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Why T is not the answer

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I’ll level with you, I have started this blog post about a hundred times.  My feelings about  Jeremy are so mixed each time I try and write it I get confused and my attempts to rationalise and unpick it gets sidetracked.

But here it is.  Testosterone was not the answer.  It has been a significant part of the answer but it has not been the solution in totality.

Since November Jeremy has been finished with school work.  In the last week he finally got to Centrelink to  register for Youth Allowance.  In between he has floundered in a sea of anxiety, lack of direction and dysphoria.  I’ve done my best to provide love and support but my patience and my bank balance are wearing thin.

For nearly three years we held onto a D date of Jeremy’s 18th birthday and his first injection of T.  On reflection I had no idea what I expected from this injection.

He is becoming more masculine day by day and that is fricking awesome.  His sideburns are epic and his goatee and sideburns are starting to meet on the sides of his face.  His voice is deeper and there are even times when he is comfortable without wearing his binder.

But those mental health issues that sent us to a psychologist pre-transition are still there.  They are exacerbated when he meets people in the general public that, despite beard and deep voice, somehow still misgender him.  Dealing with Government organisations has a special challenge, and I am pleased that the Federal government employees in Newport Victoria are much more aware of gender diversity than their counterparts in Werribee.

So mothers and fathers – I thought the step of starting T would be a bigger solution than it was.  It was a significant step but if I have learned anything from the last six months it’s that Jeremy has hopes and dreams about his physicality.  There are dreams that I have offered to make a reality but he is still considering the implications for himself.  He understands that he is in a position of privilege.  It doesn’t alleviate the underlying feeling that he has that his journey is just starting.  It doesn’t help when he feels that taking the first step isn’t accepted or understood.

It’s so unfair.  I see his peers at Uni, getting part time jobs.  He is so bright and engaging and that bundle of contrary actions that has bewitched me for nineteen years.  His legacy was supposed to be bright and successful.  The poor kid can’t even prove his identity because the forms are overwhelming and the questions daunting despite my support, love and credit card.

Time to put on my big girl panties and keep fighting the good fight.  Because if the world won’t voluntarily step toward J, I will damn well make sure it does under duress.

 

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Post “Insight” ponderings

A couple of weeks ago several people contacted me about a show on SBS about transgender kids.  I love my “village” so much, so many people who love and care for us!

We watched this episode of Insight on line the day after it aired, Jeremy and I were on the couch, sick as sick can be.  Jeremy watched, engaged, making thoughtful comments. He was most taken with the parents who were so open and loving.  He was very vocal about the couple who identified as lesbian originally then one partner became a man.  There were heated debates between Jeremy and his friends as to whether the couple should be called heterosexual now or if they were still a lesbian couple, The debates were respectful and challenging.  I forget how passionate being 16 can be!

I took comfort from the young person who talked about trying on labels of sexuality only to identify that he was “none of the above” but was transgender.  His journey so mirrored Jeremy’s.

I came away with this thought – it is worth the time for Jeremy to investigate fully, assess fully.  Stage two hormone treatment is not fully reversible.  Jeremy has time.

There is an option after the age of 18 to bypass the psychoanalysis and go straight to surgeries, hormone treatments, this is known as informed consent.  IF (and it is a big IF) you have other stuff going on in your mental health you may confuse gender dysphoria with any other number of things including mental illness.  These are the 1% of 1% people (pretty sure this is not an actual statistic but you get what I mean).  Following the informed consent model IF something else is going on the actual cause of why you feel the way you do may not be uncovered until you have done something to yourself that may not be reversible.  I am not saying that psychoanalysis provides an ironclad guarantee but I do believe that it will provide a level of assessment that can identify if there is something else going on.  The more checks the better I say, especially if you are undergoing surgery of any type!

So time, a precious gift for anyone, is a gift we have in abundance.  Jeremy is motivated to continue conversations with his psychiatrist.  He has time to get to the end of formal schooling while living as a boy.  He can test out long term if being a boy is what he wants physically.  We can talk to other families and  young people and learn all we can.  

 
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Posted by on October 1, 2013 in Uncategorized

 

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