Sunday 21 January 2018

I should have said: 'I always had a son, I just thought I had a daughter'

My eight-year-old boy was assigned as gender female at birth but now feels 'his real self' after socially transitioning, writes Aisling, a mother of two

So, what do us parents do? We do our best. We dig deep, fight our prejudice, our limited experiences, our fears and doubts. Then, with help from those better educated and more experienced than we are, we support our kid. Stock picture
So, what do us parents do? We do our best. We dig deep, fight our prejudice, our limited experiences, our fears and doubts. Then, with help from those better educated and more experienced than we are, we support our kid. Stock picture

I write this piece in response to Stella O'Malley's article 'Living in an experiment' in last week's LIFE magazine in which she used her own experience of being confused about her gender as a child to criticise the notion of allowing children to begin transitioning to what they feel strongly is their true gender.

I write as a parent of an eight-year-old boy. He was assigned as gender female at birth, he has come through an emotionally turbulent time and socially transitioned last year. He is, to quote him, "his real self". He had not heard of the phrase 'transgender', had not seen a YouTube video, had not met anyone who could influence him (never mind be guided) before his expressed intention to 'transition'.

On a beach recently, I bumped into a former colleague and introduced her to my son. She responded that she thought she recalled I had a daughter that age, not a son. Thinking I was out of my son's earshot, I said, trying to lighten the moment, something to the effect that "I had a daughter, now I have a son".

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