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Guest Kat C.

Major doubts on my part- is this normal?

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Guest Kat C.   
Guest Kat C.

I am the mom of a transgender 18 year old FtM. I struggle with gender pronouns so please be patient with me if I slip and use she/her. Kris came out to us as transgender in August and left for college shortly after that. We have had a very difficult time all around. I am trying my hardest to be understanding and supporting.

Kris represents himself as a boy even though all this college stuff has a girl name. We are trying really hard to use the correct name/pronouns. He sees a gender therapist near his campus. Kris was home for winter break and it's the longest stretch of time I have spent with him since he told us about this.

Here's my problem-

My gut is telling me that this isn't the right thing for him. He doesn't seem happier having told us and his friends. He seems to be distancing himself from his old friends, most of whom knew about him probably before us and seem to be accepting. He seems convinced that the only way he will be happy is if he has top surgery/takes T and so on. He wants facial hair. He wants a deeper voice.

The issue is that he has always tried to manipulate situations/tests/conversations- you name it- to get the outcome he wants. When he didn't want to be part of math competitions, he threw the test so he didn't qualify- HE WAS 7 YRS OLD!!! And he admitted it. He has told me when he takes aptitude tests, he's always trying to figure out how to answer to get the results to say what he wants.

He has always been like this and I'm afraid that after being badly hurt in a breakup with her boyfriend 2 years ago, she's just searching for something/anything to make her happy and this is what she thinks will do it. Sorry- HE> He told me this week that his therapist said he might be ready for T soon.

So, inside my head I'm screaming that this is all WRONG and a huge mistake and the logical part of me wonders if, in reality, it's just the mom in me mourning the loss of my daughter and not wanting to accept the truth. Are my doubts normal? Or is my gut instinct (which has always had an amazingly spot on accuracy for being right) telling me that something not quite right?

ANd I know I should be talking to a therapist but I'm not there yet.

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angels wings   
angels wings

Im a wife of a wonderful person who is mtf i too understand ur feelings thy r very confusing . I dont understand how it will feel as a mother but as a wife i do and i think its very similar in the fact that we are like grieving the person we knew and thy r changing before our eyes . I found personaly the more i read about it and tried to educate myself the easier its becoming . I dont have alot of experience in this area but i just want to offer my support (((hugs)))) hang in there mama just love and be there for him

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Drea   
Drea

It is a tough one Kat. To feel some loss, to experience an empotional process as if it is a loss wouldn't be uncommon..

As a long time observer, all I can say is that it is not uncommon for there to be inconsistancies. Just because it isn't uncommon doesn't mean anything in your childs situation.

You mentioned your child was saying his therapist said he would be ready for T soon. Well that leaves a great deal open for interpretation and it sounds like you are hearing this second hand.

Is it possible for you to have therapy sessions yourself with your child's therapist? I would expect the therapist to not be able to share things about your child, but you can discuss your feelings. Maybe you can have some sessions with your child?

I will admit the manipulative nature you mention would cause me concern, but how much of that perception is from your own beliefs? How much is a result of a reaction to something you are doing. Discussing it in therapy can help resolve those things.

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~Brenda~   
~Brenda~

Dearest Kat,

Make no misunderstanding, being transgendered is nothing but serious. It is irrelevant as to what your child behaved in terms of throwing tests at 7. Forget about that. Let's focus on the here and now. I think that it is wonderful that Kris is seeing a gender therapist. That is key for making the right next steps. If Kris's therapist has diagnosed him with GID and recommended Hormone Replacement Therapy, then I think that is really the best thing for him. I do hope that he is working with an endocrinologist with his hormone treatment. Speaking of which, are these costs falling on you?

Kris is not trying to overcome a breakup. Indeed, Kris is trying to find happiness, but he is searching for something much deeper.... he is searching for himself. Allow him to find himself.

As a parent of now young adults, I have learned that there comes a time when you have to let go and allow your children to explore and become the people that they should be (not necessarily who you think they should be). I disagree with you that something is wrong here. I think that something so profoundly right here is happening right before your eyes.

Kris's life is his, not yours.

Know the distinction.

Brenda

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Guest Lacey Lynne   
Guest Lacey Lynne

Kat:

Drea and Brenda (above) are very wise, smart and experienced. They are giving you great advice. All I can say to you is that they are telling you the plain truth. Good gender therapists will be happy to have you involved in the therapy sessions. Hopefully, your son will be okay with that too.

We wish you and him all the best!

Peace :thumbsup: Lacey

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Guest Kat C.   
Guest Kat C.

I want to thank all of you wonderful, supportive people for taking the time to address my concerns!! My husband and I did have a chance to talk to Kris's gender therapist yesterday on the phone. (He is 2 hours away so an actual appointment is tricky.)

The therapist wants Kris to work on underlying issues before he will recommend hormone therapy. Apparently he did mention it but not that it was on the horizon. Kris, being Kris, only heard what he wanted to hear. And that manipulative part of his personality is in full freak out mode now that we've told him he will need to be evaluated by a psychiatrist for ADHD (his therapist's recommendation). He wants to know what the evaluation will be and who will do it. We reassured him and told him he only needs to be honest with the psychiatrist and he admitted that he's not sure he knows what the truth is. (That's where a lifetime of manipulating has come into play.)

His therapist said that Kris is very consistent and he's sure that Kris has GID.

I so desperately want this child to be happy and lead a great life. I have been letting go, Brenda, and maybe that's where some of my panic is coming from. Thank you all so much once again!!!! Some days I'm okay and others I'm not.

Kat.

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Drea   
Drea

I am glad you had opportunity to talk with your child's therapist. I suspected there may have been some selective hearing on your child's part as far as the statement about hormones.

Yes, working on the underlying conditions is good. Personally I do think the manipulativeness is a concern and the admission about not knowing what the truth is as well.

Good luck with it all.

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Mittens_kittens   
Mittens_kittens

Hi Kat,

As you know, I can relate to so much of what you're going through as my son is at a very similar point as yours. Although Kael was very much a tomboy, there were so many instances I can think of that don't fit the stereotypical FTM. For example, although he always favored more gender neutral or boyish clothes, when he had to dress up in a dress for a special event, he seemed to enjoy it. He went to both the jr. and sr. prom, looked beautiful and had a great time. To be fair, he did ask me if he could go in a tux, and I thought he was just being silly at the time. He never hated his body or appearance; in fact, he thinks he's a pretty good looking person whether he's presenting as male or female. :) He seemed okay going through female puberty; getting breasts and the first period. In fact, he would often voice disappointment that he wasn't developing much of a bust compared to the other girls. There are tons of chick-flick types of shows that he enjoyed watching . . . You get the idea. So although I was maybe 75% convinced that this TG thing was real, I still had serious doubts -- and desperate hopes that he wasn't, if I'm being honest. I also knew that whatever Kael wanted, he usually got; he was the spoiled youngest child and being manipulative was a honed skill. What if this was just another instance of that?

I had the opportunity to sit in on his first Sype appointment with the gender therapist a month or so ago, and I brought up these examples to her. My private wish was that she would see them all as evidence that Kael could not possibly be TG. That didn't happen. She asked me and Kael a lot of questions about the examples, and it ended up being explained that because my husband and I didn't discourage or shame Kael for his mostly male-type interests and behaviour thoughout his life and, in fact, encouraged them, he didn't develop many of the problems that FTMs often do. He didn't hate the female body or the female-type activities because he was not forced to live in that space. It has become much more difficult for him in these past few years however.

So . . . slowly but surely all my objections are being chipped away. If I didn't see a counselor myself, I don't know that I could be handling this at all. I don't want to lose my daughter. I only have one, and I wanted a daughter for so long. But what he needs has always come first, and always will. So if this is truly what Kael is, I will be right there beside him helping it happen.

I'm not saying that this is the same as your situation, Kat. You know your child better than anyone else, and it's important that all your questions get answered. As Brenda said, this is very serious. I'd encourage you to get as involved as you can in the therapy and the treatment plan. We are still their mothers, (even if they are 18 now and think they know everything) and they need us. If you can, please consider seeing a therapist for yourself. This is an extremely difficult thing to go through, and we need someone we can talk to about it.

Big hugs, :friends:

Mittens

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Guest Kat C.   
Guest Kat C.

Drea, my husband and I both agree that we want to address the manipulation and not knowing the truth issues. We will definitely be talking to Kris's gender therapist about these things.

Mittens, thank you for your reply. The more you share, the more similarities I see between our kids. lol Although Kris never asked to wear a tux, shopping for prom and the entire experience seemed to be one he enjoyed immensely. On a sort of funny side note, when we (my oldest son, my parents and I) went to visit Kris yesterday, we ran into her prom date who also goes to the same college. It was comical to be standing there with Kris, as a boy, and turn to my parents and say "That was Kris's prom date." They have the beautiful prom picture at their house. What a difference a few short months make!

I do know that I will end up getting therapy myself but I know, in my heart, I'm not ready to go so there's just no point. When the time is right, I'll go. :)

Since Kris is out to his friends, our families and our closest friends only, we will be facing a stressful time over spring break. There is a function for his younger brother at the high school and Kris will be seen for the first time since graduation by many friends and acquaintances- and we have no idea who know's about him and who doesn't. The problem I'm having is that for the parents whose kids don't tell them what's going on- and I'm finding that quite a few kids know about Kris and haven't told their parents- those people are probably going to assume he's a lesbian. NOW, let me be perfectly clear- when we thought Kris was a lesbian, we were fine with that. The problem is that we had a horrible first semester and most everyone knew we were majorly stressed out about Kris and it was more than just 'adjusting to college'. I'm afraid people will come to their own conclusions and decide that we were so stressed because we're upset with having a lesbian for a daughter. I don't feel like taking out an ad in the local paper, or making a facebook announcement, or even running around telling people at this point- we're not sure how we're handling it. I guess I'm going to see what happens- and if someone asks, be honest with them.

We've already had one friend send my husband a message on facebook saying ' Hey, I noticed you have a son who looks an awful lot like your daughter. What's up?' My husband told him and it was pretty simple. I suspect that most people will be afraid to ask.

I guess I'm just rambling. Mittens, thanks again!!! I smiled at Kael's name. In my head, that's what I call Kris.

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Guest Joyful Mama   
Guest Joyful Mama

Kat, If I can be of any help by offering you how we handled (and are still handling) telling people about our new daughter. We, too, still aren't sure which kids told their parents, and who knows, who doesn't know, etc. It is surprising how many kids don't share information with their parents, even with news such as this.

Besides telling the people closest to us, when someone other than them asked us either how 'he' was or actually brought up the subject because they heard, we took the approach of being very straight-forward. The first time we had to deal with it - I loved how my husband replied as he was very matter of fact to a neighbor by saying, "Well, actually the name now is '__________' She came out to us last year as transsexual and is in the process of transitioning." Then, you can wait and there will be a silence. Give them the time they need to put their thoughts/words together to respond and go from there. But, we found we could be prouder and stronger by holding our heads high, while being pleasant and direct with our statements. Usually there is a little conversation, but not a lot and we transfer the conversation to something about them and move on. Most people are very good about it. It is still hard, though. I am waiting for another parent from our town to approach me to let me know they are going through the same thing with their child - I know we aren't alone. We are kind of pioneer parents I guess. The surgeon we are going to said they have had a large increase of 18 - 25 year olds coming in in the past 2 years for surgery.... Take care and my best wishes to you!

Joyful Mama.

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Guest Kat C.   
Guest Kat C.

Mama,

Thank you for the advice. It sounds exactly like how I think we will handle it. I do feel like we're on such shaky ground here! I'm trying to let Kris take the lead on this and tell us when he's ready.

It's not easy being the "pioneer parents" as you call them. We were already pioneers by being the first of our "parent group" to have not just one but two of our kids date people of a different race and it was quite the scandal. (The year IS 2012, right???? lol) That experience prepared us for this......sort of. We joke that the mixed race relationships helped us weed out the judgemental of our 'friends' and those people would never have survived Kris's news.

I guess I'm just ready for the rollercoaster ride to stop. It's been a stressful 6 months and I know it isn't over. I feel like an emotional PMSing teenager most days and I have to tell you, I didn't enjoy the feeling the first time around. It sucks dealing with it in my 40's!!

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Guest Mother2Many   
Guest Mother2Many

I'd have to agree with Brenda. I think the hardest part about being a parent is knowing when to allow your adult children to make their own mistakes.

Being a supportive parent is the best thing you can be at this point, even if it doesn't "feel right" to you. I fully understand where you are coming from too. We know our children and what they are capable of. Still, it sounds like your son will not stop until he gets his way, so you might as well stand back and let it happen, and if it does turn out that you were right . . . just be there to be supportive and not the "I told you so. - suzy" person. :-/

Good luck to your son. {{{hugs}}}

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twinstar4   
twinstar4

Kat,

You've gotten really good advice here already. I can only add that I understand how you are feeling because I felt that way too.

When two professionals, a therapist and a MD verified that our daughter was transgender I believed it. When I realized that my daughters life depended on her going on HRT I was finally able to allow it. She was a minor and I felt torn about "allowing" treatment that could potentially harm a healthy teenager until I realized she was better off with it than without it. The risks of taking it are lower than the risk to her not taking it.

It takes time for us to take this is and come to terms with it. In the beginning I never believed I could ever be OK with it. But I am! I was terrified of telling family and friends. It turned out to be OK. Now that people further out in our circle of acquaintences are being told I am fine with it! I hold my head up and tell them how it is. It is not a choice. She was born this way. She is happy now after 16 years of misunderstood misery and we are so happy for that.

We love her for who she is. Not whether she is a boy or a girl. This is a life altering experience for our family, there is no doubt about that. We were completely uneducated and ignorant about the transgender issue. We were on a roller coaster ride for the first year or maybe two and it wasn't always fun. There were low, lonely, frightening times. But we have come through it and we are all better people because of it.

Listen to your child and listen to the professionals. Have you voiced your concerns to your child? Your concerns are valid but you have to remain open to the fact that your child may very well be right, and your concerns might just be the normal parents fear clouding the picture.

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leo   
leo

Sorry I gotta say I don't see how dating of different race is similar to accepting someone who is transgendered. For staters one is a condition. Sorry I'm. Black and find that offensive, my daughter is mixed race and my wife is white I dont see how this is a big deal

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Robin Winter   
Robin Winter

If I were you, I would ASK him if you could join him for a few therapy sessions. It might help you get decide if your instincts are right. It probably won't change anything, being 18 he's probably going to do what he wants, but it might be good for both of you to have a guided conversation and maybe get some feedback. It may give both of you an opportunity to see things from the other's point of view, something we often aren't able to do without the aid of a neutral third party.

And now that I've typed that, I can see that you already got this advice from several people lol.

Well, I agree with them :P

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Guest Kat C.   
Guest Kat C.

I haven't been here in a few weeks and I'm reassured, reading the same things from so many different people who have gone through this. I feel like I am personally in a slightly better place than I was last month but my husband is not. I suspect he's been treating this as a choice that Kris is making and just saying the right words until the phase passes. Kris told me early this week that he's convinced that Dad doesn't understand what being transgendered means. .......sigh. And my family is apparently waiting for some big overature on Kris's part- I'm not even sure what's going on with them.

Just to clarify- I didn't mean to offend anyone with my mixed race dating kid comment. I am truly sorry. I didn't mean to imply that the two things are at all comparable. I have been living through both and can assure you that the only thing the two have in common is that both can make people uncomfortable.

Thank you again for all of the support!!!!

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leo   
leo

Kat. C it's ok I didn't mean to blow up. Just where I live in England it's very multicultural. There is hardly anyone who isnt mixed in my daughters generation so it's the norm here, do not used to people saying its uncomfortable

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Guest Kat C.   
Guest Kat C.

It's been awhile since I've been here and reading everyone's kind words and great advice still makes me feel so much better. I can look back at how I felt a few short months ago and see that I am making progress. I'm not doubtful anymore. We have met with Kris's gender therapist, a psychiatrist and the MD who Kris will be dealing with for hormones. Since Kris is home from college and not returning, we are faced with finding a gender therapist that is closer and that will be our top priority as Kris gets ready to begin hormones.

Thank you all so much!!

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