Gender dysphoria — Scope | Disability forum

Gender dysphoria

TShurey
TShurey Member Posts: 8 Connected
edited May 10 in Autism and neurodiversity
Hi there, our son with autism is 19 and over the last 6 months has expressed his discomfort at being a man. He’s also been shaving his legs, borrowing my clothing and doing workouts designed to improve his butt!  At first we thought it was a phase brought on by watching YouTubes etc.  He’s always been very masculine so it seemed out of character. He’s never wanted to wear feminine clothing, always played with typical boy toys, dress ups were of male characters. But I am not going to dismiss what he’s saying. I’m proud that he’s had the courage to say something.  I want to support him gently. 

What I am asking is if anyone else out there can share experience in this area and if there are any communities he can link up with to help him navigate through?  We are based in Norfolk. 
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Comments

  • Ross_Scope
    Ross_Scope Posts: 5,464

    Scope community team

    Hello @TShurey

    Welcome to the community, I hope you are well.

    You should be proud of your son indeed, it's great that he is comfortable enough to show how he feels and explore those aspects of his personality. As long as your son feels happy and content with who he is then that's what matters.

    He certainly appears to have a super family in support of him, reaching out to ask for advice is a very thoughtful thing to do. 

    Have you contacted Mermaids? They might be able to point you in the direction of some groups he could get involved with. This isn't an area I have vast amounts of knowledge in so I hope others will be able to advise too.
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  • TShurey
    TShurey Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Thankyou Ross. We love him so much and just want him to be happy. So worried for him though as people can be cruel and I’m not sure how his peers will respond at college. I’ve gotta admit it’s all knocked me for six and I’m super tired all the time no matter what I do. I’ll reach out to Mermaids. Thankyou. 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,079 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @TShurey - My eldest grandchild is also 19. Last year, just after their 18th birthday, she announced that she would prefer to be known as he/him & had a new name for himself. His Mum was initially a little thrown by this, but I think we've all taken it in our stride. His Dad gave him a short haircut, & he started wearing men's shirts, & a waistcoat, & made his own ties.
    What has been so lovely to see is this very well-dressed young man gain in confidence. He even laughed when his Uncle thanked him that he'd removed the pressure from himself of being asked to produce a son (he & his wife had decided not to have children, tho his sister was always saying since she'd had 3 girls, he should have sons). So now I'm proud to say that I have a grandson after all.
    My grandson has an online friend who also identifies as male, but apparently all they talk about is art, not any gender issues. He has just about completed a graphics course at college, & didn't have any problems.
  • Jean Eveleigh
    Jean Eveleigh Member Posts: 161 Pioneering
    I apologize for this link being title problems I do not think your family are going through a problem for one second but there is a comprehensive list of organizations that can offer support here (mermaids is on this list as well):-
    https://www.supportline.org.uk/problems/gender-identity/  

    One of my neighbour's grandchildren is transgender and I have several transgender friends online (but none that are autistic to my knowledge - so I am unsure if there are any specific support groups for both transgender and autism)  I applaud your family for the way you are behaving and for just loving your child when so many others would react differently.

    If you like I can ask my transgender friends which organisations they find the most supportive and report back?
  • TShurey
    TShurey Member Posts: 8 Connected
    @chiarieds Thankyou. Your Grandson sounds like he’s found his groove. I’ve subscribed to the newsletter of one of the resources on that link. I feel this is a big learning curve. Thanks again x
  • TShurey
    TShurey Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Thankyou @Jean Eveleigh you are not wrong about the inappropriately named title there :-) Someone didn’t think that through haha.  But it’s an excellent link nonetheless so I’ll have a good peruse through. I think the best referral of resource would be local to Norfolk if possible. Might be having high hopes though. I’d just like him to develop friendships with people who understand. I should say ‘her’. Thanks again. 
  • chiarieds
    chiarieds Community Co-Production Group Posts: 11,079 Disability Gamechanger
    You're very welcome @TShurey - I think if our children/grandchildren can just be who they want to be that's all a parent/grandparent can ask for. All I can say is that the transformation in my grandson has made such a difference; he's just happy being himself. :)
  • Ami2301
    Ami2301 Community Co-Production Group Posts: 7,946 Disability Gamechanger
    Hi @TShurey and welcome to the community! I hope the links and advice above help and I just wanted to welcome a fellow member from Norfolk :)
    Disability Gamechanger - 2019
  • TShurey
    TShurey Member Posts: 8 Connected
    Thanks @Ami2301. Great to meet a fellow Norfolker!
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,787 Disability Gamechanger
    You have a lot of good advice here already which I won't repeat but I just wanted to add that I am going through the same two issues - gender dysphoria and autism - so I thought I would share some of my experience.

    I don't feel like I am female but am not 100% happy being male. I am into hobbies that are stereotypically assigned to both males and females but I am to the point and not very emotional in my communication which is a common male trait (but that may be the autism). On the other hand I find aggression really hard to deal with and am quite a "soft" person and quite empathetic (opposite of an autistic trait) even if not emotional myself. I often got on better with female groups than male ones at school.

    I did for a time consider that non-binary could be the correct "label" for me but in the last few months I have come to realise that you don't really need to find a label and it is OK to not know. What I would say is I think it is very important for your child to not try and fit into a label - whether that is male, female or anything else - but to make the label fit them, and if there isn't one that fits then that's OK too.

    I wonder to what extent my issues can be put down to autism, how much is really gender related, and whether the two are linked. For me gender is more of a psychological thing or even a social one (i.e. how you are treated and expected to act in a society) rather than a physical one - I have no desire to present as a certain gender - though I do go with my assigned gender (male) for an easy life and to blend in (autism/shyness?). This may be something your child will want to explore with professionals.

    I went to and am still under the care of a gender identity clinic (GIC) of which there are a handful in the country. Contrary to popular belief these clinics are not just for people who are sure they need to transition genders, they are for anyone with gender issues. However there is usually a very long waiting list. This may be something that is worth looking into.

    I'm happy to answer any questions you might have or share my experience with something if I can!
  • TShurey
    TShurey Member Posts: 8 Connected
    @66Mustang Thankyou so much for your comment and I’m sorry it’s taken me this long to reply. You’ve given me a new perspective that’s for sure. Back in 2004 when our son was ‘labelled’ with autism I had the same thoughts as you about labelling. I didn’t see a point in the label as he was still my amazing little guy. It just helped get funding for therapy as it ticked a box. As for gender, again it’s mainly seen as a black and white, a box. Why does it need to be like that?  But I fear the biggest challenge is everyone out there he deals with. Especially in Norfolk where people are pretty old school. Perhaps like you he will express himself as male in public for an easier life. He’s mentally impaired along with his autism though so isn’t quite so socially aware as you seem to be. 

    I’ve reached out to Mermaids who’ve added me to their online chat forum and there’s quite a few chat threads on autism with gender ID stuff.  So it’s quite common amongst autism peeps. Mermaids has made me feel less alone in this journey. And so have you. 

    Thanks again 😊
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,787 Disability Gamechanger
    Yes I totally agree about labels just being something to tick a box. I had lots of issues at school and my parents couldn't get help for me; until I was "labelled" as autistic, then lots of things were thrown my way!

    I also agree that gender needn't be black and white. It does seem to be breaking down slowly in modern times but it will take more time I think.

    I wish I could say otherwise but it is a totally valid concern you have about other people - bullying and violence is a very real threat. For this reason people need to be careful about expressing their gender and sadly sometimes it is necessary to "go under the radar" for your own safety.

    That said, I know Norfolk well and know what you mean about it being "old school"! However from my experience it is quite surprising how many people are totally accepting when you wouldn't think they would be!
  • David_Sneed
    David_Sneed Member Posts: 1 Listener
    There is an online community you should be aware of, that targets young autistic men, and convinces them that transgenderism is the best solution to the problems they face. Go to 4chan.org and browse the LBGT board, and you'll see the sort of organised propaganda your son has been exposed to. If you are going to deal with this situation properly, you'd best get a complete understanding of the thoughts your son has been exposed to. Good luck.
  • 66Mustang
    66Mustang Community Co-Production Group Posts: 5,787 Disability Gamechanger
    edited May 23
    For balance

    I have never been on that board and have never read any “propaganda”, my feelings are my own

    Not saying problems like that don’t exist but not everyone has been affected by it - it may be a good idea find out for sure if your child has been reading those things
  • OverlyAnxious
    OverlyAnxious Member Posts: 1,703 Disability Gamechanger
    I didn't know 4chan was still going!  Tried it back in the early 00's and never did like it. 
  • Tori_Scope
    Tori_Scope Posts: 6,686

    Scope community team

    Hi @david_snead,

    There is unfortunately some misinformation out there on what it means to be trans, experience gender dysphoria, and explore or question your gender identity. That being said, gender dysphoria is not caused by online propaganda. The Priory Group note that:
    There are many reasons you may grow up with gender dysphoria. Gender development and how you identify with your biological sex is part of a complex process involving hormonal changes in the womb as a baby, as well as bodily changes as you grow older. 
    It's also worth remembering that an individual will speak to a number of different medical professionals before medical interventions take place. You can read about treatment for gender dysphoria on the NHS website.

    The most important thing is creating a welcoming and accepting space that allows people, including young people, to be honest about their feelings and experiences. This allows people to feel safe in exploring their identity, and in opening up about any challenges they might be facing with people they trust. 

    Here are a couple of resources:
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