This weekend our play date group for gender variant kids met and while the kids were busy playing and crafting, the parents had a welcome opportunity to talk about what happened in the past month since we saw each other, ask questions and share thoughts. Although I love the fact that the kids have each other, I am filled with a deep sense of gratitude for the support of these fellow parents.
Who else understands this life parenting a trans or gender variant child (and their siblings)? No one. It’s like a deep sigh of relief when our group gets together. They get where I am coming from without judgment and their shared experiences give me so much to think about. This past get together was no exception.
After settling in we talked about a philosophy where some parents do not transition their child at all. Rather they explain to the outside world that their child identifies as the other gender and that’s it. If they were born a boy, they stay living as a boy. The rest of us cocked our head as if we needed more. This philosophy (someone email me the real name so I am not disrespectful) contends that 80% of all (let’s just use) trans girls, meaning affirmed girls who were born in boy bodies, actually grow up to be homosexual males. Now I felt my eyes squinting as if the information could sink in quicker if they narrowed. Huh?
The philosophy is that very early on (ages 3-4 or so) homosexual men are socialized to learn what men in society are looking for- women. So these little boys emulate women because that is the object of desire for men. Once puberty hits and the surge of hormones manifest biological changes to these little boys (who previously identified as female) they start to understand that they, in fact, desire other men. When they identify with a group of males who desire other males, the female persona, if you will, is no longer needed and fades away.
I consider myself an open person, but I think my mouth hung open. What? It wasn’t that I didn’t believe what the parent was explaining, but that it put my whole transgender child philosophy on it’s ear. (I think that’s what any good conversation can do) My mind raced. How do they know which children are trans and which are homosexual? What are the signs? At what ages? How do you protect the well being of your child while allowing their TRUE gender identity and sexual orientation unfold naturally? So many questions!
First, I had to ask about hormone blockers. My daughter is petrified of growing up to be a man or as she puts it “looking like Daddy” with his hairy arms, beard and legs. She used to run to me crying about the fact that she can’t be a man, pleading for help so that she doesn’t have to be. Our answer is/was to give her hormone blockers when the time is right to simply delay puberty until she was ready to make more permanent decisions. This way she would not have the surge of male hormones that will create lasting secondary sexual characteristics such as an Adam’s apple, strong lines in the jaw area, etc. Hypothetically if we were to consider the philosophy discussed at the play date we would not give our child hormones and see what happens naturally.
As I tried to process the information, I thought about the countless children and young adults who commit suicide after puberty hits. They simply cannot endure the changes brought on by adolescence because it feels so wrong to them. Many become clinically depressed, socially withdrawn. This doesn’t sound like they are figuring out they are gay. This sounds like they are being held hostage in the wrong body. So if the statistics are true and there is a possibility of the child actually being gay instead of trans, a parent would want that child to have the chance to develop into the person they naturally are. Does that mean that blockers could stifle their true identity? Or do blockers allow the child to have the time to develop naturally? How do parents know which road to take as the age of puberty looms around the corner? Blockers or no blockers? My mind became fuzzy.
Where is the research? How old is the data and the stats that we are talking about? Now that there are trans kids in society does the same old data still apply? And who is studying these children and creating new data? I am lucky to know a local therapist who is starting to do just that. (I’ll share more as the organization is ready) I just have to wonder with all these important changes taking place across the world, how many studies are being conducted and what are they finding out?