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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.

12yo coming out as trans
18

Bubblegum89 · 24/06/2021 01:50

My daughter came out to me as trans a couple of months ago. She has yo-yo’d with sexual preferences for a while. Originally told me she was bisexual about a year ago then in the space of 2 months has gone to lesbian back to bisexual to asexual to aromantic with being transgender in the middle of it. Of course I want to be supportive but I’m finding it hard because I really don’t think she is transgender. Any trans people I have known have struggled with gender identity almost their entire lives. My daughter said she has felt like this for about 6 months. She has never given any indication she didn’t want to be a girl up until recently. She still wears and does girly things but sometimes she wears boys clothes and does “boy things”. She is most likely gender-fluid and we’ve discussed non-binary and using they/them pronouns but she is the type of person that goes big or goes home with absolutely everything.

We have agreed not to use he/him pronouns for now but I let her have her hair cut short and I buy her boys versions of things like underwear, shower gel etc. As someone who would consider themselves pansexual, I understand that things can be confusing especially at such a young age but as it’s accepted so much more now, I worry that she is doing it because it’s “in” and makes her “different” which when it comes to sexual preferences is fine but when you’re looking at potential hormone treatment and even surgery, it scares me a little bit.

I want to be supportive but with her constantly changing who/what she likes and the fact that wanting to be a boy is a recent thing, I’m finding it difficult to be fully supportive just because I don’t see this being something that will actually become anything. I feel horrible for thinking that and of course I just want her to be happy and will love her no matter what and we’re trying and hope to be better but I suppose I’m just finding it hard to take seriously.

Anyone else had a child a similar age come out as transgender? Did it turn out to be a “phase”? Did they stick with it and go on to take hormones etc?

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VioletVix · 24/06/2021 02:22

Hey I was going to post something similar about my own daughter until I came across your post!
I'm sorry I don't have any advice, but my daughter is 11 and has recently told me she is trans and has felt this way for a long time. I asked her what she wanted and the same he/him pronouns, changed his name, wants his hair cut short. It's all a bit out of the blue as he has argued with us for years not to cut his hair, he has also had a girlfriend for over a year. I'm struggling with the back and forth any questions I ask he doesn't have any answers and is all I don't knows so i don't know how to help. I fully remember puberty age being a confusing time, but I just can't understand i guess. My now son is fine with his female body, and seems to go between a definite I am a boy to I'm not sure to maybe I'll change back when I'm older, I'm hoping some others have been through this with their kids and can shed some light.
Just know your not alone x

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Coyoacan · 24/06/2021 02:32

Sorry OP, I don't have that experience, but I think you should find out as much as possible before "supporting" your daughter in transitioning.

From what I have read, you are at risk of your child using breast binders, which can break ribs and affect her breathing often wih permanently damage to her health.

If you are in the UK, for the moment at least, she shoulb be safe from puberty blockers. If elsewhere, she could be put on them. Puberty blockers, among other things cause osteoporosis, they also end up totally depriving the young person of their libido.

I don't know at what age she can legally be offered tostesterone but five years after being on tostesterone, most transmen need a histerectomy because of the damage that tostesterone does to the female reproductive system.

Socially transitioning her will sent more inevitably down this path, however that being said, I understand how hard it is to deal with adolescents, so I think you need proper professional advice.

I am not afraid of transgender people, I am afraid for them.

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IsItAKindofDream · 24/06/2021 02:33

She sometime does what you/she call “boys things”??? Try to get rid of those type of stereotypes to start with.

Yesterday was International day of women in engineering - google it if you want to see some good female role models to show your daughter.

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OhHolyJesus · 24/06/2021 07:51

I agree with others OP, even socially transitioning can be very dangerous, if others (teachers or friends) also support this and even encourage it your DD will either have to find a way to cope when she realises she cannot be a boy, or proceed to the medical route which will still mean she will need to somehow compute that a sex change doesn't actually mean that she can change sex.

It's a world of pain for anyone, let alone a child. If she is kept on reality it will be far less worse. Other threads (and studies) show children can grow out of this, like any other phase, so making any of it permanent will make climbing down from a pre-teen claim harder for her.

I too would suggest research, the studies around this have been discussed on MN if you want to look them up, or shout here and I'll see if I can dig them out.

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OhHolyJesus · 24/06/2021 07:53

Oh and a really good book is Irreversible Damage by Abigail Shrier. I specifically look at why girls want to become boys.

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Bubblegum89 · 24/06/2021 08:32

Thanks for your replies.

I found out she had bought a binder off Amazon and I took it away from her. When I say I want to support her I just mean in general while she goes through all these different things so not necessarily through this “phase”. One of the reasons I’m finding it hard to believe she truly is trans is the fact that she won’t tell everyone. She has told me, her dad and close friends but no other family or any teachers etc. That makes me think she’s not really serious about it. I absolutely do not want her to start any kind of hormone therapy. She has expressed a desire to do so but not a strong desire, almost as if it’s just a part of the process rather than it being something she really wants if that makes sense.

It’s just quite hard really, I don’t want her to resent me but as her mother, I know it’s my responsibility to help her make good choices and I don’t believe this is the right choice for her. What I think is that there are a lot of people in her school doing similar things and she thinks that she has to do it too. I think she has confused what I suppose in my day we called being a tomboy with being trans. I don’t get and have never got any indication from her that she hates her body and everything female about it. She’s always been a balance of girl/boy in that as a child she loved dressing up and playing with dolls but also loved playing with toy cars and getting muddy (just a note to a PP, when I say “girl” and “boy” things, I’m just referring to stereotypical stuff, I know that both genders can do both, it was more to just highlight my point) so I may approach the gender-fluid/non-binary thing with her again but to be honest, anything anyone says against her being trans makes her cry.

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GoWalkabout · 24/06/2021 08:38

I think you are doing well. I am not sure what pronouns to use but will use he. He has room to say he knows he might change his mind and that's the important thing. Focus on what he enjoys participating in, interests and studying and away from the narrow identity obsessions of teenage years while allowing him to develop a solid sense of self.

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IsItAKindofDream · 24/06/2021 08:53

“she’s always been a balance of boy/girl” - if you know it is stereotypical nonsense, stop saying stuff like that. It will be influencing her. Find better role models. Your own pansexual identity may also be making her want to be “different” and “special”. Find other ways for her to be special. Find ways to improve her self-esteem. Get her involved in exercise / sport so she connects with her body instead of rejecting it.

You mentioned she “goes big or goes home” with everything. Get her checked for autism and ADHD. Get her therapy in case she’s rejecting her female body because of abuse. Those things are far more likely that actually being trans.

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Bubblegum89 · 24/06/2021 09:18

I don’t say “boy/girl” to her, it was purely for this thread just to make a point. She has always been free to do whatever activities or have whatever hobbies she wants, dress how she wants etc with absolutely zero reference to gender stereotypes. Like I said, purely using the language for this post.

I only told her I’m pansexual after she told me she was trans so it’s not down to me that she’s decided she wants to be trans however she is around a lot of non-binary/trans children at school. I do think that has something to do with it. She actually isn’t rejecting her female body, more the female mentality. She has never made any indication that she doesn’t like how her body looks or wishes it was different, only that she feels like she might be a boy. I’ve considered getting her tested for ADHD in the past due to other behaviours so may look into this further.

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IsItAKindofDream · 24/06/2021 09:30

What does she think a “female mentality” is? What do you think it is?
A breast binder doesn’t bind a mentality.

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Wriggleon · 24/06/2021 09:36

I would explore what a female mentality means to her and discuss that.
I would also not be so frightened to mention something incase she cries, that's manipulative and you are the parent. If she demanded a tattoo / drive would you be too scared to say no?

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Imasoulman · 24/06/2021 10:54

I think in these times there is always the likely hood of social contagion, perhaps these feelings have always been there but you sound like a very open minded mum so I'm sure there would have been times when these feelings could have been expressed in the past. I really believe that you would have picked up on him possibly being trans before now.
I knew from a very early age that I was trans, of course I had no real concept of that I just knew I was really a girl.

I had no support at all and was forced to suppress my feelings.

My gut feeling when children come out as trans around this age is to always watch and wait.

You obviously can't just shut him down completely though.
He needs your support and needs to feel believed even if it does fizzle out given time.

Preferred pronouns at home, letting him wear boys clothes around the house and underwear under his everyday clothes will all help him mentally without making it hard to back track in the future

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Imasoulman · 24/06/2021 10:57

Sorry I just re read your original post and noticed that you are not using he/him
No offence meant where I have used male pronouns

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OhHolyJesus · 24/06/2021 12:44

The influence appears to be coming more from her peers than from you. From everything you have shared so far suggests to me that she is under pressure to assign herself a label and isn't serious about taking any steps to make any changes, though the binder is worrying. If at the time you discussed the physical and permanent damage a binder can do she will hopefully think that there is more to it than she realises and perhaps what her friends are telling her isn't showing the whole picture.

In a way that is useful as she may start to see that some of what she is being influenced by is not all what it seems. A sort of 'mother knows best' without sounding like we have time traveled back to the 1950s!

If talking about it brings out tears then I'm not sure, if I were in your shoes, I would bring it up. The 'that's nice dear' response sounds dismissive but it can be effective in not overdoing something that may hopefully pass. She might enjoy the sanctuary at home where it's not a pretence or performance as her 'audience' aren't there.

If she's happy with the name, pronouns, haircut and clothing, you've basically done a good job so far of letting her be herself without boxing her into labels or making any life-changing decisions. She will be able to change her mind without losing face, which is after all what experimenting is about, trying something on for size and being able to reject it as swiftly as you selected it.

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OhHolyJesus · 24/06/2021 12:49

@GoWalkabout

I think you are doing well. I am not sure what pronouns to use but will use he. He has room to say he knows he might change his mind and that's the important thing. Focus on what he enjoys participating in, interests and studying and away from the narrow identity obsessions of teenage years while allowing him to develop a solid sense of self.

I think this is good advice.

There is more to life than labels. If she spends a fair bit of time online unsupervised I would consider rules around this. You need to know what she is watching or seeing online and any sport or hobby you can encourage her to try that she will enjoy, so she can see how amazing her body is (and maybe make some new friends too) would be worth thinking about.

If she talks to friends from school outside of school hours on her phone I would ensure you can see what is being said to see if there is undue (and unsafe) influence happening there too.
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Nowayhozay · 24/06/2021 14:29

I am going through similar with my son, who is a few years older but has from a young age displayed what you would call trans tendencies.

We never put a label on him, really just let him dress and be who he wanted within the family home.
We would occasionally buy him clothes etc if he asked for something in particular but in the main it was mostly hand me downs.
He had never mentioned being unhappy as a boy , never hinted at wanting to be a girl.

Things really changed when he was 14 during the first lockdown, his sister had a clear out and gifted him lots of old clothes.
Overnight he went from having a very limited wardrobe to a fairly extensive one.
He began wearing these clothes more and more, it was often 24/7 for periods over lockdowns and holidays.
About a month ago during a text conversation was the first time he ever mentioned wanting to be a girl, it obviously wasn't a huge surprise
He has started to grow his hair and we do allow him to wear girls underwear umderneath his "usual clothes " we say she/her when appropriate.
As a pp said we believe these small things help enormously without making it impossible to go back.
I guess it's been easier for us as its always been a part of him.

We are pretty much watching and waiting for a while.

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Imasoulman · 24/06/2021 14:47

@Nowayhozay

Hi, good to see you back 😊

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Nowayhozay · 24/06/2021 14:54

[quote Imasoulman]@Nowayhozay

Hi, good to see you back 😊[/quote]
Thank you Imasoulman
I do lurk and I am happy to share my experiences and offer advice but I'm still battered and bruised from the transphobic brigade.

I don't think I will ever ask for help or advice here again.

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