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This board exists primarily for parents of LGBT children to swap support and advice. Others are welcome to post but please be supportive.

I have a transgender teenage elephant in my room
42

starfishsunrise · 24/09/2019 11:39

It's nearly 2 years since I posted that I don't believe my son is transgender. I can't do a link but if someone else can add one please feel free.

I got a fair bit of moaning last time. I want to remind anyone reading that I love him and I like him. I just don't believe him. If he became part of a religious cult or similar I'd feel the same.

I'm grateful for all the PMs I got. There was one from a young transgender person which was especially lovely. If you are out there, thanks.

So far in the 2 years since I little has changed. He hasn't had an hair cut in a few years.
He's wearing mostly the same clothes. Shirt and jeans, sometimes leggings.
Although he has a padded bra he wears under some jumpers and thinks we can't tell. Occasionally he puts women's underwear in the washing basket.
It makes me feel sad. Sad for him more than me. He's a boy. I cannot come to terms with it. Be gay, be straight, dress how you want but don't pretend to be a girl.
Don't take hormone and chop your body up. Please don't. He's know how I feel. He's not concerned with any consequences. He sees no pitfalls physically.
In my head the compromise would be Eddie Izzard when he first became famous 20 odd years ago. A bloke who liked wearing women's clothes. Although I think he's different now.

I can see no signs in him of why he feels like this. I have asked, he can't explain.
In my mind I think I could be more accepting if I recognised anything. For lack of any better expressions, he is not 'camp' We don't live in a ' macho' environment. There is nothing 'feminine ' about him.

My son doesn't speak about his 'situation ' He just says I'm transphobic. And shuts down.
I ALWAYS emphasise how much I love him even if I disagree with him.

We don't get to see any of his social media etc. I assume he's on transgender forums who are feeding him this crap. He's says he is fully researched and he is going to have all the operations and treatments he can get hold of. He's off to uni this time next year and is likely to get a place on an traditionally fairly male subject. I think he wants to go as a girl with a new name. I hope they accept him and his choices don't harm him.

It's coming up to his 18th birthday. I wonder if that's when it's going to all happen? It makes my heart sink to think he is making life difficult for himself.

If it's a phase, as I'd hoped, it's a long one.
If it's real then he's keeping a lot bottled up.

OP's posts:
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CassianAndor · 24/09/2019 11:42

I think I remember your previous threads, OP.

I do wonder if he'd be accepted for any further intervention given that he's hardly 'living in his preferred sex' or whatever the phrase is (nonsense in itself, of course).

I'm so sorry this is still going on. Flowers

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InsulatedCup · 26/09/2019 08:35

Starfish - it's a tough place to be in. My DD is a transman - its been more than 3 years now and the longer it goes on, the less convinced I am, but at 21, however emotionally immature, I have to let things take their course. 18 is a tricky age - and it is well known that it isn't until 25 that the brain finally matures.
If he hasn't been referred to a gender clinic yet, then that's good news as the waiting lists are really long (2 years or more) so that will buy some time.
Don't worry about being accepted at uni - quite the opposite, most young people just shrug, use preferred pronouns, and get on with it. The unis themselves are positively delighted to improve their diversity ratings.
University is not the real world, however.

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Italiangreyhound · 29/09/2019 01:14

@starfishsunrise I am sorry this is so hard for you and I mean that very genuinely. In our wider family we have a girl who identities as a boy. I've found it really hard to accept and like you I cannot see any real evidence this was a feature of their life from the past.

However, now the teenager does look the part, although I am not sure many people really think she is male, but I know some do.

For the first year I really tried to ignore it and struggled with names and pronouns etc.

Eventually, I felt if I kept on being the person he could not speak to about this, then if he ever changed his mind/had doubts/had fears etc I would be the last to hear. He was so unhappy and has also been suicidal (and was diagnosed late with ASD) and so in the end I just had to go with supportive.

I think your support will not make your child more likely to transition but it will mean they open up to you more. Anyway, feel free to PM me if you wish to.

Thanks

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lisandria · 29/09/2019 10:20

Hello,

I found your older thread on Google and found many of the given responses very disheartening and unhelpful. Your child is probably going through a rough time but may fail to express that. I’m personally someone who shares a similar history to your child, albeit I matured into 26 years of age now. I’m currently questioning whether I should start medical treatment for this condition. First off, I want to say a few words to some points that have been brought up here. I have been reading a lot of different approaches to the causes of transsexualism during the last two years in order to figure myself out. One thing they all have in common is that nothing can be proven.

It’s a delusion
I’ve heard that argument so many times, I lost count. It’s not surprising that this is often the first expression coming from people who really haven’t gotten in touch with the topic. The wish to be the opposite sex seems so foreign and weird that this has to be the only explanation. But the interesting thing is that many trans people, who don’t fall into the traps of trans activism, actually recognize that they can never change their sex but still attempt to do so. Because living as a facsimile of the opposite sex is still better than being reminded of your birth sex every day.

It’s ROGD
It’s very unlikely that a boy has ROGD. This highly controversial concept was brought up a few years ago when we saw a rapid increase of FTM teenagers. Young girls, who were always fairly feminine, suddenly wanted to become boys. Often times we see groups of girls coming out as trans in a small time frame, supporting that this is mostly likely a social phenomenon. Other reasons for girls suddenly wanting to become boys can be misogyny, sexual abuse and body-shaming. Since masculinity is seen as superior in our society, these girls are sometimes even encouraged to take that route. But going the opposite direction, from boy to girl, is seen as shameful and therefore no boy really wants to admit he wants to be a girl. It’s no fun.

It’s AGP (Autogynephilia)
Ray Blanchard and Anne Lawrence did a good job in describing the two types of transsexuals. The first one (HSTS) is behaving like the opposite sex from a young age and feels very unhappy with the changes of puberty. It must be noted that most of these kids, who express some form of gender dysphoria in their childhood, grow out of it during adolescence. Estimates vary between 60 to 90 percent. These people grow up to be adult homosexual humans of their birth sex.

Then there’s a group of males who appear like normal boys during childhood and are attracted to the opposite sex. They usually don’t show much signs before puberty. But with the onset of puberty the issues are starting to surface. Many will feel a split attraction to girls, wanting to be with them but also wanting to be one. They may start to cross-dress in secret and may experience sexual arousal from it. This type is called Autogynephilia, love of oneself as a woman.

What’s important to understand is that these feelings and the need for cross-sex affirming activities won’t go away entirely for the rest of their lives. They can only be managed. We don’t know the causes and we don’t know why some of those males are happy with living out the inner woman occasionally and others need to transition to the opposite sex.

The issue is the huge amount of shame that’s tied with it. It drives many of them into a deep repression of those feelings. People who chose to fight it are the best candidates to break down when the pressure of life is getting lower. That’s why there are many men who want to transition in their 40s, 50s, or 60s, after the kids left the house and the marriage has worn down. That’s when these feelings can go out of control.

Thanks to the internet we allow those men to explore their issues earlier, not when they are already 40 and don’t have any hope to pass as a woman one day. But with the activism it becomes difficult to really find the place for oneself. As I said, some men only need to indulge in it once a week or a month, for others it has to be constant.

We must admit that 95 percent of men AGP don’t really run into issues with it. They see it as a kink and that’s it. It’s not affecting their life. That can’t be said for your child. It’s very likely that it’s not solely a fetish for your kid, as gender critical people may want you to believe, but something way more deeply and real. But the shame is still there. It’s already very difficult to admit this desire - to be a woman - to oneself, being pushed away by others only makes it worse.

Calling your child your son and using male pronouns may seem to be the realistic approach to you, but please understand that you’ll probably hurt your child and push it away by doing so. I know I wouldn’t share my thoughts and feelings with people, who say they’re supportive but then proceed to disregard everything I’m opening up about.

Conclusion
Your child is very unlikely to completely grow out of it. Try to help your child by remaining critical of their actions but also try to use requested names and pronouns. It will be hard for you, but it’s not easy for your kid as well. Your child is either going to be a transvestite or a transsexual. Where to fit on that spectrum, everyone has to explore for oneself. You can only assist and help to explore any information that’s out there to make an informed decision in the end. But please, try to be compassionate and listen to your child before you push it away into transgender echo chambers.

My story
In case you want to understand where I’m coming from, I’m going to put down a quick story of how this condition affected me throughout my life. If you’re not interested, you can now stop reading.

I had a fairly normal boyish childhood. I liked building stuff, especially LEGO, and I liked cars. But I always got bullied, too, got called gay and a sissy. But still, I thought of myself as a boy and tried to fit in with other boys. Problems arose when my puberty started with 13. I developed a crush on a girl but at the same time I wanted to be with her I also really wanted to be her. I also didn’t understand why I grew such a big dislike for my body, especially my body and facial hair and my voice.

Since I’ve been always an outsider, I was already fairly reserved and anxious. This got worse throughout my teenage years, but I couldn’t open up to anyone, so I tried to commit suicide at the age of 17. Afterwards, I tried to get my life together. Exercising, eating healthy, getting a job, having my own flat. It felt good to get on my own feet, but I couldn’t ever fix the void inside of me. I started cross-dressing, having fantasies of myself as woman with a man sexually and all that weird stuff. I was deeply ashamed and looked for answers.

Around two years ago I found links to crossdresser and transgender forums and I finally could explain these incomprehensible feelings. But after a while their reasoning for why I should be a woman trapped in a man’s body didn’t make sense, so I set out to find answers. I eventually read about Blanchard’s work and recognized myself heavily in that. His detailed descriptions of the condition really helped me to accept myself. I don’t entirely agree with his conclusions, but since there’s nothing really better out there, I just roll with it.

I tried to live with it, become more masculine in behavior and appearance and taking a Gender Critical stance on the subject. Mostly because of self-hate. This only made me more suicidal. This year I admitted to myself that these feelings won’t go away, no matter how much I hated myself for it. So now I’m trying to reconnect to myself and to the world around me but by doing so these feelings get worse. Therapy doesn’t really help. I probably will start hormones when I’m sure it’s the right path. But it’ll take time to figure out.

All I want for your child is to not have to go through the mess that I did.

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Italiangreyhound · 29/09/2019 17:12

@lisandria I am not the original poster but I just wanted to say thank you so much for sharing your story. Whatever happens next in your life I really hope you find happiness and acceptance.

As a parent/aunt/granny/friend etc of a tans person it is very hard but I know it is much harder for the trans person themselves.

I just want to wish you all the best.

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Pinkbonbon · 29/09/2019 17:25

Has he seen someone about body dysmorphic disorder? (Think that's the name)

Some people think they should have been born blind or with one leg ect...if they don't get the correct help, there have been extreme cases where people have cut a leg off or poured bleach in their eyes.

It's likely the same disorder that brings about transgenderism. Not to say that people shouldn't transition if it feels right for them - But not until they have had plenty of counciling to see if their inherent discomfort with their own body can be treated without such extreme measures.

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lisandria · 29/09/2019 21:00

@Italiangreyhound
Thank you for your kind and sincere words and I want to send those wishes back to you. 😊

@Pinkbonbon
It’s not body dysmorphia (BD), it’s gender dysphoria (GD). GD can be divided into body dysphoria and social dysphoria. I understand where the confusion is coming from, since they not only share similar sounding words but apparently similar symptoms. But there are important distinctions to make.

Often times, patients with BD report huge distress about certain body parts which they perceive as unnormal and severely flawed while others cannot support this impression. They wish for surgery to fix that body part. They usually don’t want cross-sexed body parts. But surgery for those patients won’t fix the issue. They either will still focus on that body part or move on the another one.

People with GD about their body feel a huge distress about their sexed characteristics. They seek to align their body to the opposite sex. Medical treatments can help to align the body to the desired sex and reduce the symptoms of GD. It’s still not uncommon that some aspects of the body, which can’t be altered, will proceed to cause distress. That’s why transition as soon as possible is helpful for these folks, because less characteristics of the birth sex will make coping with GD easier on the long run. But there’s the fine line between when to begin with medical treatment and when there’s a too high risk of desistance of the GD feelings. But that’s up to the medical community to observe.

You’re bringing up quite a lot of other examples for severe mental illnesses, but to conclude that they may have the same cause as transsexuality is nothing more than a guess. I’m not aware of any science supporting this assumption, because we just not understand where all that is even coming from. But guessing around clearly won’t help the matter.

With our limited tools we only have medical options like cross-sex hormones and various surgeries as treatment for transsexual people. They’re far from perfect, but better than nothing. Maybe we will one day find a better treatment, but for now we have to stick with that and trust the medical community on their research.

I can only speak for transsexuality, though, because I cannot really grasp the concept of non-binary identities or gender identity for that matter which is a core part of transgenderism. It’s not my job to police anyone’s experience, though.

What I agree with is that therapy should always be mandatory before medical treatment. Other illnesses have to be ruled out, sexual abuse and various other triggers for a transsexual identification need to be considered. Only if necessary, medical steps should be taken. That will also rule out self ID, which can do a lot of harm, especially to women and their spaces, and shouldn’t have been an option in the first place. But that’s a thing for another day.

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Italiangreyhound · 29/09/2019 22:01

lisandria very interesting post.

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Buttinghill · 07/10/2019 21:30

There is a growing UK group of parents who wish to support their trans-identifying children without affirmation or encouraging transition. We oppose the medicalisation of our children and believe the way forward to be through psychotherapy. Our formation was reported in The Times.

Please send me a private message for more information.

I have a transgender teenage elephant in my room
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Prawnofthepatriarchy · 04/11/2019 15:03

Here are some resources you might find useful, though some might be a bit young. Transgender Trend, which is for parents questioning the trans narrative, has lots of useful resources, including this section on Is my child trans?.

4th Wave Now, which describes itself as a community of parents & others questioning the medicalization of gender-atypical youth is another helpful resource.

Trouble is, at 17 you can't do anything about his online life and this is where it's all coming from. Not just the transgender forums but porn as well. There's a huge amount of porn directed at boys like your son.

Knowledge is power, as the saying goes. There are lots of Reddit groups directed at men who identify as women - Reddit asktransgender for example.

If you read the posts and replies at length - spend lots of time and look up all the other groups (there are loads) - you'll get a grasp of what he's reading and absorbing. Should warn you that some of the groups are very explicit.

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Prawnofthepatriarchy · 04/11/2019 15:16

Also, I don't know how close you are as this is a very sensitive issue, but has he considered what effect medical transition will have on his love life?

This is not something those encouraging young people to transition are truthful about. Transition dramatically reduces your pool of potential partners, but this is not necessarily obvious to inexperienced and naïve young people.

It may be that ensuring he appreciates how limited his choice of partner is likely to be will encourage him to stick to social transition, at least for now. It depends how important his sex life is to him.

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DuckyGoLightly · 12/11/2019 04:10

Haven't RTFT. Maybe he/she isn't, maybe there is something else going on. I've sought lots of advice for our DC1 but the thing that resonated with me was that if there is something else going on, they need to know I'm there for them. It's fucking hard bad so worrying (not helped by Mumsnet), but we just need to show we live and respect them.

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DuckyGoLightly · 12/11/2019 04:16

Also, remember reverse psychology and how we were as teenagers. They need to shock us and separate from us - to be emotionally healthy.

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DuckyGoLightly · 12/11/2019 04:22

Lots of typos there - sleep deprived.

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Lostkeysinaraindrainurghh · 15/11/2019 04:18

Message deleted by MNHQ. Here's a link to our Talk Guidelines.

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Smolbeanlizzie · 15/04/2020 00:15

I've known I was trans since the age of 11. It sucks, but at the end of the day you should come to the realisation that it's for him/hers better health. If they are being serious then they suffer from gender dysphoria, they were born with a more female brain and male body, basically. If they are going to uni, they are an adult, and your control of their life is slipping away. Please let them experiment first, cross dress, wear makeup, wigs, etc. At the end of the day, it's their decision, bit yours.

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Smolbeanlizzie · 15/04/2020 00:16

Not*

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RUSU92 · 15/04/2020 00:58

they were born with a more female brain and male body, basically

What specifically makes someone’s brain male or female smol ? That sounds like pseudo science to me.

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chickenyhead · 15/04/2020 01:32

@lisandria

Flowers

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lisandria · 28/04/2020 16:04

@chickenyhead

?

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RuffleCrow · 28/04/2020 16:11

Don't take any crap from him. When he tells you you're transphobic you can retort that he's reality-phobic.

Don't pander to him. Ultimately he's going to do what he wants to his body and reap the long term consequences.

Once he's an adult all you can do is not enable him and not allow him to make it his mark of rebellion.

When he starts up, stick some gender-bending music on: Bowie, Prince, Jeff Buckley singing Corpus Christi Carol. - Just make it clear that it isn't that you disapprove: it's that you don't subscribe to his belief system.

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SJaneS48 · 17/05/2020 19:49

What an absolutely awful response above! I sincerely hope the PP doesn’t have any LBGT children. @lisandria, brave and intelligent post and I hope all is going smoothly for you at this point.

@starfishsunrise, even when you’re liberal I do completely understand that having your own child considering changing such an essential part of themselves as you know them would be hard to take in and get your head around. Quite genuinely, part of me would feel really sad about it. But the best thing you can do (whatever you think) is support your DS. He’s on the edge of adulthood and you either go with this or you stand loosing him. That straight forward. He’ll be fine at uni, this generation is far more tolerant and au fait with gender issues than we ever were. And yes the whole he/she thing is an absolute pain in the arse (my eldest DDs partner is gender fluid and largely presents as a woman although she is biologically male). Basically our kids might not be living the lives we had quite envisioned but all we can do really is go with the flow if that’s what is going to make them happy.

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lisandria · 25/05/2020 19:56

@SJaneS48
Thanks, I hope you're doing well, too. :) I'm feeling a lot better since starting hormones. This also lead me to to kinda not care about the politics of this topic anymore. I think everyone who is affected by the matter will find their way, maybe with some missteps, but that's life. We need space to learn, as everyone. Being watched, judged and attacked for every step doesn't help the matter at all. So, I heavily agree with your approach to the topic. :)

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BeMorePacific · 28/05/2020 15:47

If I ever encounter this, the only thing I intend to be is supportive, helpful and loving. Your daughter is 18, she is an adult. She deserves more than just love, she deserves respect, help, and support.
Changing gender is not a cool fad. It must be scary, daunting and incredibly confusing.
All that has changed is people are becoming less transphobic. Hopefully some of the posters on this thread will come around to the notion that all bodies are worth of respect.
But it’s nice to see pro trans responses.

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