My DSD is a transgirl-a girl in the body of a boy. She realized this at the age of 11, and she's started living as a girl this year, when she began high school-so I don't think this is a phase. I feel very alone, like I'm the only parent having to go through something like this. We live in a small town in Australia, so we have a unique situation where we live. Is anybody else going through the same situation, with a transsexual child, or is a transsexual person themself?
I'm not, but I did want to post and say how great it is that you are accepting and open-minded about this! You hear so many horror stories of teens who feel rejected by their parents due to LGBT issues its really wonderful to hear from someone who's answer wasn't "Kick her out of the house and our lives".
No personal experience but sending you hugs. We are a theatre family and so know countless gay individuals of all ages... some more flamboyant than others, some more feminine than others. I've worked with some transexuals in the past and come across some around the county (we live in a smallish town within a huge county.) I know it's not totally the same but I can understand how iscolating it all is to have a child who is so openly different.
I highly reccomend a theatre community if you can find one for your child's age though I know that may not be possible in your area. They tend to be incredibly welcoming to unique individuals. The arts in general tend to be more embracing to differences of all sorts.
Big hugs to you and I'm sorry I don't have more to offer.
I am a transsexual and have always been presenting a gender different than the one people presumed I was. I didn't start living in my gender of choice until right before I became a parent, so I don't have much help to offer you as someone who was "out" in school, but I was always seen as a tomboy or different than the rest. It was really hard, but I think it's easier now since the whole anti-bullying thing in the media has been going on, and now that just being gay isn't such a stigma, I think kids are more open to gender/sexuality differences. My 13 y.o. DD has a friend at school who is transgendered (FTM) and he's actually kind of a player, he's dated like 4 of her friends and it's kind of funny that he's more desirable to these girls than a cisgendered boy :) Of course, we live in a liberal city (in a state that's overwhelmingly conservative, albeit), so it's probably not as common where you live, but I think society is finally at a place where transgenderism is becoming more and more accepted among educated/liberal/urban folks.
When I was coming out, I found a lot of help on message boards and a lot of friends who were mostly late teens/early twenties coming to terms with their gender identities, some of which even were out in high school. I think your daughter would benefit from talking to other kids in her situation, even if they are miles and miles away. I only ever met one of these friends I made online, a number of years later, but I still remain friends online with many of the people I spoke to many years ago, and I can always count on them when I'm having trouble with the legality of my gender and other related issues, so it's a great resource to utilize. Livejournal has a plethora of groups for transpeople also, many just for teenagers and other young people. I think there is also a less active group for parents, but I'm sure there are other sites with more active members. I have a couple of friends with young children who are gender bendy, another friend whose son is best friends with a trans boy, and know of a few out there in my girls' social groups, so you're definitely not alone.
I will say though that it's much easier to deal with transition young, so maybe it's a blessing in disguise and your daughter will have an easier time assimilating into the workforce and not have a paper trail leading back to her former identity, something which always haunts me and many of my friends. Let me know if you have any more specific questions I might be able to help you with, and good luck to you both!
Welcome to MDC, Kylie ... I just wanted to pop in and say "thank you" for being such a supportive parent to your trans child. My ex husband is trans (FTM) and my partner is genderqueer, and many of our friends fall somewhere along the gender spectrum. For several years, my ex and I were foster parents to a young trans boy (FTM) when his parents were unable to support him and nurture him. He lived with us from age 11 to 17, and fully transitioned during that time. There is so little support and a general lack of understanding in the world at large, so your daughter is very bless to have your support, even if you sometimes find yourself struggling with the understanding piece. I wish there were more parents like you!
Thank you all for the support! I too have heard horror stories about transsexuals being 'thrown out' by their families...I fear that this may be what dissolved the first marriage of my DH that produced DSD, I've met his ex before and she seems very cold towards her daughter and refuses to accept that she's not her son, which worries me. I'm also not sure how DSD is treated at school-now that she's in the age where they start communicating with the parents less, and when the school starts communicating with you less, I might not be aware of any problems.
At the beginning of next year we're moving to a larger city. There's no theatre program here (though DSD is a lover of the arts, and started a theatre group at her school, which has become pretty popular so far) but there probably will be one over there, I'll look into that!
I'm also afraid about what this may mean for my DD. As well as DSD being transsexual, DD2 is 2E and PG, and we're TTC4. I try and give all my children equal attention, but between her other two sisters I'm afraid DD1 may be getting lost in the shuffle.
There was a really powerful story on US National Public Radio a couple of years ago: http://www.npr.org/2008/05/07/90247842/two-families-grapple-with-sons-gender-preferences
You might want to listen to this before having her listen, but she might get some comfort in the idea that she's not the only one. Given where you live, it's probably unlikely that you'll find a therapist who would help, but if you can, it might be good. Since it sounds very much like you want to support her, make sure you clearly check the credentials of anyone who you use for therapy.
There is a whole host of issues with hormone therapy and surgery that you may have to broach sooner, rather than later, given that puberty is just around the corner. You might look up what the resources are in the town that you're moving to.
After I read that article you linked, I called DSD over to check it out, and this is what she said:
"That's pretty interesting. I don't understand that Zucker guy, how he made Bradley act like a boy, threw away all the dolls. He should be allowed to play with what he wants to play with. I played with dolls when I was little, and I loved the colour pink, and if Zucker had done to me what he did to Bradley, then I don't know what I would've done-probably tried to kill myself, to be honest with you. Jona, she reminds me of me, she's even described as looking a lot like me, except she's a lot shorter. I wish I was short. I wish I wasn't six foot. Even guys usually aren't six foot at this age. I wonder if if my dad's ex (DSD doesn't refer to her mother as her mother) wasn't a transphobe I would be a lot more like Jona? Like...Wore dresses as a little kid, and stuff like that."
to everyone saying what an awesome parent you are. My girlfriend is trans. I think that as far as transitioning goes, the earlier the better, in terms of getting better physical results and not wasting years living as the wrong gender. DP transitioned/is transitioning fairly young (mid twenties), but she wishes she'd done it earlier.
I don't know what (if any) medical treatment your DSD is having or wants in future, but the most difficult thing about transitioning as an adult is having to reverse the effects of the testosterone from puberty, so if your DSD can get testosterone blockers now (if she's not already on them) it could make her life much easier in the future.
There are probably more trans people in your community than you think. With the right medical care, most trans people don't stand out as being trans. DP's been on oestrogen since January '10 and had facial feminisation surgery (FFS) last summer, and you would never know she wasn't born female-bodied. When DP first started living as a girl (pre-FFS), she'd get looks in the street because she was trans. Now she gets looks in the street because she's hot (can I say that on MDC? ).
As for the height thing, my GF is 6'1 and it doesn't really cause a problem. I'm 6'1 too, and I'm cis. If she's still growing, T blockers might stop her growing more.
Transitioning is hard, for the person transitioning and for their family, but it gets easier. When DP first came out, the whole trans thing seemed to consume our lives for a while. But over time, and especially since FFS, being trans has become less and less a part of our lives.
Your DSD sounds awesome and sure of herself, and you sound like an awesome, supportive parent, but don't be afraid to seek help for yourself if you need it. Your DSD's really lucky to have you
That's wonderful how you're supporting your daughter! I don't have personal experience (except for being part of the arts community a long time), but the local nature resort I work in over the summer just hosted a weekend conference for gays, bisexuals and members of the transgender community that was organized by our provincial association of Mi'kmaq nations, as the first nation communities look at gender identification differences as a matter of being two spirited? How do the First Nations of Australia look at these matters. I'm wondering if you can find some support within their communities.
Hi, I know this was posted a while back but hope that you still get a chance to read it...
A couple of weeks ago I saw a documentary called "I am Jazz: a Family in Transition." I don't know if you have heard about this or not, but it was an extremely powerful and insightful look at a family in the U.S. who has a daughter who is transgendered. The documentary covers issues about puberty, school, bullying, harassment, etc. If you haven't seen it, I strongly suggest it.
Here is a link to a very short article and video clip of this beautiful girl---who started dressing like a girl (born male) when she was only 5 years old. Hope this helps some.. You are an amazing mom.
You are awesome for accepting her and seeking support. I have many queer and trans friends. One of my best friends is ftm trans and works for an organization for trans youth. Check out the website here: http://www.imatyfa.org/ There is a TON of great info there. Another thing he suggests is checking out PFLAG if there is something like that where you live.