I feel it’s very important that I document this as accurately as possible, in the hope that this information may one day help other concerned parents as there’s so little information out there.
A couple of years back (early 2015 I believe) our son handed us a letter in which he expressed his wish to become female.
To say the contents of the letter came as a shock would be an understatement – it was out of the blue, with no signs prior that he may have felt this way.
That evening me, him and his mum, sat him down and had a very ‘mature’ conversation with him about why he felt the way he did, how long he had been feeling it and where he wanted to go from here.
I need to add that at that point he was 14.
I don’t know where that original letter is so I’m unable to quote any of it. However what I can say is that the vast majority of it appeared to be a ‘copy and paste’ job as it wasn’t in his own writing, if you understand what I mean. Most of the information appeared to be quotes that he’d taken from the internet, and that concerned us deeply.
Having said that we had the discussion and I was able to persuade him that he was too young, that he needed time to develop and this was not an avenue he needed to pursue. This was all without raised voices or tears – quite an amicable discussion if I’m honest.
After our talk he agreed that this was something he didn’t wish to pursue and further, and I honestly thought that was the end of it.
Move on to the beginning of 2017 and there was an ‘episode’. The previous evening he was in one of his ‘craughing’ phases with his mum, one minute laughing his head off, the next in tears, then back to laughing etc. The following morning he was in tears and got himself into such a state that he refused to go to school.
I work from home and due to his ‘behaviour’ refused to buy into what I thought was just ‘him getting his way’ again, so didn’t really speak to him much. I picked my wife up from work that afternoon, and when we got back home we found a letter entitled ‘I can’t be someone I’m not – I can’t do this any longer’ – we knew what it would be about.
I’m going to type highlights from the letter here; ‘I love my body, but it’s the hair that I must shave when possible…a lack of focus or motivation in my exams…my exams suffer drastically…I say they do because they have and most likely WILL…non-stop feeling of nausea for the last few months…’
‘…I’ve been feeling measurably anxious…exams are getting progressively worse…my dysphoria only adds to this…other things contribute to my deteriorating mental state…changing world…I haven’ been influenced by anyone or anything…steer clear of most LGBT YouTubers…many of them are unreasonable…put forth ridiculous ideas so are irrelevant to me…however (and then he went on to describe 2 YouTube personalities who have ‘transitioned’ who he actually DOES look up to – how they make him feel, how their lives are so much better etc)…’
‘…I know that one day I can look down at curves and…smooth skin…feel soft, hairless face and soft lips…this will happen – I know it will…legs will be easy to shave…coarse hair will no longer bother me…one day I’ll find that another girl will be able to appreciate me for who I am…I’m not attracted to men…I hate my voice…I’d like to thank my friends, especially my internet friends who are there for me…they have helped me so many times…I wish I could go to them…I’ll see them one day…’
My wife broke down in tears later that evening. I didn’t read the letter until only recently – I refused to read it. I couldn’t give my son eye contact or speak to him.
My wife booked an appointment with him to see his GP on 6th January 2017. Although she took him she was too upset to speak, and my son couldn’t get his words out properly so my wife left the room while he spoke with the GP.
An appointment was made for him to go back tot the GP today, 13th January 2017, which I took him to.
See, during the week I couldn’t speak to him I was doing a hell of a lot of research into the subject of trans teens, and what I discovered was very, very disturbing.
Now if you have a subject that is, say, controversial, there’s usually 2 sides to the argument that can help give you a somewhat ‘balanced’ opinion on said subject; race, religion, political viewpoints, climate, war, you get the picture. However, when it comes to the subject of transgenders and transitioning, more specifically in teenagers, the side dealing with the negative effects and outcomes of those who are thinking of, or have gone through the gender reassignment process are heavily outweighed by the side that argues that it’s fine and ‘ok – yay!’ to go down the route of gender reassignment.
I’m not religious, I’m not a bigot – I’m just a parent who wants what’s best for my child, and a one sided argument is no argument at all as far as I’m concerned – put up or shut up, and I’m not going to shut up.
I’m going to cut a long story short – I’m going to see this through to the end as my son’s welfare – his life – are at stake if I don’t.
So today I took my son back to the GP as a blood test had been ordered. I found out from her that she wasn’t the one who had requested this, but as part of the ‘process’ it was required by the ‘Referral and Findings Team’ at the ‘Gender Identity Clinic’ up in London. The blood tests would give results for the following:
B12 & Foliate
Dihydrotestosterone and Oestradiol
If you wish to find out what all with these acronyms stand for then do a Google search but the long and short of it are the test are mostly hormonal.
Now at this stage I have no idea what the results of these tests will indicate. My assumption is if they all come back as ‘normal’ then he will not be seen by the Gender Clinic up in London but will be referred to a child psychologist, but that’s only an assumption – I have no bloody idea because the GP couldn’t tell me.
I’m now going to call the Gender Clinic (which is part of the NHS system and has an avaerage customer rating of 1.2 out of 5 in ALL aspects of it’s practice – not off to a good start there…) to try and find out the answers to my main question – what will the results of the blood test prove?
I’ll state now that I do NOT agree that my son should have, in this first instance, been referred to a Gender Clinic – not at all. In my opinion the blood tests is a must as it will show (and again I’m guessing here) what his hormonal state is i.e. correct/incorrect balance of testosterone, presence of/high level of oestrogen etc. However, in my opinion, it’s the GP that should make the request for the blood test and, based on the results the GP should then make the decision, along with the parents, as to whether or not the child should be referred to a child psychologist or a Gender Clinic. To do it the way it’s been done, which in my opinion is back to front, is fundamentally wrong, as this sends out a message to the child that they already have a dysphoria without actually having proved that indeed a dysphoria exists; I’ll elaborate that over time.
Now to that phone call…