Detransitioner Perspective: How to support your gender nonconforming son
I’m directing this message to all parents of boys, in the hope that you don’t make the same mistake my parents did.
Is your son considered “girly”? Does he show behaviors and mannerisms which are traditionally considered feminine? Does he have interests which are more commonly associated with girls? Congratulations! Your son is effeminate—maybe he will grow up gay.
My parents accepted me for who I am, but never encouraged me to embrace my effeminacy. I was bullied and assaulted in school because I was not like the other boys. I grew up in a homophobic environment. My parents and teachers just watched, rather than stopping the bullying.
Don’t make the same mistake my parents did. THERE IS NOTHING WRONG WITH BEING EFFEMINATE AND GAY! The world needs more feminine men. Maybe instead of ignoring it or fighting against it, you should celebrate the natural gender nonconformity of your son?
You may ask: “How can I support my son?” It’s really easy. Support and encourage your son in the things he likes.
Does he want to grow his hair out? Let him. Long hair is amazing!
Does he want to wear a dress or skirt? Let him. Dresses and skirts are comfortable. There is nothing inherently “girl” or “boy” about clothes! Take a look at how clothing trends have changed throughout history and you will see this is true.
Does he prefer to hang out with girls? Let him. It’s not unusual for gay boys to hang out with girls.
Does he like the color pink? Let him wear pink! Did you know that pink was once considered a masculine color?
Does he dislike boyish activities? That’s okay. Let your son engage in activities he prefers. Boys don’t need to do “boyish” things. There are no rules when it comes to personalities and what hobbies you are allowed to have.
What if he reaches puberty and wants to shave his arms and legs? Let him go for it! Help him feel free to experiment with his expression, to find a unique style all his own. If he doesn’t like it, he can simply let it grow back—it’s that simple—but, help him see that there is nothing wrong with being hairless as man, if that’s what he likes.
I could make this list much longer, but I hope you get the idea. Smash gender stereotypes, instead of reinforcing them! Help your son boost his confidence to embrace his unique self, in the natural body he was born with. I see “gender dysphoria” as a rejection of one’s natural personality. To be accepted and loved, you must transition. But, what if your child sees that he is accepted and loved as he is? Maybe you can avoid all that gender confusion.
Does your son already identify as trans? Talk to him. Ask him why he thinks he is trans. From my personal experience, I would guess he will answer with gender stereotypes, pointing to his so-called “girly” interests and behaviors. Explain to him that he doesn’t need to be a girl to do the things he likes and wants to do. He can like whatever he likes, and behave and dress however he prefers without pretending to be a girl. Also, let him know that people might confuse him for a girl when he doesn’t fit the stereotype of a boy — I was regularly confused as a girl in my childhood too—but that is their problem, not his. Remind him that he is a boy, and that he is good just the way he is, and he can feel secure in these facts within himself, and within his family. After all, there are a million ways to be a boy and a million ways to be a man.
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