I am a mom of two awesome children who teach me more than I ever thought possible. I love writing, exercise, movies, and LGBT advocacy.
Support Of Trans Children Absolutely Necessary For Mental Health
Transition A Complex Issue, A Parent's Love Shouldn't Be
I was appalled a couple of days ago when I learned that a father from British Columbia was served with an injunction that stated were he to attempt to pressure his son to abandon treatment as he pursued his transition would be interpreted as a form of family violence.
Maybe I'm just somehow naive, I don't know, but I've always told my children if they loved someone of the same gender or they felt they were born the wrong gender, I didn't care. So long as they both were good people and treated people fairly, I was happy. While I cannot imagine what any parent who learns their child is trans must go through in terms of processing that change, I cannot imagine a world where my children would tell me they are trans, or lesbian, or bi, or gender nonconforming, or whatever, and I would try and stop them from that.
This father does need to understand that by deadnaming his son - referring to him by his birth name - is indeed a form of family violence and he should try and do better. There's no question that his son needs his love and support, not his continued insistence on interfering with the transition.
The boy is now 15 and while many provinces in Canada state that you must be 16 before you can make your own medical decisions, the judge, in this case, has sided with the boy, stating that the child can make his own decisions in this regard. The father in this case has tried to petition the court since 2018 to be allowed to make decisions on behalf of the boy, given he is underage. While the judge did acknowledge the father is entitled to his own beliefs regarding his child's transition, the judge is not wrong in saying that the father's ongoing vocal opposition to his son's transition is akin to family violence.
I don't pretend to understand the family dynamic occurring here, but I do know this: if a parent who is unsupportive of a child who recognizes that they are another gender than the one they were born with needs to grow in their understanding of what it means to be transgender for their child. It might take time to process, and it might be difficult at first, but it's critical that parents find it within themselves to remember that their child is still theirs; they are merely trying to live their truth. These kids need as much support as possible as they continue their journey through transition, and as a parent who loves their child, I would think that I would try to learn as much as I could to try and support my child who doesn't feel like they're the right gender.
Legal documents associated with the decision state that the father needs to engage with his son's medical team and to actually listen with his son. The son does not feel as though he has his father's support, which would indicate to me that the father has not truly listened to how his boy is feeling. Parents aren't perfect, not by any stretch of the imagination, but I would figure that part of my job as a parent is to help my child feel supported and valued for the person they are, not the person I want them to be, no matter how uncomfortable that might be.
Thankfully, the mother has been supportive of her child and connected him with a psychologist. However, the mother and father have been separated for some time, so who knows what the precise situation is at this point? On the surface of the situation, we could argue that this is a situation where the father is merely operating from a lack of understanding of his son's situation and how he feels inside. However, who knows what issues exist between the parents that would make the father more inclined, perhaps, to be unsupportive of his son.
I am grateful that the courts are siding with the teen here but feel bad because he lacks support from someone who will no doubt be a prominent voice as he continues to journey towards adulthood. Transition is a complex issue, from what I've seen with anyone going through that process, but a parent's love shouldn't be.
Mr. Happy from Toronto, Canada on March 18, 2021:
"I would figure that part of my job as a parent is to help my child feel supported and valued for the person they are, not the person I want them to be, no matter how uncomfortable that might be." - Ya, we're not there yet. It's where we are going but certainly not there yet; far from it I might argue (as societies).
"I don't pretend to understand the family dynamic occurring here" - Well, the father doesn't sound like a liberally progressive individual, does he?
The conservative/religious/extremist ideas are still very much ingrained in our western societies, even though laws are changing and have changed. It's people's ideas that do not change easily, with many fighting to maintain the status-quo of the past. We have to keep fighting for that change, otherwise it'll take another thousand years to get rid of discrimination.
Anyway, see how your article is classified under "LGBT Tolerance & Discrimination" section? I've always been against "tolerance" and I will keep speaking against it. "Tolerance" has a quality of "putting-up with"/"enduring" and we do not need that kind of an attitude. We need as your title clearly states: "acceptance". I am not enduring the LGBTQ community. I simply accept it, as I do all others.
Alrighty, thanks for the article. This is a much needed discussion which needs to be ongoing. All the best!