What is it Like to Grow up Transgender or Gay or Lesbian
Gender-neutral education gives the child the opportunity to try himself in different social roles and choose the one that will be related to his character and personal wishes (or not at all – there is such an option too). Studies show that calm is the most important thing in transgender or gay or lesbian child rearing. If this behavior is perceived as meaningless, then it means nothing to the child. But if the parents begin to tell the child that he is doing something wrong, he begins to wonder: what is wrong with me. Such a child is afraid of his impulses and ultimately earns neurotic fixation on the problem. Real identity develops much later – in adolescence, but it often is of a transient nature. Experts agree that identity is a very plastic thing, and if a child or teenager tries to claim that he is such and such, it is not a fact that it will remain for the rest of his life. It is possible that the idea of self or views will change both in one and in the other direction. The diversity that exists in each of us by nature, used to be reduced to a “norm” convenient for power, culture and social order. Now the interests of society are increasingly shifting towards something new and unusual, and for this it is important that a person be creative, able to think outside the box.
If a child who does not feel normal finds out that there are many other people like him, he will stop being afraid of it. “The pervasive social stigma against LGBT identities has prompted research focusing on the (negative) attitudes of heterosexuals and the correlates of these (negative) attitudes” (Rostosky et al. 331). It is important not to re-educate, but to direct the development of the child in the right direction. None of the therapeutic interventions were sufficiently effective to improve the quality of life of these children and adolescents. No one was able to prove that therapeutic intervention influenced the “choice” of gender identity and / or sexual orientation by a person in adulthood. “Lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender youths with steadily high or increasing levels of victimization from adolescence to early adulthood are at higher risk for depression and posttraumatic stress disorder” (Mustanski, Andrews, and Puckett, 527). This knowledge helps to formulate such a “”therapy policy””:
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A person demonstrating transgender behavior is not sick, so there is no need to treat him. The main source of suffering and problems of this person is the way in which he / she perceives the world. One of the main consequences of this malignant interaction is that a transgender person begins to despise himself and does not feel a sense of gender, he is “not his own” and “not at home” (Ryan 205).
The main therapeutic path for an “identified patient” —transgender, is therefore to treat his or her circle of significant others for treatment. If a child is not considered “”sick”” or “”wrong””, as a preventive measure for possible problems, it is necessary to prepare a circle of significant others for what may be happening in the development process of this person. Thus, the main path to a more peaceful and happy life for most transgender people is to “cure the world”. Many children who demonstrate transgender behavior will become gay and lesbian, and there is no need to cure them because it is not a disease. But these children and adolescents desperately need support in order to survive in a world that is often very hostile.
Cross-gender or transgender behavior and forms of expression of children, adolescents and young people often cause concern and confusion among parents. In most cases, cross-gender behavior in childhood often does not lead to homosexual identification in adulthood; quite often, children who demonstrate cross-gender behavior grow into adult heterosexuals with ordinary gender identity (PrActitioner’s resource Guide 2). Therefore, it is very difficult to prove the existence of a “therapeutic effect” of treating a child, the positive impact of corrective measures on gender-colored behavior in the future and on a person’s gender identity.
If parents want happiness for their LGBT children they need to know that nothing happens all at once. Attentive parents will notice some harbingers of coming out in advance. They should not try to change something, but they can at least not turn a blind eye and prepare morally. Parents should know that their children are normal, regardless of whether they are attracted to members of the opposite or their own sex. As long as they build their lives without violating the laws, they have the right to be as they are and not be ashamed of it.
I have some advices because older people as well as adherents of conservative religions are given a hard time reviewing well-established negative ideas about LGBT people. An emotional relationship – rejection, anger, a desire to “punish” and “correct”, even “cure” a child, despair — arise in connection with interjects on the topic of homosexuality. Abuse and abuse is not only meaningless, but also harmful from all sides. The teenager who did not meet an understanding and so will close and move away. Violence, in whatever form it manifests itself, will repel it even more and cause protest. Violence never leads to anything good. It is not necessary to hide your emotions, but you should express them carefully. Parents are not obliged to rejoice at the fact that their child is gay or transgender, and the grief with this fact is natural and appropriate – in a reserved format. This is honest, and the child will appreciate sincerity. The most important thing is not to stop loving the child. This is what he needs most of all – in parental, fraternal, kindred unconditional love, and in open, honest friendship. Others may not like the orientation of a teenager, but he does not cease to be who he was before coming out. The one with whom he prefers to share a bed concerns only himself and his partner. If relatives do not want to understand this, then there will be those who will understand and accept, and the child will move away forever. And even if over time it turns out that the unconventional orientation has changed, but there will be no previous relationship with the parents. This is what social pressure can lead to, especially rejection and condemnation from close people. Not all parents, due to the rigidity of thinking, due to the pressure of introjects, implanted from early childhood to this day, can change their attitude. But, if you can reconsider views on homosexuality, raising lectures and research scientists, analyzing less biased, which changes the orientation of your child in his life and the possibility of being happy, it will help you and him. Being accepted is important to anyone.
LGBT children feel more lonely. They see around such models of attitudes and behaviors that do not allow to fully relate to them. And it is important that you do not push away the child at the time when he opened to you. They often do not understand what is happening to them, and they can not always find information and help to understand themselves, learn to live with the understanding that he is not like others. They are often bullied at school, their parents are punished and homophobic peers are beaten up on the street. These children need help and they should have at least the opportunity to ask for this help, not being afraid of anyone and not ashamed of themselves and their feelings.
- PrActitioner’s resource Guide, A. “”Helping Families to Support Their LGBT Children.”” (2018).
- Rostosky, Sharon S., et al. “”Positive aspects of being a heterosexual ally to lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender (LGBT) people.”” American Journal of Orthopsychiatry 85.4 (2015): 331.
- Ryan, Caitlin, et al. “”Family acceptance in adolescence and the health of LGBT young adults.”” Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing 23.4 (2010): 205-213.
- Mustanski, Brian, Rebecca Andrews, and Jae A. Puckett. “”The effects of cumulative victimization on mental health among lesbian, gay, bisexual, and transgender adolescents and young adults.”” American Journal of Public Health 106.3 (2016): 527-533.”