I get a lot of people asking me the same questions, generally with the tone of, “But have you thought of this?”
Yes, believe me, I’ve thought of it. And it was probably keeping me awake last night.
But I want you to know that I’m not a terrible mother, so let’s run through a few of your concerns.
Q: What if I this is just a phase and I’m setting her on a path in which she’ll feel stuck ?
A: According to my therapist (who specializes in working with kids like mine and parents like me), there’s nothing I can do that will make my child turn out transgender. It just doesn’t work that way. If she does decide that she wants to have a male identity (which she may do; gender is still somewhat fluid for a few more years, apparently), she knows that’s an option for her. The kid’s no dummy: She knows that most people expect her to be a boy because she’s got that penis dangling between her legs, and she knows it would be much easier to be a boy because of that. She has already had to wage an epic struggle against her mother and the rest of the world in order to get to live as a girl. The kid is seriously stubborn. Compared to THAT struggle, going back to the boy thing should be a piece of cake for a kid that determined.
Q: What if she just feels like she can’t be a boy and like the things she likes, because there are so few examples in society and in the media of boys who like “girl” things?
A: I have told her approximately eight thousand times that she can be a boy and still like and do everything that is “just for girls.” At this point she just rolls her eyes at me, and says, “I know, Mom, I know, but I’m a girl.” I’ve also introduced her to several penis-possessing kids her age who identify very comfortably as boys, but whose dress and play are just as girlie as my kid’s are. So she’s been exposed to the “feminine boy” option. And yet, she is unmoved: “I’m ALL girl, Mom.”
Q: What if she’s just being controlling?
A: A neighbor said something to this effect when I first told her that we were switching pronouns. Yes, my child is… strong-willed. Yes, she probably did order your child to play the games that she wanted to play. It’s called moxie! It doesn’t mean that she’s decided to defy our society’s entrenched binary system of gender just to annoy you!