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MomofSprinter

So lost. Where to even begin?

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MomofSprinter

Hello.

 

We have a 23 year old college senior. Our second daughter. 3 years ago we discovered she was gay. We got through that discovery and accepted it.  Just 2 weeks ago she revealed she believes she is transgender. She sought out a LBGT therapist on campus and has been seeing him. She has gender dysphoria, mainly with her chest. She brought up top surgery last fall but now is considering testosterone for muscular definition and voice alteration. She does not want a beard and isn't entertaining bottom surgery at all.

 

She has always been shy and reserved. Suffered a bit from social anxiety. Maybe not true anxiety but definitely had social issues. Looking back, I see it as far back as preschool. In high school she excelled, graduating top 10 in her class.  In her spare time she used the internet. A lot! If I could go back and change some things.....

 

I don't want this for my daughter. Though she knows we will never disown her or love her any less. She has and always will be the one we worry about. Just her personality. How will she survive in the outside world if she chooses to transition.

 

Because of her anxiety/social issues,  we requested her to see an unbiased psychiatrist prior to doing anything. In my research, and boy have I researched, we are afraid taking testosterone will make things worse. So afraid of her deciding this then realizing it was a mistake. So afraid of her becoming suicidal. So very afraid....

 

And then there is my family. Bigoted, religious, close minded. I'm dealing with what that fallout will be. I'm dealing with the potential of turning my back on them and losing them. Though my daughter if fully aware I stand by her no matter what. They don't even know she is gay. Something she knew I'd reveal when she was ready for it. For now, they know nothing.

 

Please help. We need advice. If she is truly transgender. So be it. But I want to be sure and I want her to go through the motions so there are no doubts or regret.

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MaryMary

The first thing I want to say is that it's normal for parents who learn such news to be afraid and it's normal to go trough a process too. My parents have gone trough such a process also. I'm transgender and if I ever learn that one of my 2 children is trans I will go trough a process too. Because, let's face it, it can be hard. It's normal and I just want to make sure you know that ;)

 

For all transitions the first thing I'm thinking about is to take it one step at a time. One small step foward towards feeling better and your children being themself.  I read your text and I'm afraid of one thing : "unbiased". Be sure to see a therapist that knows about this issue and that is used to seeing transgender patient. In the end, if they see a therapist who is not an expert in this more damage can be done. I've seen such a therapist in the past and I learned many years later that she lead some patients to depression. A good therapist who often deal with this will treat your children with the goal of them being as happy as can be. I've seen 3 therapist and none of them tried to "convince" me of anything on the contrary. They were very honest with me and so I knew exactly what I was getting into.

 

The first goal in my opinion is for the children to feel better. The second is to let them be themselves. The transition part of it is not the main goal. Where I live we need a letter from a therapist to go trough any medical process (testosterone and surgeries). So they have no choice to go trough one year or so of therapy before doing anything. I think it's important and it's a process that will help them make sure it's the right thing.

 

There's nothing you could have changed or done to change this. If they are transgender then they were born like that and it's not the fault of anybody. I've gone trough 20 years of depression, I"ve gone trough hell and back trying my hardest to me "a man" and in the end I had to see therapists. No matter what the family or others say seeing a therapist and taking this seriously is the good thing to do in my opinion. Believe me, you don't want them going trough what I've gone trough just to please people. Being transgender and not taking our mental and physical health seriously is extremely dangerous. I know that society make it something political and liberal vs conservative but believe me it's not. It's about someone being happy and living their live.

 

It's great to see that you are behind your children and to see how much you love them. Having a children that's different, no matter what the difference is, is never something easy. I always find it very nice to see parents in social of family situation that is not ideal loving their children so much that they confront all of that for love and for them feeling better.

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Jani

Hello!  

 

As far as starting testosterone, they will not be able to choose the attributes that arrive.  Voice changes seem to be very common as does facial hair growth, but also male pattern baldness.  So be aware of all the ramifications.  For some one who is transgender these are generally not an issue but for someone who may be androgynous could have issues with certain changes.   A good therapist will go over these points when the time comes to make a recommendation for HRT.  Ultimately the doctor they see will discuss this too.  

 

As Mary notes, I too question your statement about an unbiased counselor.  A good counselor will not tell them who or what they are but guide them though discussion and possibly "homework" to a point of self discovery.   I think all of us felt some fear or trepidation at first so understand your daughter may express these emotions to you, depending upon how close your relationship is.   Fear is normal.  

 

You cannot make others (your family) understand your child as he changes but as family you would hope they accept him as he is.   Otherwise it is not worth staying in contact with people that are not truly loving as they purport to be, IMO.   

 

Get them into a good therapist and see how they react.  Let them know you love them unconditionally.

 

Jani

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MomofSprinter

MaryMary, thank you for your reply.

 

To further comment on my unbiased psychiatrist remark, what I mean is not one to convert her. That is not our intent. We also don't want one who is there to only affirm her. Nor one to do more damage by bringing God into it or by guilting her. We want to be sure she has no other underlying psychological disorders. One that could be manifesting itself as gender dysphoria. Or one that, once she begins testosterone, could end up amplifying it. 

 

I could write a book. There are so many questions and to be completely honest, so much pain. My husband is handling it better than me. I am a mess. My anxiety is at an all time high, though it has subsided some. My biggest concern is my fear for her. She has a job waiting for her upon graduation. In a city 8 hours away. She will be alone. That worries me so very much. Alone, no friends. No family. How will her coworkers and neighbors be. Will they tease her, be cruel to her? It's all so very, very scary.

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MaryMary

I understand. To help you a little I will tell you that no therapist I know in my city is there only to affirm someone. Things get real in therapy. The only thing they do is accompany you and make sure you do the right thing. No good psychologist will only talk about the good things. My first therapist even talked about being sure that I was not making this because I don’t accept that I’m gay or make sure that I’m not a criminal that is trying to change identity to hide or make sure I wa not making this in reaction to something else in my life, past trauma or something. I mean usually therapy go in depth. They make a huge portrait of your family to understand where are you coming from, trying to understand why do you do this, etc etc. One thing they will not do however is trying to convince your child they are not transgender. It’s a guide that is they to help, not tell you were to go.

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VickySGV
Just now, MomofSprinter said:

My biggest concern is my fear for her. She has a job waiting for her upon graduation. In a city 8 hours away. She will be alone.

 

If the people I was with today are any indication, your fear of your child being alone can be given some comfort.  If there is an LGBT center or Trans organizations, your child can have a very wonderful "chosen family" close to hand if your child seeks it out.  I was at the opening of a new service center for LGBT youth and seniors, and an entire street was closed and filled with people, who a year ago picked me up off a sidewalk where I had fallen and injured myself and who today as I was with them came up to see how I was doing and celebrate my recovery. It turns out I had helped many of them in ways I did not remember in each  case and thus their response.  The same community is there for your child, filled with people that I know you cannot envision at the minute,, and maybe people whom you have been taught to fear and put down in the past because no one in your life had been that way before. I hope this assurance will help you out some what, and I said, good wonderful people you may have been taught were trrrible but who are in the words of a song I sing, a "Gentle angry people" who are seeking the best in life.and for all people.

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MaryMary

My mother one freaking out at the beginning too. She was saying : “yeah but I delivered a little boy”. And I told her that it’s true, she delivered a baby that had a male part but that being transgender is about how you develop (like other conditions such as autism) and that the fact that I’m trans doesn’t invalidate any of her memories. She had to go trough a mourning phase. Don’t be too harsh on yourself if you are going trough such a phase too. Now i’m Very happy, my children still have their father alive. I’m fully there to take care of them and my parents are very happy too.

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MaryMary

If you have any question don’t hesitate. I already wrote a book, I’m fully ready to write another one answering question if you ever have any :)

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MomofSprinter

Thank you for the replies. To answer a few things and to comment more....

 

The LGBT community is nothing new to me. At 19, I had a gay friend. He was awesome. I spent a lot of time with him. Shopping, movies, dinner. I lost touch when I quit the job we worked at together. 6 years ago, I had an employee confide in me of her mtf transition. I sought out the legal dept to help with that. Her family disowned her. :( My daughter, I won't say son yet since she hasn't transitioned or asked for pronoun changes yet, has a high school friend who is ftm. His family disowned him. He also, according to my daughter, has been a source of being 300% sure she wants to do this because according to him, he is struggling to adapt. I don't get how family disown their children. Breaks my heart.

 

My oldest daughter is accepting. She has been my source of talk therapy. She has a friend who is non binary. My youngest daughter came out gay, then non binary, now possibly trans. The oldest thinks she is actually androgynous. Actually, to be honest, that seems more of the fit to me. I dont get it. Trying to make sense of it all. She always liked "guy things". Cars, bugs, hotwheels, dragons. But wears cute short shorts, flip flops, girly tank tops and some makeup. I'm just trying to wrap my head around it.

 

Her therapist, after 3 visits, pulled out the DSM 5 card. And then recommended that she speak with the gender clinic for HRT. Don't you think that is a little soon? My daughter claims we have time, as she is not doing anything right now. Just discovering. Talking it out. Trying to figure out why she feels the way she does. 

 

Her new employer is in a city that is extremely LGBT friendly, so that helps me some. And I lied about not having family there. She will have family there. My sister in law, who is liberal. We just aren't close and I forget that she lives there. But that helps ease my mind some too.

 

Yes, my daughter expressed concern of me losing my family. It is weighing on her mind. The fact that she thought about it shows she does care. I'm not going to lie, it does bother me that I could lose them once we reveal. Mostly my sister, but to be honest, she would probably be the most accepting. My mother and the other siblings. Not so much. So I am prepared to turn my back. Still hurts a lot though.

 

Thanks for letting me talk this out. I haven't been sleeping. I wake up in a panic most days.

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Jani
9 hours ago, MomofSprinter said:

I'm just trying to wrap my head around it.

Remember there are no rules.  Each of us is on our own personal journey.   As far as how soon any point is, it depends upon the individual.  So the therapist feels one way, OK.  

 

I don't think you'll lose family as long as you keep your mind and heart open, which is seems you are doing.  Your children are the most important family.  Others either love you all or not.  Its their choice.  Would you want to have them around when you know the truth about how they feel?   (if they are no accepting)

 

I understand this is stressful but take a deep breath and think calm thoughts.  You seem to have lovely children.  Love them.  I'm glad you found us and can talk this out too!

Jani

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MaryMary

After 3 visits if they are still confused... yes I personally think it’s quick. It’s not a race. It’s just my opinion tough.

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VickySGV

Three or thirty three visits if your child is the one taking the time, your child is a good patient and is getting the best from the counseling program.  You have an intelligent and thoughtful person there. 

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Amy LeBlanc

Hello MomofSprinter

 

I am so happy to hear of a parent standing behind their child.  I always like the support from the parents and how they just want their child to be happy.  I am a MtF Trans myself and from my experience, when I first tried to come out early, I was seeing a regular therapist that actually did more harm to me than good and also knew nothing about the LGBTQ community and just thought I was a cross dresser and did not really try to help me.  So I was going through life thinking that I was a cross dresser and being unhappy with myself and feeling down and depressed.  Now that I have been seeing a gender therapist that is also a family therapist as well, I feel so much better.  Not only has my therapist helped me out with finding out that I am Trans but also has helped me out in my family life.  I have taken it slow with my therapist where I saw her for 1.5 years before starting on hormones just to be certain.  My therapist offered me my letter to start my hormones twice which I have turned it down cause I wanted to make sure that I am who I am and that I am not going to be one of those individuals that rush or regret later on in life.

 

Now there are times now that I feel like I am rushing or wanting it done now, but then I end up calling my therapist and talking to her over the phone or in person and she helps me out to make sure that I am being safe and happy.  The big thing I would have to say is to be their for your daughter for support and make sure she feels happy and comfortable.  I have lost family and friends myself and then I have gain new friends.  The family is just one that I have had to live with that I now know their true side.  The only family I still talk to is my mom and she tends to flip flop but she still talks to me and I wish that my mom was like you with being so supportive.

 

Just be their for your daughter and care for her and show her just how much you love her.

 

 

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