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Parent of FTM Transgender teen trying to understand

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Parent of FTM Transgender teen trying to understand

Postby lisander45 » Thu Mar 03, 2016 1:41 am

My husband and I adopted a 13yo girl 4 and 1/2 years ago. She will be 18 in 6 months. She always appeared tomboyish, hated wearing dresses, and liked video games. Shortly after we adopted her, she came out to her friends at school as bi-sexual. At age 16, she said she was gender-fluid and pansexual. Lately, she's been binding her breasts with a super-tight sports bra, and now she says transgender, and has changed her Facebook gender from female to male. I've always allowed her to present as she feels comfortable, but have expressed a concern that she might be allowing herself to be influenced by stuff she's seeing on the internet. She claims emphatically that no, she's not being influenced, that that's just who she is. She just ''feels" like she's "a guy". I've tried talking to her about this, but she's very touchy about the subject, and has pretty much shut me out.

My question is, how does a girl go about "feeling" like she's a guy? Are there any FTM trans-men out there that can enlighten me? How did you first come to the realization that you were transgender? Just trying to understand, so that hopefully, I can find a way to break down the communication barriers between us. Thanks in advance for your help.
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Re: Parent of FTM Transgender teen trying to understand

Postby lisander45 » Fri Mar 04, 2016 11:22 am

Well I guess no one wants to talk to a parent on this forum. Whatever :?
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Re: Parent of FTM Transgender teen trying to understand

Postby Seangel » Sun Mar 06, 2016 9:59 pm

Hi lisander,

I'm sorry you haven't got an answer sooner.

I'm a cisgender woman and I'm also an activist for the LGBT community.

lisander45 wrote:My question is, how does a girl go about "feeling" like she's a guy? Are there any FTM trans-men out there that can enlighten me? How did you first come to the realization that you were transgender? Just trying to understand, so that hopefully, I can find a way to break down the communication barriers between us. Thanks in advance for your help.


I cannot answer on how they feel, but just my perspective on it.

Humm... How does a person go about feeling like they are a guy or a girl? Gender is a social construction, so it's quite possible it is about the roles the person feels comfortable with. How close or far away they feel to that.

A transgender person knows very early in their life that they are not "read" as they would like to be. And many shut down that because of social pressures. So, even when they know that they prefer certain roles, some don't speak out because as a society we judge hardly those who step outside of the "norm".

There are many wonderful stories on the web about transgender people and how they felt and what they had to go through when understanding and trying to bring to life the person they are inside. You can look for that on the web. I don't have right now a site to suggest you in English, but I'm certain you will find them.

As for breaking the barriers down between you and your son, I can suggest informing yourself. Understanding and respecting their choices. If he identifies as a boy, then call him that way. By his chosen name and use the masculine pronouns.

Maybe avoid telling him that he's being influenced. If this is how he feels, it's very hurtful being told this. If he's being influenced then he'll changed his mind about it. But either way it's his choice and his path in life. Your job, if any, is to love him and be by his side.

Let him tell you about the stuff he wants to share. And if you are ... concern about something specific, then ask or tell: "hey this is my concern..." and talk about it from an honest place, and without judgment or prejudist positions.

Kids have lots of reservations with their parents, and with this topic so much more. So, maybe he won't share with you lots of stuff. So what you can do is respect him that, and maybe tell him that you are there for him without judgements (if that really is the case).

I was trying to find a place. Maybe this blog might help:

https://mothersoftransgenderchildren.wordpress.com/

Sea
Taking myself some time away from PF. Sea (Dec, 2016)
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Re: Parent of FTM Transgender teen trying to understand

Postby witchessabbath » Sun Mar 06, 2016 10:51 pm

Hey, so I'm not transgender - born male and comfortable with that - but I do have a really good friend who went from male to female and she's given me a lot to think about in terms of the transgender issue. I consider myself pretty open about the issue and familiar with it, even if I can't give a first hand account.

My friend knew from a pretty early age that she was actually a female inside a guy's body. But as a teenager she really tried to hide it and deny it to herself. We got up to some stereotypically douchey boyish $#%^ together and not many people noticed anything different about her. I always knew she had something weighing her down, and she definitely showed a lot of curiosity in feminine stuff...mentioning things in passing about wearing women's clothes, wondering what it would be like to have boobs or a vagina, etc. But she'd always withdraw after even when I tried to support her, and go back to trying to be a "man's man" around me and the other guys at school.

So she didn't really come to terms with it until she was 18 iirc. And she didn't want to go full female right away, she wanted to experiment a little with her presentation and stuff to see if it made her happy. A lot of people we knew didn't support her anymore, and her family didn't support her. For a long time I was always getting tearful phone calls or IMs from her. She had to leave her family in university and struggled for a long time financially, thankfully we live in Canada and she was able to have her surgeries paid for by the government. She is very happy as a woman and now I look back and it was clear to me how wrong it was for her to be a guy.

Now that being said, over the years my friend and I met some people at uni who wanted to transition (mostly female to male, but we met a few other male to female) and some of them came to regret it. A few were some girls who thought they wanted to be men, but as time went on they came to see there were other issues involved. Some had eating disorders and associated the male body with thinness, and the female breast and hips with "fat." Some were, regrettably, sexually abused as children or teens and they associated their female physicality with vulnerability and abuse, and felt they'd be safer or less traumatized as men. Some people seem to think that being a guy relieves you of all life's problems, and it simply isn't true - male privilege isn't simply attained by looking male either. A few of these girls actually started testosterone and then detransitioned usually within a year. The others never got to the point of physically transitioning.

Thing is there wasn't much one could do to make them reconsider. They had to discover that they made a mistake on their own. Any attempt to question their transgender status was, I suppose, understandably meant with hostility and accusations of being transphobic. And so they clung harder to "maleness." I think it's like that with anything a teenager or young adult does. They had to take the hormones on their own, and be unhappy with the results and with their lives, in order to realize it wasn't the right path for them.

So my own thoughts on the matter are weighed out between these opposing experiences. I've had a friend who had her transgenderism denied over and over again, and I've seen her give up everything to become the beautiful woman she is today. She is happier for it, and it has saved her life, I really believe that. I've also seen people who made a big mistake in transitioning, who did it for the wrong reasons.

My stance now is that I take all people at face value. One of the things that my transgender friend really appreciated about me was that I never made a big deal about her transition, positively or negatively. When she told me she was a woman, I shrugged and said "ok, I guess you're changing your name now. What is it?" Called her by her new name and referred to her as "she" and "her." But on the same coin, I didn't go overboard, making a huge deal of "OH YOU'RE A WOMAN YOU GO GIRL HERE'S SOME LACY PANTIES FOR YOUR B-DAY BABE" lol because how weird would it be if I did that to a cisgender female? She's still the exact same person inside as the dude I used to get up to $#%^ with in high school. What's between her legs is irrelevant - I value her for her character and her personality, and her gender has nothing to do with that. Female, male, I don't care and I love and accept you no matter what.

And as for the people who do it for the wrong reasons - I find that taking a non-judgmental, "whatever" approach works really well too. I'll call them by their chosen name, and their chosen pronouns. Maybe transition will be the best thing they ever did, maybe it will be a mistake that they have to struggle through and learn from. But it's not my place to decide that. And any questioning, any resistance I may put up, will be met with more headstrong resistance making them more likely to transition rashly and dig themselves deeper in.

I imagine it's very hard as a parent, I'm sure you care for her very much and no parent wants to see their children face discrimination and pain. But if they are in fact transgender, and they are met with resistance - they are going to in all likelihood find the most pain and struggle at home. My friend's parents rejected her, because they thought it would save her from the pain of being an outcast. But she tells me again and again, the most pain she ever felt over transition came from her family. They cast her out when she needed them the most.

And if your child isn't trans, again, resisting anything is only going to make them push back harder and perhaps make a rash choice. And, very likely, the wrong decision to transition is coming from a place of fear and pain that they think living as a man will remedy. In either scenario, they need to know that their parents have their back, love them no matter what gender they are, and will support them unconditionally.
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Re: Parent of FTM Transgender teen trying to understand

Postby mishkakatyusha » Tue Mar 15, 2016 1:39 pm

ah,the explanatory of the how and why?i think i can help with that a little

im a soon to be MTF (getting my health insurance redone atm) with a bonus sideorder of schizoid personality disorder :D

anywho,being a man in a womans body,or a woman in a man's body.in reality shares some stress aspects with other disorders and cases more famously known for locking people in

think of it like if you had a serious skin disease,or a disfiguring injury and,had to look at yourself in the mirror with disgust everyday,knowing this disfigured form isnt you (thats roughly analogous to my experience)

in your case,id wager that the subject in question is using this outward hostility as a shell of self defense,(i should know as i have the same problem with my SPD),due to feelings of insecurity regarding how to handle the situation,given that hostility naturally repels hostiles (a curious fact)

since this person is ftm,and given the nature of self-defense hostility,id suggest first showing a mild indifference,like as if nothing out of the ordinary is happening,this will naturally cause a gradual reduction in the self defense mechanism as it is purely a reactive creature,(reacting to real or imagined threats)(btw,mild indifference gels well with the male mindset)

then in phase 2,when you can visibly tell that hostility has dropped abit,continue the mild indifference,but (assuming you have cable and/or internet access),put on things that will naturally be pleasent to an ftm.off the top of my head,id suggest things that represent a female getting into traditionally male activitys,women's boxing,bodybuilding,etc. (and gioven the subject's self defending hostility will be lowered by now,this also means they drop there guard,which enables the self-resonating anguish releif (translation: OMG that is so me!! why didnt i see this earlier?) which will bring a further drop in hostility)

and then,if all previous phases suceed,you may continue to phase 3,where all the previous phase activitys are combined,yet you VERY gradually broach the subject,offering support,but note this will take a long time (if you need reference,look up how slowly international negotiations between diplomats are conducted,use that for reference)


(disclaimer: i am not anywhere near a medical person,my advice is jsut that,advice,take it as you will,i offer these tips out of compassion)
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