Avatar universal

11 year old girl suddenly want to be a boy

I am looking for opinions and help.  I have calls into counselors for my daughter - so she will be getting one.  My daughter was always a girly girl growing up - she loved pink, she loved barbies, she loved shoes, she played with makeup and wore nail polish.  She got her period when she was 10.  Now, what seems to be out of no where, she wanted to cut off all her hair (she had long beautiful hair) to a "boyish" cut (as she called it) - only wants to wear boy clothes.  (and here has two pair of her one brother's underwear because he gave them to her when she told him she was a boy)  And now hands me a note saying that she knows she was born a girl, but feels like a boy.  She corrects me if I call her my daughter (I'm you son, mom).  If I use she or her, she corrects it to he and him.  She is 1 of 7 children - the rest are all boys.  She falls 5th in the line of children.  I told her I would always love her no matter what - I accept her.  But I am very very scared for her because children are cruel.  I offered to get her a counselor and she said she would like one (that is in the works - left messages with a few).  But my question is, can one what seems like all of a sudden, feel like they are no longer a girl?  She didn't ask to change her name and she, at this time, has not shown preference to having a crush on anyone (boy or girl).  I'm just trying to understand.  Thanks for any input.
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Avatar universal
hi! transgender teenager here :)
so, one thing we've learnt in the past few years is that gender is fluid! so your little boy is just that. a lot of parents worry that it's just a phase- and seem to believe that it being a phase makes it any less real. if calling your kid a boy is what makes him happy and comfortable, then by all means do that. and maybe he'll want to be a girl again someday, maybe not!

the most important thing you can do is stress to him that you support him, and that you will always be there to protect him. unfortunately, transphobic people exist, but he'll be so much happier being himself instead of being forced to pretend to be something he isn't. and knowing he has unconditional support from you will be incredibly important.

also, a tip: one of the hardest things to do is pronouns. i'm trans, and naturally i hang out with a lot of other trans people since we're dealing with the same stuff. and sometimes i even use the wrong pronouns by accident! if you do ever call him a her, it's okay, you're learning. just smile, apologise, then use the right word and all should be good.
you're doing fantastically already by coming for help instead of shutting him down, and the counsellor is a great idea. if he says that they aren't helping or they're making him feel bad about it, believe him and take him out of it/find him a better one.

he might pick a new name, he might not. please use it and only it! and as for crushes, who he has a crush on has nothing to do with his gender. he might be gay, he might be straight, he might like everyone. you're a while away for worrying about that, though.

something else important- talk to him about who he wants to know. don't tell anybody he's a boy/trans/whatever unless he wants them to know. it can be so scary to have a personal thing like that shared without your consent. let him lead in terms of things like that- he knows himself best.

you also might want to start looking at resources for him online and locally- there are trans kids support groups, which can be a wonderful and uplifting environment for him to explore this.

best of luck to you both <3
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Avatar universal
This seems as if your 11 year old is feeling myself a lot of discomfort during periods puberty. I was the same way. Hated being a girl, for a few years- truly, I despised having girl parts, clothes .etc . I finally embraced my womanhood. No matter what your child is going through. Just be supportive.
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Avatar universal
He reminds me of myself growing up - I'm a trans guy. I'm glad your son feels comfortable expressing himself to you and is taking steps to make sure you respect him. My advice? Help him with the physical, not just the mental. Help him get the haircut he wants, the clothes he wants - if he feels discomfort about the size of his chest, buy him a binder. I recommend GC2B binders (http://gc2b.myshopify.com/) because they are designed specifically for trans people; cheap binders from amazon aren't constructed safely. Look into getting him started on hormone blockers - a medication that simply prevents puberty changes one way or another. This essentially gives him more time to think about what he wants his adult body to look like. I wish that I had been able to take hormone blockers as a teen. It took me a while to accept myself as trans, and those years were miserable; dealing with menses and bras and everything else was horrible and made nothing better.

Another thing, try practicing referring to your son with he/him in private to get the hang of it. Just tell yourself stories about him and make sure you don't slip into using she/her. That way you'll make fewer mistakes in his earshot - please trust me when I say that it ***** to hear myself referred to the wrong way. It's like getting stabbed. I know that trying is half the battle, but the other half is success! So please, for his sake, practice practice practice. :)

Best of luck to you and your son. :)
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Avatar universal
As long as he's not asking for anything surgical, I would abide by his wishes, for the time being. He may grow out of it and eventually want to be called "she" again-- or maybe not. But at 11 I think it's too soon to know for sure, so things that are not invasive/permanent-- things like the haircut, the clothes, the pronouns, etc.-- should all be fine.

Yes, children are cruel-- but if you force him to act like a her kids will just find something else about him to make fun of. Sooner or later, if he hasn't already, he's going to face taunts from other kids for one reason or another-- we all do. Suppressing his gender expression won't insulate him from bullying, but it could very well make him depressed and lead to self-isolation and even self-injury.
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