(3) What Problem?
Transsexuality is simply an example of nature's spontaneous diversity. (There are many medical situations in which a Real Girl is born with a penis. Transsexuality is one of them.) It's not something that needs to be explained to family, friends, or even to the child. It's no more embarrassing than blue eyes or red hair. A transsexual girl is Really a Girl. A transsexual boy is Really a Boy. If a young child wants to wear a dress, then you should enjoy the fun of picking it out with her -- there's no need to check the underwear for permission. If a young child wants a truck for Christmas, all that matters is whether the toy is safe and affordable.
Beginning life in the correct gender & gender expression results Real Girl who is happy & fulfilled. No secrecy, no distress, no guilt, no victims, no embarrassment. She's harassed no more than any other girl. She'll have Best Girl Friends. She'll go to college, get married, adopt children (if she wants). She'll have a successful career without fear and suffer "normal female" levels of discrimination.
With approach #3, transsexuality doesn't really even exist. ...Except maybe only in her (private) medical record.
The Family Portal
If a parent can adjust quickly and achieve an affirming mindset, option #3 is actually the simplest approach. She's a girl. End of story.
However, current society is terrified of option #3. Popular acceptance would require education about the realities of sexual biology & gender. Experts would have to finally give up on the outdated Social Construct and Mental Illness myths.
Instead, WPATH absolutely forbids treatment before age 21. (Although there are more and more doctors willing to bend the rules to help the trans youth.) The legal system in most regions refuses to allow name or document correction before age 21 -- some, even after that. Without accurate documentation, schools freak out. They're obsessed with outing the youth, while sounding the alarm to force the hapless student to comply with religious & psychological myth.
These are the battles that a good trans parent will have to fight. On a federal level, to change the laws. On a local level, force lawyers, judges and principals to support the youth instead of the myths. And on a personal level, consider alternatives: home schooling, perhaps?
Yes, she had surgery. She's also taking hormones -- started at puberty. But all that's a personal matter, and no one else's business.
This is an excellent & truly insightful piece written by Kay Brown. Every parent of a transsexual youth should read it. Kay Brown is a psychologist; naturally some of her work is a little heavy on psychological theory. But she's also a mother, and she's smart.
The second most common response is to rush the little girl to the doctor, where she'll be given the diagnosis of "transgender". That is, she's Really a Boy with a "mental disorder". She might wake up one day and announce, I've changed my mind, I'm a boy. Or she might become gay. But then her "mental disorder" may be incurable (Horrors!) At the age of 21, she may reluctantly be allowed to "become an (abnormal) woman".
WPATH will confess that no treatment is available that will make one outcome more likely than the others. But your job is to kindly maintain that she's Really a Boy, and to prevent her from transitioning -- for 21 years. (Maybe you can allow her to put on a dress during a camping trip to a remote part of Alaska.)
Practically speaking, the Transgender Path is one of disability. Who wants a child with a mental disorder? The family must apologize to everyone they meet: Don't mind him; he's "transgender", you know. Other people shake their heads and pity you. Is it really a surprise that your family isn't invited to family reunions any more?
Siblings are taught to be embarrassed whenever they're around "him". At school "he" is a "special case". Other students may wish to change to a different classroom in order to avoid contact. "He" must use the janitor's restroom in a basement corner, so other students can be "safe". ...Those other students are also cautioned to be nice. But we all know how likely that is.
The fact is, the medical community is more cruel to trans children than the religious community is: the psychological destruction of a child is far more terrible than physical destruction. Is it any help to be told, I don't know where this will end up, or to be told, There's no treatment except for waiting?
Stay away from doctors who speak WPATH.
Parents of transsexual boys usually face completely different challenges. Although there are a few boys with a vagina who announce, "I'm a boy, mommy," most trans boys don't bother. Every parent of a trans boy must be familiar with theirunique stages of evolution. (For comparison, HERE are the stages for a trans girl.) These are the critical differences:
(1) INITIAL IDENTIFICATION: From an early age, most trans boys look and act like a very dedicated tomboy. He'll probably even tell you he's a tomboy.
Today's society is completely accepting of a "girl acting like a boy". In effect, a trans boy can transition in early childhood without anyone noticing -- even to include allowing him to adopt a male name. (In fact, tomboy acceptance proves that trans girls could be accepted too -- without receiving the "abnormal transgender" label.)
Unfortunately, a trans boy's comfortable world comes crashing down at the first sign of puberty -- that is, breast development. Boys don't have breasts. There's a sudden realization that he's actually a transman and pubertal development MUST stop immediately!!
(2) TREATMENT: WPATH's Diagnosis by Endurance approach to diagnosis & treatment is far too slow to meet the crisis. The physical changes of puberty progress quickly.
Appropriate treatment may initially include a short course of GnRH blockers (no more than 6 months) while everyone gets their ducks in a row. Once transsexuality has been identified with certainty, the ovaries are removed (no estrogen, no breast development) and the young man goes through normal puberty with the help of testosterone.
At the present time, surgical correction of a transman's genitals (ie, construction of a penis) is complex, high risk, and prohibitively expensive -- to achieve a final result that isn't even functional. No wonder most transmen opt not to get the surgery.
A transman's Quality of Life would skyrocket if he could achieve a functional penis. That goal can only be achieved with testosterone -- the earlier, the bigger. The outcome can be further enhanced by an operation known as a metoidioplasty (aka "clitoral release".) The procedure lifts and exposes more of the clitoris.
Note: The clitoris is the female version of the penis. Both organs swell and become engorged during sexual arousal. The only real difference between the two is size.
Early testosterone requires early diagnosis. The ultimate extreme would be diagnosis at birth, so the youth would benefit from 20 years of "clitoral" enlargement, compared to 10 years exposure if one starts at the onset of puberty. The result would be a small but fully functional penis in a transman.
Of course, early testosterone would require certainty that a specific child is actually transsexual. Unfortunately, WPATH, which controls trans research in America, isn't even looking for diagnostic tests at any age. Even so, there are situations ripe for early treatment:
-- First, a child who clearly and frequently announces, "I'm a boy, mommy" at 18 months of age.
-- Second, XX people born with severe Congenital Adrenal Hyperplasia (CAH)always have a male gender throughout the rest of their life. One-third ultimately transition to live as men. These infants are born with an enlarged "clitoris" that is often mistaken for a penis in the delivery room. If testosterone were continued after birth, the youth would reach adulthood with a normal-sized fully functional phallus. (Unable to ejaculate or produce children, however.)
The most dangerous part of WPATH treatment is the policy of giving transsexual teens hormones to stop all growth & development until "adulthood". Teens are only allowed to go through puberty if they surrender.
Compare the following responses:
Question: Oh! I thought you had a little boy....
Parent (tears welling up while closing the playroom door): Oh Mabel! It's AWFUL. He steals his sister's dresses and it's a real fight to get them off. The doctors say he might be transgendered. They don't know, though. Maybe with some therapy...
Mabel (hugging her friend): You poor dear. I can't imagine anything worse.
Parent's alternative response: Nope. A precious little girl.
Or maybe, No, the doctors did some tests and she's actually a girl. They were wrong in the delivery room. Isn't she just adorable!
The situation is the same, only the perspective is different. Both responses are self-fulfilling prophecies. Having a transsexual inevitably raises questions and needs explanations. The explanations you give will determine how society will interact with your daughter for the rest of her life.
Parent, walking into elementary school office: Uh, er, this is my son John. I'd like to enroll him in school. ...Except he thinks he's a girl named Jane. We've done everything but we can't get him to change his mind. After the suicide attempt, the shrink said to humor him -- that explains the dress.
Principal: That's terrible! I feel so sorry for you. I'll ask the school board to see if he -- it -- can enroll. If so, we'll arrange an assembly for parents & students to explain the situation. Meanwhile, I'll need a letter from your psychiatrist and a signed release from liability....
Parent's alternative response: Hi. This is my daughter Jane and she's eager to start school.
Principal: What a cute little girl. Just fill out this form, sign it, and we'll see her next Wednesday when she can meet her teacher.
For the Child
As your daughter grows up, she'll need an explanation for the pills she's taking. If it's presented as an illness (Your body isn't making the right hormones), it will be a minor hurdle that you and she can overcome together. Of course, when she's older she'll read books & search the web to learn all the details about transsexuality. Hopefully, she'll find an explanation that doesn't turn her into a monster.
So many mothers have tried the alternative approach:
Child: Mommy, why doesn't anyone like me?
Parent: Well, you're transgendered. That means your brain is mixed up so you don't know whether you're a boy or a girl....
Child: But I'm a girl. I feel it inside.
Parent (tears welling up): Yes dear. We hope we can get you fixed. But in the mean time, the other children are going to be mean to you because you're... so different. Lot's of transgenders go through the same ordeal, but they're strong -- just like you can be strong.
Both mother & child retire to their bedrooms to cry uncontrollably.
Raising a transsexual child isn't really a big deal.
...Unless someone makes it one.
Transsexuals are normal. A transsexual girl is just like any other girl; a trans boy is just like any other boy.
Usually the way transsexuality pops up is when an 18-month old with a penis announces, "I'm a girl, mommy." ...Or an 18-month old with a vagina might tell you, "Me boy, mama."
The secret of successful trans parenting is to immediately repaint the bedroom and buy a new wardrobe. Alas, those doctors in the delivery room got the gender stuff all wrong. But at 18 months of age, it's not that hard for you to correct their mistake.
The New Gender Paradigm
(1) Rejection & Punishment
Spank your little girl and tell her, "You're a boy because you have a penis!" No dolls or pretty dresses for her! She'll learn to like trucks, or else!
This approach assumes that the 18-month old is Really a Boy, that she's fully aware that she's a boy, and she's just being naughty. After all, why else would she deserve punishment?
Or some parents might believe this has something to do with training: An 18-month old can't possibly know who she is. She's just gotten it wrong somehow. She just needs an incentive to get back on the right road. (This approach has its origins in the Gender Construct myth.)
The punishment approach is ALWAYS a failure -- because it's trying to change the laws of nature. There has NEVER been a young child who starts out saying I'm a girl, who later changes her mind. Every child has their gender and gender identity irrevocably determined during early fetal life. Gender is NOT determined by genital appearance or any other aspect of sexual biology. Gender can't be changed through punishment, restrictions, psychotherapy, or by any other means.
After all, how much punishment would it take to turn YOU into the other gender?
Trying to do the impossible leads only to frustration, anger, and the destruction of family relationships. It drives the child into hiding & secrecy. The girl may pretend to be a boy, in order to satisfy you and to stop the punishment. But ultimately she'll leave home and become the woman she's always been.
Several advocacy groups claim to be helping the families of transsexual children. The two most prominent are:
Parents, Families & Friends of Lesbians & Gays (PFLAG) is a large national organization with regional chapters in almost every city. There's a reason transsexuals aren't mentioned in the name.
Trans Youth Family Allies (TYFA) is smaller, but more trans-inclusive.
Unfortunately, all advocacy groups are closely tied to WPATH and Option #2 described above. They even advocate Puberty Denial without a moment's thought or hesitation. Supposedly Gender is a social construct, "transgenderism" is a mental illness, and children have a Right to choose ("identify with") whatever gender they wish. Schools must be warned whenever a transgender youth enrolls, so they can (hopefully) add "gender identity" to the laundry list of non-discrimination & non-harassment groups.
It's not surprising that schools still reject trans students, while drop-out rates continue to rise. General society is becoming more hostile with every passing year, with discrimination even being established by law.
Meanwhile, advocacy group activities & educational attempts are limited to promoting WPATH's policies around the world.
Gender Basics Portal
Mothers in Arms, defending trans youth from society's hostility.
The Critical Crossroad
WPATH is dedicated to preventing this terrifying outcome.
(This may be the image some people have, but this is NOT what transsexuals actually look like.)