My daughter has an erection

rubber-duckCognitive dissonance, anyone?

Yes, life is interesting when your five-year-old daughter has a penis.

It’s Monday night. She huffs, annoyed.  She’s in the bath playing with her rubber ducks. “I hate it when my penis sticks up like that.”

I look into the bath water. Yup, she’s got a little erection going on.

OK, Mom, be cool.

“Why don’t you like it?”

“It’s just so annoying! Like, it sticks out of my underpants sometimes. It’s not comfortable.”

“Hmm, yes, that does sound annoying. I think there are some special underpants for girls with penises. Shall we try to get you some of those?”

“Yes, please! Can I pick them out? I want black ones!” (She’s in a sort of kindergarten Goth phase – everything’s gotta be black.)

“You bet, kiddo. Black it is.”

She smiles and resumes playing with her collection of rubber duckies.

Whew! Normalcy maintained, once again, despite a reality in which I am pretty certain that I can actually FEEL my brain attempting to re-wire itself in order to process the world wrought by my fabulous trans daughter.

The trick? Believing it’s normal, and showing her that I believe it is. Or faking it really well when my mind is stuck in spin cycle as I watch my lithe little princess with her long, blond hair, sporting an erection in the bathtub.

The thing, this IS normal. It’s natural. Yes, it’s somewhat rare to be transgender (perhaps one in a thousand?), and it’s not widely understood or accepted, but it’s normal because it happens.

It’s happened to us.

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44 thoughts on “My daughter has an erection

  1. It’s good to hear from families like yours because I think when people see kids like yours, they’ll eventually accept that it really is normal. Whatever that is. Not everybody will, but I’ve come around from an otherwise disinterested position on such matters to accepting these things as normal and I think most people like me would as well.

  2. “And I laughed when I saw her, in spite of myself;
    A wink of my eye and a twist of my head,
    Soon gave me to know she had nothing to dread…”

    Sound familiar? I just love this post and yes, the trick is in knowing this is normal as she is normal to feel what she feels to be a girl. So what — she has this “thing” that gets erect involuntarily every now and again. Buy the special panties and problem solved… well temporarily anyway. Everyone will be happier and smiles all around. She’s progressing brilliantly from what I gather. And when she grows up and is old enough to make decisions about her body perhaps this won’t be an issue for her ever again. But that will be for her to decide. HAPPY HOLIDAYS ALL AROUND!

  3. Yep, in most cases, the last thing a trans girl wants to be reminded of is her penis! You handled it beautifully. You are truly a mother of grace.

  4. What is even more rare is a mother like you who is not only well-equipped but open minded to handle her daughter’s special predicament.
    We all have hurdles and struggles through life, not all as obvious or as burdensome as being transgender can be, but none the less, still there.
    The important thing is that she has a mother as fabulous as herself, you two will raise hell together!

  5. I honestly would not say that being trans is normal. I’m not trying to be mean or insensitive, but even if the instance is as high as 1/250 that is not normal. What I WOULD say though, is that it’s OK to not be normal and being different does not mean bad. It’s not normal, but it’s OK. Maybe it’s even great. There are a lot of things that are not normal, but that are worth celebrating! Like knowing who you are at such a young age and having a mom who loves and supports you no matter what. And she is SO blessed to have a mom like you who handles life with grace.

    • You’re talking about ‘normal’ in a statistical sense rather than in terms of health or how we are born. But in that case, it’s not normal to be Inuit, then, because there are 50,000 Inuit in a population of 34 million Canadians. Or .00014. It’s not normal to be Jewish, because there are only 13 million Jews in a world population of more than 7 billion, which is … more math than I am capable of.

      In other words, all of us are not normal in some way. But is a trans child normal? Yes. And I think that the percentage of people identifying as trans, or identified as trans on the census, will grow.

      • I get your point, and thank you for the perspective. But I don’t think that gender identification is really comparable to race. I think it’s more like how geniuses and prodigies are not normal. They often struggle socially because they are different, but the thing that makes them different can really be a positive force in the world.

  6. I just wanted to say I started reading your blog and I think you are an awesome mom! I don’t plan on having children for a long (long) time, but when I do, whatever ever they may be like, I want to be as strong and accepting as you.

  7. Thank you for sharing this.
    I am a man, almost retirement age, who recognizes your daughters feelings.
    If only I had lived in another time, I could have been what I feel inside.

    What a gift you are to her!

    • Poor son? She has a happy, healthy and clearly very wise Daughter. Learn about life, psychology and human experience and then speak as an enlightened and informed person.

  8. You have a mentally ill son, not a daughter. Females are not born with penises. Ever. And he will never be a female until he has a uterus, ovaries and vagina. Understand?

    • I just told M. that someone sent me a really mean email, and although I did not share the vile, ignorant contents of your comment with her, she was sympathetic with my sadness and wanted to respond to you:
      “Dear Person, whatever your name is,
      I do NOT like what you just said to my mama, Monsieur Poopy-pants.
      Sincerely,
      M.”

      • Lol “poppy pants”! That’s what I call my kids when they are grumpy!

        People think they know what’s best yet I guarantee none are actual psychologists…..at least not good ones. Anyone who knew anything about mental health- and just love and acceptance- should know that what you are doing as a parent is preventing a life of depression, self hatred, confusion, ect. It’s sad to think that someone WOULDNT do what you are doing.

      • So saying that females don’t have a penis is “vile” and “ignorant’? Unless your child is intersex, girls having a vagina and boys having a penis is a biological reality. Gender is a social construct. Girls should be able to wear and do whatever they want, so do boys. If boys want to play with dolls and wear dresses, do their hair, they should be able to without parents going nuts and be all like “omg, my boy is wearing nail polish, he must be a girl!!!”
        I really do wish your son the best, I hope he finds himself.
        May I suggest a book: My Princess Boy by Cheryl Kilodavis.

  9. Very few psychologists are happy to diagnose a gender non conforming child as trans. Not that young anyway.
    What next? Health endangering pubert blockers?
    It’s OK to let a child non conform….what’s NOT ok is labels, defining a child’s identity, when they’re too young to understand what that means. Whatever your best intentions.

    • Did you know if you were a boy or a girl when you were a kid? Not a male or female (your sex) but your GENDER. You probably did. So does this child.

      • Well, you mean did any kid ever swallow gender tropes as a kid? Well duh. And THATS the reason for trans, not anything innate.
        Now, if my child was thinking she was male because she liked cars and only boys like cars I’d be “it’s ok to be a girl that likes cars, you like cars and you’re a girl, so don’t worry.
        FYI, since the gender conditioning females get from birth is designed to subordinate us, makes us constantly self loathing, and rivals to each other, and what it makes us feel INSTINCTIVELY(hence anorexia et al) , I think I can safely say NO female is “cis”- and no matter how feminine ideated a male child is, He will NEVER have that inculcated from birth, though homophobic parents may cause him to internalise this, and instead identify as female. And that stinks.

      • All I can say is I’m glad this little girl has the parents she does, because if she was your child she may become one of the 50% of trans youth who try to end their own life.

        Nothing wrong with being yourself or being happy, this family, and this kid, have the right idea. Life’s too short to live as someone you’re not just because ignorant people don’t understand. ❤

  10. This kind of child abuse is horrifying. What you are doing to your son is disgusting. I feel sorry for you both. For him for what he is going to go through when he grows up and for you for having been taken in by this twisted redefinition of biology and reality by “trans” “activists.” Someday you are going to have learn to live with what you are doing to this poor boy.

    • Your inability to understand and accept difference in others is what is horrifying.
      Someday when you have a trans child who commits suicide because their father will not let them be themselves, you will have to live with what you’ve done.

  11. Penises are male. This is a biological fact. Anything less is delusion. I am all for kids and adults being genderfluid..and not allowing gender roles to limit ANY of us! So if he wants to wear a dress and have ling hair and play with Barbies..these are genser stereotypes…and you are directly feeding into them. As a girl I wanted none of those things and I found them very limiting. Get rid of the stereotypes I’m all for it. I played ice hockey and found my niche in martial arts and insisted on pants rather than dresses and skirts and was very adventurous, fairly athletic and a bookworm.

    but the minute he steps into a girls’ locker room or bathroom he will not be seen as “normal” at all and in fact threatening to every little girl around him and his penis. Nor should he be exposed to boys who unfortunately will torment him. Which I also disagree with. This child will have a hard life ahead but feeding into the delusion of “girls have penises and boys have vaginas” is plain insanity. Some will go along with it but many including other children will not and see right past the delusion. You cannot change sex. Only the outward expressions of “gender” markers which is a social construct. Let him be the person he is and express himself the way he wants to..but one day he will wake up from the delusion…better to allow expression without deluding.

    • Pronouns go along with gender, not sex. Gender is social and in the brain. Body parts do not dictate who you are as a person.
      there are many successful transgender people, it is not a dream, not a delusion, but a reality for many. Be glad you were born with a body you agree with, you are very lucky.

  12. I hope someone reports you to the proper authorities for inflicting this kind of creepy sexualised abuse on your child. Hopefully before you start having him pumped full of hormones because he likes the colour pink. I am forever thankful that I was born before this sick abuse trend started and my parents didn’t think I needed my future tits cut off because I played with toy cars.

    • I have enjoyed reading your messages. I don’t pretend to have any insights, but I do know gender is an area we are just beginning to try to understand. Its another mystery science has been reluctant to tackle.
      People, especially children, do not want to be different. With a supportive person like you, your daughter can be who she is.

      Raymond.

    • I’m bothered by the incessant focus on the child’s penis in this post too and it does kind of have a sexualized feeling to it. Women are expected to focus so much on dick in the world of patriarchy, and it bothers me that, it’s almost as though when you have a male body now labeled as a “girl” the focus on penis becomes even *more* extreme. Must everything be about the male erection, even, now thanks to queer theory, girlhood? I get tired of being asked/expected to notice how extra special the penis allegedly is. And like you, I was the only girl on my pre-school soccer team, played with transformers and Hotwheels, played T-ball, hated “girl” clothes because I always had to be careful not to get dirty in them and they made me feel exposed and vulnerable, and loved the colors blue and green when I was little. I’m glad my parents didn’t think that made me “masculine” or a boy. I identify strongly as a woman because that has been my lived experience in the world, but I have no idea what it means to feel like “a woman inside” or a “man inside” for that matter. I think these are expression people have adopted to help them coping with the policing of behavior that’s considered inappropriate for one sex or the other.

    • You clearly don’t understand what being transgender means. It is not ‘liking toy cars’. It is a genuine understanding of who you are. Do you know if you’re a boy or a girl? So does this child. Having a mole doesn’t dictate your role in society, having a penis shouldn’t either. Your brain and identity do that.

  13. Wow! Words escape how terrific you handled bath time. Your daughter sounds delightful and five is such a fun age. I admire both of you!

  14. When was it proven that gender was an inborn trait? I know that the white male dominated scientific community is very into that hypothesis nowadays, but I’d argue that’s because the whole “gender is like god, it just *exists* before we are even born, and can’t be questioned” allows masculinity (which, let’s be honest, harms women, children, nature, and is threatening to destroy the world) to go on unquestioned, and undestroyed. I have no use for gender. I identify as a woman because that is how I have always been treated by the culture I live in, but in a different world, I’d have liked the freedom to simply be a human being. You have a child with a penis. That conveys a form of privilege in this world, because we live in a social reality where women fear male sexual violence on a daily basis. When your child grows up if someone tries to rape him, it will almost certainly be a person with a penis, a man. When you child interacts with other women in a bathroom or locker room, you will expect them not to feel fear of his penis, even if other penises have done them huge harm and they would prefer a space of safety from that potential. If your child’s would be rapist discovers that his potential victim has a penis, the rape is a lot less likely to occur than if your child had a vagina, because rape is partially about proving one’s manhood and masculinity. Being born with a vagina means, in this world, you feel under the constant threat of male sexual assault. There is something horrifying and deeply painful about being told that the gender roles I’ve felt tortured by all my life are universal, inborn truths, rather than the social creations of male supremacy.

  15. I am sorry for all the hate you are receiving. These people are lucky enough not to have ever endured having their body be used to dictate their entire lives. Keep being an incredible mom. Abuse would be letting your child die of suicide because they couldn’t be themself. What you are doing is supporting, loving, and PARENTING in the best ways possible.

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