kipjam

My 10 year old says they are both genders...

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Hi,

My have 3 kids altogether. My middle kid (I'll call them C) who is biologically (is that the right term?) a boy went through a wearing a dress phase between the ages 3-6. It really peaked in kindergarten when he needed me to bring his favorite dress to change into after school. I mostly took his lead (and still do). He went to a school where just about every kid wore uniforms which was basically just a white t-shirt and sweatpants so we could accessorize with sparkly light up shoes from the girls department and let his hair grow long. (As of this week, after a discussion about gender, I think "he" may be leaning towards "they" as a chosen pronoun so I'm going to try to remember to refer to them that way starting right now! This is very new to me so please forgive mistakes!) C has always been uniquely sensitive and drawn to the feminine. They are an awesome, funny, imaginative, fiercely loyal to friends. They also have a tendency to fall in love hard. (C is only 10 but so far there have been a few girls who captured his heart. I kind of adore his current crush, but that's a topic for a different discussion, I think. :) C has never show much interest in typical boy behavior - he's not competitive, hates sports and prefers imaginative play and video games (which is gender neutral IMHO). Even though they stopped dressing in girls clothes at around 6, they still expressed the occasional desire to be a girl. Lately C has taken to referring to himself and girls as "soft", in a good way. Like: "I can't be just a boy because I'm soft like a girl." or "Girls can get me to do anything because they are so soft and they look at me with those puppy dog eyes." (adorable). I love that C sees this as a positive thing. I do, too! Fast forward to the recent present and C has asked again for skirts and leg warmers. I told C to hold off on the leg warmers if only because it is 90 degrees outside! All of C's dresses have long since been passed on to the younger sister so I guess we'll have to go shopping. 

I'm a doula, so sex, bodies, sexuality,reproduction, birth, gender - these are subjects I try to handle with candor but in an age appropriate way.  C and I have been having a few conversations about what it is to be transgender or both genders. Right now, C seems to have decided on being both a girl and a boy. Last week after school, C said to me: "When people ask me what I am, I'm just going to say 'It's classified!' And C gave a little double thumbs up. "People don't need to know if I am a boy or a girl. I can be both." And today I heard him tell his 13 year old brother to say - they instead of he. Whether any of this will stick or not. Maybe C will be androgenous or maybe C will evolve into something totally different. "They" may decide they are actually a "she" or "he". I'm trying not to get to hung up on the uncertainty and just think of it as an adventure in gender exploration with my awesome kid (I am certainly learning a LOT) I'm trying to introduce them to the possibilities without putting them in a box. I'm trying to support C's self expression while still keeping them safe. It's such tricky territory, huh? 

I joined this forum today hoping to connect to other parents and gender expansive people. I feel like our story is slightly different than other trans kids we know who decided to transition to the opposite gender. School is out in 2 weeks. I'm going to ask C if they would like to try presenting as the opposite gender over the summer. To just try it out. C always loves it when people they don't know refer to them as "she" so, maybe we should give it a go. I feel like this is an important age because if something clicks and C feels like blocking puberty hormones now is the time before the testosterone really sets in, right? I appreciate any support, comments, stories. I'm still figuring all this out.

Thanks so much,

J

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Hello Kipjam,

Welcome to Laura's Playground. Thank you for sharing C's story with us.  I'd say that you're doing everything right for your child. Perhaps counseling with a gender therapist would be beneficial. He or she could help clear up any confusion your child may have.

MaryEllen

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Hi Kipjam and welcome.  From my standpoint you are doing a wonderful job in allowing your child to find their own path.  I agree with Mary Ellen and feel a GT is often very helpful.  In a few years if they feel they want blockers then you will definitely need that help anyway so perhaps now is a good time to start.  

I also love the idea of allowing your child to chose a gender for the summer when peer pressure is often less.  I know that as an adult i felt it necessary to " try it on" before feeling transition was right for me.

One of my grandsons is about the same age.  He still presents male but once made his own dresses out of scarves or any available fabric.  He also told me he was a girl at one point and that was before i transitioned.  He always has an ally in me as well as his parents and school system.  Seeing that support from parents like you  and them is wonderful.

 

Hugs,

 

Charlize

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When my daughter was that age, she would say " I'm half lesbian" due  to the influences around her. She's married now. Who they are soon works out as they understand the world better. Most of it comes from interaction with peer friends and finding interests they like such as dance, music and such. In NY its not hard to find groups and activities that allow kids any self expression they feel. The City has a great support programs for you, just call them. Their biggest problem are the thousands, yes thousands of kids thrown out on to the streets of NY because they are different.

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Hi Kipjam, 

Welcome to Laura's! It sounds to me like you're doing all the right things, talking to C candidly about gender and encouraging them to decide what feels right, and super importantly not boxing them in to any one gender identity. I wish my family would have had the knowledge and vocabulary to talk to me about these things when I was C's age! 

Good luck and please don't hesitate to reach out if you need to. 

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Thanks so much for the support. And yes, finding a gender therapist is definitely on the to-do list. I don't even know where to begin on so many levels. What I do know is that I love my kid whoever they are. I want C to be a happy, healthy human being. A dear, queer, radical faery friend of mine has a theory that C will probably grow up to be a ladies man because he is so in touch with his own feminine side. I don't know about that, but in his mother's humble opinion, any boy or girl would be fortunate to be his partner. But again, that's mama bear talking.

On another topic - pronouns. I have been kind of stressing out on the pronouns - he, she, they...then I realized, he's 10 years old and does not have to pick a pronoun yet! I talked him about the idea of idea of presenting as a girl over the summer. He said yes he would like to be a "she" except in front of his friends and that we should still say he in front of them. He has two best buddies who I call the 3 Musketeers. They have been tight for over 2 years now. He has told them about being "classified" (his way of saying both genders), but I think he is afraid of how they will react if he goes full "she" on them all of a sudden. He doesn't really have any other close friends so I understand him feeling cautious. On that front, I'm trying to encourage him to actually hang out with girls more. He's so painfully shy around them, but the girls at school say hello to him all the time so I get the sense they would like him. We're are fortunate and the kids go to a progressive that is totally accepting of LGBTQ kids. They have gender neutral bathrooms and I think it was actually a visit from the middle school Gay Straight Alliance to his 4th grade class that sparked C's revisiting of his feminine side. 

I'm so glad I found this community. It's nice to have such diverse feedback from different places in the gender spectrum.  

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After reading your child story, they seem to be more "girl" than a non binary child. They are lucky to have a parent like you and they still have time to decide. Seeking for a gender therapist is the best option to do.

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