Gender Variant/transgendered children - Mothering Forums

Forum Jump: 
Reply
 
Thread Tools
#1 of 65 Old 04-14-2005, 04:38 PM - Thread Starter
 
ThisLifeTimeMother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
ThisLifeTimeMother is offline  
#2 of 65 Old 04-14-2005, 04:57 PM
 
cmb123's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2004
Location: Connecticut
Posts: 1,468
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Your daughters are both very lucky to have you as a Mom.
cmb123 is offline  
#3 of 65 Old 04-14-2005, 07:43 PM
 
CarolynnMarilynn's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2004
Posts: 2,230
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I second that wholeheartedly.
CarolynnMarilynn is online now  
#4 of 65 Old 04-14-2005, 08:04 PM
 
Rollermommy's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2002
Posts: 1,738
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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?
Rollermommy is offline  
#5 of 65 Old 04-14-2005, 11:33 PM - Thread Starter
 
ThisLifeTimeMother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
ThisLifeTimeMother is offline  
#6 of 65 Old 04-14-2005, 11:44 PM
 
Ravin's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2002
Location: Atenveldt
Posts: 5,928
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
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.

breastfeeding, babywearing, homeschooling Heathen parent to my little Wanderer, 7 1/2 , and baby Elf-stone, 3/11!

Ravin is offline  
#7 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 12:56 AM
 
sadie_sabot's Avatar
 
Join Date: Dec 2002
Location: dystopia
Posts: 5,191
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
wow, thanks for sharing this. Your daughters are really lucky and you are very courageous.

I'm sending you a pm.
sadie_sabot is offline  
#8 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 10:00 AM
Banned
 
DebraBaker's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: PA
Posts: 5,281
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
I don't think you know just how wonderful and accepting you are because it isn't necessarily the norm.

Trust me.

Debra Baker
DebraBaker is offline  
#9 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 12:07 PM
 
iris0110's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: North Texas
Posts: 2,378
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
iris0110 is offline  
#10 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 12:29 PM
 
proudmamanow's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2003
Location: home again, home again, jiggety-jig
Posts: 2,066
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
What a beautiful story & what a beautiful family......your daughters are blessed and you are blessed by them as well....

proudmamanow is offline  
#11 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 01:00 PM
 
PoppyMama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Location: In my own delusions.
Posts: 3,305
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
That is beautiful- you are all so lucky to have each other.
PoppyMama is offline  
#12 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 01:41 PM
 
homemademomma's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2004
Location: ct
Posts: 2,934
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
thank you, mama. you are doing your daughter (and the rest of us) a huge service.

Mom to two perfect kids earth.gif  surrogate to two sweetpotatos heartbeat.gifheartbeat.gif born 4.21.11  

I love someone with ataxia telangiectasia http://www.atcp.org

homemademomma is offline  
#13 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 02:15 PM
 
Lula's Mom's Avatar
 
Join Date: Oct 2003
Location: Roswell, GA
Posts: 4,579
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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

~*Kristi*~
Tallulah Dare 8-01,  Marcos Gael 12-04, Cormac Mateo 9-09, Leonidas Ronan 11-11

Lula's Mom is offline  
#14 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 04:50 PM
 
sweetest's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2004
Location: closer to fine
Posts: 1,271
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Thank you for sharing your story - it is so touching.
sweetest is offline  
#15 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 06:38 PM
 
dharmamama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Sep 2004
Location: Bywater, West Farthing
Posts: 4,548
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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!
dharmamama is offline  
#16 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 06:42 PM
 
thismama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: Nursing the revolution
Posts: 14,356
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Wow, thanks for sharing your family's story. Sending warm thoughts to you and your daughters...
thismama is offline  
#17 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 07:15 PM
 
Selissa's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jun 2003
Location: springfield mo
Posts: 1,636
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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
Selissa is offline  
#18 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 07:39 PM
 
TiredX2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: it appears to be a handbasket
Posts: 20,475
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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

 

 

TiredX2 is offline  
#19 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 10:50 PM
 
JavaFinch's Avatar
 
Join Date: May 2002
Location: WI
Posts: 525
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
JavaFinch is offline  
#20 of 65 Old 04-15-2005, 11:06 PM
 
jackson's mama's Avatar
 
Join Date: Apr 2003
Location: Not quite sure these days
Posts: 987
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
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.
jackson's mama is offline  
#21 of 65 Old 04-16-2005, 09:10 AM
PM
Banned
 
PM's Avatar
 
Join Date: Nov 2001
Posts: 3,707
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
*
shared dd's experience...decided not to at this time.
PM is offline  
#22 of 65 Old 04-16-2005, 09:23 AM
 
lynsage's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jul 2004
Posts: 1,244
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
There are a lot of great mamas on MDC, but I believe that you are truly exceptional. What an outstanding mother you are. To put your daughter's interests before what some people might think is a brave act of mama power.

I seriously do not have words. Except just thank you for being here. Thank you for being in the world and doing the right thing for your kid.

and dharmamama, ma vie en rose is my favorite movie too!
lynsage is offline  
#23 of 65 Old 04-16-2005, 04:29 PM
 
girlndocs's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Location: discreet, my @ss
Posts: 4,265
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 1 Post(s)
Wow.
girlndocs is offline  
#24 of 65 Old 04-17-2005, 07:31 PM - Thread Starter
 
ThisLifeTimeMother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by dharmamama
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!
I agree Dharmamama, Ma Vie en Rose is beautiful. I saw it quite a few years ago. Maybe about a year or so before my daughter declared herself, but during the time where I was watching and waiting and wondering. I certainly saw a lot of my daughter, in the beautiful child in the movie. I watched it with an adult transgendered woman friend of mine, who had transitioned quite late in life. She felt it was like watching her childhood played out before her eyes. Complete with the awful reactions from the people around her.
ThisLifeTimeMother is offline  
#25 of 65 Old 04-17-2005, 10:18 PM
 
maya44's Avatar
 
Join Date: Aug 2004
Posts: 2,600
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Also, have you read "She's Not There"

Very interesting written by very funny college prof who went m to f transition after he already had a wife and kids.

Mostly very upbeat and will make you glad your dd transitioned when she did.
maya44 is offline  
#26 of 65 Old 04-17-2005, 10:29 PM
 
TiredX2's Avatar
 
Join Date: Jan 2002
Location: it appears to be a handbasket
Posts: 20,475
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by maya44
Also, have you read "She's Not There"

Very interesting written by very funny college prof who went m to f transition after he already had a wife and kids.

Mostly very upbeat and will make you glad your dd transitioned when she did.
Thanks for the suggestion. Getting it from the library.

 

 

TiredX2 is offline  
#27 of 65 Old 04-18-2005, 04:39 AM - Thread Starter
 
ThisLifeTimeMother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by jackson's 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.
I haven't found anyone to work with us with regard to hormones at the moment. I live in Australia, where there is, to my knowledge, one psychiatrist in the Country who specialises whith children with gender issues. From what I've read of her, she's great. But we haven't seen her yet. We're hoping to make the trip (8 hour drive) some time in the next few months. I'm hoping that she can then advise us on endocrinologists, though I also fear that there won't be one willing to work with us.
It seems from what I've read that with young children, if they can start hormone blockers before puberty, they won't develop the secondary sex characteristics of their biological sex. This, of course, makes life much easier in adulthood. One great thing is that it isn't a permenant change, so there's much less pressure. If they find later in their teens that they aren't so sure, they can stop taking the blockers and the effects are reversible. They will begin a delayed puberty for their biological sex.
We still have a few years to find an endocrinologist for my daughter, and I suppose we will have to look overseas if we don't find one here (I say, shuddering - single homeschooling mum with minimal income....)
A year or so ago there was a very public case here in Australia of a 13 year old boy (FTM) who was a ward of the state, who gained permission through the Family Court to begin hormone treatment to prevent menstruation and further feminisation. The media went wild, and a lot of the response was just so closed minded and ugly. It makes it that much nicer to hear from such open and accepting folk here and in the other cyberspaces I roam.
Jenn
ThisLifeTimeMother is offline  
#28 of 65 Old 04-18-2005, 09:42 AM
 
HoneymoonBaby's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2004
Posts: 1,639
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Jenn, do you ever wonder if 7 is too young to make such a life-defining decision? I mean, I hear you saying that it's not a decision, but then you go on to say that hormones aren't permanent, and that's a good thing in case your child later on decides he or she is not so sure. So I'm a little unclear on if you think it's a decision or not.

Also, are you going to change your child's name to something more traditionally feminine, since that's the preference being expressed?
HoneymoonBaby is offline  
#29 of 65 Old 04-18-2005, 09:43 PM
 
BumbleBena's Avatar
 
Join Date: Mar 2005
Location: Sunny FL
Posts: 2,087
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneymoonBaby

Also, are you going to change your child's name to something more traditionally feminine, since that's the preference being expressed?
I was going to ask that same question.

I'm glad your children have such a supportive mama.
BumbleBena is offline  
#30 of 65 Old 04-19-2005, 12:28 AM - Thread Starter
 
ThisLifeTimeMother's Avatar
 
Join Date: Feb 2005
Posts: 30
Mentioned: 0 Post(s)
Tagged: 0 Thread(s)
Quoted: 0 Post(s)
Quote:
Originally Posted by HoneymoonBaby
Jenn, do you ever wonder if 7 is too young to make such a life-defining decision? I mean, I hear you saying that it's not a decision, but then you go on to say that hormones aren't permanent, and that's a good thing in case your child later on decides he or she is not so sure. So I'm a little unclear on if you think it's a decision or not.

Also, are you going to change your child's name to something more traditionally feminine, since that's the preference being expressed?
No. I don't think it's a choice at all. I'm a lesbian, and I knew it when I was 6 or so. I think we all know lots about ourselves as young people. It just doesn't always compel us to make ourselves known to others. The attraction of comfort and acceptance is something familiar to children and adults alike. And then there are the issues and the individuals which call for self expression and acknowledgement so clearly that they can not be ignored.

My daughter is one such person, and her issue (in truth our issue - it belongs to us all) is one of those situations in which negating one's experiences is so often felt as negating one's self. Insufferable.

While I'm not placing this opinion on anyone here, I so struggle with the attitude often found in the dominant anglo culture that says that there is some clear and definitive point at which a child becomes a person who can know their own mind and their own experiences. In my experience of parenting, I've never seen such a point emerge. My children have been conscious and expressive beings since birth.

I mentioned the reversability of the hormone treatment actually in an attempt to address others' potential fears about just this issue. No, I don't think 7 is too young to live out one's personal truth. But I know of myself that my life has taken me through many life altering and affirming transitions after which, when I look back at the lense through which I was looking before, I barely recognise it any more. The one gift I value highly in my life is the capacity to change myself and my understanding of everything, as many times as such changes arise, wherever they may take me. I hope both my girls inherit such a gift from my parenting. Or maybe it's the gift they brought to me?

Will my daughter change her name? She doesn't want to change her first name, and where we live it's commonly used as a girls name anyway. Her middle name is a 'male' name. She will change it legally whenever we get around to it. My other daughter doesn't like her middle name either, and will change it also at the same time. But either of my children are welcome to name themselves.

Hope this clears up the mixed message of my previous post.
Jenn
ThisLifeTimeMother is offline  
Reply

Quick Reply
Message:
Drag and Drop File Upload
Drag files here to attach!
Upload Progress: 0
Options

Register Now

In order to be able to post messages on the Mothering Forums forums, you must first register.
Please enter your desired user name, your email address and other required details in the form below.
User Name:
If you do not want to register, fill this field only and the name will be used as user name for your post.
Password
Please enter a password for your user account. Note that passwords are case-sensitive.
Password:
Confirm Password:
Email Address
Please enter a valid email address for yourself.
Email Address:

Log-in

Human Verification

In order to verify that you are a human and not a spam bot, please enter the answer into the following box below based on the instructions contained in the graphic.



User Tag List

Thread Tools
Show Printable Version Show Printable Version
Email this Page Email this Page


Forum Jump: 

Posting Rules  
You may post new threads
You may post replies
You may not post attachments
You may not edit your posts

BB code is On
Smilies are On
[IMG] code is On
HTML code is Off
Trackbacks are On
Pingbacks are On
Refbacks are Off