Thanks a ton, Shattered!
I'm actually a person who has been very controlled by her anxieties and fears, so hearing everyone say I'm courageous is very heartening. I feel like with all of your support backing me up that I can actually be that courageous woman!
You've mentioned how much more of a beneficial impact that HRT can have if started before puberty. As a parent, how would you suggest I keep an open environment for my children to be able to express any potential gender dysphoria concerns?
OK, so first off the easy one: let your child play with whatever toy they want to play with. I'm sure you're doing this already, and is really just good parenting IMO. Next I'd maybe explain to my child that they shouldn't be afraid to tell you anything, that they can tell you any secret, and that you will love them unconditionally. Actually saying this can mean a lot, even if you feel that's already the relationship you have with them.
Other than that I can't really say because they will be the ones leading where everything goes. As a parent the most you can do is be open minded and receptive!
And, given you alluded to some people finding HRT or other gender reassignment techniques to create for them a gender that seems equally a poor fit to their biological one, how would I begin to help my child determine the right course of action?
Did I suggest that? I guess some people discover they really aren't transgender after starting HRT, or god forbid, after they've had Sexual Reassignment Surgery (SRS)... but that's really not something for you as a parent to worry about. I'm assuming your child is young and at any age before puberty and form of transition is going to purely be a non-permanent. I believe that HRT for pre-pubescent trans children is only started around the time actual puberty would start.
If your child says outright "I'm a girl/I'm a boy" (whichever is the opposite of their assigned birth gender) then the thing to do is start treating them as such. Clothes can be very gendered so ask them if they'd like to try wearing their opposite gender's clothes around the house. Make sure they know it's safe!
And if they aren't outright saying something like that to you then keep your eyes open for the subtler signs, and reinforce them. Your boy likes to wear his hair long? Don't make him cut it too short. Your girl wants her hair short? Same thing.
I bring up hair and clothes because as a child those are really two of the most gendered things about children. If all children were bald and wore white jumpsuits IMO it would be more difficult to differentiate the boys from the girls (and they'd look pretty weird too!) There are other, more subtle signs but a lot of those can be false positives I think. A boy who isn't interested in sports doesn't automatically isn't automatically a trans girl; a girl who plays a little rough isn't necessarily a trans boy. But something like a young boy asking why he doesn't get to wear dresses too? That might be a red flag.
When are they old enough to have a firm grasp of their desired gender?
Ah, well younger than you'd probably think.
On Facebook I follow a transgender support group and there are some moms on there who post pictures of their little girls, their transgender little girls mind you, and they're probably 4-6 ish, IDK maybe a little older.
So these little girls are lucky enough to have wonderful, supportive parents who let them explore their gender identity.
And that's the most important thing really, letting your child explore. You aren't instantly committing them to a life in one gender or another. Now school adds a layer of complication but at home they should feel accepted no matter who they are.
Oh, and I would definitely look for a therapist who specializes in gender and children if this comes up. They can help everyone work through it, get the resources you need, and offer support through it all!
But yeah, that's my two cents on the matter.
And of course if I somehow missed anything or you have more question please ask!
Edited by Kira Kira, 03 July 2014 - 08:07 PM.