Could really use a bit of help. >_<

Discussion in 'THREAD ARCHIVES' started by Nydanna, Mar 9, 2015.

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  1. Today my daughter handed me a note because she couldn't tell me what she wanted to say in person around my two youngest daughters. In the note she claimed that she wants to go through gender reassignment to become a male. She doesn't want to be referred to as she any longer, and wants to change her name (Yes, I know, I'm calling her she. I can't help it though!) She claims that she's uncomfortable as a girl, and would prefer to be a boy.

    I listened to her reasoning, and while I don't really mind that she wants to make the change, I don't believe it she's really thought everything through. I didn't yell or get angry. I didn't say she couldn't go through with it. I didn't even say I didn't want her to go through with it. I honestly didn't, and still don't know what to say.

    Before people jump to conclusions, I'm really not against it, but I do think that she's too young to make this type of decision. I won't lie and say that a huge part of me wants to say no, not because of the change itself, but because of what I know she'll go through. Truthfully, I do not see her identifying as a boy. I cannot explain why exactly, but I just can't. It's not me being blind to something, there's just no signs there at all. She doesn't show interest in 'boy things' in fact, she's annoyed by men for the most part. I asked if she was attracted to girls, but she claims that she's not, so I know that's not it.

    I can't figure it out! I've tried searching for something to give me clues as to why she feels this is what she wants, but I don't see anything there. There was no playing with cars instead of Barbies. No, wanting to watch football or play sports. There is nothing there that says she identifies with males at all, which is where I'm running into a problem.

    I'm trying to be as open minded as I can, but my instincts tell me that this is just a phase she's going through. It came out of left field, and I have no idea what the hell I should do. My husband didn't make things any better either. When he talked to her, he outright refused to acknowledge it as a possibility, and in a way I understand why, but it didn't do anything to help out the situation.

    I'm seriously struggling with this though. I don't want to trivialize it with my assumptions, and I'm trying desperately to understand it. Things just aren't adding up to me. I always thought that people who were transgender felt out of place in their bodies early on, and showed signs of it at younger ages. Maybe I'm wrong. I really don't know.

    How do I know it's not just curiosity? How can I be sure that later on down the road she won't change her mind? Like I said, everything in me says that this is just a phase she's going through. I don't want to say it's a cry for attention, but it's a cry for something. She won't talk to me about it. She won't speak to my husband at all right now. I thought of trying to find her someone to talk to, but I wouldn't even know where to start. @_@

    Can anyone please help?
  2. I would tell her to wait until she is 18, and then if she wants to then, let her. But that is just my opinion.
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  3. Other than being more or less speechless, I'm going to go with what Silver Paladin said and wait for her to be of older age until she can legally decide this on her own. Then again I'm biased as I find this entire transgender movement to be rather disturbing.
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  4. Your concern is completely valid, first of all. I think it would be difficult for any parent to hear something like this from their child.

    I'm not saying I disagree with you that this might be a phase, but I'm not saying that I agree with you either. I do side with the Paladin and Slam that you should tell her to wait till she's 18.

    Also let her know straight out that she can talk about this with you with no judgments. Be willing to research some of this with you. The reason she's not talking about this with you right now is because from what you've posted, there seems to be minimal support. If she's going to feel judged or seen as some kind of freak, or that neither of you are going to at least put the possibility that she may be transgender into your minds, then she's never going to come to you for help.

    As for her not liking girls, it could be that she could be trans-male who likes guys (or if you say she's annoyed by most guys, she could identify as asexual as well), and as far as I know, that's normal. Maybe do some research on the topic, then go back and have a serious conversation with your daughter, maybe with her father not around.

    You're going to have to be at least somewhat supportive, even if it is just a phase.

    I say be honest with her off the bat, as well. Tell her that you don't deny her identity straight out, but to really think about this because it may just be a phase (but emphasize that there will be no judgments, regardless. I don't think I can stress that enough). Hopefully she'll understand that, and she'll be willing to talk to you more about her situation.

    Hope that helped somewhat.
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  5. I would personally try to get her to explain it more. If she refuses to discuss it, that's hard to work around, but if you can get her to open up, you should get her to elaborate further. You said you listened to her reasoning, but what exactly was her reasoning? It must've been more than just plain being uncomfortable, because that is really vague. I wouldn't mind hearing her exact reasons, but if it's too personal for you to discuss hear, then that's all well and good.

    I have never understood the rationale behind such decisions, but I would assume the best course to understanding it would be to ask why as much as humanly possible.
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  6. I'd say just try to be supportive of her decision.
    No one knows how one identifies better than the individual.

    Plus this starts to enter very complex territory about sexualities, gender identities, behaviours etc.
    In a nutshell biological sex =/= gender identity. It's very possible for someone to identify/feel more comfortable in a certain sex's body, but their general behaviour, interests and mentality more represents what culture has trained us to expect out of the other sex.

    That being said though, I do agree with the others with waiting until she's 18.
    Not only does that give her time to think it over, but it's medically suggested as well because you don't want those operations to happen when still going through puberty.
    Plus from what I understand they aren't thrown into surgery immediately on request either, there's generally a year or so wait period where one is required dress, act, imitate the desired sex.
    See if they actually do feel comfortable (or at least less uncomfortable) by doing so. So even if she's not 18 yet if she seems serious about this kind of thing I'd suggest to start adopting things like pronouns, and other such so she get's a taste of being a guy allowing her to better figure out if that's what she really wants or not.
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  7. First of all, trans people come in all sizes and shapes, so don't try to generalize them. They're not some chart or graph on the internet, they're individuals and everybody are different.

    Second of all, I'm going to sound kind of rude or hash, but I'm not going to sugar coat any of this. It's super important.

    When your kid comes out, or expresses anything that can be interpreted as such, you have to be supportive. You may not understand it, but refusing to acknowledge the feelings of your child, especially when they're that age where they try to create their identity, can be devastating. As a parent you need to listen closely, without judgement and without hesitation, if your child tells you they do not feel comfortable as a man or a woman. If you do not, you could end up with a child that feels alienated, denied and hated, and that never ends well. Leelah Alcorn being one of many examples why support is key. LGBT teens are much more likely to commit suicide, turn to drug abuse or self-harm because of their LGBT status.

    Another key thing is communication. With the above in mind, talk to your kid about what they feel. Some trans individuals never express any kind of "signs" (crudely put) that they are transgender. A trans man might have spent his entire childhood playing with dolls, but he's still a man. Gender stereotyping is bad, really bad. And there are no criteria about how trans individuals should behave as children or young adults, like I said, everybody are different. I know a guy who didn't realize he was transgender until he had finished school, and he loved to play with dolls and toy cars and lego and stuffed animals, but that doesn't make his identity invalid because cis people say "oh, he wore skirts and played with dolls as a child, he must not be a real trans man". It's a load of bullcock. Some trans people are afraid too, and confine themselves to activities viewed as typically manly or feminine because they want to fit in. They don't want people to know how they feel, so a trans woman can act like the manliest man because that's what society labels her as, based on her physical traits and what's between her legs.

    Anyway, about your kid. Talk to them (going to use them for the neutrality). Go to a psychiatrist or somebody who deals with LGBT teenagers and kids, because you'll get a professional and unbiased PoV. Educate yourself on the matter and talk to your husband about supporting your child, because what he's doing is toxic and hurtful, whether he likes it or not. You and your child can look up the steps of transitioning together, so you both know what it entails. On that matter, medically transitioning doesn't just happen, in most places there is a two-year waiting period (and usually there is a minimum age for medically transitioning), where they evaluate and talk to the individual before they can do any kind of medical stuff. There is also the Real Life Experience, which is the time period (usually a year) where the person has to live fully as the gender they identify with.

    Try to avoid the usual traps, like asking if your kid is attracted to men or women or whichever, as gay trans men exist. The friend I mentioned earlier? A gay trans man, he always has and always will like men over women, as sexuality has nothing to do with gender and gender identity. It's completely out of the equation. Not even relevant. The same goes for "it's a phase" thing, don't do that. It makes your kid feel invalidated and denied their right to express themselves.

    But yeah, this is really all I can say right now without writing a six-page essay or something. I deal with this stuff on a daily basis, I've got years of personal experience and I blog about this, so feel free to message me privately. I'd be more than happy to help you and answer any questions you have.
    #7 Koschei, Mar 10, 2015
    Last edited: Mar 10, 2015
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  8. Well, first off, being confused about a lack of interest "boy things" is making the huge assumption that one must be interested in stereotypically masculine things to be male. That's all pretty much irrelevant to someone's gender. Children tend to subconsciously follow societal gender expectations, especially if parents fuel that by doing things like giving girls pretty dolls and cooking things but giving boys action figures and sports equipment, but that doesn't make them male or female any more than wearing a pink shirt makes someone female.

    As for what to do, it is indeed possible that it's a phase of some kind, a sort of bump in the road to your daughter building and discovering her own identity. It's also possible that she truly and fully feels male and is absolutely transgendered. Rather than giving the quite useless "wait until you're older" response others have suggested, talk to her about it and bring up the fact that before going through with gender reassignment surgery she'd have to jump through a lot of hoops to get the OK from psychiatric professionals. Be supportive. Help her get started on this path by, as Koschei suggested, looking for a nearby psychiatrist who works with LGBT minors. If you're skeptical of the whole thing, don't worry, this isn't exactly the same thing as saying "yep, you're definitely a male, let's get you started on hormone therapy right away!" The psychiatrist would of course try to find out of it's some other issue rather than just straight up diagnosing your daughter with gender identity disorder. Whatever she's going through, be it actually feeling male or something else entirely, this is the best route to figure it out and do something about it.

    Other than that, try hard to minimize anything that might seem like you're dismissing or trivializing your daughter's thoughts and feelings. Even if you don't like it or think she's incorrect or confused, do the supportive parent thing. Go ahead and talk to her about it, but do so by asking her to try to explain how she feels so you can understand, not by asking nonsense about gender stereotypes or sexuality. You ought to also try to get your husband to at the very least not be a dick about it. If he can't manage being supportive and non-trivializing, he ought to at least be able to handle avoiding the topic and not making negative or disparaging remarks. Callous as it is, him pretending there's nothing going in is better for your daughter in the long run than arguing and fighting about it.
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  9. See, this is where I'm having a huge problem. When she finally did talk to me about it she was defensive from the very start. I didn't raise my voice, I didn't say anything that implied negativity. The first thing I asked her was if she had thought it through, and why. I'm her mother. I can't simply agree to something just because she wants it at the moment. I need valid reasons, and something more significant than being uncomfortable as a girl. I was a thirteen year old girl once too, I know how uncomfortable it is, and it doesn't get much better. I suggested that she wait, give herself some time to really consider it, and let me find a counselor after we move that will help. She exploded at me and refused to talk to me for the rest of the day. (I still don't think she's talking to me.)

    As for my husband.....he's a lost cause. He's already decided that it's just a phase and he's not changing his mind about it. In a way, I can see where he's coming from and I know I'm guilty of having trouble associating her as a he. I carried her for nine months for goodness sakes! I was the first one to learn her gender. She's been a she in my mind ever since I was six months pregnant. That's not something that I or my husband can just erase overnight. @_@

    But as I said, she's only been thinking about it for three months, and to me that just doesn't seem like enough time to consider a life altering change like that. This isn't getting a hair cut, or changing her style of clothing. This is altering her body, permanently. Three months just isn't long enough for me to feel comfortable enough agreeing to such a huge change.

    See, this is another thing. I've never been one of those parents that forces their kids into playing with certain things just because it fits their gender. She's never really been interested in toys. She's always been more interested in drawing and Pokemon. I never pushed dolls on her, and when she got them as presents from family and gave them to her younger sister's I never said a word.

    As for the psychiatrist, the moment I suggested it was when she went off on me. I told her she would need to go to one from the start, and that is when the problems started. I didn't say I was taking her to one to 'fix' her. I simply told her that she will have to talk to one to even be considered for a procedure. This is where it gets complicated, because she has had problems in the past where I've thought she's needed to see someone, but unfortunately we currently live in a shithole of a county and the closest child psychiatrist that doesn't have a six month waiting period to be seen is over an hour away. Which is why I'm waiting until we move. Not only is there more options available, but I want my husband to be involved as well, because he needs to deal with his own issues about it.
  10. This makes me feel the need to ask, what kind of sites/social circles does she tend to frequent?

    The reason I'm asking is because this could just be a natural reaction of "This is a huge decision for me" so with her both being a teenager, and being told "See a Psychiatrist" (which can quickly be interpreted as "You need help" in a moment of emotion).

    +And understanding the background and reasoning as to what caused her to react in such a way can help give you insight on her current stance and actions that may need to be taken to overcome those barriers.

    However it could also suggest exposure to one of two kinds of people:

    1) She's gotten close to LGBT communities, those where discrimination and hate from parents is the norm. So she might have been trained to expect hostility by default.
    2) I feel awful for even suggesting it, but SJW Tumblr communities. Now personally I find the odds of this one to be pretty minimal, but *if* this is the case it's something you should probably know. Because that at least gives you some understanding that the people influencing your kid could be those who want to make victim hood out of anything.
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  11. Totally agree with you there. That was one of my initial thoughts on why Nydanna's kid might have exploded.
  12. Hm, I see what you mean.

    The thing about medically transitioning is that it might take up to two years before they can start any of the procedures. Testosterone shots, top surgery and name changes all happen (for the most part, there are some cases where they went about it differently) after a year of Real Life Experience and another year of seeing a psychiatrist and/or "evaluation team". The whole procedure is essentially made so that the person who wishes to transition has to be 100% sure of themselves, and that the doctors/psychiatrists they've been seeing are sure the person is fit enough to go through it. Both physically and mentally. There are also laws regarding the age of the person who wishes to transition.

    I'm not saying you should just agree to it, it IS a major change and should be considered very carefully, but that the procedure spans years and takes a lot of time.

    Wrote this elaborate argument, but @Gwazi Magnum summed it up much better than I could.

    Since I'm not sure what kind of social climate you and your family live in, like neighbours, churches, social values and such, maybe a haircut and some new clothes is a good way to start out and test the waters. It'll provide experience and help figure things out. I've got lots of sources about binding and passing, if you want suggestions or information.

    As for pronouns, it is difficult at first. Took me a good while to reprogram my thinking, but it's more than possible given time. It's even harder if you've known the person for years, and then you suddenly have to switch from he to she or from she to them or he to xir. But pronouns are important to remember, as they can help an individual feel much more accepted and respected. Being misgendered can be very upsetting and downright dangerous.

    Still, you're the mother and you know your children, so take it at your own pace. You're a better judge of the situation than some complete stranger on the internet, though asking for advice is good.
  13. As far as I know, her main social interaction online is through Deviantart, and as far as she's admitted to, it's mostly th

    The whole thing with the psychiatrist is confusing. I tried explaining to her that before any doctor considers working with her over it, they would want her to see a psychiatrist. It's not something that I'm insisting on other than for her to be completely sure that it's what she wants. I'm not some nutjob who thinks sending my kid to a shrink is going to 'cure' her of something that's not wrong, but I do believe she needs to talk to someone other than my husband and I that she can trust about what she's going through. She keeps assuming that I'm judging her, but I'm really not. My biggest issue isn't with the change, it's how she'll be effected by it. My extended family is not nearly as open minded as I am, and the last thing I want is for their opinions to make her feel bad.

    Truthfully, I just feel she's too young and at a very awkward state to make this type of decision on a whim. If she was 18, and came to me I would be supportive, but at 13, it just seems far too young for me. I know a lot of it has to do with how I viewed things at 13, and I know that at that age there was no question in my mind who and what I was. I was a tomboy, but I never questioned the fact that I was a girl; I simply wasn't interested in girly things. I liked playing sports, and I liked hanging around with my friends playing video games. That's not to say I wasn't attracted to boys. Believe me, I was boy crazy, I just had a unique way of dealing with it. With her, it's a lot different. She considers herself a social outcast because she doesn't dress like a slut like most of the girls in her school do, and I think that's another problem. She sees all these girls her age talking and thinking about sex all the time, and she's not like that at all. It has to be confusing for her since these girls consider themselves normal and her abnormal because she's not like them.
  14. To get her to see what's up with the psychiatrist thing, tell her to go do some research on what is required before someone can undergo gender reassignment surgery. States have different requirements for various steps of the process, and at least a couple major ones usually require the OK of a licensed therapist of some sort. If I recall correctly, some states require people to have a therapist referral before doctors can give a prescription for transitional hormones, and even where it's not required most doctors won't give the drugs without a referral. The actual surgery is more strictly regulated, and a lot of places have requirements that others have described like living for a year as the desired gender while going to regular therapy sessions to make sure it's actually what you want.

    Once she actually gets that information by her own effort, it'll be a lot harder for her to rail against the psychiatrist thing. :P

    Oh, and yes, she definitely is too young to make such a decision. That's why she should have time and professional assistance in figuring this stuff out before making any permanent decision. All those regulatory roadblocks are there for that very reason, in fact.
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  15. And she thinks that boys won't be like this? XD

    I think I can safely say that boys are definitely just as filthy minded as any girl, if not more so. I grew up thinking sexual things were bad until the age of 13, where I had a terrible experience at highschool due to that mindset. I've gotten over that line of thinking now of course. Point is, I highly doubt that she'll find any groups of boys she wants to associate with being accommodating of her mindset, not to mention whether they might think less of her if they can tell she's had gender re-assignment done.

    If only based on this alone, I'm thinking she might believe the grass is greener on the other side of the fence. It might be a good idea to address her expectations over what will happen when she goes through with this. If you have any male friends you trust, perhaps get them to talk to her. I would've suggested your husband, but you've already established that's not such a good idea.
  16. This definitely sounds like something you should see the Psychiatrist for.
    They would see cases like this all the time, and would have a far better idea of if it's legitimate or not than any of us would.

    Though you still have the issue of convincing your daughter that it's not you trying to 'fix' her.
    So if you already tried explaining that to her I would honestly suggest call the Psychiatrist yourself ahead of time.
    Ask them one on one what you could try to do to convince her otherwise. Because like said earlier they see this stuff far more often.
    They probably have good insight onto how to ease people in and let help them be less defensive.
  17. I would also talk to a clergyman as well. You may disagree, but just talk to one, and it may help you.
  18. I'd be careful with that. :/

    If you're just asking a random clergyman and not someone you personally know you're more likely to get a "She is lost in sin" response than anything that would be with the intention of helping her.
  19. I'm atheist. I was raised Catholic. There is no way in hell I'd take her to see a priest that I know. They'd have her convinced she'd going to burn in hell in five seconds. @_@ Roman Catholic priests, at least the ones at my former school are not open minded at all.
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