PUTTING 2 + 2 TOGETHER (ADVICE FOR PARENTS)

Lately, there have been a number of stories about young children, as young as 4 to 6 years old that have come out as Transgender, feeling like they are not matching up with the gender they were born with.

The stories you hear about are still far from common. There are 2 reasons for this: 

  1. It’s rare.
  2. There are many others that for some reason can’t share their feelings, or they do and the signs are mis-read.

I was talking to a friend yesterday about this as even in adulthood, the signs are often misread or just ignored. People look – but they don’t SEE.

I worked in an office environment and I finally hit the internal wall and had to do something – so I let my hair grow (it had always been VERY short) I started painting my nails all of the time (all kinds of colors), I got my ears pierced and wore turquoise studs in them. I shaved all of the hair off of my arms and hands, I wore a silver and pink bracelet with a pink heart dangling from it and a matching heart necklace with a silver letter “L” hanging from it (For my soon to be legal female name “Leslie” as neither my first or last male name even had that letter in them.) I even wore mascara to work more often than not. On casual Fridays, I often wore tight “Miss Me” boot cut jeans with rhinestones on them. My reading glasses that I wore every day were women’s and were either pink or purple embellished.

So, picture that if you will.

Were the signs there? Hell yes they were! Did anyone ever put 2 and 2 together and get the right answer? Nope.

Some might have thought I was gay but since I was married to a woman I guess they ruled that out. Most just thought I was eccentric or perhaps dealing with a midlife crisis. A couple of times someone asked what the “L” stood for. (Instead of remarking on why I was wearing such an obviously girly necklace) There was a sales manager that once referred to me in a department head meeting (oddly not in a negative way) as “Batshit Crazy”).

I was also on hormones and growing breasts right before their eyes, but nobody noticed. They were just too focused on their own lives, which was fine with me. I wasn’t trying to draw attention to myself, what I wanted was a sense of peace in my head. The point is, the last thing someone thinks when they see these things, if they see them at all, is that the person is Transgender.

We just aren’t on anyone’s radar. What we are doing just isn’t conceivable.

Now, imagine being a little kid.

As an adult I have access to resources that I didn’t have as a small child. I have the Internet to read up on what these feelings mean and can speak with skilled counselors. I can articulate exactly what I am feeling and can alter my destiny to achieve the changes which will quiet my inner demons.

A common argument from parents who are uncomfortable with the idea of their child not being the gender the doctor declared them to be at birth is to say “wait and see.” Once my child is 18 and more mature they can decide for themselves with more perspective.

Here’s the reality: Your child knows who they are at a very early age and if you listen to them, they will tell you. But the single biggest reason not to “wait and see” with your transgender youth is puberty. If you wait until 18 with a transgirl, you are sentencing her to a variety of changes she doesn’t want:

Beard growth that can’t be stopped. Only removed painfully through electrolysis or laser. It’s expensive and most importantly, no girl wants a beard.

Her voice will lower to that of a man. That is horrific for a young girl.

She will experience a physical growth spurt that will give her now androgynous body the size, shape and musculature of a male. No girl wants that.

Breasts can be achieved later with hormones or surgery. But the above effects are irreversible.

All of this can be prevented if caught in time. If you want to “wait and see” then get your child to a therapist who is experienced in working with gender variant children. They can most likely recommend a doctor who can provide medication to stall off puberty if you want to buy some time. The blockers are 100% reversible. As soon as the blockers are removed, your child will enter puberty.

Just know this: the suicide risk for Transgender kids is higher than any other single group of children.

If your child is interested in things that are stereotypical of the other gender, that doesn’t mean you have a child that is Transgendered. They may just be curious or are expressing their sense of creativity. But if this activity persists into the tween years…more than likely your child is Transgender.

Please know that, as a parent you have done nothing to cause your child to be Transgender and nothing you have done or will do, will prevent it. So love them and help them get the care they need to lead happy productive lives. Please don’t become your child’s first bully.

Chances are, if your daughter is a tomboy or your son got ahold of a Barbie and seems to like it, odds are hugely against them being Transgender.

I would only suggest that you at least allow that to be one of the many possible outcomes. Your child may come right out and tell you, or they might be like me; quiet, shy and sensitive; a dreamer. My teachers throughout my education would comment that I was a dreamer – the thing is, nobody ever asked me what I was dreaming of.

The signs were there all along.  They just never put 2 + 2 together.

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