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Gender Identity - cross post - sort of an update in post 8

post #1 of 11
Thread Starter 
I originally posted this in The Childhood Years. It was suggested that I cross post here. I'm not sure if this is the right place or if it is only for LGBT parents. I guess people here might have some special insights though. Here is the post:

I'm starting to think this is no longer a 'phase'

DD is 6 Yo. She has insisted on dressing like a boy for 2 years now. It's not dress up, it's an obsession. She will not (like meltdown time) under any circumstances wear anything that might be even slightly construed as gilrly. This includes any item of clothing that might have even the smallest hint of pink or purple in it. If it comes from the girl's section of the store, she won't wear it - even if it's a plain pair of jeans. She doesn't yet realize that boys wear different underwear, so we've been ok there.

She only plays with 'boy' toys. Trucks, cars, starwars etc. If it's pink, forget it. Play food is too girly etc.

She is now at the point where she is hating on me because I'm a girl. She says she needs to be a boy and is very angry with me because it's the one thing I can't fix for her.

Is this still a phase?
post #2 of 11
Hey there,

Its hard to say if its a phase or if its somethig more. Many girls go through periods like that in their lives, some of them turn out to be lesbians and some do not. Sometimes, it can be a result of having been through an experience where a girl feels like she was "hurt" or disadvantaged because she is a girl. It can be something traumatic like sexual abuse but it can also be something seemingly non-traumatic, like being passed over at school for sports teams in favor of boys...

Sometimes it can also be the first signs of someone who truly and deeply feels that s-he was born in the wrong gendered body.

Basically, I dont think you will really know until she really knows... and at this point, its probably not something that is clear for her either ! Time alone will tell. you might like to read this blog, its written by a mother going through something similar with her son. She posts on here so maybe you could talk it over with her ?


Whats most important I think is to respect your daughter's deep wishes... what you are describing sounds like its a pretty important issue to her... I would respect that and simply see where the journey takes you. It is my belief that no matter how you react, if its something deeper than a simple dislike for girl colors, you wont be able to change it anyway... if she is going to be a lesbian or if she is going to be transgendered, thats not a choice and therefore its not something that is shaped by parenting. The best gift you can give her is to truly and deeply respect her identity.

All the best to you and to your daughter !

post #3 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thanks I'll check out that blog.

I think in society, it's easier for a girl to be masculine, than a boy to be feminine. She gets a lot of - oh, how cute, she's a tomboy...in that sense, I think as far as society's concerned, she'll have an easier time...on the other hand, it's got to be so hard not to feel validated.

I really don't care what she turns out to be. We don't push or pull in any direction. She wants to wear boy clothes...fine, we shop in the boys dept. We buy her cars and trucks instead of princess crap...Makes no difference to me. My issue is her anger. It breaks my heart - She's angry at me because I'm a girl and I think she feels that I am responsible for her being one too...like I chose it for her (I hope that makes sense). She's also angry that I can't fix it...I mean I fix everything else..she can't understand that I can't make her a boy too and fix it.
post #4 of 11
Sorry if this seems rushed, I'm in a hurry but I couldn't not post! This is a great book: http://www.amazon.com/Transgender-Ch...1398934&sr=8-1
Also, can you join with her in her anger? Help her to see that it's not that you won't help her, it's that you and she can find the path to feeling better together? Maybe if you can find a way to help her explain what would help she'll see that the two of you can be a team and figure it out together. I would imagine she's getting to the age where she notices differences between herself and other "tomboys" and probably doesn't feel validated when other people blow off what is, for her, a major expression of something that she is feeling inside.
Unfortunately, there's no way to know now who she will be when she grows up and that can be even more intimidating and scary for her, or exciting and thrilling.. hard to say.
As she gets older you may want to be in touch with Children's Hospital Boston's Gender Management Services (GeMS), not just because you may be looking for medical treatment, but also because they have an amazing social worker who can answer so many questions, and they also have a great psychologist who can help decipher what makes sense for her.
Good luck!
post #5 of 11
Was it ever a phase?

My daughter is 5(yesterday!) and Transaffirmed. We have no doubts, but we have been on this road for a while now. She wasn't even 3 when we first noticed signs. It started with pink crocs, and the rest is history(yup, evenher underwear is pink these days). For a while we just let her lead the way and this is where we ended up. When she was barely four, we asked her is she was a boy or a girl, she answered clearly, girl. One enlightening moment was when she asked me why I didn't give her a vagina. I had no answer.

I feel like I have no choice but to support her. She is my child and I want her to be comfortable with her body, and her self as a whole. I could think of no reason to push her to act as a boy, besides to make other people more comfortable.

Most trans people know very early on. But also keep in mind that most gender nonconfirming people do not end up identifying as trangendered.

I second the recommendation for The Transgender Child, it's an excellent book.

As Michael Franti says, "every flower's got a right to be bloomin'".
post #6 of 11
I just want to say, that if they "need to be a boy", then, for all intents and purposes, they are a boy. Perhaps you have a son. This is an issue of gender (girl/boy, woman/man) - not sex (female/male). Perhaps later it will also become in issue of body/sex. But for now, it's about gender. It wouldn't be so hard if the gender binary weren't so explicitly and absurdly defined for us.

This is a hard thing for parents to accept, and it must be so hard for you, but perhaps the kindest and most loving, most accepting way to respond to your child is to ask them if they want to use male pronouns and to comply with their wishes. That is a good way to show them that you are REALLY listening. Too bad it's the hardest thing to do as a parent in a transphobic society - listen to a child that is speaking to you about gender.

This looks like a good website on the subject of trans families and trans (or potentially trans) children.

for you and for your child.

post #7 of 11
It's so hard to parent in this world - you want to keep your baby safe from everything hurtful, and you went them to be true to theirselves. I can relate to your struggle. My son, also 5, while identifying very much as a "boy", LOVES pink and purple, dresses, and sparkly things. Always has. His father recently came out as genderqueer and is considering living as a woman. And the kid's got 2 lesbian moms. This world we live in.... sometimes it all just feels a little bit much.

Some great resources I've discovered over time:
http://microcosmpublishing.com/catalog/zines/1885/ Hatch, Mister Sister - about a mom's fight to advocate for her trans kid. Sweet, moving, and inspirational.

http://www.translategender.org/resources.php EXCELLENT kids' books and resources overall.

Good luck!
post #8 of 11
Thread Starter 
Sort of update

Thank you all for the relies and links.

School started today, I'm holding my breath to see how things went. DD was not a happy camper this morning though.

I've spoken to someone recommended by our local PFLAG chapter. She tells me I'm doing all the right things. She doesn't want to speak with DD at this point (worried that unless this reached crisis, seeing a shrink (her words) will just make her feel more broken than she already feels). She has recommended that we take a wait and see aproach as we work through the beginning of the school transition and if her anxiety increases or decreases once she's settled with her new teacher and friends.
post #9 of 11
Fyrestorm, I'm sorry, but I will have to disagree with the person you spoke to at PFLAG. My daughter is transgender (MtF), and speaking with our psychologist helped a great deal with her negative feelings! If you have any transgender friends (if not, perhaps there is a local transgender support group?), I might try asking them if there is a particular psychologist that they found helpful, since some psychologists are NOT the most trans-friendly and could do more harm than good. My partner and I visited with our daughter's psychologist first before we let her see our child just to make sure.
Please let your child use male pronouns and change their name if they want to. It can make a HUGE difference in depression and anger. I know it sure did with ours! Feel free to PM me about this as well.
post #10 of 11
Thread Starter 
Thank you - let me give you a bit of background on the broken thing and why I think she might be on the money at this point.

DD was diagnosed with a lazy eye. She went through about a month of depression (wouldn't go to any activities - swimming, gymnastics, afraid to go to school, wouldn't even agree to playdates etc.) because she got it in her head that she was broken. Whenever something is 'wrong' with her, she gets incredibly anxious.

Right now, she's in a pretty good place with her situation. Things have improved since my OP as far as her coping skills and acceptance by those around her and she is feeling much more comfortable in her skin. School has just started and so far she is adjusting and making friends with both boys and girls as well as maintaining relationships with kids from her kindergarten that are in different classes this year, She's getting along well and has an amazingly understanding teacher. (we spoke with the teacher before school started and she's been an angel thus far) She's fine with DD just being who she is. So far do good
post #11 of 11
It doesn't have to be something that's "wrong" with her though... It could just be that she's an extra special person. And really, being transgender or gender variant is a normal, albeit somewhat rare, phenomenon. It's really important to look at all the options when you're thinking about what's best for your child, and a psychologist can help parents think about all those options too.
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