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My son wants to be a girl (update, #33, not good)

post #1 of 104
Thread Starter 
No, really. I don't think this is a "stage." I am looking for similar experiences and how the mamas handled this.

He is five and a half years old. Ever since he was old enough to walk, talk and express an opinion, he's wanted to wear mama's clothes and shoes. Wanted to carry a purse. Been interested in dolls and fairies and flowers and butterflies and princesses and all things... well, girl.

Now, while it doesn't concern me in terms of trying to change him or anything, it does concern me when it involves the way he interacts or is treated by others. To compound matters, he has Asperger's, so his socialization skills are already completely jacked up. He just can't relate to ANYONE.

And it really doesn't help that his very favorite outfit is a white sundress with cherries printed on it, accented by a purple headband.

Seriously, this child has, from the very beginning, been interested in whatever you'd expect a girl of his age to be drawn to. He was a pirate for Halloween two years ago, and the only pictures I have of him, he was sad and almost crying because his dad wouldn't let him be a princess instead. He has also started to insist that his name is "Adrienne." (The reason for this choice is that he pointedly asked me what I would call him if he had a girl-name - which I took to mean, what would I have named him had been BORN a girl - and I told him Adrienne... so he's decided that's now his real name.)

Just tonight, he was watching the Olympics and told me he was going to jump and dance on that long stick like the girl he saw (women's gymnastics, balance beam). I encouraged this as he showed me how he would jump and twirl, and then he started detailing the beautiful pink leotard he would wear, complete with sparkles and lace. We began to talk about the differences in clothes between the girl and boy gymnasts... and between him and his sister. I pointed out that he had a penis like his baby brother, which made him a boy, and his sister had a vagina like me, which made us girls.

"But, I'm a girl," he said (and he says this often, like every day). Then, something new, "I have a vagina, that makes me a girl."

"You have a boy's body, and a penis," I reminded him. "Like your baby brother."

He looked thoughtful, then his sweet face lit up and he exclaimed, "When I grow up, I am going to have a vagina and be a girl, too!!"

This little guy has always wanted to be a girl. I don't want to change him, don't ever, EVER want him to be ashamed or feel he has to hide his true self from the world. But, I don't know how to do this. He is so young. Only five, and how do you explain to his seven year old friend and his same-age classmates that his wanting to wear a dress and play Princess instead of Space Explorers is okay? How do I tell him he looks beautiful in his new dress... but then tell him he can't wear it around his uncle (who is extremely uncomfortable with this) or out in public?

I hurt for my sweet child. In my heart I feel he was assigned to the wrong body. But to guide him through this life and try to shield him from the hate and confusion he will be faced with... while simultaneously dealing with his autistic issues... I just don't know how to do this.

Is there anyone out there who has dealt with this??
post #2 of 104
Hi mama, couldn't read and not respond.

There are some real wise mamas with kids just like yours on this board that I am sure will be along soon to talk with you.

In the mean time, this blog is really good - http://labelsareforjars.wordpress.com/ - its by an MDC mama...


Also I think that you need to put your childs comfort in front of his uncles and the publics, I understand you want to protect him from harm, but forcing him to smething other than himself may be just as damaging.
Maybe you need to just embrace the whole thing, let him wear what he wants and call him Adrienne if he wants you too....There will be no harm in it...
post #3 of 104
Might get some flack for this. But have you thought of just letting him be a girl? When he's not at school and Uncle isn't around, just let him be Adrienne?

I don't know how big of a community you live in, but if it's big enough, there's really not much of a chance that strangers will really notice in passing that you have a son, just a girl with short hair.

Quote:
In my heart I feel he was assigned to the wrong body. But to guide him through this life and try to shield him from the hate and confusion he will be faced with...
The first part. That puts you ahead of so many parents who have to deal with this. Your feeling the same thing he's feeling.

The second part there, unfortunatly is impossible. This world is just not set up for people like him and no matter how hard you try, there will be hate and confusion. The best thing you can do is accept who he is and hope that together you can both be strong enough to handle it.
post #4 of 104
I couldn't read this and not offer a

It's wonderful that you are already supporting him. I wish I had some words of wisdom for coping with the outside world. Perhaps you could let him know that some people feel more comfortable with strict "rules" about what girls like and can do and what boys like and can do, and that those people can make life harder for those who understand that boys and girls can both like the same things and to look the same way?

Are there any little girls his age or perhaps a bit younger who could be playmates? In my experience, girls are happy to have another dress-up partner and are less threatened by boys who also like dress-up.
post #5 of 104
PFLAG

Check out this link. not saying your son is gay just cause of his gender, just that these people are awesome and would be a great place to start.
post #6 of 104
My DS is 6 1/2 and has always exhibited a strong feminine side which I have not discouraged. Over time I have heard opinions from most everyone on the how and why of his behaviors. I have allowed both long hair and wearing dresses and am fortunate enough to work from home and home school so I may not have many of the issues others would face. I do wonder if his behavior means that he is transgendered. I have heard of children younger than Chris that verbalize that they are girls in a boys body. Chris will tell me he likes looking like a girl and playing like the girls and being friends with the girls but he has not stated he wants to be a girl. So I am not sure where it is all headed in the long run.

I do know this however. I adore my child and he or she is happy and healthy. Be careful of anyone that would ask you to force something on your child such as "making " him become more boyish. Several times I almost allowed the opinions of others to alter how I raise him. Even to the point of cutting his hair short which now I thank goodness I did not go through with. I honestly believe it would have been horribly traumatic and we both would have been miserable. I would allow him to act and look the way he is most comfortable. If like us that means wearing dresses or having really long hair so be it.

I am still new to these forums and it was such a relief to realize that there were others in my situation and even more supportive of how I am raising my child. I am sure you will find all the support you need here. I know I am!
post #7 of 104
I have a lot of trans friends, both mtf (male to female) and ftm (female to male) as well as a bunch of other friends who identify outside the binary gender spectrum.

And not one of us, myself included, felt accepted by our parents. We were forced into gender normative hobbies, or allowed to do the ones of our choice but continuously told how odd it was. So, already, the fact that you're willing to accept this puts you lightyears ahead.

You may have an effeminate son, and you may have a daughter. Either way, love hir, show hir that offer nothing but love and support, and if ze expresses interest in playing football, let hir play football, and if ze wants to do ballet, and wear the same leotard as the other girls, find a dance studio that will let hir do that. Let hir know that you are on HIR side, always. When ze goes to school, let hir wear a pink sparkly top if the school says no way to wearing dresses. Let hir go by Adrienne if that's what ze wants, even at school. Believe me, if I have a friend who got teachers to call her Kiwi for eight years of public education, I think you can manage with Adrienne.

Things may suck for your kid at times. However, they will suck more if you don't support hir.
post #8 of 104
My DS is 4 1/2, as Aspergers and has loved to wear girl clothes, dresses, loves pink and flowers (which I don't see any of that as being "girl" stuff at this age, except for the dresses) want to wear dresses out in public....he even told me once "Well, I was *supposed* to be a girl, but i'm not!"

I dont' make any deal out of it. Tell him he can wear what he wants at home and can choose equally comfortable but appropriate clothing out in public and let it go.

I don't discourage or encourage or comment on it in any way really. It comes and goes. I'm just letting him find his own way and if people criticize or say anything I tell them to leave him alone.

DS loves to do traditionally "feminine" things but there are lots of men who do and they don't have gender or sexual orientation issues. And if my DS does, I don't care, I love him anyway.
post #9 of 104
I couldn't agree more with the PP. I'd be tempted to register hir under the name and gender of hir choice. And to deffinently do it in the higher grades if this remains an issue. Years ago there was a movie called "Something Special" and while it has alot of magic dust and wishin stars in it, it deals with gender assignment and sexuality. You might check it out, if you can find it. I'd try u-tube, it's got alot of obscure movies that I can't find anyplace else.
P.s. Sometimes.. I still wish I was a guy.
PPs. I'm namin' my baby after Cap'n Tighpants.
post #10 of 104
My feeling on this issue given what I've seen with my own son and with several children that were in my classes when I was a teacher is that *If* its just a stage and he is going to grow out of it, than letting him work through it by dressing and acting and being a girl when he wants to lets the stage be worked through soonest and with the least trauma, and if its not a stage than there is no point in NOT letting him dress and be a girl because its not going to change.

But its great you are so accepting, but despite our best intentions I don't always think its easy to put aside our own expectations. Getting support from parents going through the same thing would probably help, especially for your DH who seems a bit less comfortable.

Is where you live generally accepting of such differences or not? That can be hard. Here there are so many children dressed in gender neutral ways that it is no big deal to see what is clearly a little boy in a dress, or a girl with super short hair and construction boots, often I can't tell what gender a child is all the way up til puberty here so this would be no big deal even in school and I can't imagine a school here putting up a fuss about just treating him as a girl if that is what he wants but it's not like that everywhere. I would be careful about that and make sure he wants that and understands it might be hard to change in the future..once the kids know him one way it would be harder to make a switch.

Oh and spelled "Adrian" its cutomarily a gender neutral name anyway
post #11 of 104
I remember watching Oprah (I'm pretty sure it was Oprah) and she had a family on who's story sounds just like your son's. The parents were wonderful. They decided (not an easy decision they stressed) to let their son be the little girl he wanted to be at around the age your son is now I think. They too saw his heartache to be a girl so many times. The one I remember was a video of him watching his sister’s ballet recital …. very sad.

I think the mom started an online support/info site and gets quite involved with helping other families in the same situation.

Maybe you could find the story on Oprah's site. It was most likely on between Oct 06 and Oct 07 (when I was on maternity leave with my son and had nothing better to do during nap times …)

I hope you find some support from mommas in the same situation; it is always so nice to know you’re not alone.
post #12 of 104
I don't have time right now to make a longer post, or I would, but I just wanted to offer you a link...
http://www.transfamily.org/
...has a ton of resources on it that you can peruse if you wish.

post #13 of 104
I also don't have time to post, but we're in the same situation. My son is 6.5 years old and wears dresses sometimes.

What we decided to do was take each day as it happens and respond positively but most of all LISTEN TO our child. Asher knows who Asher is. I'm just along to love him through it.

post #14 of 104
Quote:
Originally Posted by ziggy View Post
You may have an effeminate son, and you may have a daughter. Either way, love hir, show hir that offer nothing but love and support, and if ze expresses interest in playing football, let hir play football, and if ze wants to do ballet, and wear the same leotard as the other girls, find a dance studio that will let hir do that. Let hir know that you are on HIR side, always. When ze goes to school, let hir wear a pink sparkly top if the school says no way to wearing dresses. Let hir go by Adrienne if that's what ze wants, even at school. Believe me, if I have a friend who got teachers to call her Kiwi for eight years of public education, I think you can manage with Adrienne.

Things may suck for your kid at times. However, they will suck more if you don't support hir.
: My aunt was born with a penis, and she went through years and years of anxiety, psychological issues, suicide threats and attempts, etc before coming out to her parents and others. Since she began living as a female, she has been so much healthier. She still has social difficulties (I would bet on undiagnosed aspergers), but she is so much better than she was for the first 40 years of her life. My grandparents have been awesome and accepting.

Stand up for your child, allow him or her to present as s/he wishes -- even in public, in school, and among less accepting family members. In the long run, the worst that could happen in doing that is that he will be male and roll his eyes at the way you "let" him dress when he was young.
post #15 of 104
I listened to a story earlier this year, on NPR about 2 families with sons with strong feelings about being girls. Each family followed their own paths, both so moving. You can listen to it here:
Part 1
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=90247842

Part 2
http://www.npr.org/templates/story/s...oryId=90273278

The part of the story, where the father talks about a elderly female relative's reaction at a family reunion, had me in tears, I had to pull the car over (happy tears!)

I'll never forget this story....and these children...
post #16 of 104
You might also be interested in watching the documentary series "Transgeneration" which is carried by Netflix.
post #17 of 104
Wow, you're an awesome mom and are doing so much good for him. I heard that same show on NPR I think there is more and more awareness slowly creeping into our society that this is a real situation for many children and they and their families need support. You sound like you have a wonderful child!
post #18 of 104
I think this is truly awesome that you are acknowledging this and supporting your child.

I have a very good friend who was born in a male body, but many years ago fully transformed to a female. She is older, and one of the pioneers of the transgender surgeries she has led an amazing life and she is someone I respect very much.

Her Mother was wonderful like you and allowed her to be the girl she knew she was... come middle school and high school, she went to school as a girl and wore dresses and grew out her hair and went by her chosen name.


I would say to let "him" be a girl. You as the parent can know for sure if it's a phase or not, and it does not sound like that to me... the happy news of technology is that he can grow up and have a vagina.

She will have the social crap to deal with sadly, as not everyone can seem to open their silly eyes yet. But I think it will already be infinite times better with a supportive family.

I would recomend looking into counseling... I know once she is of age they will make her do that before gender re-assignment anyway... I'm not saying counseliing to change her... but to document that this is what she wants and to help deal with the social perils she will face on this journey til she is old enough to make the reassignment happen.

God Bless, Mama.
post #19 of 104
I also have a transgendered/ transsexual friend who made the transition as an adult. I think if your ds is transgendered it would be so much easier to start that transition as a child. My friend says exactly what you said about your ds that she was born into the wrong body.

A great movie about a young boy dealing with this and his family (a movie for adults) is "Ma Vie En Rose". I thought of it too because the boy in the movie says a lot of the same things as your ds.
You sound like a wonderful mom
post #20 of 104


Kudos to you, Mama, for dealing with your child with love and respect.

I have a DS (5.5) who is, as his kindergarten teacher described it, "a bit feminine" (she wasn't being negative). He loves pink and typically "girl" things (though I get uncomfortable with how gendered all those descriptions are) and is also a typical "boy". I love him, his father loves him, and we'll love him if he's gay or transgendered or whatever. He's never said he wanted to be a girl. Just that he wants to grow up and marry a boy! Think that will be easier on me as a MIL??
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