Yes, we definitely feel blessed to have her as our daughter. We have learned more about patience, acceptance, and unconditional love because of her. I am a better person for seeing her strength as she needed to be very courageous to tell her how she was feeling, and to know that transitioning meant starting over with new friends.
I've had a question about changing your name in the chat. You'll have to refresh the page and login with only your first name if that's what you wish to be displayed. I can post questions, too.
A question from Pam: Our teenage grandson has just come out as a MtF transgender. Where can we get information on how to support in the best way possible...and what's needed for his parents to advocate at school?
Yes, it is something we think about constantly. We don't use our last name or real last name. We have a great new supportive group of friends who know about our daughter and have offered to be with us if anything were to happen. We are friends with several police officers, have lawyers on speed dial, and have taken many other precautions that I don't want to get into in a public forum. But we still think it's important to speak out because if we don't, who will?
When a child exhibits those sorts of behaviors, it is important, essential to know how old the child is. If a child states emphatically that she is a girl and wears this clothing etc. it is best as a first step to take her/him to a gender therapist to do an evaluation and diagnosis.
That is a very difficult question. First of all, all transmen and women can be attracted just as the general population is to women, men, both or neither. We have no statistics on whether or not transmen, for example, are more attracted to men or women. What we do see in our practice is that transmen are more likely and commonly attracted to straight women.
@justme: From Debi and Caroline; Are you in the KC area... this would help them better answer.
@justme The Kansas City Missouri School District has an incredible policy in place regarding transgender and gender-variant children. It is being used as a template for districts across the country. Using it as a foundation is a great way to broach the topic with your school's administration. Caroline will have more specifics...
Debi, Thanks so much for mentioning the KC School District. They get a score of 100!! Other school are Shawnee Mission District, Olathe, Olathe and Pembroke. There are other smaller schools as well. We feel that education in the schools via training and mentoring is the best way to establish safety for the kids who are trans. We train admin, faculty, staff and students, so that they understand clearlly that bullying is not permitted.
This is a question from Facebook; Male or female...why should children have to feel like certain things are gender specific? Obviously these parents did the whole pink and purple princess thing for their little girl...did they do only ships and pirates when "she" was a "he"? I personally think pre-puberty is too early to make decisions on gender assignment and sexual preferences. I don't doubt that many kids would prefer princesses over pirates and other "bad" guys.
We followed our daughter's lead in getting her pink and purple items as that was her preference. Today her favorite color is orange. She wears princess dresses while shooting Nerf guns and playing with superheros. She is a tomboy transgender girl. We did not, and do not, label things as "boy" or "girl" items or interests. We encourage both of our kids to think outside of societal gender stereotypes. To the other part of your question, though, gender identity is formed around the age of 2 or 3. It is something that does not change. So no matter what our daughter's interests from day to day or year to year, she is still consistent in her statement that she is a girl. And sexual orientation and preferences have nothing to do with gender identity, so we are still waiting until puberty to know which orientation she will be.
It's important to look at the rate of attempted mutilation and suicide in very young children. They suffer with anxiety and depression from their gender dysphoria and it is important that we listen to their cries for help. It is essential to remember this a medical condition and not a choice on the part of the parents.
Therapy at our organization is in line with our part of the country. We offer pro bono services to those who have no resources and sliding scales to others who are in need. We feel that answers the needs of the whole population seeking therapy.
Support things like the non-discrimination ordinance that was just voted down in Roeland Park on Monday night. Send letters of support to politicians, particularly conservative Republicans and express your interest in seeing equal protections offered to the LGBT community as a whole. Proactively talk to school boards and youth organizations in your area about getting trained so that when — not if, because it WILL happen — a transgender child needs their services, they are ready to hit the ground running. And add positive comments to FB and blog posts. We see so much misinformation and negativity that knowing people will stand up for us and our kids is great! :-)
My apologies for the audio issues. We'll begin re-answering questions now. First up is pinkshell's question @ 1133a. 'Is there any research that follows the effects of testosterone on FtM individuals? I've found older studies, mostly done abroad. Are there current studies that we could volunteer for? Thanks.'
The female-to-male individual when on testosterone has the risk of developing uterine cancer. That is solved routinely by a hysterectomy given a number of years 2-5 or so after beginning testosterone. There is a wonderful OB-GYN at KU Med who does all of our hystos.
The next response will be to Raymond's question @ 1137a. 'Could you describe your initial interactions with your child's pediatrician? Were they supportive? Were those interactions frustrating? How could primary care pediatricians become better at helping families like yours?'
Our pediatrician has been in practice for 30 years and has never met a transgender child. She was able to tell us that our daughter's statements were out of the realm of "normal" imaginary play and provided us with recommendations for psychologists. However, even after going back with a letter stating a diagnosis of Gender Dysphoria, each time we see her, she asks if we are "still doing this" with our daughter. They have been good about using correct pronouns during appointments, but I'm not sure we can stay with her as our pediatrician as we get closer to puberty.
The next response will be to Marie's question @1140a. 'Just wondering if you have any resources specifically for younger siblings dealing with an older sibling (20 years old) that recently came out as transgender. Also, are there specific ways to help a transgender adult child when they are job-seeking. Thank you. '
For a younger sibling the best technique we've found is to include them in the transition as helpers aThnd small advocates themselves for their brother or sister. We find, ironically, that children who are friends and siblings of transkids are much more easily able to deal with the transition than are adults. We work very hard in family therapy to make what we call a "team" which includes all siblings and parents. For older children looking for jobs, I am making the assumption that you are concerned about this child being discriminated against because of his or her younger trans sister or brother. You will find that their are a host of corporations, stores etc. that have gender-friendly policies. We suggest that you go to Human Rights Campaign (HRC) on the web to search for the best companies.
Even though my face has been everywhere lately, we are trying to preserve her privacy as much as we can by using made-up names. The group of people we are friends with now have been very supportive and help protect her privacy, so as long as we can keep her face and name off the internet, she still has a good chance of being "in the closet" as she grows up. I am very optimistic about the future, though, as more and more colleges are adding protections and even medical coverage for trans students. This generation is so much more accepting that I don't see her having the same problems that even older teenagers do right now.