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Gender Variant/transgendered children

post #1 of 65
Thread Starter 
I've noticed that there seem to be recurring threads about 'atypical' gender behaviour in young children. I wanted to share my families story, but wasn't sure where to put it.
I am the very proud mother of 2 girls. One 9 year old 'bio fem', and a 7 year old mtf (male to female) transgendered or gender variant child.
My youngest girl was never the typical 'boy'. She is highly gifted and has always been well beyond her years in her speech and communication. By the time she was 3 or 4 she was referring to herself as a 'girl-boy'. She only ever role-played girls, and loved wearing her hair up, in scrunchies, lots of beads around her neck etc. She mourned the fact that she didn't own skirts or dresses, then when we gave her some, she was unhappy that we discouraged her from wearing them to preschool. By this time I was starting to have an inkling that I didn't, in fact have a son. But I also thought that maybe he just liked what gets thought of a girl stuff - but that that distinction is arbitrary and sexist. I wrote an article for a uni magazine about 'boys in skirts'. 18 months or so later, my 'son' made the extremely courageous move of telling me that she was, in fact my daughter, and that she'd always known she was a girl. She did this despite the fact that she believed I wouldn't love her any more. As far as she was concerned, there was just no longer any choice involved. She had to be honest about who she really was. I am fortunate that I had sufficient experience with such issues that I was able to be immediately accepting and loving and reassuring for her.
Over the next year or so, she 'transitioned', first at home, and then at preschool. To be honest, it was hard retraining myself to call my daughter 'she'. But her obvious relief at being truly accepted and seen made the effort far easier than it might otherwise have been.
Both my girls are now homeschooled. Life is very ordinary in most ways. My younges has (and probably will always have) issues to deal with every now and then that other girls don't. But they are far less than the issues she would be having if she had not been able to tell me, or if I hadn't embraced her self knowledge for what it is.
There are many such children out there. Largely they remain invisible because their parents protect them as much as possible so that they might have 'normal' lives, like every other kid.
I hope that parents who are uncertain about their child's gender identity, or who's children self identify as having some degree of gender variance can take that first sometimes difficult step of seeking out information and support. While the message boards here can be supportive and encouraging, I think it is helpful in this case to have the support of others who are going through the same issues.
I am happy to be contacted by anyone with sincere questions or comments. I'm not open to debating my actions in parenting my child. I have no doubts and have no time for anyone with an agenda other that that of learning and loving their way through what can be a challenging journey.
post #2 of 65
Your daughters are both very lucky to have you as a Mom.
post #3 of 65
I second that wholeheartedly.
post #4 of 65
I agree too, what an awesome mom!

I do have a question though, and pardon my ignorance, but I'm not sure I understand what "transgendered" or "gender varient" means?
Can you enlighten me?
post #5 of 65
Thread Starter 
Transgendered, to me, refers to individuals who's body is seen as biologically one sex, but their experience of their gender identity is of the 'other' sex. For example, my daughter has what would be considered a 'normal boy's body'. As far as I know there is nothing cromosomally different between her and other children who are physiologically and intrinsically male.
There seems to be certain situations where transgendered (tg) is used and where it's not, though I'm by no means an expert, and I think to some extent it's an individual thing. I use 'transition' (as in she transitioned at 5) to mean the shift from living as perceived by others as male, to being perceived by others as female. Of course, as with gay/lesbian/bi/queer people, that 'coming out' process is ongoing and multi-faceted. But with my daughter there was a definite day of 'from today I want to be seen as the girl I am'. Some transgendered people and others in that field though, seem only to use 'transitioned' as having had sex reasignment surgery. Others don't. At this stage my daughter doesn't know if she wants surgery at any point in her (adult) future or not. Hormones are the upcoming issue for us at the moment.
If one looks to the DSM (whatever no. it's up to - 5?) transgenderism is still listed as a 'disorder' though I've heard it may not be in the next update. At the moment my daughters identity might be refered to as Gender Identity Disorder (GID). I don't believe she has a disorder. I believe she and others like her are a natural part of the expression of human identities and experience. She told me recently that sometimes she feels like a misformed puzzle piece that doesn't quite fit. I tell her that if all of humanity were a jigsaw puzzle it wouldn't be complete without her and others like her. She is a gift to us all.
To emphasise that I don't believe she has a disorder, I use the term 'gender variant'. Her experience of gender is outside that of the vast majority, but by no means is it unique. She is part of the variation of human existence.
Thanks for the positive words and also for asking for information. Gender variance is such a 'hidden' reality that I believe the more people who know even a little bit about it, the better place this world will be for my daughter to grow up in.
post #6 of 65
Last week I participated in the annual Day of Silence protest at my university. This is a protest in which Gay, Lesbian, Bisexual, Queer, and Transgendered students and their allies take a vow of silence for the day to protest the silence and fear many of us had to face while growing up, and continue to face because of hatred and bigotry against GLBTQ folks.

Thank you SO MUCH for making sure that your daughter will never know that silence, at least within the circle of her own family. Your support and acceptance will give her much needed strength to be who she is in the world.
post #7 of 65
wow, thanks for sharing this. Your daughters are really lucky and you are very courageous.

I'm sending you a pm.
post #8 of 65
I don't think you know just how wonderful and accepting you are because it isn't necessarily the norm.

Trust me.

Debra Baker
post #9 of 65
Wow, what a great mamma you are. Thank you for sharing so much wonderful information. I hope that if in the future one of my children should come to me with similar feelings I will be able to handle it as well as you have. I will definately remember what you have shared with us.
post #10 of 65
What a beautiful story & what a beautiful family......your daughters are blessed and you are blessed by them as well....

post #11 of 65
That is beautiful- you are all so lucky to have each other.
post #12 of 65
thank you, mama. you are doing your daughter (and the rest of us) a huge service.
post #13 of 65
What a beautiful story. The other day I was thinking about something along these lines. My daughter loves to hold hands with one little girl she adores. On Wednesday we had a playdate with my friend's son, and they were holding hands too. My friend and I joked that they made a cute couple, but then more seriously marveled that we don't know yet what the future holds for our kids. They may be straight or gay, and we agreed that either way was fine with us.

But I wondered how exactly to let my daughter know that I would not be upset by any way she identifies herself (even transgendered, but that is clearly not the case with her.) I want her to grow up knowing that I think people are who they are, and I'll accept and love her whoever she is. I guess I think it goes beyond just the usual love and acceptance children know they have from us- after all, I'm sure your daughter knew you loved her, and yet she thought that would all change when she revealed that she was not a boy.

So what can I do or say as she grows up to let her know that I'm fine with whoever she turns out to be, and she can feel comfortable sharing herself with me? Should I just say that, and if so, when? She'll only be 4 in August, and since she has no gender or sexual conflicts at this time, she wouldn't understand me yet.

Or maybe just seeing me casually being accepting of different kinds of people as she's growing up is enough? But I just really want her to KNOW that she can come to me.

Am I making any sense? :LOL
post #14 of 65
Thank you for sharing your story - it is so touching.
post #15 of 65
Have you seen the movie Ma Vie en Rose? If not, you should. It's my favorite movie.

You rock. Your daughter is so extremely lucky.

Namaste!
post #16 of 65
Wow, thanks for sharing your family's story. Sending warm thoughts to you and your daughters...
post #17 of 65
as a genderqueer person..who never ever was acknowledged or accepted as a child..and instead had all manner of girlie stuff foisted on her constantly...as well as being made to feel..wrong...

i must say thank you! thank you for being such a wonderful and understanding mother...what a wonderful gift you have given your daughter.

i am literally in tears over here...your words are so touching
post #18 of 65
Thank you for sharing the story of your family.

Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
Have you seen the movie Ma Vie en Rose? If not, you should.
That was my same reaction (the movie is "My Life in Pink" in English--- about a young boy who *knows* he is a girl):
http://www.amazon.com/exec/obidos/tg...s=dvd&n=507846
post #19 of 65
Your child is very lucky to have you as a mother. I know the road ahead may hold challenges for your daughter, but I wish her a life of love, of acceptance, of happiness and security in who she is as a person.
post #20 of 65
What a wonderful story - thank you for sharing it. Your daughter is blessed to have such a loving and open-minded mama .

I'm curious (if you don't mind me asking)... you mention hormones. Have you been able to find someone in the medical field to work with you? I would think it would be hard to find a pediatrician to prescribe hormones in a situation like your daughter's, but I know there must be a few out there who would be sensitive to her issues. Just wondering if you've got a supportive medical person to help out.
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