Life as the Dad of a Transgender child

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When I was asked to write a piece about being the parent of a transgender child, at first I thought,  “what’s the point?

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People have already made their minds up that it’s a fad or lefty liberal parents pushing an agenda onto their children or not parenting properly by pandering to the child’s make believe fantasy”

However, after careful thought and consideration I realised that it wasn’t that long ago that people had the same thoughts about homosexuality, yet due to people making others aware of the reality of it, it became more socially acceptable.

So maybe I need to be one of those people to stand up and be an ally properly, so that my son can grow up in a more understanding and accepting society?

Transgender kids are no different to CIS gender kids. (People whose gender identity matches the sex that they were assigned at birth).

They just don’t feel right in their own bodies and suffer from gender dysphoria – the distress a person experiences as a result of the sex and gender they were assigned at birth. In this case, the assigned sex and gender do not match the person’s gender identity.

Now, I know some people are going to read this and still say things like,

“I identify as a millionaire/dog/helicopter so from now on I’d like to be acknowledged as one”

While I appreciate that this is said in fun, I wonder how many of those people actually understand the pain, anguish and feeling of being trapped, that these kids go through. My suspicion is, not many!

My son, like many other trans-kids, turned to self harm.
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He’d cut his skin with a knife (usually on the legs and arms), because it felt like it was releasing the pressure he felt of being trapped inside a cage/body that he didn’t choose or want to be in.

Imagine you woke up tomorrow morning with your brain, memories, personality just as it is now but in the body of someone else, the opposite sex body. You know you’re a man but your outward appearance says otherwise to the rest of the world. Imagine how scared you’d feel (Yeah yeah, after the initial “fun” you think you’d have for a few days) when you realise your trapped and can’t get out.

Starting to understand yet?

I hope so.

I hope more people start to understand, for the sake of my son and the countless other transgender people out there just trying to make sense of their world and trying to find themselves and be the ‘real them’.
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My son was 13 when he came out to us and we had no idea what it meant to be trans, but the last 3 years have been a journey for all of us and with lots of learning.
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The kids have to go through countless hours of psychological assessments and counselling before the doctors are happy to confirm a diagnosis and take any further action. It’s a thorough process.

If you’ve read all of this and it’s opened your eyes at all, or made you slightly more accepting of people like my son then, well, I guess I’ve done the right thing and my job as my son’s dad has been done right, in this moment.

Thanks for reading

Written by Kirren Summers

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  1. jeremy@thirstydaddy

    thank you for sharing man. A few years ago I interviewed the father of a trangendered child, a guy that I had grown up with, and it was an eye opening conversation. All of us want nothing more than the best for our children, as much happiness as we can give them. The more the word is spread, the more we can potentially get people thinking about how they would feel if it was their own kid, the better off the world will be in the long run.

    • Kirren Summers

      Thanks for your comment. I agree with you, all I want is for my son to live a happy life and not be fearful that he’ll be beaten up or abused just for being himself.

  2. Martin

    Fantastically written Kirren. Its not always easy being the Dad of a transgender child. Our Tom is ftm and is only 11 years old. We’ve known basically since he was 7 that he was not happy with his gender. I guess like you say that the best thing that we can do as parents, and especially Dad’s (the one’s that are not always seen as being affectionate with our kids) is to just show them the love, support and help that they deserve!

    • Kirren Summers

      Apologies, I’ve only just seen the replies as I didn’t get any notifications. I assumed no one had read it lol. I think the stereotype of dads not handling this sort of subject very well is something we have to battle, to show that’s not the case and like you say, just love and support them in their life and hope others come to the ame conclusion

  3. Jamie

    You are an inspiring father; if only more people would take the time and open mind to understand their children like you have. Why don’t you and your son blog or vlog together about this? Your honest relationship with him is wonderful. Jamie X

  4. Kirren Summers

    Thankyou guys, I’m
    Extremely proud of my son and the blog/blog idea is cool but he is not interested in being in the spotlight, I think like many others going through the same things, he just wants to be able to go about his day to day unnoticed (at least until he’s fully happy with where he’s at).
    Great positive comments though gents, very much appreciated

  5. Marshall H

    my son came out as gay about 3 years ago at the age of 15. although was a shock to me(well not entirely)I accepted it and realized that the only thing that changed between he and I was ONLY my expectations. although he hasn’t visibly started to move towards what sex he identifies with, there are things I’ve noticed about his mannerisms etc. etc.
    all I can do is love him unconditionally and not minimize his feelings.
    I am scared for his future since we live in the south where there is less enlightened thinking. if anyone has thoughts advice or just would be willing to open a line of communication I would be eternally grateful.
    concerned but loving and accepting father,

  6. Marshall H

    nothing but extreme admiration for all the fathers and more importantly the children with the strength and courage to do what they feel is right!

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