Mom sup­ports her trans child

Penticton Herald - - LIFE - EL­LIE TESHER

QUES­TION: 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.

AN­SWER: 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 cut­tingedge 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:

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. EL­LIE’S TIP OF THE DAY Chil­dren/youth whose self­i­den­tity and anx­i­eties are in a tur­bu­lent state, need in­formed par­ents de­ter­minedly seek­ing med­i­cal and psy­cho­log­i­cal sup­port for them. Email el­lie@thes­tar.ca Fol­low @el­liead­vice

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