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Mom at war with stepmom over 17 year old son's decision to medically transition. AITA?

Mom at war with stepmom over 17 year old son's decision to medically transition. AITA?


When this mom is extremely concerned about her son's transition, she asks Reddit:

"AITAH for not allowing my son to transition yet?"

I (41f) need an outsider perspective on the situation that I’m currently in with my son(16m), his father (43m) and his step mother (43f). Three weeks ago on Monday night while I was getting ready for bed my son came into my room and said he needed to tell me something.

My son told me through tears that he’s transgender. I was in complete shock to be honest. Just because of how much my son has always looked down on things he considered “girly”.

I’ve seen a lot of things about transgender people in the media and news, they were mainly negative things such as how being transgender was a mental health disorder and other nonsense. Now these are not things I believe.

However I have also seen things about former trans individuals that transitioned young and when they got older realised they made a mistake, therefore I do not believe individuals under the age of 18 should be allowed to transition, as they can’t make that permanent choice yet.

My argument is that if someone under 18 can’t get a tattoo because they’re too young then they shouldn’t be allowed to transition either.

Which is the current problem I’m dealing with. After my son’s confession I told him to go to bed and that we’d talk about it in the morning. When the morning came I told my son the truth about about how I felt and told him that as long as he was under my care I wouldn’t allow him to transition but that once he turned 18 he’d have my full support to transition.

Because then he’s fully able to make his own choices. Me and my son’s father got divorced 8 years ago, and his father remarried 4 years ago. We have a custody agreement of three weeks on and three weeks off.

Three hours after I dropped my son off at his fathers house today I got a call from his stepmother screaming at me calling me a bigot, a transphobe, a bad parent as well as unsupportive and many other names.

I ended up hanging up the phone because of how vile her words were. My ex husband also texted me saying that our son who he was now referring to as our daughter no longer wanted to live with me and that my ex and a moving company would come and get our sons things from my house.

I can’t fight this since where we live if a child is 16 they can choose with which parent they want to live with. I tried reaching out to my son but he’s ignoring me.

So Reddit AITAH? Advice is welcome.

Let's see what readers thought.

ceruleanbeat7 writes:

There's not some magical wand that gets waved over a person when they turn 18 that makes them mature. That age is a general guideline based on population averages.

It's your job as a parent to help your child become independent and support them taking on more responsibilities and decision making as they get older, letting them experience natural consequences but also still acting as their safety net.

This is an important personal decision for your child as they are exploring their identity and it is absolutely something you should be supportive of. That starts with calling your child your daughter and using her preferred name and pronouns. Also, letting her dress how she wants to express her gender.

Even if you have to think of it in your own head as those things aren't permanent and your kid can still change their mind. Those are feelings you can talk about and work on in therapy and not with your child.

Once your daughter feels loved and supported by you and is able to talk to a doctor and therapist of her own, this surgery aspect of transition won't feel like such a battle. She will feel like you accept her for who she is so you being hesitant about surgery won't equate to you rejecting her entire identity.

Because right now, that's what it feels like to her. You keep calling her your son and not acknowledging any part of her expressed identity, so even though you claim it's the surgery you're worried about, it comes across as you won't accept her identity period until she's 18. That's silly and arbitrary and extremely hurtful.

saileavee writes:

This is basically the reply that I wanted to give. I’m also queer and have many trans friends - transitioning is a lengthy process with an infinite number of interpretations and avenues.

It’s complex and highly personal and can involve ebbs and flows into different gender expressions. Even hormones are not necessary permanent. I have a close friend who’s been off T for years and he’s currently trying to get pregnant.

Trans and GNC identities, when realized in a loving community can be so untameable and powerful and beautiful! Your daughter expressing who she is is not a bad thing… you need to change your media, get out to queer spaces (online if local is not an option) and learn about what possibilities are out there for your daughter.

Newly out trans people don’t jump right to surgery. Even hormones, which can cause permanent changes, are not necessarily a lifetime commitment.

But trans youth are highly at risk for suicide and homelessness because of a lack of support from our society and their families. Learn and grow with your daughter or lose her, those are your choices.

lovelyvala writes:

Gently YTA because I think you thought you were handling this well but you weren't. It's okay, I believe you love your child, you just aren't educated on this topic.

Before talking about transition, let's talk about acceptance. What your daughter wanted to hear was "I love you and I got you". She clearly was concerned about talking to you and she needed that big mama hug full of love. After that, you could have talked to her about what she wanted to do, what she wanted to change, and then got her into therapy.

Sometimes cisgender people think transgender people want to talk about transition straightway but sometimes they just want to be assured that there is NOTHING wrong with them, that they are still deserving of love.

So my advice to you is to write your daughter a letter apologizing for how you handled this, that you still love her, that you are still ignorant on the subject but that you wanna learn with her. Build that bridge between you two back. It's not too late to be an ally if you want to.

After reading these comments, OP offers the following update:

Update: Hello everyone, I’ve realised with the help of the people in the comments that I am an asshole. The way I handled this situation and rebuffed my own child in her moment of need was absolutely disgusting.

This was not a moment for me to smear my own beliefs on my daughter but a moment to support and love her unconditionally like I’m supposed to and I seriously failed to do that.

There are many ways a person can transition, it’s not just medical, they can transition socially and by changing their name and the way they dress. I feel horrible knowing how unsupported and alone my daughter must have felt the last three weeks because of her own mother.

I am going to reach out to her father first and ask him to talk to her for me. I don’t want to reach out to her and make her uncomfortable considering the damage I’ve already done. I really hope my daughter can accept my apology and find it in herself to possibly forgive me. I really can’t believe what I have done.

Any additional thoughts on what this mom should do?

Sources: Reddit
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