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Hello, I’m a single father and my daughter just told me two days ago that he is transgender. I assured him that there was nothing wrong with that and that he had my full support. So I hopped online and started trying to educate myself on the LGBTQ community. The more I read the more insightful I became but I also just became more confused. From hundreds of stories most kids that are transgender showed signs from a very early age (2-5) but my daughter ( still working on calling him my son) is 12 and said he started feeling this way 1 year ago. We all go through questioning and trials and experimentation on identity and sexuality and gender when we were adolescences right? So is it possible that that this is just that? I feel that with the media and everything online that maybe he’s been told/conditioned/convinced that’s he is a boy simply because he felt that way. When it reality it’s just what we go through. I have nothing against it. If that’s truly what he wants then I will adjust but I have this feeling that it’s just a phase. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I am new to this and have traditional family that is not ok with These things so I have no one to talk to. 

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  • Forum Moderator

Hey Charlie!

 

While many of us figure out what's going on early, it can take longer than that to come to grips with our feelings. Now, that said... and this is something my therapist and I were discussing just today... there can can be other factors as well, especially with FtM trans-men. Being a girl in America kind of sucks and your child could be looking for a way out. Sometimes there's associated trauma too.

 

My advice to you would be to get your kid a licensed gender therapist. They'll need one at some point anyway, so it's not money wasted no matter what. Let the therapist know the situation and they'll get to the bottom of it one way or another. In the meantime, you're off to a good start. You've got the first rule of parenting down: Love and support your child no matter what.

 

In the meantime, ask us whatever. That's what we're here for.

 

Hugs!

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KathyLauren
1 hour ago, CharlieB said:

From hundreds of stories most kids that are transgender showed signs from a very early age (2-5) but my daughter ( still working on calling him my son) is 12 and said he started feeling this way 1 year ago.

 

Hi, Charlie.  Welcome to Trans Pulse, and thank you for supporting your son.

 

It is not true that most trans kids show signs at a very early age.  Some trans kids do show signs from an early age, but they are not the majority.  They are just the ones you read about because they are newsworthy.  There is a considerable amount of misdirection about this on the Internet, with some people suggesting that this is a test of whether or not someone is really trans.  It isn't. 

 

Although being trans, if you are, is something that is with you from birth, people become aware of it at any age from 2-5 up to their 60s and 70s.  The most common age for those assigned female at birth is at puberty.  In this respect, your child is typical.

 

Jackie is right on about getting your kid to a therapist who specializes in gender issues.  A good qualification to look for in a therapist is if they are trained to WPATH standards.

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Charlie,

That is fantastic that you are supporting your daughter/son. That means the most to us, transgender folks. As far as showing tendencies of being the opposite gender. Some do at a young age. I myself didn't realize I was a girl until I was 52.  I do know for a fact that my father would not have supported me. He passed in 06.

 

Like the others have said, get your kid to a gender therapist. Until and after then just keep up the support. I means a great deal to him.

 

Kymmie

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Hi Charlie, 

    We all develop at our own pace of course and no two paths are truly identical. Times have changed drastically for our community, though there is still so much to be done. I'm in my forties. I have known since very young that I had moments of confusion, discomfort even, with my body and it's appearance. It can be hard to understand ourselves, much less explain. It is a good sign to say the least that your child has decided to open up. Your support has been a critical part of their feeling comfortable with themselves enough to do that.That doesn't mean that every single day is unbearable for us. For the most part I had a rather normal childhood. Therapy would be good for your child like everyone said before me. It would not hurt for you and any other family that may be willing, to look into some counseling too. There are a lot of thoughts and feelings that may come up. Therapy will help you all get through that easier. 

 

Thanks for being an amazing and supportive parent. Like Kymmie said, we all love to hear about supportive people. There are certainly not enough of them. 

 

Abi

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Thank you all so much. He still doesn’t want anyone to know. That’s normal I’m assuming? I figured if I knew and he has my support why doesn’t he want the world to know? He is already seeing a therapist but he hasn’t told the therapist. And the it’s not one that specializes in this so I will look around. Any suggestions on websites or agencies?? 

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Heather Nicole

Hi, Charlie, and welcome! I'm new to this world too (although I've always found anything involving both "gender" and "non-traditional" fascinating.) Maybe others can correct me if I'm being inaccurate in any way, but based on everything I've seen so far:

 

There is definitely a very popular narrative of "This person knew from early childhood they were the other gender, and it was clear in their personality." IMO, Jazz Jennings is a wonderful example of this, along with her autobiography "I am Jazz". (I really kind of admire her and her family in many ways, and would be thrilled If I ever got to meet her.) But the impression I've gotten is that this particular scenario tends to get promoted the most simply because it's by far the easiest transgender scenario for the general population to digest and accept. Just looking at people's stories here, its clear that, in some ways, people like Jazz are the lucky, "simple" cases. (Not that there's ever really anything simple about being trans...or being human at all for that matter!) For many trans people, it's a long, confusing, often subtle road just to consciously realize and accept that they're trans. And then after that, there's still the daunting questions of "coming out" or even just "what to do next???" (I would know, I'm sitting here in that exact boat at 38!)

 

There's even plenty of very high-profile cases of late-blooming trans people: There's the obvious examples, Chaz Bono and Caitlin Jenner, of course. I've also heard of a big-name race driver, unfortunately forget who it was. And ever hear of a little movie called "The Matrix"? The famed "Wachowski Brothers" who created it are no longer brothers, they're sisters.

 

My impression is that, just for basic acceptance (or even basic survival in many cases, given the suicide-attempt rate), the trans community very much needs real-world stories such as Jazz's that are very clear, empathetic, early-childhood examples demonstrating the validity of transgender-ness. For every clear-cut "we knew for certain since early childhood" story such as hers, everyone in the trans community as a whole becomes a little bit safer and more accepted in society.

 

Given all of that, I'm extremely impressed, and even feel a slight bit shamed, by your child. At 12 years old, I was only just beginning to notice a certain confusing interest, or an apparent fleeting fantasy, in being the other gender. And here I am now, a little over three times that age, I've only just now recognized and accepted to myself that I'm trans, still at square one for where to go from here, and I certainly still don't have the nerve to tell either of my parents or anyone else in my life. So I don't envy your position; I can't imagine how difficult it must be for you, as a parent, to be facing this. But for what it's worth, and I do think this is worth a lot, for your child to be this far along, and this confident, and secure in the love and support from their parent (you) even at the early age of 12(!)...Wow man, forget the 2-5 age group, that's like comparing a piano prodigy to Beethoven himself. I'm telling you, as far as these things go, you're in a very good position, and so is your child (especially with a parent as understanding as you). I wish I could've been in your child's position when I was 12 (But that was the early 90's, it was a different time for LGBT+, to say the least). At this point, if I choose to transition (which I would LOVE to do, all else being equal) I'll have a lot of effects of male puberty to undo, to whatever extent is even realistically possible at all at this point.

 

The basic takeaways are these: Just by coming here and posting the message you did, that alone proves your child is very well off and is beginning their journey with exceptionally good support. And despite the common, but well-intentioned, public-relations trans-narritive, I wouldn't worry at all about your kid being remotely "late" to their trans-ness. If anything, being already in the position he's in at the age of 12 is not only impressive, but also paints one of the brightest possible futures for a trans-child (that many of us here could be envious of!) When I was that age, in the 90's, I was hiding occasional thoughts of "If I took that pair of scissors to my penis, they would have to make me a girl, right?", And to this day, you're the only person I've ever told that to! So count your lucky stars and know that you and your child are definitely in a very good position, no matter how daunting it may seem!!!

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Heather Nicole
2 hours ago, CharlieB said:

I figured if I knew and he has my support why doesn’t he want the world to know?

 

It "violates" many, many common, established social norms, so naturally that makes it extremely scary and embarrassing even to the best of us. It hits upon the deepest core of a person's being, so that can leave the individual completely vulnerable , exposed and emotionally "naked". And imagine facing that at a period in life (preteen/teens) that can already be so incredibly socially and emotionally taxing for anyone.

 

But that said, for any young person facing all that, I can't think of a better ally than a parent who still accepts them for who they are and still offers their whole-hearted unconditional support. Whether or not your young adult may consciously realize it, that is worth its emotional weight in gold.

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Thank you all. I’m feeling down and slightly depressed. Not cause my child is transgender but because of the path he now faces. A path full of hate, discrimination, sadness, rejection, and so many more negatives that people of the community know all too well. I just want him to happy. It hurts and I can’t show him that I’m sad so I’m left to cry alone behind closed doors. I just feel worthless. There’s nothing I can do to prevent that 

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  • Forum Moderator
2 hours ago, CharlieB said:

Thank you all. I’m feeling down and slightly depressed. Not cause my child is transgender but because of the path he now faces. A path full of hate, discrimination, sadness, rejection, and so many more negatives that people of the community know all too well. I just want him to happy. It hurts and I can’t show him that I’m sad so I’m left to cry alone behind closed doors. I just feel worthless. There’s nothing I can do to prevent that 

 

Hey Charlie!

 

It's a harder road sure, but it's made easier if you don't have to walk it alone. Your son doesn't have to endure that because his dad's in his corner. That's an amazing gift. Don't sell yourself short.

 

Hugs!

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22 hours ago, CharlieB said:

Hello, I’m a single father and my daughter just told me two days ago that he is transgender. I assured him that there was nothing wrong with that and that he had my full support. So I hopped online and started trying to educate myself on the LGBTQ community. The more I read the more insightful I became but I also just became more confused. From hundreds of stories most kids that are transgender showed signs from a very early age (2-5) but my daughter ( still working on calling him my son) is 12 and said he started feeling this way 1 year ago. We all go through questioning and trials and experimentation on identity and sexuality and gender when we were adolescences right? So is it possible that that this is just that? I feel that with the media and everything online that maybe he’s been told/conditioned/convinced that’s he is a boy simply because he felt that way. When it reality it’s just what we go through. I have nothing against it. If that’s truly what he wants then I will adjust but I have this feeling that it’s just a phase. I hope I didn’t offend anyone. I am new to this and have traditional family that is not ok with These things so I have no one to talk to. 

 

Hi Charlie,

 

You don't realize what a gift you are to your son. My dad would NOT have had the same reaction if he had known many years ago when I was a teenager. I struggled with my gender as a teenager and even before. I had no one to talk to and no one for support, as did many on this forum. I had an uncle that harassed me for not chasing after skirts like his sons did. There are some who question their gender only during puberty. As it has been said by several before me, the best thing you can do is get your son/daughter to a gender therapist and to continue your support.

 

16 hours ago, CharlieB said:

Thank you all so much. He still doesn’t want anyone to know. That’s normal I’m assuming? I figured if I knew and he has my support why doesn’t he want the world to know?

 

Your son came to you because he obviously had trust in you. He also knows that telling the world could have some of the negatives you mentioned from his peers. Hopefully he will feel comfortable with a gender therapist. I am 65 years old and was nervous talking to a therapist not long ago, as I live in a very conservative area. The first step can be hard, but very helpful. Again, your support can make a huge difference.

 

Hugs,

Mike

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  • Admin

Don't go painting a Devil on The Doorpost for your child, it will make both of your miserable at the worst possible times.  The LGBTQ Center I am part of* has a program for children the age of yours, and together they are one of the greatest bunch of young people I can think of.  While they get a lot out of each other's company, they are the spark plugs in their own Cis crowds and become leaders in so many ways.  Your child does have groups of peers out there, and even more there are parents groups for you where your low points can be shared and burdens lightened.  I work with several groups and see that more often than I see the suffering some assume that we will have.  I am not saying there will be only easy times and pleasant ones, but they will outnumber the negative time.  Your child's decision to do things on his own time is the very thing needed.  Even Cis children have many things they need to approach gently before they embrace it.  I have several Trans children in the Tween's and Teens who are my honorary "niblings" (combination of niece, nephew and sibling) and it is wonderful to see them surprising the heck out of their parents in wonderful ways.

 

I live in the Southern California area and some wonderful resources exist in PFLAG(https://pflag.org/) which has a number of chapters in SO. Cal, the Trans Youth Services program at Children's Hospital of Los Angeles is a life saver to both parents and children at times, but its Angels of Change Program for youth is phenomenal.  The Los Angeles LGBT Center is stuffed with good programs for both of you. 

 

*San Gabriel Valley.

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