Threads

See more results

Topics

Usernames

Mumsnet Logo
Please
or
to access all these features

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

Losing my child over gender
66

Bendybuses · 04/11/2021 12:55

Hello, we have had a gradual change over about a year from I might be gay to non-binary to I think I'm a boy and want treatment.

We agreed to a name change and school and try to use 'they' - but I can't bring myself to use 'he'. I'm so torn, if I support what they want as the next stages - referral / hormones / testosterone and eventual surgery it just isn't something I agree with. But if I disagree I am losing my child "why can't you support me" "it is the only thing that will make me happy, don't you want me to be happy".

The pressure from them is relentless, and I feel at a loss. They won't talk, they just text or voice message and I get a string of messages like those above most days. Our line has been that if they want medical interventions they have to wait till they are an adult, this is a decision for them to make as I can't support it.

We don't have family near and they have opted out of all the activities they used to do. I'm always trying to get them to do things and they refuse, won't even come for a walk. They don't help around the house and are really negative and basically horrible all the time. I saw a message to a friend where they said how much they hate me.

This relationship is breaking. I don't want that to happen, should I ignore "whatever thing your moral compass has twisted to make you think it the right thing to do" (most recent message) and support the next stage.

Either way it is breaking my heart.

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

Barryallen · 04/11/2021 13:24

Didn’t want to read and run- sending ((hugs))
You’ll find a lot of us on here are going through something similar and it’s a fine line we walk between being supportive but not affirming.
How old is your child?
My DD is 16 (17 in 2 weeks) and has told us she is bi but that is all she has said. However, over the past year she has progressed to only wearing male clothes and 3 weeks ago cut her long hair into a short male cut.
My husband and I have struggled to understand what’s going on and I’m sure all her friends know way more than us right now. She is also in therapy and takes anti depressants which seem to have helped with motivation, school etc.
We have decided to do ‘watchful waiting’ whereby we are going with the flow with the changes that aren’t permanent (clothes, hair)
So far she hasn’t talked about gender identity or pronouns but I wouldn’t be surprised if she progresses to that:(
I’m just taking it day by day- it’s really hard when family (who all live in another country) see these changes in her presentation and are texting me asking ‘what’s going on with DD?’
Months ago we had to stop a toxic friendship she had with an older girl who had her own mental health issues (threatening suicide to control DD) and that also involved the other girl pushing my DD into presenting as male.
We have talked about what to do if she pushes for more- at the moment we have decided to refuse anything medical or permanent until she is an adult - not legally as she’ll be 18 in just over a year- but when she is early 20s and can truly make that decision when her brain is fully mature and she has chosen this for a few years more than just a few months!!
However, as you have said, I’m terrified of pushing her away, having her thinking we don’t support her and her leaving for college and basically never looking back/coming home.
You’re not alone in this- if you look back at previous posts you’ll see some others have posted links to support for parents in similar situations!

Please
or
to access all these features

Bendybuses · 04/11/2021 17:42

Thanks @Barryallen. She / they was 14 only a few months ago. It just seems so young for all these big decisions. The arguments are really getting me down. Today they said they had been called transphobic names and were going to talk to school about it, when I asked if I could come too she said "No, you won't help".

OP's posts:
Please
or
to access all these features

HandScreen · 04/11/2021 17:50

You will never regret supporting your child.

Please
or
to access all these features

Frenchfancy · 04/11/2021 17:54

How difficult for you. I would advise that you read as much as you can on the subject. The book TRANS by Helen Joyce would be a good way to start. Getting your child to read it too would be good. Try and get them to talk without judgement. Tell them why you are scared. If you can find a councellor who will treat the dismorphia rathers than confirming it that would be great.

I think the most important thing you can do is to protect you child, and that means no drugs or surgery until they are an adult. You may loose your relationship with them, but stick to your guns like glue. The courts should have your back if it came to it given recent cases. One day your child will thank you for protecting them.

Please
or
to access all these features

Soontobe60 · 04/11/2021 17:59

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

Please
or
to access all these features

CorrBlimeyGG · 04/11/2021 17:59

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

Please
or
to access all these features

Burnamer · 04/11/2021 18:02

I understand not supporting permanent medical changes in a child but why for goodness sake can’t you get on board with calling your child a he? What harm would it do you? And yet it seems it would mean the world to your child.

Please
or
to access all these features

CorrBlimeyGG · 04/11/2021 18:04

The courts should have your back if it came to it given recent cases.

The courts have made it clear that decisions around medical treatment are to be made by clinicians in conjunction with Gillick competent patients.

Please
or
to access all these features

user64323 · 04/11/2021 18:04

I've had similar phases op, as have my dd's friends. I really don't feel affirmation is in their bests interests. The best thing I did was really go super strict on their internet use. I blocked Discord, Reddit, TikTok and many other apps where she had online communities that encouraged this. It wasn't just this we struggled with but self harming, eating disorders and suicide ideation. All of these things have a contagious element that teenagers are massively susceptible to, and the only thing we can do is try to dramatically reduce their exposure to the affirmation. I recommend Qustodio to block internet access.

Please
or
to access all these features

Nomoreusernames1244 · 04/11/2021 18:05

You will never regret supporting your child

Even if that child wishes to cause permanent injury to their body?

I should support my anorexic child with losing weight?

My child wants to self harm, I should support her?

My child wants to join the fighting in syria, should I support that?

My 14 year old child has a 28 year old boyfriend and wants to move in with him, should I support that?

Sometimes what a child wants is not the best course action and support means encouraging them to take the time and think about what they want to do.

Surgery and hormones cause permanent, irreversible damage. If an adult decides that the end result is worth it, then that is their decision. However children do not have the capacity to make life changing decisions- this is why we have an age of consent, for example.

Please
or
to access all these features

user64323 · 04/11/2021 18:06

When I say I've had similar phases I mean as a parent, my DD is the one who has had these phases.

Please
or
to access all these features

ancientgran · 04/11/2021 18:07

What an awful dilemma. I generally believe that the more you oppose kids the more determined they are to do it, just to show you. Bit different if it involves surgery or life changing hormones (I'm not sure how permanent they are but I assume they must have some long term effects.)

Is there any support you can access, maybe school could point you in the right direction.

Please
or
to access all these features

Luzina · 04/11/2021 18:08

Using he/him pronouns is

Please
or
to access all these features

Luzina · 04/11/2021 18:08

*isn’t agreeing to medical treatment

Please
or
to access all these features

bordermidgebite · 04/11/2021 18:08

I suspect the harm is that

you calling then he won't actually solve the problems which will just encourage them to think surgery is required

Calling them a he buys into gender ideology, reinforcing it as a sensible way to think

You need to be able to get to the root of the problems
-is it body hatred
-is it gender stereotypes, not fitting in

Probably a combination of both

Please
or
to access all these features

Unsureschool · 04/11/2021 18:09

Nothing particularly helpful but what's their diet like? Do they get enough vitamin d etc? What's mental health like in general? Periods bothering her? Friends, hobbies? Often these feelings seem to me like a symptom on which to hang everything- an easy solution to a myriad of teenage distress

Please
or
to access all these features

Archersandlemonade · 04/11/2021 18:10

I really feel for you.... parenting teens is just so hard. I’m not going through this myself but my Dd 14 has lots of friends who are non binary/ fluid etc and literally change their names and gender weekly. I am worried that she is going to get caught up in it all. If it’s genuine then fair enough but these kids are changing their names so often and demanding to be called by different pronouns and the names they choose are really unusual , almost designed to stick out, I can’t help think it’s for attention. I don’t know how my dd keeps up with it all.
Anyhow I’ve gone off topic there. My advice would be to try and support them as much as you can even if you think the choices they make are incorrect. You are becoming the advisor instead of the decision maker and that is really hard xxxx

Please
or
to access all these features

User0ne · 04/11/2021 18:11

You're right to fear permanently damaging your relationship.

My sibling waited till 18 to come out to my mum because they didn't think my mum would accept it - and they were right. Their relationship totally broke down and my sibling didn't have any contact with my mum until we knew my mum only had weeks to live (so no contact for about 10 years).

You don't have to lose your child over this but you might

Please
or
to access all these features

MonsignorMirth · 04/11/2021 18:13

bayswatersupport.org.uk/ has a lot of resources for parents in this situation.

The amount of sexist stuff they must have absorbed to get to this point is depressing (ie that being male or female is something more than what your body is).

Please
or
to access all these features

castoroil · 04/11/2021 18:14

Support your child.

Please
or
to access all these features

bordermidgebite · 04/11/2021 18:17

I think the op needs to know what type of support is required

Is it really supporting your child down a path of medicalisation, sterilisation ,low life expectancy?

Perhaps better support is strong love, teaching that sex doesn't define who you are , what you can do , what you like


If a child refuses to do their homework , support is to say "let's do it together" , not "out you go to play then "

Please
or
to access all these features

MonsignorMirth · 04/11/2021 18:21

I would maybe also ask gently if they feel that being a boy means you have to have a certain kind of body (ie male)?
Lots of women who say similar things have been condemned as transphobic.

They might end up on the wrong side of history if they declare so publicly (by getting survey etc) that certain genders have to have certain bodies.

I do get that the pressure to conform so completely to the gender you feel you are is strong, but gender-non- confirming people are starting to be celebrated.

Please
or
to access all these features

WaltzingBetty · 04/11/2021 18:21

@CorrBlimeyGG

Support your child. Respect their choices, they're old enough to know who they are. Treatment does not happen overnight, and they won't be offered hormone treatment or surgery until their clinicians are confident that they understand what they are doing.

Or carry on into the anti trans echo chamber and lose them.

You mean like these women?

www.thestranger.com/features/2017/06/28/25252342/the-detransitioners-they-were-transgender-until-they-werent

www.thetimes.co.uk/article/the-detransitioners-what-happens-when-trans-men-want-to-be-women-again-fd22b7jhs

www.bbc.com/news/stories-51806011
Please
or
to access all these features

sjxoxo · 04/11/2021 18:22

Sorry to hear you are suffering with this op. It sounds heartbreaking. I think you are doing the right thing by not consenting to surgery if your dd is only 14. I personally think it’s a time of such change that I couldn’t consent to biological changes that young. I don’t understand why this is such a hot topic at the moment; I see so many threads on mn discussing gender change & similar situations- when I was a teen we never thought about this and I literally know no-one who has been through a gender change. But now I get the impression it’s more & more common. Why is this? Interested to hear anyone who thinks they might have an insight. I know when I was 14 I was not in a happy place & certainly not capable of this sort of decision making. No way. Sending you a hug op xo

Please
or
to access all these features

MonsignorMirth · 04/11/2021 18:22

^ surgery, not "survey"!

Please
or
to access all these features
Please create an account

To comment on this thread you need to create a Mumsnet account.