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What can we do as a society, and as parents, to reduce the number of girls who mistakenly transition?

(81 Posts)
ShastaBeast Sun 12-Jan-20 02:28:34

Aside from addressing the issues within the medical profession.

I’ve been reading the occasional thread with interest. I’ve always been open and understanding but can also see the dangers. I know a couple of FtM people, one as a teen with ASD who seemed very much a girl, albeit a “tomboy”.

I have a nine year old awaiting an ASD assessment (she already has another diagnosis). In the last year she has embraced becoming a “tomboy” along with another girl. There’s clearly a lot of gender stereotyping going on in the playground, one eight year old girl declared she “is a tomboy because she likes robotics” (she doesn’t have brothers). DD has asked whether she is a girl or boy, and similar, before - obviously she knows she is a girl. I’ve reinforced that girls can do/dress/act however they want and it doesn’t mean they are boys, and vice versa. I remember lots of “tomboys” and women who weren’t overtly feminine (make up, dresses etc) when I was at school.

Are there any resources or thing we should do to help girls be comfortable becoming women and combat the drift towards identifying as trans? Is there anything for schools and parents specifically - our school don’t even let girls wear trousers! I want to show her that being a woman is a good thing and to see the changes to her body as positive too.

Creepster Sun 12-Jan-20 03:47:54

It is imperative that we teach children that they do not need to play pretend just because someone else is. That people have a right to their own beliefs but they do not have the right to demand that others share those beliefs.
We need to persuade schools to stop bringing in lobbyist groups to teach children they were born in the wrong body if they do not comply with sex role stereotypes..

DancelikeEmmaGoldman Sun 12-Jan-20 04:22:36

Helping girls learn that their bodies are more than objects to be looked at and judged. That as girls they can be strong and capable and inhabit their physicality.

I watched that baseball movie with Madonna and remember being struck with how wonderful it must feel to be able to use your body as an amazing, powerful tool for movement.

It doesn’t have to be a sport, but getting girls outside, doing things, not just being a thing. Horses and lifting weights reconciled me to my less than perfect body. It can do things; difficult and challenging things. It doesn’t need to wait for approval from society that it conforms to some fake ideal. Being outside, getting tired and dirty in the service of something other than appearance matters as much for girls as for boys.

And great role models. All the amazing women who defied convention to climb mountains or cross deserts or build bridges. It’s only as I’ve got old that I see so clearly how the history of women has been hidden, to make women seem less and their achievements minor.

testing987654321 Sun 12-Jan-20 09:34:29

We need to stop schools automatically affirming girls when they say they are boys.

It came in to my last workplace with no open discussion, a member of the senior leadership team was surprised to hear staff discussing two girls who had "transitioned".

I heard other staff describing being told by students that they wanted to be known as John and he from now on. The response from staff was "okay, no problem".

We always use a student's preferred name but I can't think of any other aspect where we give students so much power over teachers.

OhHolyJesus Sun 12-Jan-20 09:42:53

I think we need to keep them off the internet and discuss this stuff in real life, we also need it out of the schools so if the topic ever comes up it is discussed at home and not in the classroom as the framing of that for me is all wrong.

I don't think this is going away any time soon but we need to understand gender dysphoria more and give a balance to what kids are exposed to.

I don't have a teen or pre-teen kid but I would not allow magazines for a girl or video games for a boy (at least not the violent ones or the ones where you can take to others online).

We need to encourage the understanding of someone being different or feeling confused or sad and look at how we can help them without harming them.

LangCleg Sun 12-Jan-20 09:43:14

Get Stonewall out of schools.

rodgmum Sun 12-Jan-20 09:46:18

Yes, get it out of the schools. Some parents will want their children positively affirmed, but many of us want to take a more cautious approach through “watchful waiting”. Schools need to work with parents on this issue and where the parents believe positive affirmation will damage their children’s mental health, the school should follow the parents lead. Positive affirmation is an experimental approach, despite what the lobby groups say.

The best shot many of these teen girls have at desisting is if the trusted adults around them do not affirm.

rodgmum Sun 12-Jan-20 09:49:11

Parents need to speak up. Stonewall et al depend on parents not speaking out about this at schools so they can quietly bring it in. I’d think that 95%+ of parents have no idea this is happening- I certainly didn’t!

Manderleyagain Sun 12-Jan-20 09:50:12

Schools need to take a stance generally that they are against sex stereotyping, I depend of anything to do with kids id'ing as the opp sex. Breaking down gendered expectations & stereotypes needs to be worked into the basic principles of the school right from reception. Not allowing girls to wear trousers is v bad op! That type of thing needs to go. There are a number of campaigns on this at the moment. I will link some when I am on pc.

AutumnRose1 Sun 12-Jan-20 10:00:03

This might seem a bit off the wall but....

I saw a horrendous thing yesterday about porn, and someone saying “no wonder girls want to transition if they think bring treated this way is normal”.

I agree. But also, I feel as if girls don’t get the message that being single and childfree is possible and often desirable. I think they’d think that’s okay for a man but not a woman.

I’m 43 with godchildren. The teen girl has literally no one in her circle, apart from me, who doesn’t see single childfree woman as a problem.

My late father had friends who said to him that it was harder for women my age because the messsge is, there must be something wrong with you wanting to be single. Theirs was one of the first generations to really have the choice and it was seen more as “yay, we have a choice”.

So I can’t help wondering, as does my teen goddaughter, if some of it is about independence. Obviously the horrendous gender stereotypes are being entrenched more than they used to be, so if I had thought my future was not free, would I want to transition? Quite possibly.

BovaryX Sun 12-Jan-20 10:19:52

Regressive gender stereotypes seem to be an integral part of this lobby. Lang is right, this pernicious influence needs to be removed from schools. How that is achieved I don't know

ScrimshawTheSecond Sun 12-Jan-20 10:20:32

Sex Stereotypes: Remind people that sex stereotypes can be limiting and/or damaging, and encourage kids to accept each others' preferences without judgement

Schools: Comment on RSHP/sex/health ed and raise the issue that not everyone agrees with affirmation, point out the safeguarding risks of withholding info from parents

Internet - control and monitor kids' access. I'm a bit surprised at parents that think they can't or shouldn't do this - kids need guidance on this, not just for this issue, but for so many reasons, not least online bullying. Unfettered internet access is not suitable for kids or teens.

Campaign for better mental health treatment. Support for kids with mental health issues, dysphoria, PTSD.

More acceptance of gay & lesbian kids might help, too.

But of course, all of the above would be transphobic & bigoted, wouldn't it?

AutumnRose1 Sun 12-Jan-20 10:55:02

on sex stereotypes

there is an unhealthy obsession with "beauty" IMHO and a very narrow stereotype about it

As an adult, if I go into Superdrug, I'm horrified at the amount of makeup in there. It's like the whole thing now is use enough product to erase your face, then create a new one.

Girls all seem to have long glossy hair etc.

Girls are basically expected to look like drag queens. So how much of this is commercial? Lots of advisers and "medical" orgs making money out of this too.

BovaryX Sun 12-Jan-20 11:09:29

Autumn
I think one of the contributory factors is that the porn aesthetic has colonised contemporary culture. It has become the dominant paradigm. This reinforces the regressive, almost parodic sex stereotypes which are also part of the lobby's ideology. This nexus has, imo, created a hostile environment for those who don't conform to this paradigm

AutumnRose1 Sun 12-Jan-20 11:17:11

Bovary agree

also, I can't really comment as a non-parent but my godchildren's parents restrict their access to the internet. Of course they can see whatever when they are out or at school but there's kind of no need to add in unfettered access at home, IYSWIM.

I also had teen goddaughter tell me that asexual is a useful label for teens who don't want to have sex.

I think all the kink shaming crap you hear has made it seem even more important for teens to have sex! Re sex ed, would anyone consider withdrawing their DC? I used to think that shouldn't be an option but now they are teaching shit that no one needs to know!!

mement0mori Sun 12-Jan-20 11:45:55

I think we need to keep them off the internet

This is probably the main thing. unlimited access to the internet is not healthy for young minds.

AutumnRose1 Sun 12-Jan-20 11:52:33

re the internet, something else I learned from MN is that some schools are insisting on children having smartphones, surely there should be a massive fightback against that? I only got one myself 3 years ago.

NonnyMouse1337 Sun 12-Jan-20 12:34:08

I'm not a parent, but I personally think there should be a campaign to ban smartphones for those under 18. There's no 'need' I can think of for children to possess one.

There's growing evidence that children are easily addicted to social media and it affects their brain by generating an obsession with getting likes from their peer group, unrealistic fashion and makeup on Instagram etc. There's online bullying, revenge porn and private photos being passed around for amusement, unrestricted access to adult material and potential contact with predators as nearly every social media platform has very lax rules about its content and how it is managed - Instagram, Reddit, Facebook etc all have groups and pages for extreme porn, fetish and paedophilic content. Fine for an adult platform, but not when under 18s can easily access it too. Lots of computer games have very sexualised imagery and characters.
There needs to be a proper delineation over what adults can access vs what children are able to encounter even if they aren't searching for it.

Some parents do try their best to monitor their children's phones but many don't.
We ban cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, even tattooing for children. I don't see why a complete ban on smartphones shouldn't be seriously considered as well. They can still access the internet via home computers, tablets etc with parental supervision.

AutumnRose1 Sun 12-Jan-20 12:40:10

Nonny "We ban cigarettes, alcohol, gambling, even tattooing for children. I don't see why a complete ban on smartphones shouldn't be seriously considered as well."

I don't think we can put the genie back in the bottle, but there is no way schools should be insisting that children have smartphones, it's insanity.

NonnyMouse1337 Sun 12-Jan-20 12:40:37

Just to add, I know my post isn't directly related to trans stuff, but I think properly monitoring and restricting access to the internet for children and teens will have a positive effect in general - whether from being exposed to porn or trans ideology or unrealistic beauty standards and so on.
It's not possible for individual parents to do this, because children can access such material from peers whose parents don't have the same level of concern or understanding. This needs to be a much wider initiative the way we handle alcohol, drugs, gambling etc for minors.

NonnyMouse1337 Sun 12-Jan-20 12:44:33

AutumnRose1 I'm not well versed in the subject, but I have read there's been research that social media use directly affects developing brains in children. If there is strong evidence for this (maybe there isn't) then as a society we need to have a serious conversation about why children are still allowed access to this kind of technology.

Neverenoughcoffee Sun 12-Jan-20 12:48:47

Do we need to keep them off the internet, or do we need to keep communicating?
Whichever messages they're getting from the internet, they will get from their peers. We can't keep our kids in a bubble.
Lots and lots of casual, curious, wondering out loud about these issues may be far more productive than attempting to shield them from them.

AutumnRose1 Sun 12-Jan-20 12:49:54

Nonny I don't know about that, but let's say the internet is a big influence.

if we didn't have Stonewall in schools, that would still help. And there was a point where senior education bods could have said "no" just as all of us who are battling workplace loo problems would have expected our directors to say "no".

so we are dealing with powerful forces regardless of the internet.

DreadPirateLuna Sun 12-Jan-20 13:04:09

Amplify the voices of young detransitioners. Teenagers can push back against their ancient and out-of-touch parents, but are more likely to listen to people of their own age or a little older who have been through the same thing.

Encourage activities with a more outward focus rather than have them constantly ruminating on their own inner identity and worrying about what other people think of them. Stuff like hiking, dance classes, volunteer work, dog walking -- obviously tailored to the kid's own interests.

And yes, restrict smart phone and social media use.

EuphorbiaHemlockthe1st Sun 12-Jan-20 13:09:52

Write to your MP. Not that many people do.
Help them get good at a sport.

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