Sensitive Issues

We've had a sensitive issue arise just as school is about to begin for the year.

I don't even have a question to ask you, but I can explain the facts as I know them and let you say what pops into your head regarding reactions and how you would handle explaining it to your own child.

My oldest son is going into 8th grade.  A student he has attended school with since kindergarten has decided he doesn't want to be a boy anymore.  He will be starting this school year using a female version of his name and dressing as a girl.

This boy has begun hormone therapy.

The boy will be using the teacher's lounge for a bathroom and locker room.

It's Feedback Friday...


  1. Wow, I feel like this is a touchy and tough subject. While I don't have a problem with the child going by a different name and wearing what he feels most comfortable in, I have to question if 8th grade is really old enough to make a decision start hormone therapy. At the end of the day it is the choice of that family and I am sure they have thought long and hard about it. No matter what my personal opinions, I hope the school is prepared to protect this child to the best of their ability.

  2. Cool. Good for her.
    When I was a teen, I had a friend who was a boy, though she originally started as a girl. When I first met him, there was hardly any trace of the girl left, and he was a happy, normal teenage boy.
    I think it´s great that the girl in your son´s school has the possibility to live the life she wants to, and if the doctors agreed to her hormone therapy, and her parents did, it´s not us to question their decisions.
    For your son, I think this is a stellar opportunity to get in contact with people living a different lifestyle - one of the main reasons for attending school, I think :)
    So, congrats on all parts!

  3. That is very brave on that child's part! This is a great opportunity to teach your son more about individuality, respect and tolerance. I do hope that this child has a great year, that the other kids in the school can respectfully accept his decision to truly become who he feels he is. It sounds like your school is taking some good steps......Unfortunately I'm sure this whole situation won't sit well with everyone.

  4. I have a friend whose 21 year old son is going through the same thing. He (previously a she) is much happier and much better at handling every day situations and conflicts now that he's more comfortable in his own skin. I'd say it's a good chance to talk to your son about respecting everyone, no matter their sex, personal preferences or otherwise. Don't judge a book by it's cover sort of thing.

  5. Hmmm, this is a tough subject! I strongly believe that a 14yr old probaly is not mature enough to make that decision yet. At that age kids change their mind like the wind changes. While I am okay with him making this change I think 17 or 18 would be a better age do so.

  6. I agree with Jannis, I feel this is too young to make that decision. Your hormones fluctuate so much through puberty that it can make for such a confusing time in life. It would be better to get through as well as can be--and then start the therapy after puberty is over.

  7. It seems a bit young for someone to make the decision to transition to the other gender, but despite that, I admire that student's bravery! It's good that the school are giving her the support by way of the use of the teacher's lounge, and are accepting of the choice to transition. At the same time, I sincerely hope the other students in the school are given the support and guidance needed to understand the situation and appreciate what a difficult decision it must have been for the brave boy that decided to reveal to the world that he should have been born a girl.
    I can imagine that this situation will be throwing up a lot of questions (and likely difficult ones) amongst classmates, and I hope there's no prejudice against the student for starting to undergo hormone therapy. It's a brave thing to do at such a young age, particularly considering how cruel kids can be towards anybody 'different'.
    I'm curious that hormone therapy is already under way. The teens are when people go through puberty. Considering that hormone therapy essentially throws the body into a second puberty (for adults) I wonder if the choice to do it now is to avoid having to go through the horrors of puberty twice...?
    Anyway. Best of luck to your son's classmate.

  8. From what I understand, the hormones are intended to delay or stop puberty for him. He is very under- developed and tiny for his age.

  9. I say that this is a wonderful oppotunity to talk about Gender vs. sex (as in the, male/female) . You could learn and teach more about gender around the world and how other cultures handle the minority of people who don't identify as female or male, or even how gender can be a spectrum instead of a dichotomy.

  10. I worry what my kids think as they tackle some of these big sticky issues out in the real world. My 8th grader and I would definitely talk - about all sorts of things from loving yourself and your body to feeling confused and despondent to going to all the adults in your life that you trust for guidance and being brave and stating what you need. And I would hope that, armed with all the facts and a sense of compassion, he could keep an open mind about the challenges that other people face and know that he has parents that will help him make sense of the human condition.

  11. All excellent points of view. I think this is a perfect opportunity to talk about support and standing up for a person who will surely be going through a difficult time. Stress the importance of standing up for other people whether or not you agree with the choices they've made, especially in this type of situation. I think it's about teaching humanity and strong moral character. I assume the family has known for a long time that their child was not happy and are making this decision alongside their son. Probably this is the perfect time to do this before he enters the very difficult teenage years. The more understanding and support people give him will ensure a less traumatic transition.

  12. I love that the parents are obviously supportive of the child's decision because he's going to need a ton of love and support. Going through jr. high and high school is hard enough, but going through it while making a total life change is going to make it so much worse. I feel sick just thinking about how mean kids are to each other and what a rough road is ahead for kid and his parents.

  13. good luck to the poor kid.... he's going to need that and a whole lot more to make it through this year.....

  14. It's importannt to remember that this boy didn't just suddenly "decide" he didn't want to be a boy anymore. This is undoubtably been something he, and his family, have wrestled with in private for years. Kudos to the parents for recognizing their child's struggle and being supportive. This is a great opportunity to teach your child about acceptance and to reinforce that bullying should never be tolerated (not implying that your son will bully, but rather that this child will be facing some less than understanding and supportive peers).

    1. A decision was made one way or the other, so yes, he decided.

  15. I would imagine that this family has participated in some pretty exhaustive therapy before reaching a decision to take this step and it is not something that is spur of the moment or a decision that was lightly made. That said... if it were my child I would probably start her at a different school with a fresh start. Not for the other children, but for herself. I can't imagine the challenges she will have to face from the kids that have known her for her whole life.

    If I were in your place then I would just reiterate that all people are different and have to make their own decisions about how to live their lives, and that even if we don't understand we still have to respect them and be kind.

  16. What a great opportunity to discuss "To thine own self be true". As parents we want our children to be sincere, honest, respectful here is a way for them to practice those attributes while accepting this child's decision. It is so important that children know that they can talk to the parents about anything, share their inner most feelings and know that they will always have their unconditional love. Good luck Jennifer, I know that you and your children will move forward and they will have a great school year,

  17. I feel so much for this child. I know that it is a difficult and confusing subject for everyone. I know several women who went this process in their twenties and thirties, and a woman who went through this in her fifties.

    Arresting puberty in males is usually so that they can avoid the effects of androgen hormones on their appearance and in their voice. This is not a lark. I'm sure it was a very painful but unavoidable decision that the whole family had to agree on. If she decided to wait until her twenties, and after male hormones changed her appearance, her life would be so much harder. It is a fact that male to female transgendered people have huge obstacles in just finding employment mainly based on physical appearance.

    If my child were transgender, I would do what was in the best interest in their survival. And I would thank heaven that I have a place of worship that would accept my child with open arms.

  18. ...also, I don't worry as much about the other students. I really find that children are pretty accepting (much more that adults) of everyone if they are encouraged to ask questions and talk about their concerns.


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