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Old 11-26-2013, 02:54 PM   #26
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Aww bless - I know you well enough Haurni to know you wouldn't be tactless, but I do appreciate that regular people might be a bit lost and fear causing offense. Maybe acting the virgin "Ummm...I don't know what to do!" would be a good approach, because it would immediately show you were nervous (too) and then any assumptions go out the window? I think that would be a good approach... Yup - I can see that working!

I think once people have made it to the bedroom, then they can be left to figure things out by themselves!
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Old 11-27-2013, 02:19 PM   #27
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All Gender is Performance?

I'm including an article by Julia Serano but please answer before you read it.
Ok, so I got impatient and read it without permission
Yup, yup and yup - I can see nothing to disagree with there, but perhaps I could elaborate on some of her key points?
JS goes runs a whole para on how her efforts to present as female are not a work of fiction, which 'performance' suggests it is. Maybe she and others get a bit caught up with semantics but nevertheless, the word performance does resonate with fiction.

Did I have to work on how I presented after years of being a boy? Of course: if a boy uses feminine body language, if the rhythm and cadences of their voice is feminine, if their eye-contact in conversation doesn't match what is unconsciously matched to male, then they don't fit in - they seem a bit weird. That is how culture affects our gender... (trying to avoid the word) performance, but there it is! I had to work on some areas more than others - being able to use my hands in conversation the way that is natural for me was such a relief; the impulse to reach out and touch a forearm affectionately was something I had to fight before; the dance of eye-contact is completely different for each gender - again, I could relax.

Perhaps the more obvious ones were easier for me? My voice was fairly easy because I used to sing in the choir and was already practised in using my higher range (though a screwed up anaesthetic didn't help). I acted in plays because I was already good at being someone else and I've always mimicked people's voices and gait and body language. It's true that some aspects of being a woman were at first a performance, but they quickly supplant any vestige of maleness to become first, not second nature.

Does that make my gender presentation a performance? No. Margeret Thatcher was famously taught to lower her voice tone to give herself more gravitas. I know a few horse women that walk like men and cuss like them too Maybe if I was more femme then people might challenge my presentation as fake, but I'm me - just a vaguely Indi-retro-bohemian-scruff-chic-student with a yearning for better shoes There are loads of cis-gender girls who act and live like me - thank heavens!

You know the best bit though? Not being seen as a threat to other women either physically or sexually - I'm just one of the girls, so being rejected by women on the grounds of my trans status - that really hurts. The downside: I now see men as a threat and I now sit on my hands a lot where I used to argue back as a boy.
Oh and having to fight the urge to sing Florence... that never goes down well in a bus queue
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Old 11-28-2013, 09:56 AM   #28
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Gender is performance - meaning we act a role, our gender role, as defined by our culture?

I'd agree that culture can steer the way a child develops but it can never overturn what is there from birth, through what must be biology/genes. Those outside influences brought about by nurture or culture can force a trans person to hide their feelings, but they nearly always emerge sooner or later as a rebellion: that's why so many trans come out when they are teenagers, because finding yourself, rebelling, is all part of being a teen.
Julia Serano talked at her book launch recently about 'essentialism' - the idea that we are defined, more or less, by our biology - a position which she obviously does not hold. However, she disagrees as well with the flip side - 'gender is performance' or (entirely) socially constructed. She takes an intermediate stance; that there is something'real' about gender, in that there are differences between male and female which clearly stem from some 'real' (and so presumably) physiological source. Obviously this isn't sex chromosomes (XX, XY) or external genitalia or we'd all conform (largely) to what's between our legs. I haven't read enough of her work to know if she goes farther in attempting to identify the 'source' of gender - in utero influences, unconventional brain wiring, early childhood experience, etc. - but whatever it is it clearly does not have to accord with binary physiology. Her point, of course, is that she (or any other transwoman) is as female as a 'womyn born womyn'.

In any 'soft' science (that isn't, say, physics, chemistry or math), things are typically not black or white. Even when we look at population statistics and normal distributions, the mean is not representative of every member of the group. She's basically saying that while sex, sexuality and gender tend to occur in certain combinations, the fact that they don't always do so doesn't mean that those 'abnormal' combinations (in a statistical sense - hey, I have a few of them myself! ) are no less 'real'. At least that's what I got out of it.

In a practical sense, whether or not there is something physiological about it is irrelevant to the trans individual who has to deal with their own situation.
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Old 11-28-2013, 06:51 PM   #29
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There isn't space here to say how Serano answers the critics of trans women who claim that they are somehow tainted from birth, and I wouldn't attempt to paraphrase her ( I have enough trouble trying to follow the complex arguments she makes!) She unpicks the definitions of womanhood by scrutinizing widely accepted cultural ideas that claim to be pro-feminist but are often supportive of patriarchal concepts. Because she is lesbian, she comes up against quite a bit of resistance to being accepted and that is the focus to much of her writing.

Soft science? Hard science too if you look at quantum physics, where theories are based on probabilities and statistics or, as Dr Who coined it, 'wibbly-wobbly science'. I find it extraordinary to a factor of a zillion that, given the number of chemically powered neural connections in the brain, that are influenced by environment, diet, nurture, hormones and genes, that people can be so similar and not have green skin and three legs. My pet theory of evolution is that it works like building pyramids out of blocks by trial and error: if the result isn't stable, it falls over and the process starts again. There is no Great Hand at work, only billions of years of mutations. There can be more than one outcome: mammals shouldn't really be top dog - it was reptiles till they got zapped. Mutations are the engine of evolution: some work, some don't, but ego-centric mankind thinks that what we see in the world is the pinnacle of evolution, but it isn't - it's still going on and will do long after we get wiped out.

There have always been transgender people but society has not allowed them expression until recently. Whatever causes it is a variation in our brain that keeps appearing in the population, but isn't dominant or common, the same way albinos pop up or Mozarts. The root cause might be environmental ( what are we if not a product of our environment? ) yet the affect is still manifested in the brain. I feel no less real for being trans* and being stuck out here on a statistical limb gives me a unique view of the world - it's you guys I feel sorry for
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Old 11-30-2013, 04:07 PM   #30
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Just had a LOL moment when I turned to Chapter 11 of JS's book Excluded which opens 'If one more person says 'Gender is Performance'.... I'd better hurry up and finish the book in case I get any more questions on it. Thanks Dyslexicea
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Old 12-04-2013, 05:50 AM   #31
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The one thing I have found, having worked with some people who were "transitioning", is you accept & treat them as the person they say they are..
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Old 12-04-2013, 08:10 AM   #32
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I'm pleased to hear it!
Some people have a big problem with acceptance because they take their cues from purely visual appearances and I'm afraid it's men that find transitioning more difficult to accept than women. I'm not meaning to be critical of men…. well actually I am … but it's in the nature of our society. Women judge less on body shape - we're less judgemental and point-scoring. Would you agree with that?

Pre-conceptions about gender and gender expression ( how a woman is "supposed" to look by hetero standards ) have to be thrown out: the rule book has to be torn up and that isn't going to happen overnight. My feeling is that if a trans person comes out and has to courage to stand up at her work place and explain what is going on, then her colleagues will get past their surprise and quickly accept her and even admire her courage.

What people fear and snigger about are mysteries and unknowns. If only the media would represent us not as "woman trapped in the wrong body", which sounds like some weird stuck-in-elevator scenario, but maybe just "Jack comes out as Janice" then people people would just shrug and carry on as normal. But then that wouldn't be news would it?

That 'normalising' process is slowly happening with the gay community and trans women like Laura Jane Grace from Against Me and Lana Wachowski who co-directed the Matrix series, are two high profile women who publicly outed themselves. I'm SO grateful to women like them who are breaking down barriers and spreading the word, making us normal…
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Old 12-04-2013, 11:58 AM   #33
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Sticky, I just think you are hot period!!!
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Old 12-04-2013, 12:03 PM   #34
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My feeling is that if a trans person comes out and has to courage to stand up at her work place and explain what is going on, then her colleagues will get past their surprise and quickly accept her and even admire her courage.

What people fear and snigger about are mysteries and unknowns. If only the media would represent us not as "woman trapped in the wrong body", which sounds like some weird stuck-in-elevator scenario, but maybe just "Jack comes out as Janice" then people people would just shrug and carry on as normal. But then that wouldn't be news would it?
When I was doing research at a hospital in my city, the head of the department came out as a transwoman. There was a lot of sniggering, but also a lot of confusion, as in 'why would someone do that?'. Although it took about six months to finally die down, the fact that it did (and her changed status became accepted) was positive in the end.
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Old 12-04-2013, 01:58 PM   #35
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When I was doing research at a hospital in my city, the head of the department came out as a transwoman. There was a lot of sniggering, but also a lot of confusion, as in 'why would someone do that?'. Although it took about six months to finally die down, the fact that it did (and her changed status became accepted) was positive in the end.
It's only human to laugh at other people's misfortune, perhaps as a means of bolstering our own fears by making light of them? But yea, the joke wears off.
Sadly the mystic of shemales and T-gurls is perpetuated by the porn industry and the incessant horn-dog hunger that men have for something sexual they can't have, or more to the point, something they want in a fog of night-time fantasy but aren't prepared to stand by that woman the next morning and tell all their mates that they are dating one. That duplicity sickens me.
There are few men strong enough to put two fingers up to peer group pressure and come out themselves by being open about their feelings. Same same huh? Men and their damned emotions

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Sticky, I just think you are hot period!!!
I'll never really get over that USA/UK language thing about periods I know it offends some women to hear it, but what I'd give to live my life with monthly cramps and all the stuff that goes with it... It's not something I dwell on because I wouldn't wish pain on anyone and besides, it's never gonna happen. I do my bit where I can for my cis-sisters
Thank you for the hotness vote PA
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Old 12-05-2013, 10:59 AM   #36
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It's only human to laugh at other people's misfortune, perhaps as a means of bolstering our own fears by making light of them? But yea, the joke wears off.
Sadly the mystic of shemales and T-gurls is perpetuated by the porn industry and the incessant horn-dog hunger that men have for something sexual they can't have, or more to the point, something they want in a fog of night-time fantasy but aren't prepared to stand by that woman the next morning and tell all their mates that they are dating one. That duplicity sickens me.
There are few men strong enough to put two fingers up to peer group pressure and come out themselves by being open about their feelings. Same same huh? Men and their damned emotions

I'll never really get over that USA/UK language thing about periods I know it offends some women to hear it, but what I'd give to live my life with monthly cramps and all the stuff that goes with it... It's not something I dwell on because I wouldn't wish pain on anyone and besides, it's never gonna happen. I do my bit where I can for my cis-sisters
Thank you for the hotness vote PA
Always & forever!!!! Or as someone I respect says: "To infinity & beyond"!!!!!
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Old 12-06-2013, 06:19 PM   #37
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Stupid (that's me!!) posted a question on the wrong thread.....so I'll repeat it here.......Does the healthcare system in the UK help with the cost of transitioning??
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Old 12-06-2013, 07:12 PM   #38
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Stupid (that's me!!) posted a question on the wrong thread.....so I'll repeat it here.......Does the healthcare system in the UK help with the cost of transitioning??

Yes it does, though inevitably with money in the health service being tight, it's a long process to finally arrive at surgery but it is paid for by the health authority. There's also the question of surgery quality: I know the surgeons in the UK are very good but they just don't do as much of this type of procedure as is done by say Dr Saran in Thailand or Dr Brassard in Canada. No surgery is cheap and none of it is without risk.
GRS ( surgery ) is only part of the cost because being trans* means you have a lifelong commitment to HRT (hormone replacement therapy ) even after surgery. People without a concessionary status pay a fixed amount for a prescription but how much the doctor includes in that depends on how much money the practise has and if she/he feels like doing you a favour. I've had a 3-month-long prescription for estrogen cost the same as a month-long one. All the same is a very good system and it's easy to forget that things like blood-tests come essentially 'free of charge'.
That's why in last year's Olympics the opening ceremony featured a big piece of the NHS, because it's so much a part of our lives. How much longer it remains FOC is anyone's guess - medical care is expensive.
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Old 12-07-2013, 11:27 AM   #39
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Sticky how long have you been trasitioning??? How hard was it for family/friends to accept it???
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Old 12-07-2013, 04:01 PM   #40
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I'll have been on HRT for three years in February.

Hmm... that's a good question. I came out to my immediate family in 2008 and I didn't do it too well I don't know if there is a good way to set off a bomb and it came out of my mouth during an argument at home. It stopped the argument that's for sure Never liked arguing anyway!! I think it took my Mom about a month before she realised I wasn't kidding but it'll prob take her another fifty years before she stops worrying about me. So things from my past all began to fall into place. I suppose I first started realising I wasn't the same as other kids when I was about 10 or 11 but I didn't want to speak about it because I didn't want to hurt her. My sister has been very supportive throughout - she's so cool.

The wider family took a while because I only get to see my cousins a few times a year so the first reunion once I was dressing was difficult for everyone because they felt like they had to get to know a new person. Once they realised I wasn't crazy then they just had to get used to pronouns. My uncle is a bit old-fashioned and has never approved of me *shrugs*.

Friends were straightforward because I didn't dress full-time till the year between high school and college. By the time I reached college, I was the real me and so you make a whole new bunch of friends who'd never seen me any other way. It made a lot of sense for me to wait for that time-gap and I'm not sure what it would have been like at school if I was dressing there.
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Old 12-07-2013, 09:27 PM   #41
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Good for you & thank you for having the courage to do this & share it!!!
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Old 12-08-2013, 04:01 AM   #42
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Thanks PA. I think there's more than one type of courage: there's the courage of soldiers under fire, who could just keep their head down but charge instead. Then there's jumping from a burning building courage, which is my type.

I speak up here because I want people to know the majority of trans women just want to be regular women - they don't want to be the object of fetishism. I can't pretend that objectification goes on and I can't erase what is a turn-on to many men. I am a sexual person, same as everyone else but I'm in my final year at Uni so I just don't have time for a bf (or gf) right now - that happens to regular people as well!! Hopefully a few guys will read through, so that when they do meet a trans* they can have an alternative, three-dimensional idea of where we're coming from and be a real friend the morning after as well.
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Old 12-08-2013, 05:48 AM   #43
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Still thank you, & good luck with school!!!
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Old 12-09-2013, 03:59 PM   #44
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See, I learned something new.
Thanks SG. I didn't realize that HRT was a life-long process. If I heard it before, I had forgotten. I probably should have realized that just because the equipment gets "reassigned", hormones don't magically appear.
I do enjoy your responses. You do write, and express your thoughts very well....and not just your porn stories....lol.....although they ARE riveting too.
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Old 12-09-2013, 06:26 PM   #45
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Oh yea - no one's asked about drugs have they? Ok well I take a combination of a testosterone suppressing drug, Spirolactone ( or Spiro for short ) which I take morning/evening and then Estrogen in the form of either pills or patches. I prefer patches, because the pills give you a bit of a burst of hormone that sends you a bit off whack for a couple of hours, but the skin gets irritated and the patches don't stick on too well in summer. Most girls stick em on their butt - you know that bit at the top of your bum - because the skin doesn't flex much there so less chance of it peeling off.
Once I've had SRS then I won't need the Spiro and hopefully can reduce my estrogen dose too.

Like any medication, there is more than one use for the drug so it's not just made for transgender treatment by any means. Also there are side effects so while I'll have almost zero chance of developing prostate cancer ( no, that gland is with me for keeps ) but increased risk of breast cancer, comparable to a cis-gendered woman. Did you hear about a premature baby that was treated with Viagra, because of its effect of increasing blood flow or summinck? How cool is that?!

I don't write porn I write romantic stories that don't skip details!!!
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Old 12-09-2013, 07:01 PM   #46
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Oh yea - no one's asked about drugs have they? Ok well I take a combination of a testosterone suppressing drug, Spirolactone ( or Spiro for short ) which I take morning/evening and then Estrogen in the form of either pills or patches. I prefer patches, because the pills give you a bit of a burst of hormone that sends you a bit off whack for a couple of hours, but the skin gets irritated and the patches don't stick on too well in summer. Most girls stick em on their butt - you know that bit at the top of your bum - because the skin doesn't flex much there so less chance of it peeling off.
Once I've had SRS then I won't need the Spiro and hopefully can reduce my estrogen dose too.

Like any medication, there is more than one use for the drug so it's not just made for transgender treatment by any means. Also there are side effects so while I'll have almost zero chance of developing prostate cancer ( no, that gland is with me for keeps ) but increased risk of breast cancer, comparable to a cis-gendered woman. Did you hear about a premature baby that was treated with Viagra, because of its effect of increasing blood flow or summinck? How cool is that?!

I don't write porn I write romantic stories that don't skip details!!!
Takns for sharing!1 BIG HUGS/KISSES for being so brave forthcoming!!
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Old 12-14-2013, 05:11 AM   #47
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Thanks PA
Now talking of being brave... I was asked about a YTube vid of reassignment surgery so here is one. Please be warned - this is a medical procedure with a screen full of surgery: lots of slicing up, scalpels, retractors, blood, flesh, so if you get triggered by a penis being sliced up then it is not for you.

If you find this kinky then you need serious help

http://youtu.be/2OwZzVYun_Q
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Old 12-14-2013, 07:15 PM   #48
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Hey Sticks....
First, allow me to beg forgiveness for implying that you write porn....lol, You do write very arousing stories, though....or that's the effect you have on me, anyway!

I have seen other GRS vids before....and it is a fascinating procedure.
I do extend to anyone that decides to undergo the surgery the greatest admiration, as that is probably the biggest decision of a lifetime.
Of course YOU always have, and deserve, my total admiration, and respect!!
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Old 12-14-2013, 08:03 PM   #49
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Hi Sticky,

First off, I want to say I agree with others who have complimented you for being so courageous and for sharing so opening your experience. Plus, you're a great writer

In a previous post you commented on someone feeling 'nervous as a virgin' or some such and that's pretty well describes the awkwardness of my situation and how awkward I feel asking...

So, here goes...

About a year ago, the 15 year-old grandson of a very close family friend came out to his family. I don't know if he's currently taking any medication yet or not. Last I heard, with the help of his mother, he was investigating what all the transition would entail and what it would mean over time.

My mother and the boy's grandmother are best friends. I'm close is age with the boy's father and we've known each other our whole lives. I'd say we're not quite 'friends' but close enough. I've only met the son a few times and he (wants to be she) seems like a typical 15 year old, full of piss and vinegar.

I have two questions:

1. the father is a pretty typical macho, hetero guy and he also happens to be a recovering alcoholic. This has hit him pretty hard. So I'm wondering if you have any advice (or know of any resources) that might help a father cope with this process, the changes it entails.
2. The grandmother and my mother are as open-minded as can be (as any baby boomer from Texas can be) but have also both wondered if this is 'just a phase'. I have no opinion on the matter and whether he is just a 'confused teenager' or legitimately is the wrong gender is beyond me. Any thoughts? Any suggestions?

Thank you!
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Old 12-15-2013, 10:56 AM   #50
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Hi Mono

You think it was difficult to ask - now I'm as nervous as hell replying!! I'm not an expert and this is just my opinion, nothing more, so please read it as that.

I'll assume the child is already getting some professional help and counselling? I know in the USA that has to be paid for and hopefully the family's insurance will cover it. A family doctor is unlikely to have the experience needed but may be able to suggest an expert who does. There is a wealth of information online as well and Googling 'Transgender Family Support' will bring up some of that. Here's a quicky link http://www.hrc.org/resources/entry/t...sibility-guide

On changing their mind
There are a number of typically teen conditions that make the rest of the family feel like their child might be faking it or confused or whatever and without impartial professional help, not even the closest family can know the truth of the matter, least of all the person involved. Truth isn't even the right word - maybe belief is a better one? I think the important thing is to leave the door open to them changing their mind without reproof. The individual has to be told that if they change their mind it really is ok and they won't be made to feel stupid by the rest of the family. I'm sure that the father, being a recovering alcoholic, should understand the need for the family to do that.

The Dad
Maybe the father, being a macho type, needs to look at this as a test of just how tough he really is? I mean, if it were doing something macho like saving his child from a raging river, or lifting a car off them, then that would be something much easier to understand and do: one big Ho-Har and bang - result. This is going to be a much tougher test of his macho and he needs to recognise that: I'm thinking the courage of To Kill a Mocking Bird, to stand up to opinion and gossip. Tell him to stick his jaw out and tell everyone else 'My flesh and blood - over my dead body' and in the end he'll get all the admiration he'll have rightly earned.

Family
It's an explosive situation for the family isn't it? Lots of raw emotional steam all pent up and ready to erupt. If I were involved, I'd try and turn it into something positive by being open with each other maybe by doing something as corny as having a family huddle - you know like your football players do: all round in a circle bonding as a team? Stay with me here - I know this sounds weird!! Nothing is as empowering as being open with someone so maybe play a game of truth or dare - just some game that allows people a chance to come out with secrets in a no-blame situation. I do appreciate trying to bring a techy teen into that won't be easy...

Also it wouldn't be a bad idea for the child needs to get out and meet other trans women or girls the same age because we've all been that route - we do understand. We know how important it is to make the right decisions, when to give people time and where to go for help.

Zombie invasion
It's tempting to think that trans* is the new teen fad and that they seem to be popping up everywhere. I think it's partly that the loosening grip of families in society for their children to 'conform at all costs' is allowing individuals to find the courage to speak up. The media is also reporting trans* when in the past it didn't, so we are becoming more visible. There are still far too more teenage suicides, often unexplained and you can check to see just how many transgender people do attempt suicide. I saw an excellent TV show recently on YTube: the second mother had to deal with a child who was suicidal with a kind of brinkmanship. Both parents should understand their kid might well be suicidal.... here's that link
http://youtu.be/XystUPGpaNY

Phew! I hope that helps a little? These are just ideas but talk, talk, talk and research, educate... I'm sure you there is no easy fix. In the end it's love, that's all - love.
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