The Waiting Game

♩ Who are you? ♫

My baby has so much anxiety in his life, and like most parents, I wish I could take it from him so he doesn’t have to hurt so much.  I started a new job in January, and while it’s an “on-call” position, there was a great deal of training throughout January.  He started struggling again with one of his other diagnoses.  See, my sweetheart has ADHD, anxious attachment disorder, and possibly autism spectrum disorder on top of being gender independent.

Getting his healthcare team in order has not proved to be easy, as the original doctor we saw doesn’t have as much experience with pre-pubescent patients and has referred us to the Gender Clinic at Sick Kids in Toronto.  Yes, we are going to see the infamous “Dr. Joey”.  I’ve heard many good things about him, but on the downside, there will be an unknown waiting period for our first appointment.  To be blunt, it sucks!  In the meantime, we have been talking through issues as they come up.
NOTE – there’s also such a thing as being ‘over serviced’, especially if there’s more than one diagnosis at hand

I have since registered him for camp and been exploring dressing options for the future.  He’s #2 on the waiting list, which is a disappointment, as the registration didn’t come online until after my workday started.  I’ve also been watching several transition videos and learned what a gaff is.  (DISCLAIMER – I don’t endorse the linked product in any way, it’s strictly for informational purposes)  I also learned that it’s not too difficult to make your own.

On a side note, there was a story I wanted to share a month or so ago, from one of my support groups, about a trans girl who fought back by overachieving in sales, but I cannot share the details, as I’m fairly certain there is some form of litigation going on.  All I can say is, “‘S’, you go, girl!”

Sorry for the rather boring and uneventful post.  Nothing has really happened to date to share, but I felt the need to update, anyway.  I hope there will be more to share the next time!

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Learning about Gender Diversity

question2I don’t really remember what led me to the video, whether I had Googled “transgender”, or happened upon it by chance in the sometimes nonsensical labyrinth of link-following on YouTube that can sometimes land you in strange places. I’m talking about the original interview of Jazz Jennings by Barbara Walters clips of which can be found here.

A big fan of diversity of ALL kinds, I watched and read quite a bit more after that. At first, I thought I could relate, being a tomboy for a great chunk of my childhood. Though, I didn’t hate my body (any more than most teens), and never once felt like I didn’t belong in it. I did, however, express my gender at times as male. This, I have since learned, is NOT the same as being transgender.

I attended a presentation about 3 weeks ago entitled Parenting Gender-Independent Children and Youth for parents, mental health and medical professionals, educators and administration. I wasn’t sure if I would learn anything new, but hoped to get some affirmation, support and resources.

I did get a better grasp on the following terms regarding sex and gender:

Sex: chromosomal, hormones, genitals and reproductive organs

Gender:gspectrum

Identity – one’s own sense of gender “the INSIDE”

Expression – the gender one displays “the OUTSIDE”

This was not new to me, but it helped fine-tune the understanding I previously had.

Also discussed within smaller groups and then shared with the larger group as a whole, were different approaches to raising gender independent kids. The choices were labelled differently, but essentially equaled intervening or preventing, remaining neutral or waiting, supporting.

Without good support in place, GI children ultimately present with a multitude of issues, including the anxiety, suicidality, anger, undesirable behaviour and social isolation that my son has demonstrated.

The statistics were scary, and included elevated risk for suicide attempts, depression, illegal drug use and STIs, including HIV. I don’t recall if I read it somewhere or another parent attending commented, “I’d rather have a living, happy daughter, than a dead son.”

WOW…no better time than now!
I waited almost an hour to talk to the doctor associated with the presentation and now he’s OUR doctor. I think he’s going to be the support we’ve both been waiting for!
(The rest of the presentation covered other information, including resources that I may add as information pages attached to the blog at some point.)

So, you just had your first baby!

babyWhen you first announce you are expecting, people from all corners will have advice to give. Many will tell you what to do and how to do it and that becoming a parent is something you can explain, you can only experience. At least one will tell you that leaving hospital will make even the most well-prepared parents a little uneasy. MANY will tell you, and maybe obnoxiously remind you after you get home that there are *no manuals* on how to parent.

“What do you mean, I’m responsible for this living, breathing, tiny human!!!”, you might think – or even scream out loud, depending on how well you’re adjusting.

...Or is there?
…Or is there?

That’s right, there is plenty of advice to be had, and parenting books galore, but no “right way” outline in a manual somewhere. Navigating advice is a selective adventure, and you probably have not even begun to experience the GUILT.

What does this all have to do with a transgender journey, you ask? I had recently read another blog written by another mother experiencing the transgender journey with her daughter, and it was chalk-full of questions fraught with parental doubt. If anything, the questions all seemed (to me) to stem from wondering if she was doing things right.

I don’t see this as any different than the doubt that ALL parents have, Trans child or not. We ALL wonder if our decisions are the right ones, how much damage the “wrong” ones could possibly do, and whether “the message” (whatever that may be) is getting through. I believe that as long as we are doing the best we can and we are doing it out of pure love, even if it’s not ultimately the very best, it was the very best we could do at that time with given circumstances. We stress ourselves with too much guilt. Now, if only I could take a dose of my own medicine!

This journey is full of questions. I’m going to start a list on this post, add to it from time to time and perhaps eventually make a page of these questions.

Questions?
Questions?

Questions I Have (and have had in the past):

How do I know this is not just a phase?

Should I let him wear long hair/his sister’s clothes?

What’s the difference between supporting and encouraging?

Can I actually encourage my child toward the opposite gender?

What if this is the wrong direction for my child?

What if he has second thoughts?