would you do if your 7 year old son told you that he wanted to be
Or your 14 year daughter told you that she feels that she is really
Or perhaps you are a young person, and you feel that your body doesn't
match who you are on the inside.
panic, you are not alone. Our
members are parents and young people who have dealt with, or are
dealing with, issues like the examples above.
is a support group for gender variant children and
teenagers, and their families.
In support of this one aim, we also intend
support to parents, families, carers and others.
Raise awareness about gender issues amongst professionals
(e.g. teachers, doctors, social services. etc.,) and the general
Campaign for the recognition of this issue and an increase in professional
line: (0208) 1234819 : Monday to Saturday
3pm until 7pm only, UK Time, when staffed, answerphone
at other times - local rates!
support, friendship and shared experiences
Support for individual young people, with or without support from
their families, whether
they are out or not
We will try, where possible, to help their families understand and
accept their child's
gender identity issue
We will also offer our help to family members, professionals and
others who are worried
about a child or young person
We will offer our support via telephone, email and snail mail.
available is our brochure, Where do
the Mermaids stand?
Action for Children helped us to produce this, and you can either
order up to 5 paper copies at £4.00 per copy, including postage,
here to download the online version.
If over 5 copies are required, then please contact us to discuss
visit the Action for Children website click here
to go to the page for Identity
- Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual, Transsexual.
access our contact details click here.
Interest and latest events:
Children - time to stop ignoring them
and thought provoking blog written by Tara Hewitt about transgender
children and how as some of the most vulnerable members of our society
they need our help and support, instead of the misrepresentation
and dramatic over exaggerations displayed in the popular press.
here to access the online blog
unclear how many children around the world have felt trapped in
their own bodies the way 11-year-old Josie Romero has struggled
with hers. Born a boy but living socially as a girl since age 6,
Josie -- the subject of a Dateline report airing Sunday, July 8th,
at 7pm/6c -- is just one of 10,000 children who have significant
gender identity problems, according to one popular estimate. Other
experts say it's closer to one in 1,000, but nevertheless their
relatively small population has generated much controversy and media
to online article and video
Kennedy - UnCommon Sense - click here
to access the overall Blog
have decided to include a particular blog piece that Natacha wrote,
as many of the Mermaids members can relate to it, whether they are
parents, family, or children.
11 APRIL 2011
"I would rather have a live daughter than a dead son."
Cemeteries can be pretty bleak places, but when it is on the outskirts
of a faceless Dutch suburb under a grey January sky, it feel about
as about as desolate as you can possibly get. When you are visiting
the grave of a child who killed herself in her early teens, the
feeling of despair, especially when accompanied by her mother, gives
way to an urge to weep bitterly. It is an urge which I am unable
to resist as I do the maths subtracting the date of death from the
day she was born. It is one thing to be told Juliaantje* was only
14, but to see it carved in marble was too much to bear. Holding
her photograph her mother sobs uncontrollably as I hug her while
she in turn hugs a precious photograph.
picture is of a sunny, smiling, apparently bubbly teenager, with
long hair and a grey T-shirt. There is nothing in the picture to
suggest that she was transgender, but that is the reason she took
she was 12 her mother tried to have her put onto hormone blockers
to delay puberty. She didn’t want to develop body hair, a
deep voice or have wet dreams. She had already self-harmed when
young, trying to slice her penis off with a pair of scissors. However,
in what was clearly a borderline decision, the psychologists decided
to that she should not be given these drugs. She should be given
counselling instead. In despair her mother, a single parent, tried
to take her to the United States, but the air fare and the £200
a month cost of these drugs was way beyond her means. Her father
had no money either and both sets of grandparents didn’t want
years later the talking therapy failed. Juliaantje took a massive
overdose and died, having self-harmed, abused alcohol and other
substances for more than a year before that.
was an intelligent and lively girl.” Her mother tells me through
the tears and a large glass of Genever in a nearby café,
probably the only thing that can deaden the pain of losing her only
child. “She had a great future ahead of her, she could have
done anything, been a doctor, a lawyer her teachers said…”
Her voice breaks. Her happy nature had disappeared when male puberty
really hit. “Her voice broke and she started to get facial
hair and hair on her chest. She wore make up and turtle-neck jumpers
to hide it all, but she simply couldn’t deal with the way
her body was developing…”
she blame the psychiatrists? No. Psychiatry is never going to be
an exact science, there will always be people who don’t fit
into their categories. She does however, feel that they could have
given her the benefit of the doubt. “The effects of hormone
blockers are easy to reverse, you just stop taking them…”
There would have been no risk to her daughter if, at any time she
decided that she did not want to be a girl she could simply have
stopped, and male puberty would have started.
Hormone Blockers are essentially a way for young trans people and
children to leave their options open. They open an extended open
window of choice, which gives them time to think about their future,
a time during which young people can decide whether they wish to
remain the sex they were assigned at birth, whether that be male
or female, or whether they need gender reassignment surgery after
the age of 18. Talking to mothers of transgender children in the
UK who have been prescribed hormone blockers, usually at great cost
(£200 a month plus the cost of a consultation in and flight
to the United States) one thing comes across loudly and clearly;
“I would rather have a live daughter than a dead son.”
One of them told me. One mother had remortgaged her house to pay
the cost of these drugs knowing what her child was like, she realised
that this would probably be the only way to keep her alive.
mother talked of how her young child had been prescribed a cocktail
of a dozen drugs, including Ritalin, because of behaviour problems
at home and at school. Yet when her child was recognised as transgender
everything changed. As soon as she was treated as a girl, the tantrums,
the bedwetting, the crying, the screaming, the hyperactivity, the
violence, just stopped, as did the need for any of the drugs. “She
became happy and contented almost overnight, just because we treated
her like a girl! The psychologist who spotted this probably saved
the accusation of “child abuse” has been levelled at
those who advocate prescribing hormone blockers to children between
the ages of 12 and 15 (they already are prescribed to those over
the age of 16) in the UK. This flies in the face of the evidence
in both the United States and Holland, where these drugs have been
successfully, and harmlessly prescribed for many years. It also
flies in the face of the experience of parents of transgender children,
who have lived a day-to-day existence, hoping that their child is
still alive and in one piece. Until her daughter was prescribed
hormone blockers at age 16 one mother told me of the anguish she
and her husband felt when their child had gone missing for a few
days when she was 14. “We really thought we would never see
her again. Every time the phone rang we thought it would be the
police wanting us to identify a body.”
that this technology has been developed, not making it available
to all those children who need it is child abuse. Three years ago
the trans community was shocked by the suicide of a transgender
child who was only 10 years old. The allegation of “child
abuse” has been levelled at parents who permit their transgender
child to express the gender they prefer and who let them have hormone
blockers. Yet this is effectively child abuse in reverse. Not to
allow trans children to express their gender identities is actually
child abuse. Those who throw accusations of child abuse around without
knowing the facts are the ones who are child abusers by proxy; putting
pressure on parents to force their children to conform to the gender
they were assigned at birth no matter what the consequences
Hormone blockers save lives and extend trans children’s options.
Whether you believe the studies which variously claim that “50%”,
“66%”, “75%”, “90%” or “98%”
of trans children become cisgender adults, the fact is that all
these drugs do is keep their options open. The fact is that sociological
research has shown that these (psychiatric) statistics are based
on thoroughly unreliable data, wildly overestimated at best and
downright misleading at worst.
famously said “Whereof one cannot speak, thereof one must
be silent.” I wish some people would do some serious research
before making up their minds.
*Not her real name
POSTED BY NATACHA AT 14:27
LABELS: BLOCKERS, HOMONES, TRANSGENDER CHILDREN
Mermaids has recently become aware of a new campaign, Global
Respect In Education, GRIN. GRIN Campaign was set up by a British
teenage student in response to the large number of LGBTQ teen suicides
both in the UK and the US. GRIN Campaign's mission is to unite globally
and stand up to bullying, especially bullying of those in the lesbian,
gay, bisexual, transgender and questioning (LGBTQ) community, and
those who are "just different".
GRIN wants to empower everybody to demand equality and respect and
hold accountable those who stand in the way.
finds family acceptance of LGBT Youth protects against depression,
substance abuse, suicide
This website was last updated on the 29th July 2012.