I’m 40, divorced, with three children. My eldest, a 14-year-old daughter came out to me as trans (wanting to live as a boy) and pansexual.
I’ll now refer to this child as “R,” with "he" pronouns:
R was scared to come out to our family himself. My mother, especially, is very conservative. She thinks being gay is a sin/mental illness.
R also told me he has anxiety. However, he won't talk during counselling sessions. The therapists say there’s nothing they can do if he doesn’t talk.
Our family doctor referred R to a pediatrician whom I trust. He put R on medication due to his high anxiety.
Recently, when cleaning R’s room, I found a noose and notes to his friends apologizing for killing himself.
R said they were old notes and he’s not planning anything. He also said he quit his antidepressants and feels a lot better. He still refuses therapy.
Where we live, kids can get medication from a doctor (free, if under 25) without parental consent.
The pediatrician thinks R should go on hormone blockers which pause puberty, putting him in an androgynous state for a while to hopefully work on his anxiety and self-esteem.
R’s excited about this. I’ll support and love him.
The pediatrician says that after up to two years of this treatment every few months, R may end up transitioning to male hormones, or want to go back to being female, or choose to be androgynous.
The worst (for me) is dealing with my parents. I work for them in a small family business, together daily. There’s no escaping them endlessly droning on that R cannot really be trans.
My mother wants me to fight it in court and get the laws changed so parents have more control over their kids, and not be able to make medical decisions while young.
Do I quit my job? There are few opportunities in my town. I don't get child support. I can't move due to my divorce agreement, so my ex-husband can still be close to the kids.
He doesn't agree with R wanting to be a boy and doesn't want to be involved.
I’ve never defied my mom before. (At 19, I moved away to attend university and avoid her).
How do I be firm in my position? R is getting his first hormone blocker shot tomorrow. I’m hoping he gets some relief.
You’re supportive, thoughtful, loving, and very respectful of your child’s voice expressing his need for transsexual transition.
Yet it’s clear that the parallel voice of your mother’s constant control attempts, make it hard for you to deal with all that’s involved at this time.
Though your pediatrician in town is helpful and inspires your trust, this situation warrants you also asking for opinions from specialists who are currently working in hospitals in the cutting-edge science of how people transition most effectively and healthily.
You want to assure both R and yourself that you’ve researched and learned as much as possible.
So even though you’ve decided to start this first hormone shot, it doesn’t do any harm to explore the process more thoroughly.
Your pediatrician might know whom to contact and arrange a phone call or email connection to a specialist. Or you can find an involved hospital and contact online.
With your mother, do what you did when you went away at 19: Say No to her orders/opinions, and mentally turn her off.
FEEDBACK Regarding the reader with severe allergies to cats (Sept. 19):
Reader – “I too suffer from severe asthma that’s exacerbated by pet dander.
“I understand the love and benefits many pet owners derive from their furry friends, but am increasingly isolated as more and more pets are being taken everywhere their owners go.
“There’s remarkable indifference among some pet owners to allergy-sufferers. When I move away from cats and dogs that approach me, I’m told, “(s)he is only being friendly.”
“If I try to explain the allergy, I’m met mostly with disdain, even contempt and spurious advice to take a pill.
“Your response explained that it’s not only the presence of the animal that presents the immediate threat but the ongoing problem of the dander - a sticky surface which lingers on clothes, carpets, walls, and in the air which continually pose a potentially deadly danger to the allergy sufferer/asthmatic.”
Tip of the day:
Children/youth whose self-identity and anxieties are in a turbulent state, need informed parents determinedly seeking medical and psychological support for them.