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post #61 of 65
I just read this thread and am in awe of you amazingly sensitive, tolerant, respectful, attached mamas.

I was noticing in some of the posts about a boy's obsession with girly clothes and hair, the absolute need to wear girly colors, throwing a fit at getting a haircut, etc., and I was wondering if this WERE a girl, would we view this behavior as odd or peculiar? Beause the honest truth is I think most people wouldn't, but I sure would. If my dd were obsessed with wearing pink tutus and cried when I put her in shorts or pants or freaked out if I gave her a haircut because then she wouldn't be a girl anymore... I would be really, really concerned. As though I or "society" (but probably I) were somehow communicating to her that to be loved and valuable in this world, she has to be a Princess Barbie or something, kwim? In fact, that's part of the reason I don't let my kids watch TV or flip through magazines lying around with ads in them, because I don't want my kids thinking they have to act sooooo over the top stereotypically one gender or another. I don't know if I'm making sense. : But I was trying to think about it from that perspective and it made me wonder what the source of the uber-girly fixation was... obviously the kids are transgendered, but does that make a need to wear makeup and frilly clothes as a young child OK? I was wondering if you can be transgendered AND not a gender stereotype -- e.g., a biological male child who wants to be a girl but wears normal playclothes and climbs trees and gets dirty and all the things we (most of us) hope for our girls. Does this question make sense? Or is there something different about being transgendered where for the child this IS their only way of putting on a new skin.
post #62 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by minkajane
Jemima! Lots of loves!

There was a bit on the news this morning about a 5-year-old girl who was born a boy. The school refused to allow her to go to school as a girl, even though she and her parents had known for a long time that she was a girl. Unfortunately, most of the responses were negative "They don't know at that age" and whatnot. There were a few supportive ones.

It's so sad that children are given so little credit. They know who they are and who they're not. Why can't we just accept them at their word? If my DS decides that he wants to be a girl for a week, fine, he can wear dresses and be a girl. If he figures out that he really is a girl, fine, he's a girl. Taylor is my child no matter what gender. Why does it have to be so defined?
Hi Mandy,

If this is the little girl in Broward, Florida I think I read about about her on the the web the other day. She has claimed to be a girl ever since she could talk and her parents were hoping to enrol her in the school as a girl. The article I read was dated May 31 06, and I doubt there could be two so close together.

When I showed the article to Jemma, her reaction was "Lucky thing, I wish I could go to school as a girl."

It is so sad when "officialdom" is so hidebound that they fail to take into account the v iews of the person concerned, child or adult. The poor little soul must be devastated by the news. Jemma knew she was a girl when she was 2.5 years old, and at least when we were in Scotland she could look and dress in a girlish manner (albeit in a boy's kilt) and go to nursery school do dressed.

Jemma's just come in in her nightie to say goodnight before she goes to bed and she wants to send you a message:

Hi Auntie Mandy, Thank you for the message. you’re really really cool. How sad about the little girl, I wish I could send her my love. I got to go to bed now. Lots and lots of love and kisses, Jemma

She's determined to have it in pink, Mandy! She's a great fan and posts a lot on the BBC's children's boards (www.bbc.co.uk/bigtoe and click on message board). She is thrilled that one of her threads has had over 200 replies; it's all about whether you prefer skirts or trousers! She loves it because she can be herself.

Well I shall have to go upstairs and read them their story and settle them down. Jemma and Alison share a room now and we have a lovely cuddle while I read to them. They are perfectly able to read for themselves, but the love being read to and it makes bedtime very special. I do the same for the boys. When my mum's staying with us she shares the reading with me.

Morag
Mum to Alison Jemima Dugald : and Alasdair :
post #63 of 65
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
I just read this thread and am in awe of you amazingly sensitive, tolerant, respectful, attached mamas.

I was noticing in some of the posts about a boy's obsession with girly clothes and hair, the absolute need to wear girly colors, throwing a fit at getting a haircut, etc., and I was wondering if this WERE a girl, would we view this behavior as odd or peculiar? Beause the honest truth is I think most people wouldn't, but I sure would. If my dd were obsessed with wearing pink tutus and cried when I put her in shorts or pants or freaked out if I gave her a haircut because then she wouldn't be a girl anymore... I would be really, really concerned. As though I or "society" (but probably I) were somehow communicating to her that to be loved and valuable in this world, she has to be a Princess Barbie or something, kwim? In fact, that's part of the reason I don't let my kids watch TV or flip through magazines lying around with ads in them, because I don't want my kids thinking they have to act sooooo over the top stereotypically one gender or another. I don't know if I'm making sense. : But I was trying to think about it from that perspective and it made me wonder what the source of the uber-girly fixation was... obviously the kids are transgendered, but does that make a need to wear makeup and frilly clothes as a young child OK? I was wondering if you can be transgendered AND not a gender stereotype -- e.g., a biological male child who wants to be a girl but wears normal playclothes and climbs trees and gets dirty and all the things we (most of us) hope for our girls. Does this question make sense? Or is there something different about being transgendered where for the child this IS their only way of putting on a new skin.
Periwinkle, your post made me think about a few things, mostly that I think it becomes more obvious for children born in 'male-bodies' who present as 'over-the-top' female. Not every trans-woman/girl is ultra-feminine, but they are usually more noticeable. (others, happen to be more stealth, and maybe don't recognize it as early as the others who cannot comfortably wear what they'd like to comfortably wear. There are plenty of girls born with girl bodies that think it is a crime that they can't wear pink frilly dresses all the time. While that may not be your preference for a child, I like to beleive children are so diverse, and to some that is more comfortable.)
On the other hand, I am reminded of guys who were born with a 'female body', like my partner. He says he only once wore a dress -- to high school prom -- and would have preferred to wear a tux then. He dressed in 'boy's clothes' as a child and no one thought much of it. (Heck, I mostly wore boy's clothes as a child too.)
I guess this thread speaks to the diversity of gender expression in all its forms. As an anthropology student, I often sit and wonder why dresses and skirts are so-deemed feminine in our society, when kilts, togas, and other varieties of 'dresses' and 'skirts' have been worn by 'men' cross-culturally and throughout time -- especially by warriors, interestingly enough.
Anyways, enough of a segway!
I am so glad this thread exists! I wish Jemma, and all other similar children, lives filled with understanding and love, as has been demonstrated on this thread!
post #64 of 65
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post #65 of 65
Thread Starter 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Periwinkle
I just read this thread and am in awe of you amazingly sensitive, tolerant, respectful, attached mamas.

I was noticing in some of the posts about a boy's obsession with girly clothes and hair, the absolute need to wear girly colors, throwing a fit at getting a haircut, etc., and I was wondering if this WERE a girl, would we view this behavior as odd or peculiar? Beause the honest truth is I think most people wouldn't, but I sure would. If my dd were obsessed with wearing pink tutus and cried when I put her in shorts or pants or freaked out if I gave her a haircut because then she wouldn't be a girl anymore... I would be really, really concerned. As though I or "society" (but probably I) were somehow communicating to her that to be loved and valuable in this world, she has to be a Princess Barbie or something, kwim? In fact, that's part of the reason I don't let my kids watch TV or flip through magazines lying around with ads in them, because I don't want my kids thinking they have to act sooooo over the top stereotypically one gender or another. I don't know if I'm making sense. : But I was trying to think about it from that perspective and it made me wonder what the source of the uber-girly fixation was... obviously the kids are transgendered, but does that make a need to wear makeup and frilly clothes as a young child OK? I was wondering if you can be transgendered AND not a gender stereotype -- e.g., a biological male child who wants to be a girl but wears normal playclothes and climbs trees and gets dirty and all the things we (most of us) hope for our girls. Does this question make sense? Or is there something different about being transgendered where for the child this IS their only way of putting on a new skin.
Hi Periwinkle,

My transgender (tg) girl isn't strongly into 'girly' (stereotypical) stuff all that much, and both my girls mostly wear the shorts I make them out of the fabric they choose. They play very physically most of the time. People would see my tg girl as a 'tomboy'. Some girls are more 'feminine' than others, but in any case what is defined as 'feminine' is culturally laden, as is the interpretations and values placed upon things once thus labeled. I tend to think of it as 'some people prefer adornment and have a fine appreciation for beauty and like to apply it to their self expression, others have other things they apprectiate or value and adornment and finery play a smaller role in their personal expression;.' Sometimes my girls dress 'girly', sometimes they don't. They think boys are missing out if they're not allowed to do so also.

But when it comes to gender expression and transgender issues in particular, 'femininity' and 'masculinity' in expression come into focus from many perspectives, and with many agendas. Why gender expression matters and how it's 'done' are complex things.
To put it in context, parents who are dealing with young tg children are faced with huge social and legal pressures around their choice to support their children's perceived 'gender bending' expressions. Children have been and will continue to be taken from loving, supportive families by state authorities who see this support as child abuse. Family members and community members often have a great deal of difficulty understanding the choices of we parents who support our young children's transitions to their true gender expression.

At the same time, all of our children are growing up to some extent (with a lot of variability) with many social influences on how they perceive gendered expression. On top of that there are simple (is anything really simple: ) matters of personal preference.

Psychiatrists who make assessments of adult tg people with regard to giving them approval for sex reasignment surgery have, in the past and probably somewhat still, placed alot of importance on mtf people needing to be 'feminine' and ftm people needing to be 'masculine' to convince them that they are for real. Most tg people I have encountered have, through need, played the game to get the approval they needed to get their surgery cleared. Hopefully things have or are changed/changing.

My point is, that it's such a vexed issue that you have raised. I hear your support and that you're trying to get your head around it, but maybe there just isn't 'one' answer or explanation or anything simple to be said in response. What is at issue is so complex that the most simple bottom line is hearing, seeing, loving, supporting and acknowledging our kids exactly as they are. Maybe time will tell us more, and maybe not. Life makes some mysteries to keep us humble and willing to learn - in my opinion anyway.

Thanks for your words of support, and for your curiosity and interest.
Jenn
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