I'm A PFLAG Mom

Posts Tagged "transgender youth"

Made rebloggable by suggestion. I probably did it wrong but here it is

Question from ashleyruderman

Hello PFLAG Mom! I have a question about the legal aspect of transitioning. How old does a child have to be in order for physicians to help s/he begin the transitioning process, especially if s/he desires to transition from a young age? In the case of minors, does consent from a legal guardian help expedite/initiate the process? I’m currently working alongside a graduate professor who is intrigued by Jazz Jennings’ case; 12 y/o MTF who can’t undergo reassignment until 18. Is this true for all?

When you have a case like Jazz, young people who are transgender, the medical path parents can take is to give their kids puberty-blockers. This will delay puberty, and the development of secondary sexual characteristics. These are safe and totally reversible. The goal is to put off making a final decision until the child is 18. If they change their mind, they go off the blockers, and within about a week, puberty starts as usual.  If they are still sure of their gender identity, they can then go on the appropriate hormones to continue with a physical transition. The great benefit of proceeding this way is to prevent secondary sexual characteristics that will have to be undone after puberty. It is much easier not to grow facial hair for a MTF person than remove it after it is there.

Surgery is also held off until a child is 18. This is not a law but it is the common practice in the US and many other countries as well. 

The key factors with the age requirements/guidelines, is that a person is not considered able to give informed consent to the surgery or cross-gender hormones until they are an adult. Jazz is on the puberty blockers now and her physical transition will be easier than her MTF peers who are not allowed this medical path.

As far as parents giving consent for their kids- it is not considered ethical for anyone, even a parent, to give consent for their minor child for something that will change their lives in such a great extent. It is really up to the individuals themselves to decide, and they have to be 18 to give consent like this. 
There are some exceptions. I know of some kids under 18 who have undergone SRS. One could find a doctor to do almost anything if they look hard enough - as I said, it is frowned upon but is not illegal. 

Question from Anonymous

I'm 16, and i'm Transgender. I have known this for a while. Recently I have told my best friend about it, she's actually rather excited about it. But I'd like to be able to tell family about it, because I'd also like to start transitioning soon. Then again, I know for a fact they won't accept it. I've brought it up before, not saying I was, but how they felt about it and it really wasn't a pretty response. Recommend anyways to help make them more understanding of it?

See my other recent answers to people in a similar situation as yours. They will probably need to talk to parents who understand and can explain it to them from a parent’s perspective. TYFA is great. PFLAG.org is also a great resource (although not all chapters are up on trans* issues). Then books that explain it. They will need information about what it means to be trans*, that it isn’t a whim or new style for you- it is deeply serious. It may take time but stay true to yourself AND keep yourself safe. Have a supportive person you can escape to if needed. 

Question from becomingmasonrussel

I have an opportunity to sit down and talk to a little MTF girl, 7 yrs, about transitioning. She comes from a very supportive background, with two moms, who want her to be educated about what's available to her when she grows up a bit more. I'm FTM myself but I'm on the opposite spectrum of what she's going through, and I'm 21. How can I put the information plainly for a young lady to understand?

This is an interesting situation. You, as an adult, are in a place in your life where you can feel sure about your gender identity. A 7-year-old may or may not actual grow up to be transgender. My point being that you can’t talk to her as if she were ready to transition and had clearly thought about it as you have. But she may feel strongly that she knows who she is and she MIGHT. Or not.

I think it would be good to see what questions she has for you. Let her lead the discussion and just be honest with her. Surely you can relate to being young and things not feeling right somehow. Perhaps you too knew when you were her age. My son was 18 or 19 before he knew. Jazz (see my posts about her and also her new website) knew she was a girl from the time she first understood that there were boys and girls. It varies so much. 

I think she can greatly benefit from talking to a transgender person and seeing that it IS possible and she can have that in her future if she wants it. Listen to her, be kind and honest, and I think it will be fine 

Question from Anonymous

Dear Ma'am, I really like your blog. You earned my respect. Anyway, I have a question. I was born as a female. Since I was 4, I acted like a normal boy. I insisted to pray with sarong - (male outfit to pray as a muslim). My parents have a hard time to raise me as a girl. Somehow, I managed to behave like a good daughter in my life time. I couldn't see myself to get married to a man in my future, but I'm not a lesbian. How could I explain to my parents about my condition w/out break their heart?

I appreciate your kind words about my blog. Unfortunately, I don’t have an answer for you. How you can explain being trans to your parents would include using material from PFLAG.org, their special material you’ll find there under TNET (transgender network), and other books such as Transgender Explained for those who are Not.The material should help them understand that your gender identity is not the same as your sexual orientation. It sounds to me that you would identify as a straight man (though the LONG version of the story would involve queer culture etc but I’m keeping it really simple right now). If you truly understand that gender and sexual orientation are DIFFERENT, then that concept isn’t hard to grasp. Emphasize that you’ve been a good Muslim regardless of when you prayed as a male (with sarong) or female. 

That is the best I can do. I can’t answer how you could do it without breaking their hearts. I can hope that they will understand. However I can’t give you any advice to prevent their emotional reaction. I can say, if they do say their hearts are broken over this- TIME usually heals that condition as they come to see you as the good Muslim man that they will see before them.

There is also the online support group for parents of trans* kids run by TransYouthFamilyAllies, try to get them to that site.

Good luck and I wish you all the best.

Time to repost this site: TransYouthFamilyAllies

This is a WONDERFUL group of people and I strongly recommend trans* kids to get your parents to seek out support and information here.

TYFA Resources - For parents - Recursos en español
- For Youth 
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TYFA Talk -A Discussion Group for Parents

TransParent Journeys - Parents’ Blogs
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About TYFA - Mission
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Media Coverage - Articles
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Source: imatyfa.org

Transgender teen, family to be honored by ACLU of Maine

PORTLAND, Maine — A transgender teen and her family will be honored Oct. 27 by the American Civil Liberties Union of Maine with the 2011 Roger Baldwin Award.

Nicole Maines, her parents, Wayne and Kelly Maines, and the girl’s twin brother, Jonas Maines, are being given the organization’s highest honor for their efforts toward ending discrimination against transgender Mainers. Nicole and Jonas are 14.

The family, formerly of Orono, lives in southern Maine.

“The ACLU of Maine is very proud to honor [this] family for their advocacy and courage,” Shenna Bellows, executive director of the ACLU of Maine, said Tuesday in a press release. “They took enormous personal risk to advocate for an entire community.”

The family, which was profiled in a Sept. 3 article in the Bangor Daily News, became outspoken advocates for transgender rights when Nicole, who is transgender, was told by the staff at Asa Adams School in Orono that she could not use the girl’s bathroom.

The Maines family advocated on behalf of Nicole and transgender youth everywhere by taking the issue first to the Maine Human Rights Commission and then to court, according to the press release.

In addition, the family decided to speak out publicly when legislation was introduced in the Maine Legislature that would amend the Maine Human Rights Act to explicitly allow “the operator of a restroom or shower facility” to decide who can use which gender’s bathroom.

Wayne Maines testified against the bill at a public hearing before the Legislature this past spring. Nicole walked the halls of the Legislature with her father talking to legislators. She and Jonas were interviewed on Maine Public Radio in an effort to educate the Legislature and the public about the dangers of such legislation, the press release said.

“Without the [Maineses], we might have transgender discrimination on the books today,” Bellows said in announcing the award. “They were a compelling and moving face for the serious impact this legislation would have for transgender Mainers.”

Wayne Maines and his daughter will speak Oct. 21 at the Spirit of Justice dinner in Boston sponsored by the group Gay & Lesbian Advocates & Defenders. GLAD is representing the Maineses in the lawsuit the family has filed in Penobscot County Superior Court against the Orono School Department alleging that school personnel did not do enough to keep her from being bullied in school.

The ACLU of Maine award is named for Roger Baldwin, an ardent activist for social justice who helped found the American Civil Liberties Union and served as its director until 1950. Baldwin remained active in the cause of civil rights and civil liberties until his death in 1981 at the age of 97.

The award will be presented at 6:30 p.m. Thursday, Oct. 27, at Maine Wells Conference Center at the University of Maine.

For more information, call 774-5444.

Source: bangordailynews.com