Association Transgenre Wallonie
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Parents' refusal

A very bad idea !

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Even your status as a parent does not authorize you to prevent your child from transitioning !

Transgender Children and Teenagers

By Lola Nicolas, President of ATW

As these young people usually depend on their parents for accommodation, moral and financial support, among other things, and as they do not necessarily have access to appropriate medical treatment due to their age, or the reluctance of the medical profession, the trans youth face different challenges than adults.

Acceptance by those around

Transgender status is not properly recognized and accepted by society and this situation means that transgender children may feel the need to hide their situation from parents, family members and friends, until the time comes. where they will feel that the conditions are conducive to this revelation. The coming-out process is a source of tension in many families. Some parents choose to support their child from the start without asking too many questions because they love their child and only want him to be happy. Others will gradually accept this new identity, seeking to properly inform themselves about what transidentity is and how they will be able to help their child so that he is well in his personality. Finally, there are the "morons", the "idiots" who react very negatively, going so far as to reject the child from the home, or to impose "conversion therapy" on him to put him back "on the right track". These "therapies", linked to the Christian right, are dangerous, ineffective and strongly contested by a large part of public opinion. In 2018, the European Community invited all its member states to pass a law banning them. Belgium has not yet reacted !


Transgender people are often victims of transphobia, rejected, discriminated against, insulted or even brutalized. According to a 2011 Italian study, 27.5% of transgender children have already experienced violence. Children are already more vulnerable to a multitude of problems such as psychiatric disorders, substance abuse, child abuse and also unfortunately suicide. The rate of suicide and suicide attempts in the transgender population is extremely high. However, discrimination does not explain the differences in mental health between identified LGBT people and the cisgender population.

The malaise of these children comes from their "inability to be able to be on the outside, what they really are inside themselves", estimates the Luxembourg psychiatrist Erik Schneider. According to him, the "social rejection and discrimination suffered by these children from the family circle and the public" cause "suicidal states". In France, more than 65% of young transgender people aged 16 to 26 have already considered suicide, and nearly 34% have already made one or more attempts.

In 2018, a survey on the health of LGBTI people highlighted that young transgender and intersex people have a very bad time during their college years: nearly 86% of transgender and intersex people surveyed felt bad during their schooling. Despite this, sociologist Arnaud Alessandrin considers that transgender minors are still "not taken into account by public policies".

What should be done ?

Let's get things straight first: "if your little boy likes to wear dresses or if your little girl loves to play cowboys", rest assured, this is not a sign that your child is transgender. These are childhood desires and must be left for what they are. There is no point in trying to prevent him from playing the way he wants. Leave him alone! This is the best way to allow him to grow in a serene and benevolent environment.

Before the age of four, the child does not have to know if he is a boy or a girl. It's the least of his worries. The age of four suddenly awakens in him this reality that he is what he feels he is. If he was assigned the correct gender at birth, no worries for him.

On the other hand, if the assignment is not in accordance with what he feels, it is the beginning of the suffering. If he feels loved, he will have the courage to reveal his trans identity first to his mother. He's not going to say, "Mom, I'm transgender" because he doesn't know that term. He does not really know that he is not in the societal norm. He will rather say: "you know, mum, I'm not a girl (a boy), I'm a boy (a girl)" or even "mum, I don't want to wear pants (dresses) anymore, I want to wear dresses (trousers)". Here is the beginning of the worries for the mother.

What should she do or say? Above all, do not bombard him with questions because he will not be able to answer them. For the moment, he only has his feelings and his intimate conviction that make him admit his condition. So accept what he tells you and reassure him. This is what he needs the most right now. Above all, do not say to him: "You know, my darling (my darling), it does not matter. Growing up, it will pass you! "It's false! It is in him and it is there forever! If you tell him that it is not possible, that he is wrong or that he is silent because We will lock him up with the madmen, these words will definitely lock his conviction that you do not understand it and that you do not support it! The relationships he has with you will tend and become precarious. They will give him the feeling that nothing is guaranteed. He will become anxious because he will think he was wrong and you don't like him. Hello damage in the construction of his personality! Growing up, the lack of self -confidence will be accentuated, he will enter into unhealthy and sticky relationships with anyone who will show him a little affection. He will not have confidence in the other people around him because his sad experience will have taught him that relationships are unstable and dangerous, that confidence is ephemeral and that will prevent him from building lasting friendships.

Instead, say things like, "Honey (honey) don't worry, it's no big deal. You're not alone, I'm here to help and support you. And then you know that I love you." He (she) will then understand that he (she) did well to trust you and above all, he (she) will realize that he (she) is not crazy (crazy) or even abnormal. This is the basis of building a stable personality. Subsequently, continue to maintain a completely normal relationship with your child and never take the initiative to tell him about his transidentity. If he tells you about it, answer him without ever denying his condition. Do not expect him to tell you one day that he was wrong. Find out from the competent associations on this subject and avoid priests and psychiatrists because they know nothing about it. They work according to their prejudices and their convictions. They are not there to help you or your child, they are there to prevent you and your child from falling out of societal normality.

And in the worst case, when he reaches his majority, he will turn his back on you, and seek help from strangers in order to begin his transition. This will be the final break.

If you then try to renew contact, it will be a real adventure for you because you will be forced to make all the concessions he will require of you if he realizes that the current situation is affecting you enormously. This is called "a crank kickback" or the "boomerang kickback" !

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