Raising an intersexed/transgender child (updated)
Okay...I don't want to be unprofessional or inappropriate with his thread but I feel like you all would be a good resource for my thoughts and questions here....Are you around Baypuppy?
The six year old boy that I nanny is....different than the other boys. He WANTS to be a girl. His favorite thing int eh world to do is "dress like a girl" with high heels and dresses and bows in his hair. His mom and I work really hard sometimes to encourage him to wear boys cloths out in public and to school WITHOUT saying that he needs to do it so people will like him, because he is a boy and boys are supposed to dress like boys, or that its "wrong" or "weird" to want to dress like a girl, etc.
Blessedly, his mom is a very liberal hippy and she and I both feel that we need to encourage this child to be who he is---whatever that may be. We neither encourage nor discourage this behavior. We will say things like "You may wear the pink vest with faux fur and glitter on it and the sparkly shoes to school if you really want to but you need to be prepared that the other kids might not be used to it and make fun of you because they do not understand...." and he USUALLY goes and changes outfits. Recently an 11 year old child in our town hung himself to death because his classmates were teasing him about being "gay." It was so tragic. I just cant believe that such young children would even THINK to have made fun of him that way and to such a degree that he felt the need to die :'(
That being said, this six year old is already facing comments from his peers and unsupportive relatives. His teacher was encouraging his mom to look into alternative education for him (which his mom has already been doing...she is considering homeschooling the children or sending him to a preforming arts magnet program for highschool- this child LOVES theater and singing. We enroll him in classes to encourage those skills.)
Anyways, I was just wondering how I can support him to be who he is. What can we do to prepare him to deal with this stuff as he ages. He has been in this "stage" since he was 2 years old, so while it is possible he will out grow it, he may not....even if he does out grow it, he will need to learn how to deal with his peers not accepting or being supportive of everything he does. I think the case of that 11 year old really makes me want to be sure we are dong things right. This is not something to mess around with. Also, my best frined growing up (and my first fiance...) liked doing "girl things" and his parents absolutely discouraged it for their own reasons----but that didnt change who this kid was. He is still an adult with all those tendencies but also with extreme shame and guilt over who he is and what he likes. It makes me sad to see. I wonder if there are resources on line or maybe books to read? I don't know....any thoughts guys?
This subject is always so tricky because of the many misconceptions people have on it. If he is transgender or simply "not fitting the gender norm", and proper concessions are not being made between the family and the principal of the school, moving to a different area and different school might be a suitable solution. It sounds drastic and perhaps it is, but many families with trans kids move to "start fresh" in a new neighborhood. Sometimes the child will dress as a girl (or boy) as if they always had been "Susan" or whatever.
Your concern over this is admirable. Thank goodness the obstacles towards recognition of this issue aren't as many as they were just a few years ago! I wish you the best of luck, and don't sweat it if things don't go as you'd like.
Saw this and thought of this thread:
Boy to Live as Girl
Someone was telling me last night that NPR did like a week long series on the gender spectrum issue in children...How would I go about finding that? The person who told me couldnt think of what term they were using "transgender" "gender spectrum" etc...
I remember that series. I just did a search at NPR.org on: gender children
Here is a good place to get info on this subject. http://www.susans.org/index.html
I think it is wonderfull that you and the mother are trying to do things right. I had to grow up with bigoted parents and I`m transexual. At least you are catching this early before puberty starts to destroy her life. Depression will start and only get worse and worse if she is trully transexual till she can transition. I would hope that she can go to another school as a girl ( if that is what she truly wants)
ask me more if you like.
this discussion is great, people. :)>>> I love vw for this!
It also recently crossed my mind that perhaps this kid just enjoys gender play. He's probably too young to really understand the concept, but he seems to be having fun doing it. If this is the case, he already has a supportive family which is great! It's so odd that people seen as male are still "not supposed" to wear things like dresses etc...isn't this exactly the same as way back when women started wearing pants? When gender comes into the picture I guess it isn't as simple as that, but you'd think people would make the connection between those things...why are clothes so important to us? status quo? hmm.
Oh wow, I don't know how I missed this thread for so long!
First and foremost, like others have said, I think you Zeilia, and this boy's family are doing an incredible job at supprting him and loving him and talking him through everything that's happening or could happen. That's amazing and he's very blessed to have you all in his life.
I just wanted to caution to be careful about jumping into ideas around transgender, transexual or queer, only because he's very young and it could really confuse him. That is not to say he shouldn't possibly be in some sort of counselling if he's struggling with anything, I just mean be careful. I agree very much with what many have said, so I won;t go over it again.
I do really want to encourage the letter to the principal with the literature. I feel strongly that this will be helpful for the principal and the school. Explain in the letter why the youngster is leaving the school. I would also suggest possibly sending that letter/literature higher up, past the principal to the board. Make them understand that what the principal did was wrong and that it cannot and will not be tolerated.
You really are doing a great job with this little one. Letting him know so early in his life that he can be whoever he wants to be and that no matter what happens in the world he always has a safe and loving place to come to...that's just huge.
I hope you're well and I hope he's well too. Keep us updated. And HOORAY!! To Vegweb for treating this topic with such respect!!
For homeschooling, I recommend you/the parents read The Teenager's Liberation Handbook has some good info/insight into that entire world.