Sarahconnor1 Wed 20-Jun-18 18:55:05

Also make it clear that the issue is protecting women's rights.

I think no one opposes trans rights but they are different to and separate from women's rights in many ways.

BettyDuMonde Wed 20-Jun-18 18:56:48

keiratwiceknightly Wed 20-Jun-18 18:57:30

I talked to my 13yo recently. She is a v logical type (unlike her older sister who is prone to histrionicsgrin) - we talked a little bit about sport, and also about residential trips etc. She was v thoughtful in her responses but I did like this from her, quite early in the discussion.

"I think someone probably can't change sex physically, but they can spiritually".

Quite wise for a fairly right on 13yo, I thought.

Movablefeast Wed 20-Jun-18 19:00:40

I think Trans issues are one of the few issues currently that are based on philosophical ideas that teens find interesting: identity, the body, gender etc. There is very little attempt to talk to teens intelligently about philosophy in any other way and I think that is one of the reasons it holds such strong appeal and fascination. Adults are usually ignoring all of these discussions or oblivious to them until their views emerge fully baked after lots of reading of online forums etc.

So I think teaching and talking about philosophy (subtlety) is the best protection against teens just swallowing ideas uncritically.

I broach various different subjects with my teens, we have been talking alot about Cardi B recently, not to do with Trans but about creating an identity and body modification and the way she uses wit and humor in a powerful way.

PapaSmurfsSpareHat Wed 20-Jun-18 19:03:23

I have almost the opposite issue. My teenage daughter thinks it’s bonkers that people think they can change sex. We’ve talked about being a bit more understanding of trans issues, but definitely not at the expense of the rights of women and girls.

Movablefeast Wed 20-Jun-18 19:15:26

I know sometimes some teens may think I am uncaring about feelings to talk about biology but as I am calm, rational and open minded most of the time about most things they are at least willing to listen.

The danger is the social expectation that women (especially young women) should be open, understanding and tolerant and that can be exploited to encourage them to support views that are directly against their own self-interest.

Beamur Wed 20-Jun-18 19:17:14

I have been talking about this issue with my 11 yr old daughter as I expect it will be much more prevalent as she gets to High School and more of her peers reach puberty.
Applejack I think I'd point out to your daughters that poorly though out legislation on this issue will put transgender people at risk too as there will be fewer safe places for everyone. One of the reasons transwomen want access to sex segregated spaces is the same as women - to be away from men who might mean us harm, one risk of self-ID is that men with ill intent will abuse it.

NewbieSpartacus Wed 20-Jun-18 19:18:52

Same situation here and I've had to back off because it's upsetting for all of us when they think their mum is an evil t**f. One of mine is trans and very unwilling to talk about it. Weirdly it was the older brother that was more upset with me - I think frustration made him tearful when he didn't have evidence to present. And they feel betrayed that their liberal parents are transphobic. Since then I have tried gently like have you seen this news story, what do you think? But he just doesn't know what to think. Their idealistic hearts and scientific brains and feminist opinions are crashing together and it will take a while.

tobee Wed 20-Jun-18 20:42:33

My dd (no longer a teenager) has no truck with being able to change sex. The fact that she is autistic might have something to do with it; she's extremely sensible, doesn't like lying etc.

My ds (still a teenager) was the first to alert me about the bollox of feelz etc. and knows his dm is pretty militant it comes up several times a day at the moment. But his friend from school who he connected to the most has drunk the kool aid and he finds that difficult, he doesn't want to offend his friend. I think he'd likely to come round entirely in his own time. Ds is at university and very anti no platforming etc.

DJLippy Wed 20-Jun-18 22:05:41

Youtuber Magdalen Berns is good. It's hard to dismiss her as a right-wing because she's a lesbian and skews the whole - this is how to be an LGBT ally B.S.

Maybe talk about the Cotton ceiling - it's so homophobic and rapey - that should ring a few alarm bells, esp if she's a SJW.

MrsFogi Thu 21-Jun-18 00:05:43

Kool Aid well and truly drunk by my teenager too - it's driving me bonkers (and I'm constantly being told I'm transphobic). I'd second Magdalen Berns being helpful.

ElliePhantW33 Thu 21-Jun-18 00:39:39

I am a man with a vagina and I was born this way but identify as male and had male hormones and now I have facial hair and I am very strong but I don't plan on surgery
Its easier for me to just eat and eat without gaining much weight now so I can enjoy chocolate and the cakes my grandmother bakes and I work out

Life isn't a struggle for me anymore and men seem to respect me but they don't know I was born a woman and plus I get equal pay because my employer doesn't know my gender history and my records are sealed

I don't understand why any parent would support their daughter and not be based towards her right to choose to become a man, it's just holding her back

Take Dr Richard Curtis for example he is a successful male doctor and is happy with his body now and never looked back

FloralBunting Thu 21-Jun-18 00:39:48

Magdalen Burns is wonderful for this. My GNC daughter really likes her, even though she doesn't really 'get' what Magdalen is saying, she likes her style and I think there's an opening to listen there.

My other kids have been trained quite extensively in critical thinking and my eldest peaked before I did, I think, because she was the one who told me about the cotton ceiling. I think it's vital that the next generation has an epiphany about the dangers of putting how you feel about something over and above the simple facts on the table.

BlackShutters Thu 21-Jun-18 02:11:33

I think ask them questions instead of telling them stuff. Get them to justify their opinions in a number of different ways. Challenge every part of what they believe. The more you pick it apart, the more I think the scales will fall from their eyes.

This! It worked for my teenagers. Make them explain it. Ask follow up questions.

Norther Thu 21-Jun-18 02:15:23

Sometime s people swallow the ideology uncritically but are converted by real life consequences that they hadn't considered. Good examples given above.

whiteroseredrose Thu 21-Jun-18 04:07:15

I've been struggling with this as DD has been fed the Kool Aid at school. There are now several boys at her girl's school so in assembly they say Good Morning Children not Good Morning Girls nowadays.

We've had a lot of discussions (with me getting cross 🙄). Unfortunately I was telling rather than asking questions which would have been better. DD has said that she sort of agrees with me but couldn't say so in public.

DS is at the boy's school and says that it's a non issue there as they're very scientific and don't believe that crap (quotes).

It's been very hard clashing with school teaching but DD forbds me from going in to talk about it!

Magpiesarehuge Thu 21-Jun-18 09:54:35

Had never discussed it eith my kids. Turns out my 15 yr old thinks it’s a load of attention seeking tosh - the transtrenders and nb lot at his school anyway. He and his friends make fun of the whole identity politics/pronouns/235 gender thing. I tell him to just avoid and not be cruel as some kids will be genuinely dysphoric and struggling. Avoid avoid avoid.

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