Written by Nick co-authored by Nick's Mother, Lily LittleWolf

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Reposting May 15, 2013 - Talmud entry added May 10, 2004

Some parents find their child's transition to male (or female) hard to accept let alone understand.  Common questions arise when a parent is faced with the news that their daughter no longer wishes to live as a female or their son no longer wishes to live as male.
"How can my child do this? How can they do this to ME? What did I do wrong? Where did I go wrong?"
The self evaluation is inevitable even with those parents who accept their daughter or son's transition with little trouble. Every parent goes through some form of self blame or sorrow because of the child's desire to transition. More often than not, the parent feels they are losing a daughter or son to death. It is like a death to them in many ways.
The fact is, you are not losing a daughter or son. And I won't be obtuse and insult you by saying you are not losing a daughter, you are gaining a son or vise versa. I know and you know that won't ease the feelings you are having at this time. These feelings are quite normal and the child transitioning needs to understand this and not get angry at you for feeling that way.
Your child still lives and you, the parent, are fortunate enough to have retained a child unlike other parents whose child is deceased. You still have your child, you just a child evolving into the person they were meant to be.
One day you will see the beauty in this.
Because this is like a death in many ways, I'd like to share with you the 5 stages of grief. Most parents experience some of these if not all and sometimes the child transitioning has some conflicting feelings that fall into one or more of these categories.
The 5 Stages of Grief are: (these are a variation of Dr. Kubler-Ross's 5 Stages I fully acknowledge her work and give her credit for posting these 5 stages.)
The first stage is DENIAL
Upon hearing the news, the parent reacts with a shocked, "No, not my child." According to Dr.Kubler-Ross, this is a healthy stage, and permits the family to develop other defenses.
"Why me?" is the question asked now. "Why my child?" Blame, directed against the child and God often is a part of this stage. This outcry should be accepted, without judgment even by the person transitioning.
The third stage is BARGAINING
"Yes, but-" "If you'll just give it five years, you'll grow out of this . . ." This is a period of temporary truce you will eventually resolve. Rarely is ever does the child grow out of this because it is not a stage.
The fourth stage is DEPRESSION
Now the parent says, "Yes, me, yes my child" with the courage to accept that it is happening, it is real. This acknowledgment is often accompanied by depression. (Note: The family often goes through all the stages, along with the parent.)
Finally comes ACCEPTANCE
A time of facing this transition calmly, embracing the child in transition with love and understanding.
In The Talmud, there is a story of Son who went astray of his Father. The Father said, "Return to your Father."
The Son replied, "I cannot."
The Father again said, "Return to your Father."
The Son again replied, "I cannot."
The Father then said, "Then come as far as you can and I'll come the rest of the way."
This story can be applied to this type of ordeal; your Daughter wishing to be seen as your Son (or Son wishing to be seen as your Daughter) and straying from what you or the Father sees as right. It teaches you, the parent, that instead of fighting the wishes and desires of your child, it is wise to come to a meeting of the minds and accept each other and find a common ground.
Interestingly enough, up until about the 12th week of pregnancy, all fetuses are female (some argue the 8th week - I do not subscribe to this based on data I have researched). Each fetus has gonads that have yet to form into either testicles or ovaries. These two fibrous objects are neither testes or ovaries. The small protrusion from the genital area can become a penis or a clitoris but it's the same spongy tissue.  Things such as a testosterone bath created by the fetus or a temperature change can determine what sex/gender that child will be in the end. But it doesn't mean that the brain is going to be in sync with the body. A number of things can and do go wrong.  There are many birth defects that directly involve the child's genitalia or how they mature into the sex/gender they were born as. You might be surprised to know that all too often these birth defects occur. It has been theorized that 1 in 2000 birth result in some form of intersexed condition or ambiguous genitalia condition. Some conditions are very hard to determine; the genitals may look male but the child is really female and vise versa. Some anomalies are so slight that they are often overlooked by doctors well into adulthood. But in the case of Transsexuals, just because the defect is not visible, does not mean it does not exist. Your child's brain is Male (or Female if MTF) and science has yet to disprove this! In fact, there have been gender studies on Male to Female brains done in the Netherlands that prove that the Male to Female Transsexual has the brain of a female, which is detected in a section of the hypothalamus. For more information on this, please visit: http://www.symposion.com/ijt/ijtc0106.htm
And like with facing the dilemma of dealing with a child who later wishes to live as the opposite gender as what they appeared to have been born as; a child born with genital malformations is no more your fault or less credible than a female child who later wishes to transition to male or male child who later wishes to transition to female!
You, as a parent, have a choice. You can try to learn more about this (and I assume you are if you are reading this) in order to understand, love and support your child, or you can turn your back on your child, constantly disagreeing or trying to change them to your specifications and risk losing them.
What is your choice?
You brought them into the world knowing they would not be any more perfect than you are, so it is senseless to try to make them be what you want them to be or make them perform to your standards. That is demeaning and demanding perfection is demoralizing. As a parent, you know that is wrong, deep down you know this to be true.
If you think you know what is best for your child in this situation, I'm sorry but, you don't, not if your child is of age and consent.
In closing, please keep in mind that the suicide rate is high. It's tough enough as it is without constant interference from family. When a parent who refuses to learn or listen is added to the mix, the odds increase that the child's days on the earth could be shortened by your actions. Most if not all people who wish to transition experience deep depression and have for many years. Many can be pushed over the edge with little effort. However, it's amazing how love will pull the person away from the edge with the same effort.
If your child does commit suicide because they feel alienated from family; from you, then you will be faced with "What did I do wrong?" and have a legitimate reason to question yourself. You will be officially grieving their death.

Copyright 2001- 2004 extended to 2013

The Transitional Male, Nick and Lily LittleWolf                           

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