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Discussion Starter · #1 · (Edited)
About a week ago, our son, who is 5, told us that he wanted to wear girls clothing. He says that he wants to have a vagina when he grows up, and that he is a "woman in a man.". My first thoughts were that he may be transgendered. We asked him a bit about it, and then took him shopping for girls clothing. Then I started researching the subject on the internet. My initial reaction was to let him be his authentic self, and as this whole thing plays out, time would tell us if "he" is, indeed, a "she."

However now there are some more complex observations at play. Other than this liking for "being a girl and looking like a girl" he seems really masculine. The other characteristics common to transgender children are missing. He is pretty macho, and pretty chauvinistic. His mannerisms are definitely male. He likes soccer, airplanes, and bikes, motorcycles, and plays equally well with both sexes, with a preference to other boys. My concern is that he has a family history that is very likely to have included sexual abuse. We recently adopted him (along with his biological sister), and there is a history of molestation in the family of origin. While the adoption authority did not identify our children as having been sexually abused, neither, it seems, did they really look into it. Both my children have explicit sexual knowledge beyond their years. And at this point, having done a bit more research on the gender identity issue, and observed my son for a bit longer, I am wondering if rather than being transgendered, this "gender issue" might actually be due to feeling safer as a female, or wanting to distance himself from identifying with the role of a family male abuser.

And here is where I find myself struggling-- I'd like to find someone to counsel either him or us (parents), or both (parents and child). I understand there are two camps of psychology on this-- the "help the child learn to accept and become more comfortable with their physical gender camp" and the "help the child express who they truly are camp." My husband and I both belong in the "help the child express who they truly are camp." However, I am beginning to suspect that our child may actually need help of the "become comfortable with your physical gender" type. (If he is trans, we want to support her in that). If he is not trans, but experiencing difficulties with accepting his own gender due to not wanting to identify with a sexual abuser,--then we want to help him become comfortable in his own skin again.

While I think he most likely needs help to become comfortable with his gender, I would not feel comfortable working someone who approaches ALL gender identity issues from the angle of "helping the child accept their physical gender." We want to uncover, not stifle who he truly is, and if he is transgender we don't want to have it "stamped out of him." I also have some concern to the other side, that we need someone who can actually help us, with the "comfortable in your own skin" thing without being too eager to push him too much one way or the other.

I realize that both children will likely need assistance for sexual abuse, and we will consider those needs, however, specific to this issue-- we could really use help and advice on who we might talk to, and what we might read. We live in a Latin American country with rather poorly educated professionals, and so are subject to that complication. I would greatly appreciate any advice, and I'd especially appreciate responses from parents who also have a child with gender identity issues, or who have experience with specific gender identity therapists, but I really appreciate any advice.

Thanks ever so much!
Mamalari:x
 

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Discussion Starter · #3 ·
My concern is that he has a family history that is very likely to have included sexual abuse.
I would look into this before anything else. You want a healthy child no matter the gender.
Yes, a healthy child would seem an obvious concern for us, and I mention in my post that we plan to address the possible abuse.-- I had hoped that would be enough to keep the thread on track. -- Saying "look into the abuse," is not as simple as it seems. Children who have experienced extreme trauma are not open books and do not "disclose abuse," merely because a parent or therapist wants them too. They do it in their own time, bit by bit, as they feel safe and comfortable doing so. Despite having access to a therapist on a regular basis, my child chose to reveal his gender concerns to his family, not his therapist. Perhaps I was not clear enough in my original post, I think that the gender issue may be linked to sexual abuse, and may be a doorway into my child sharing that sexual abuse if it exists. I go on to say that if he is genuinely a transgender, then I am okay with it-- but the whole reason for the post, if I did not make it clear, is my concern about the possibility that the issue might instead be a symptom of sexual abuse.

So hopefully someone has some recommendations, as I don't want lack of a suitable professional or proper knowledge on any of our parts, as parents, to negatively impact his psyche, and I don't want abuse to be missed if it is there.

Mamalari
 

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Discussion Starter · #5 ·
I'm sorry I did not answer the question the way that you wanted. Sorry.

You didn't answer wrongly, and I appreciate your point of view. I think we are in agreement. Your advice amounted to the exact reason I had posted in the first place. Because I wanted to find a therapist / and or information on uncovering whether I was looking at abuse or a "normal" trans child. To me, I never would have occasion to post in the first place, if not for the fact that I want to address the issue of possible abuse, but with finesse for the rest of my child's possible psyche. Therefor your advice to just pursue the issue of abuse, seemed redundant to my question…that of trying to get help in the event that he was abused, and sensitive help at the same time… So I was pretty sure I needed to better clarify. If I confused one person, I suspect I confused many.

Mamalari
 
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