They Need Space to Grow
My children are autistic. My older daughter thought she was a trans boy from ages 14 to 16. She's now 19 years old, very feminine and doesn't want medical transition but remains confused on the concepts of trans and gender. She thinks gender can be a mythical creature identity. Five of her friends have been medically transitioned, all autistic girls. They are girls that have long hair, wear dresses and flower blouses. My younger daughter also thought she was trans from ages 14 to 16, primarily because of her discomfort with puberty which caused body dysmorphia.
I love my kids. When I'm sitting in the living room and overhear them talking with each other, I love them. When they run up to me, excited to tell me something that interests them, I love them.
They are innocent teens. They get attached to ideas, concepts, colors, stickers, flags, labels, boxes, identities, and groups just like any other teen (especially autistic teens). I've known them for their entire lives, every stage they've gone through and grown through. I’ve been with them through all the feelings they've navigated and shared with me. I've always been an open and available mom to them. I've always let them explore and be themselves. I relate to them and understand them.
But, this issue of gender dysphoria and medical transition is a big deal. It's a deep issue. Often teens are dealing with serious concerns that are hard for them to navigate.
It doesn't feel cool to be a girl struggling with puberty and body image and all the complications of feeling appropriate in public after female puberty. Not when all they want is to throw on a t-shirt and run around like they did when they were 11 years old.
But, putting them through a medical transition that has major health impacts while they're navigating puberty means they’ll suffer life-long consequences that they won't want at 20-something, 30, 40, or 50... when they've become comfortable with adulthood. I know my kids. I understand them.
They need space to figure things out without all these people around them, pushing them in an adult direction they don't understand, with celebrations that are so much more fun than the hard work of facing their issues and growing into themselves.
I don't want my daughter to be harmed. I will be the one that sticks by her for her entire life, no matter the pain she faces. All the people making her feel celebrated to go down a harmful path will walk away and not be there for her when things become difficult. They might even turn on her and be hurtful to her, as many have been to me.
I've been living through this for five years with both my daughters and their friends. Many people with no first-hand experience of being a mother to teens right now think they know better and won't listen or understand. They've never even met my kids. This isn't like being gay. Being gay doesn't require medications that are not suited to their natural body health and life altering surgeries with consequences they don’t yet fully grasp. How could they? They are kids. They need space to grow.