“Could I be MtF?” asks a 14 year old male in the middle of puberty:
He’s not unhappy with his male body, in fact he explicitly says he’s happy with it. He reports having thoughts about becoming female as a kid, and of pretending to have boobs. He also notes that he feels like he can communicate better with girls.
User Chel_of_the_sea advices him to look into it, and advises that the childhood memories can be “evidence” that there is something to it.
A few days later, the same kid posts again, stating that “Lately I’ve been feeling dysphoria with varying levels of intensity”, and suggests three possibilities for what this might mean:
1. I’m truly female, and I’m feeling increasingly disconnected with my male self.
2. I’m truly androgynous, and I’m being torn between being male and being female.
3. I’m truly male, and I am taking this harmless questioning too far.
He then presents what he feels is “evidence” for each of these options:
Note that he simultaneously states that he truly is female and that he wants to be female. No explanation of what being female means to him. Note also the gender stereotypes: he apparently thinks that knitting is an activity that can only be enjoyed by females. Most noteworthy however, is the statement that he has gone from being “totally comfortable” in his body, to experiencing feelings of no longer “feeling secure as a male”.
He continues with presenting evidence for the second possibility: being “truly androgynous”:
“Varying in my masculinity and femininity”, or “having a personality that isn’t a cardboard stereotype” as we could also call it. Again the gender stereotypes crop up.
Finally he lays out what he considers evidence of the third possibility, him actually being male and just confusing himself:
Note how he says that he can no longer imagine living the rest of his life as male after being exposed to these ideas, and how he has begun to be “weirded out” by seeing himself in a mirror. And again, a bunch of gender stereotypes, illustrating his immature view of what men and women are like (which for a 14 year old isn’t surprising).
Of the replies he gets, not one calls him out on his blatant gender stereotypes. No one asks him what he means by “feeling female”. What he gets instead is this:
Someone who vaguely says “you sound just like me”.
Another instance of the phenomenon covered in this post, the idea that the very act of being unsure of your gender identity makes you trans.
“You sound trans to me”
“You are probably not cis if you think all of those things”
It wouldn’t be a “am I trans” post if someone didn’t mention hormones!
Not long after, he is 99% sure he is trans and wants to tell his parents.
From being comfortable as a male to being “truly female” and asking about body mods.
Then asking how to convince his parents it’s totally not a phase, and being in a hurry to start hormone blockers:
Then, his coming-out letter to his parents:
Please listen to me when I say that this is not a choice, and it’s not something I can change. It is not a phase; it will not go away; it will only get worst if ignored; it will eventually kill me if I keep it in.
I may be biologically a boy, but I am truly a girl.
In terms of wanting to be female, not just acting like one, I can remember events such as dreams and daytime fantasies from as early as three or four, upwards to about 10 years old. They got pretty intense at times, and I can share them with you later if you like (they don’t translate very well to paper). The reason they stopped at about 10 was basically because gender conditioning that dictated that I must act as if I were masculine got in the way of my real identity. What’s more it made no sense that I would want to be feminine, since I wasn’t gay and I certainly wasn’t biologically female – so I tried to stop. For the most part, it worked, but hiding my true identity was not an act that would last forever. It wasn’t until recently that I realised all this consciously though, so I basically went through my pre-teen years and into the start of my teenage ones believing that there was something wrong with me for wanting to be a girl, repressing the feelings, pretending they were never there in the first place, putting on a phony masculine front, hating myself for it, pretending that everything was okay, and repeating the cycle. I know this may be a bit of a shock to you as I rarely seem truly upset, and when I am it’s usually about something trivial and goes away within a couple of hours at most. This was a different kind of sadness though; one which I was able to hide reasonably well, especially from myself, and pile other feelings on top of to keep it out of sight. But it was always there.
Perhaps puberty helped me come to the realization of my true gender identity, or perhaps it was just that my understanding of my life grew large enough for me to be able to see this pattern, question it, and come to the conclusion that I am transgender. And of course having access to resources about transgenderism, mainly websites by older and more experienced people who have been through it themselves, as well as doctors and medical professionals, only helped accelerate this process.
So what do you do about a transgender child? Just as you cannot “cure” your child if they are gay, you cannot “cure” a transgender and make them happy living as their biological gender. Doing so will not end well, for you or for them. Nearly half of all adolescent transgenders have attempted suicide, and are supposedly eight times more likely to do so if they are rejected by their families, or forced to live as their birth gender as opposed to their true one.
So the real solution, however difficult it may be, is to let them express themselves as their true gender, for life (let me stress that this does not go away). This entails a lot of things, some of which are purely social while others are physical. The checklist varies depending on the person but usually will include for Male-to-Female (MtF) transgenders:
* Voice training
* Buying new clothes and changing their appearance
* Choosing a new name
* Taking T-blockers to limit testosterone levels (this is a must)
* Taking supplementary estrogen (usually only when 16+, depends on the specific case)
* Various corrective surgeries, these are usually only done after 10+ years of living is a female, if they are done at all
Notice first how he twice talks about suicide, which reminds us of this post. Suicide is seen as the inevitable outcome of not transitioning. This in a boy who only days before was happy with his body, who has not even talked to a therapist yet. The only people he has talked to about his feelings are people on the internet, many of them much older than him. And all of them are people who define themselves as transgender. No doubt there exist people who have had these kinds of feelings, but who have realized that they are happy as their birth sex. But such people don’t hang out in transgender websites, and thus this kid isn’t reading about their experiences at all.
He also talks about his childhood experiences with “acting as a female” (remember that this is a kid with extremely immature and stereotypical views of what men and women typically do). Suddenly these memories have become a lot more detailed and he sees them as a much more significant than he did the first time he posted.
His letter also contains a list of things necessary to “express one’s true gender”, including taking hormone blockers and estrogen, and surgery.
We’ve seen the same type of story before on this blog. Young person who does not fit into stereotypical gender roles starts reading certain trans communities, and within a very short period of time they no longer like their bodies and are planning extensive body modifications and threatening suicide.