Last week my daughter turned 13.

The following day my mom left with my daughter to go babysit my 12 year old niece while her parents are out of town. I didn't see my daughter again until Saturday but she did text me that she wants to talk in private and kept bringing up going home Saturday in which I explained I was staying the night at her other uncles. The girls and my mom joined us for the cookout and the weekend went by great. On the way home I brought up her wanting to talk. In which she gave me an embarrassed smile and promptly said, "I've been thinking about this a lot and I want to be a boy."

She looked into the surgery costs in which I said not until after graduation, she also said she sometimes looks at boy clothes and such. But that's just it... my daughter grew up wearing dresses, skirts, and leggings. She wore tiaras, princess gowns, and fairy wings. Just a month ago she wanted a $60 bikini from H&M along with a bracelet from Walmart. She wears a little makeup, has hair she can almost sit on and now she suddenly wants to chop it off into a boy style like that boy band BTS.

I'm definitely in shock.

I am hoping this is a phase and passes quickly or I don't know what we're going to do. I don't want her growing up feeling unloved but I've heard the way my family talks, I can already hear the arguments we'd have. I just do not know what else to do but to get us both therapy. As far as I see it... I have until spring to see where this goes and hope like crazy I can gain some kind clarity.

It does sound like some of this came on because she plays a lot of online games with a preference of being a boy but I don't see how this translates to her now wanting surgery to be one. It is so sudden and I've read other articles about this sudden transgender trend going on among teens. I want to limit her internet use but that would be hard. This is a child that can't stick to anything. She grew up loving horses, playing horses, and running around pretending to be a horse but anything besides that it never sticks. Whether it be playing the violin or trombone, now she wants to play guitar. We are only just now getting rid of her barbies and my little pony dolls... this is not a child the has been born a female but feels like a boy her entire life... the only boyish things she likes is mudding with her uncle and skateboarding. She enjoys playing tennis as well. These days she wears leggings, cut up skinny jeans, crop tops, a little makeup, keeps her hair tidy, and like baggy sweatshirts. I didn't expect this in a thousand years. She grooms and styles her hair, wants scrunchies and hair crowns.

Is this common? Is there a specific psychiatrist I should have her see? She refuses to speak to a stranger but I'm putting foot down on this. Do I call her by her new boy name and let her chop off over two feet of hair? I still can't wrap my mind around that, she has only ever let me trim it... I'm not even sure how I should address her.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. This question is closed as a dupe. Please stop commenting here.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 16:17

15 Answers 15


You bring up many points that show that your relationship with your kid is not the best at the moment. But I'd like to focus on your kid presumably being trans.

It isn't a trend

Yes, there are more people openly living trans these days than ten or twenty years before, especially in the younger generation. But this doesn't invalidate these trans identities. It's just like gays and lesbians in the 1980s and 1990s: Growing acceptance leads to more visibility, more people coming out of the closet.

It isn't sudden

I cannot talk about your kid, but in most cases people - kids and adults - take a long time before coming out. It may appear as a sudden development to outsiders (which includes parents in this case), but the sudden development isn't the being trans, it's the coming out.

Your kid needs you. Be there for your kid

Maybe it's only a phase, but you shouldn't hold your breath. The important thing is, that you are there for your kid, and there are a number of things, that are important:

  • The wrong puberty - whichever that is - will have lasting detrimental effects on your kid. If your kid turns out to be a girl after all, then a male puberty will be a problem, but if your kid really is a boy, then a female puberty will be as much of a problem. And as long as puberty isn't over, there's something you can do: Get your kid on puberty blockers now. The effects are completely reversible. And they buy you and your kid time not to travel (further) down the wrong road, whichever that is, while you're figuring out what to do next. As in any effective drug, there are side effects, which your doctor (see below) should and will discuss with you. Don't take this decision lightly - but consider, that every month of body development in the wrong direction will come with greater - possibly life long - distress and potentially bigger operations later on.
  • The best way to get your kid on puberty blockers and for further steps is to find a health care specialist for trans and gender non conforming children. And please don't go the way of conversion therapy. It's ok to take your time. But if your kid really is trans, the worst you can do is to suppress this.
  • Believe your kid. Your kid says he's a boy. So treat him that way. If it really is a phase and a year from now your kid says to be a girl, your haven't lost anything. But your kid will know to trust in your support in every situation. That's a win. So, even if you're not yet convinced: He's your boy, use his male name and never use the female name again (without consent). And, really: Hair will grow back, so what's the problem there?
  • Suicide rates are high among trans kids. But not because they're trans, but because of the backlash from society and families. A supportive family is the best life insurance for your kid. And your best bet is that your kid really is trans, so if there are people in your family who are neither supportive nor neutral, but actively unsupportive: Cut them out of your lives. They're not worth it, if they want to harm your kid. It's better to have a smaller, but supportive home.

Don't panic

I don't know where your come from, so I don't know the legal and medical rules, but in general: The first step normally is social transitioning (living in your new identity) and in your case (at the or after the onset of puberty) puberty blockers. Both are completely reversible. When the time comes for testosterone, you will know if it's been a phase, this isn't your problem right now. And in many jurisdictions surgeries will be done only on adults or - depending on the country - much older juveniles who have shown that they know what they are consenting in.

Selected sources

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat. Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 13:40
  • Starting an answer with blaming the parent (“your relationship with the kid is not best”) is not helpful at all.
    – user
    Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 15:46
  • @user It's not meant as putting blame - parent-child relationships are too complex for that. But I want to acknowledge the fact. If you have a suggestion how to rephrase it without losing the content, I'd be interested. Commented Sep 11, 2020 at 16:27
  • "My child says she wants to be a boy" and "my child thinks she is a boy" are not the same thing.
    – gnasher729
    Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 22:42
  • @gnasher729 True. But in many cases people new to the topic mix those two up (in this case it might be mixed up by the child or the parent), so at this point I don't read that much into the choice of words. But yes, this is something for a specialised health care professional to consider. Commented Sep 29, 2020 at 22:52

I would suggest going carefully – the worst thing you could do is hurt your child or your relationship with them. Make sure that whatever you do is something that makes them feel loved and listened to.

Next, I would realize that children at that age are going through a lot, both mentally, emotionally, physically and in interpersonal relationships. If it really was as sudden as you describe it, I would suspect that something happened to precipitate this desire to be a boy. It could equally be true feelings and identity, but if there was a traumatic event, you will want to be able to deal with that.

Don't pry, but try to talk to your child. Respect their feelings, listen – truly listen to what they say.

Don't try to talk them out of this, but support them in safe ways for their development. Encourage them not to take any permanent steps, but maybe try out some things that make them feel good about themselves: short hair is an easy option, as are masculine clothes.

If possible, I'd recommend talking with a therapist, both for you and your child. Make sure to choose one with sympathy for and experience in gender matters, and make it obvious to your child that you want the therapist to help them understand what they are feeling. Do not bring your child to the therapist with hopes of changing them, or worse, making the child feel like they are broken or need to be fixed.


Surgery sound scary, but it's not like on TV: you can't simply walk in and get surgery. Surgeons need to follow the WPATH Standards of Care (pdf) at the bare minimum.

To my knowledge, all forms of surgery require the age of majority (typically 18 years of age). Your child will need to get a referral (possibly two referrals) from a "qualified mental health professional" (likely a psychiatrist). Prior to getting a referral, there's a period of time known as the real-life test: it's a period of time where the transgender person lives continuously as their identified gender ("consistent, insistent, persistent"). After getting a referral, there are long waiting lists for surgery (I think I had to wait 7 months after getting the referral).

Realistically, at the age of 13, surgery is a long way down the road (likely 5 years minimum); it's barely relevant currently. The main medical option is puberty blockers (again, this requires seeing medical professionals):

In those identified as female at birth, treatment limits or stops breast development and delays or stops menstruation. ... If an adolescent child stops taking GnRH analogues, puberty will resume.

Aside from that, your child can socially transition:

A social transition is the aspects of transition involving social, cosmetic, and legal changes, without regard to medical interventions. People who socially transition may ask others to refer to them by their preferred name and pronouns, and some may legally change their name.

A minority of children indeed re-evaluate their gender (and sexuality) later in life (i.e., detransition), while it is considered rarer to detransition in adulthood:

Of the remaining 128 cases, 12 cases (9.4%) met criteria for GD emerging in adolescence, were actively requesting medical interventions at outset of assessment and ceased wishing to pursue medical interventions and/or no longer felt that their gender identity was incongruent with their biological sex. ...
Clarke and Spiliadis, 2019

This is why minors use puberty blockers: it buys time and allows them to change their minds.

People on the Internet claim it's a "trend" (or some other belittling language). Being transgender is awful: you'll quickly lose maybe 2/3-rds of your friends; you'll have people you trusted (e.g. family members) backstab you; some people will treat you like you're not even human. You quickly learn that "unconditional love" only applies to non-transgender people. It achieves the complete opposite of popularity.

Is there a specific psychiatrist I should have her see?

Yes, there are transgender specialized psychiatrists, but most cities don't have many (if any at all). For example, in Melbourne in 2014, I saw Dr. Fintan Harte (my psychiatrist) and Dr. Jaco Erasmus (second referral). They were in huge demand, and getting an appointment required long wait times.

She refuses to speak to a stranger but I'm putting foot down on this.

I certainly understand this: I've had incredibly bad experiences with medical professionals. I suggest getting your child to look up transgender specialized psychiatrists: they know what they're doing.

People on the Internet will assert they have an "agenda" to transition your child; realistically they strive to help your child whether or not through transitioning, but they're better informed about all aspects of transitioning.

Do I call her by her new boy name and let her chop off over two feet of hair?

General "best care" is for parents to support their child:

Socially transitioned transgender children who are supported in their gender identity have developmentally normative levels of depression and only minimal elevations in anxiety, suggesting that psychopathology is not inevitable within this group. Especially striking is the comparison with reports of children with GID; socially transitioned transgender children have notably lower rates of internalizing psychopathology than previously reported among children with GID living as their natal sex.
Olson et al., 2016

I understand it's uncomfortable to accept a child transitioning: we have a mental roadmap of how our children's lives will proceed, and transitioning basically throws that in the rubbish. But this needs to be weighed up against the risks of rejecting a child's gender identity.

Rejecting a child's gender identity is not "neutral". To share my experience as an adult: my father died before coming to terms with me as a woman (~7 years ago). It didn't stop me being a woman, but it contributed to me having near-continuous depression since then; I've had to reshape every aspect of my life to cope. When people reject my identity, it feels like they genuinely don't want me to exist: they prefer some imaginary person over the actual me.

  • 2
    This answer really reflects a lot of our experience (I'm the mother of an 18yo trans kid). Even in a VERY liberal city, one does not just walk into a doctor's office and get prescribed pharmaceuticals for this. There were multiple evals from multiple people--all professionals (we have a gender clinic inside the adolescent medicine section of our local Childrens' hospital). Find specialists! It will make you feel better as well as be better for your child's care. They aren't there to push your kid--they're there in part as gatekeepers. They've seen other trans kids, they know what to look for. Commented Sep 14, 2020 at 2:54

What ever happens, make sure she has gender dysphoria. Transitioning without dysphoria is a massive mistake, and most realize this sooner or later. If she actually is transgender, then transitioning is necessary for the dysphoria. She needs to see a psychiatrist/psychologist for a diagnosis, and it's important she does not lie/use examples on the internet of dysphoria to try and get a false diagnosis (this is what many non-dysphoria trans people do to get HRT/transition, as some places require a diagnosis first.) Make sure it's a psychiatrist/psychologist that has a speciality in gender dysphoria, as not all have. Getting them tested for autism is also necessary in my opinion. This is because a child can easily trick themself into thinking they SHOULD be feeling something, when they aren't, and therefore convince themself they are transgender/have dysphoria. In this case, it seems like lying but they genuinely do not know. It is possible to have gender dysphoria AND autism, but it is a risk.

The biggest mistake a parent can make is not accepting their child as transgender, if they really are transgender. That and as the answer above says, puberty.

There are signs your child could be transgender, but they're not black/white so I'll talk about them here:

  • Interest in the opposite gender's clothing
  • Most friends are of the opposite gender, rather than the birth gender
  • Negative reaction to the birth gender's pronouns, in your case not wanting to be called she
  • Hobbies that seem to not match their birth gender's
  • A tendancy towards short haircuts, for this case
  • Dislike of their name, if it's not a unisex name
  • Dislike of their genitals

Childhood trauma is kind of a red flag. It means they could not be transgender, and are only using their transgender identity to try and escape from the trauma. Of course it is possible to have gender dysphoria and have had trauma, but it is worth considering.

I happen to have a few transgender friends, so please do not hesitate to ask any questions.

  • Comments are not for extended discussion; this conversation has been moved to chat.
    – Rory Alsop
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 13:54

Make it clear to your daughter that it's entirely her choice how she wants to live her life once she is grown up. Tell her you will stand by her regardless of how she lives it. Stress that you stand by her even in this difficult times.

Maybe she wants to be called "he" from now on, I wouldn't deny this. If you do she/he will probably distance himself/herself from you. Maybe he/she wants to have some boy clothes, buy them. These are easy things which don't harm anybody.

You should definitely get help from a medical professional. I would suggest talking to more than one psychologist. Also get one for yourself. You will not be able to cope with this situation on your own.

The decision to use drugs should not be taken lightly. The drugs in question, so called gonadotropin-releasing hormone (GnRH) analogues, have adverse effects on bone mineralisation and compromise fertility; data on the effects on brain development are still limited [1]. The desired (not the adverse) effects of the drug are reversible though [1].

It's important to find unbiased medical help. In some countries like the US the debate is extremely politically polarized on both sides of the spectrum. You want to stay away from extreme conservatives and also extreme gender progressives. As your child is still very young both groups can heavily influence her. Find neutral advise.

This is why it's important to realize that she can't make the choice to get surgery on her own, no matter how bad she/her wants it. She is still very young and her views on many topics not yet fully established and can easily be manipulated. This is not limited to the topic of gender and that's why you decide about her, not she.

Advise her/him to first try her new lifestyle at home in a safe space for some time. You should make it very clear to her what the possible consequences may be in the outside world, while stressing that you stand with her/him regardless.

Prevent her/him from rushing things. This process will take years and children change. You want to prevent her from doing something she later regrets and stretch the process out over many years in order to do so. Be clear about that: Tell her this is not going to happen in a matter of days, weeks or months.

The most important thing is that you need to have long talks about identity. Soley changing gender will probably not make her happy. I for myself often thought that getting a top grade in university, a certain well-paid job or a new partner will make me happy, but this has been naive. Happiness is nothing you acquire by some surgery or some single event.

  • 6
    +1 "Happiness is nothing you acquire by ... some single event."
    – Ivana
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 9:41
  • 2
    And, there may be something entirely unrelated to this that is causing her great anxiety, making the idea of sex change a form of escape. Many kids are anxious about puberty, becoming an adult. There could be bullying issues at school. Check her social media accounts for stressors.
    – wberry
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 11:43

This is not a full answer, more some advice. You say your daughter has some social anxiety (quite normal, certainly at that age) and that you work a lot. Is it possible she spends a lot of time alone and online?

Spending too much* time alone and online is not very good for anyone's mental health, but it is an easy habit to form especially now with the pandemic. If she or both of you together could make some lifestyle adjustments that would improve her general well-being it will be easier to deal with whatever stressful things come your way. This includes the current question of gender.

You can get help with making lifestyle changes: you could talk to a therapist, a coach, or maybe your daughter can do some regular sports or outdoor activity with someone you trust.

Get your feet firmly on the ground, then see how you want to proceed.

*How much time is too much varies.


You should think more about spongebob squarepants, and less about transgender surgery costs.

It is a trend and an emerging science

enter image description here Link to Google Ngram Viewer

It is both a trend in human history and in the behavior of your specific child, since it has only shown signs at age 13. It's an emerging science, a vogue, a recent phenomenon, and anyone that would headline a comment contradicting the above factual graph, is writing a non-sense headline.

You should never get rocked emotionally by the immediate needs of a child, because it will prevent you from rationalizing on responsible decisions

At no previous time in history would a 13 year old look up surgery costs for a sex change on a confusing media system.

In industrial culture and communities, recently, kids have heard of transgender surgery from many local sources, newspapers, friends at school. That can be opposed to pre-industrial communities.

It would be historically rare for a parent to not be experienced enough with childcare to know how to normalize conversations and relations with a child so that they can say whatever they feel without creating confusion in the adult.

In the 1990's, if a child would have said "I want to be a boy", they would say "she's a tom boy" and let her to start dressing like a boy for fun, for a while to see if they like it, and play with boy's toys and see if it suits them.

In the 1960's parents were extremely open minded with flower power and groovy topics, but "transgenderism" ellicited very littly attention from the hippy community, even though all sexual topics were very free and fair.

In the 1820's a child would have said "I want to be a boy" and the parents would have smiled and said "Oh poor hunny, well if you prey enough, perhaps you will grow into one"

It's only in the 2020's that a 13 year old child would read about grafting a replacement penis between her legs in her home library, and that she should see a doctor if she insists.

Children are full of surprises and moodswings and obsessions, they will learn what you show them, and your emotional clarity and judgement affects them strongly

I would just suggest that you have as sociable a time as possible with your child, and seek advice and time with people with more parenting confidence and experience than you do. Spend days with local families and couples, see how they behave, they have the same questions as you, but they probably give their children very much space to express their curiosities and social boundaries (including male and female tendencies like dressing as a boy and doing masculine things), without giving a care in the world.

I Wouldn't bat an eyelid for her, while thinking long term

The holidays have just ended. This is the time of the year when children should be reflecting on some wonderful things that they have done recently and all the wonderful things that they can do. She does not shound like she has enough fun. And that could be a reflection of yourself. Children in sedate homes have more chance of being distant and so on. she sounds depressed. She sounds bored of her current lifestyle, socially isolated, early pubescent, curious, subject to excessive close attention for her personal space that day, and that's perfectly normal in the deconstructed communities of today, where people don't live near their grandparents or their extended family, nobody has open doors that inhibit local children from playing together all day in open natural spaces... It's not just you that is confused. If you did have extended experience of nanny work, you would make hundreds of decisions differently than you do today, including giving your 13 year old adult reading material like transgender surgery for her birthday, and you would probably not give her very much screen time at all because: https://www.huffingtonpost.ca/2011/09/12/spongebob-attention-span-children-tv-study_n_957849.html

Honestly, myself, I would probably have an infectious smile every time the child was "sedate and edging towards boredom" and I would probably say "Hahaaarr, let's sticky-tape a magic marker (or a sponge) in between your legs i will have some oranges in my top and let's change sex today and forever".

Seriously though, child-parent psychology is very complex and there's little place for it online. Some children have complex mental issues including truly sponeous and obsessive transgender anxiety which have to be addressed by doctors. For the most part, children need to exert control over their parents, and show their independance and personality power. They want to have more control, and often that can translate into anorexia and delinquency and other issues, so it's difficult to say from your text what the nuances of your child's psychology are in the first place, and to address them in a balanced way.

Children traditionally (pre-industrial) have 20-30 individuals around them from them to learn from, and especially with Covid-19. Perhaps the root cause of your childs concerns is the lack of 20-30 local co-villagers to address the child's complex learning process.


Really, you don't know. Maybe he really is a boy, maybe she's just acting up for whatever reason.

But in one case refusing to go along can have lasting consequences on his well-being, while in the other, well, it'll all go away and be soon forgotten.

If he really is a boy, things will be difficult enough for him with lots of people, so-called friends, and even family shunning him.

So support him. Of course surgery won't happen anytime soon. No-one will just come up and start doing surgery on him before lengthy evaluations, and in many places, not before he is 18.

The path to that goes through a specialised therapist, usually several. The first thing the therapist will do will be to find out what the situation really is. So go along, tell your child he needs to see a therapist because that's the way things are done. Tell him you don't doubt him, but that's the path to him getting what he needs.

Obviously don't go the conversion therapy route. Find a therapist who is supportive, not one trying to "fix" him.

If during this the therapist finds out that, no, after all, this was just a phase / a trend / something else, well, no harm done, and there will probably be some insight gained in the process (in some extreme cases it may have been a reaction to past abuse, or it could just be the raging hormones of puberty wreaking havoc in her mind).

If the therapist confirms that this is actually the way to go, they will advise on further steps, which may involve puberty-blockers, and starting transition on the non-surgical aspects (pronouns used, name used, cut hair, wear boy clothes...). This can be gradual (it happens at home but not outside), or it can be more abrupt. It all depends on the state of mind of your child, the environment, and more. The therapist will help with that.

When you talk to him about other people potentially shunning him, make sure he understands you're not telling him that to discourage him, only to protect him, so that he knows where he's going, and at what speed he can do things, based on his levels of confidence (which are probably not very high at the moment).

Whatever happens, I wish you and you child all the best!


Although some people might indeed be "trapped into the wrong body" I also think the obsessive attention about this topic nowadays just talks (young) people into problems they don't actually have.

However I don't think the right reaction about this is to freak out about it or limit her internet access.

Instead I would do the following.

  • Allow her any changes of clothes, hair dress or use of personal pronouns to refer to herself she likes. These changes are after all not permanent.
  • However be firm and steadfast about not allowing surgery, medicines or hormones for which the consequences are irreversible.
  • If you expect your family to be very negative and mean about this kind of behavior, tell your daughter to keep this from them. There is no need to tell everyone everything about you.

I think if you follow these tips and keep your calm there is a good chance this will be indeed be a temporary phase and in a few months she will have something new, like wanting to be a buddhist or live on the north pole.

BTW, your post is indeed way too long with many irrelevant details. Since it's an highly active question a lot of people would benefit with some editing and culling.


This site should be about parenting, not about transgender issues, so I'll leave that outside.

Your child is either a transgender boy, or a stroppy teenager who loves upsetting her mom and seems to be pretty good at it. You don't know which one, and neither does anyone here. You just need to get through this, in a way that is good for your child and doesn't kill you. "I think I am a boy" would point more to transgender boy, "I want to be a boy" points more to stroppy teenager.

Anyway, you take them serious, and you keep loving them. If there are changes that don't cause any long-term damage, go with it. Male clothes, short hair cut, let them pick a different first name, use "he" instead of "she", all no problem. Since you are not made of money (I assume) and there is a wardrobe full of female clothing, the male clothes will initially have to be done on a budget. If he's a transgender boy, all is fine. If she's a stroppy girl, it can all be undone when she changes her mind and she'll probably blame you for allowing her hair to be cut off.

And then - but this is totally out of "parenting" - you seek medical advice what is the best way to handle this medically. At this point, you as the responsible parent want something that is good if he is a transgender boy, and something that doesn't cause permanent damage if she's not. You might consider a psychiatrist, but only in order to figure out what the situation actually is. Not to convince them in any way.

And you'll have to talk to them about surgery. The plain fact is that it isn't going to happen. Nobody will perform that kind of surgery on a 13 year old. In the UK, nobody will perform surgery on a 25 year old who woke up one morning and said "I want to be a man". (Source: Transgender woman colleague who first had to live for a year in women's clothes before they even consider hormone therapy. No way you can have surgery here before at least two years). Obviously you can disallow it legally until your child is old enough, but right now you don't need to and become the evil parent.

Is it a trend? It is more known. 30 years ago, your child would either have been confused with his feelings (if he was a transgender boy), or would never have thought to claim she wants to be a boy. And wouldn't have any support for this, whether appropriate or misguided. But the situation for your child would have been there 30 years ago just the same.

PS. "Mental illness". I go with the mullahs in Iran here who say that there's nothing wrong with being transgender, and if you are, you should get an operation to fix the problem. And I go with German health insurance companies, who decided 35 years ago that being transgender is a medical problem so your health insurance has to pay for your treatment, but changing your "mind" in this case from male to female is (a) totally unethical and (b) impossible without lasting damage, so they will be for a physical operation.


I think if there's one thing that everyone on all sides of the transgender debate agree on, it's that surgery is a big and an irreversible step, and therefore shouldn't be rushed into.

Similar to you, I have a child who identifies as trans. Because of that, I did a lot of my own research. I learned that a) there are many trans people who do not elect to ever have surgery and b) that responsible trans advocates recommend that people who are interested in gender reassignment surgery --or even hormone treatment --should go through a slow, methodical, and extended process to confirm their decision. There do exist people who regret gender-reassignment surgery, and it doesn't serve anyone's best interests for people to rush into things. There are some well-known YouTubers who have good videos that go into depth on these topics.

Independent of the specifics of gender dysphoria, I think --or at least hope! --it's possible to respect and support where a child of this age is in terms of their identity, while still guiding them away from (or at least to delay) choices whose permanent impact they may not yet be in a position to understand.


There has been a rapid uptick in the number of teen girls who come out as trans. These girls most often have a high social media usage, have some form of autism or other mental health issue and often are not the only ones to come out whithin their social circle.

It is very probable that your daughter is just going through a fad. I sujest that you read "Irreversible Damage" by Abigail Shrier. She is a journalist that documented and wrote a book on this specific trend.

Book synoposis :

Until just a few years ago, gender dysphoria—severe discomfort in one’s biological sex—was vanishingly rare. It was typically found in less than .01 percent of the population, emerged in early childhood, and afflicted males almost exclusively.

But today whole groups of female friends in colleges, high schools, and even middle schools across the country are coming out as “transgender.” These are girls who had never experienced any discomfort in their biological sex until they heard a coming-out story from a speaker at a school assembly or discovered the internet community of trans “influencers.”

Unsuspecting parents are awakening to find their daughters in thrall to hip trans YouTube stars and “gender-affirming” educators and therapists who push life-changing interventions on young girls—including medically unnecessary double mastectomies and puberty blockers that can cause permanent infertility.

Abigail Shrier, a writer for the Wall Street Journal, has dug deep into the trans epidemic, talking to the girls, their agonized parents, and the counselors and doctors who enable gender transitions, as well as to “detransitioners”—young women who bitterly regret what they have done to themselves. Coming out as transgender immediately boosts these girls’ social status, Shrier finds, but once they take the first steps of transition, it is not easy to walk back. She offers urgently needed advice about how parents can protect their daughters.


Puberty is the time when boys' shoulders grow wider than their hips and girls hips grow wider than their shoulders. Before that they are roughly equal in physique. Girls often grow faster and are taller than boys of the same age.

For someone who sees themselves as a physical being, girls can resent this change deeply. They didn't ask for it and they may not be ready for it.

One way to deal with fat growing in the "wrong places" is to go via the eating-disorder route by trying to stay slim and keep your physique. This activity may also have the "advantage" of delaying puberty. Unfortunately it can also lead to obesity in the long run.

The word "tomboy" dates at least back to the 16th century so, although there may be a trend, it is not based on something new.

Teenagers rebel. They rebel against their parents in particular.

A reverse psychology technique (not a recognised term) is to insist that she only does boyish things from now on. Make a point of going to football games, watching videos about machinery, watch boy action movies.

If she is doing it to rebel she will probably get tired of this and start to rebel the other way. If it is real, she will welcome it and relax.

As people say, there are years to sort this out - go along full-force with her, help her sell or donate her girls clothes (she'll grow out of them anyway). Use whatever name she chooses. In her presence refer to her by her boy's name if you can't bear to say "he" and "him".

Ask her if she is sure she is transgender or could she possibly be lesbian. Explore the possibilities but don't judge any of the answers just consider the ways she could move forward.

Young people typically believe that the current fashion will last forever. They cannot imagine that in 5 years time the 'latest thing' will be laughed at by everyone. Keep the old photos but hide them and photo her in her boys' clothes and show them around proudly to friends and family. Only time will tell if this is a phase or reality. Five years until she is eighteen is a lo-o-o-ng time for a teenager.

P.S. Cut the darn hair. Hair grows back. Parents and mothers in particular often hang onto their children's hair as long as possible - you'll see young boys with long curly hair for this reason. Ask the hairdresser to keep it for you and put it in a special box - for you.

  • 2
    Only making her do boyish things probably isn't going to actually help. I'm entirely male and I'd be bored out of my mind during all of your activities because I don't give a shit about them. Assuming that someone not fitting one stereotypical box must then fit the other stereotypical box is pretty harmful to people who aren't stereotypes.
    – Erik
    Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 12:41

Your daughter says :

I've been thinking about this a lot and I want to be a boy.

This is fundamentally different to:

I feel like a boy trapped in a woman's body.

You should take her to a psychologist.

As someone with an amateur interest in psychology, and by no means intended as any kind of diagnosis, I would propose considering various other options rather than jumping to any transgender conclusions:

  • Overexposure to social media - yes, this is a trans trend. Shield your children from this.
  • Lack of a father role, possibly feeling threatened by your affection and time placed on boyfriends/ex, hence the programming to feel as though 'if I was a boy perhaps my mom would love me more'. Or perhaps 'if i was a boy, i would acquire my father's love'.
  • Lack of discipline and based on your description is very ill-behaved. Instability in your own life may be exacerbating this.
  • 2
    I didn't downvote but I note the following: (1) You cannot "shield" your children from social media. (What you can and should do is make them competent users.) (2) The OP cannot do anything about a lacking father role. Also, an increasing number of kids grow up without a father in the household and are doing just fine. (3) This 13 year old may be considered ill-behaved, but you know what': I'd assume a developmental problem in any 13 year old who isn't! It is normal, even necessary for 13 year-olds to misbehave. (3) Sending the mother on a guilt-trip for bad parenting does not help anyone. Commented Sep 9, 2020 at 9:44
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica About (1): there is no way to make a 13yr old girl to a competent user. Maybe a strong ideological support, and then teaching her for cyber conflicts. Effectively, you would need a "chat fighter" from her. Yet more clearly, a troll.
    – Gray Sheep
    Commented Nov 17, 2020 at 23:28
  • @GraySheep I seriously do not understand your comment, except that you doubt a 13 year old girl can be a competent social media user. You may not be a native speaker. "teaching her for": Do you mean "teaching her about", i.e. let her learn about cyber conflicts? "Need a chat fighter from her" is unintelligible. Do you mean "for her", i.e., have a third person participate in the chats and fight by her side? Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 8:00
  • @Peter-ReinstateMonica He is saying that by trying to make her a competent user you'd be trying to turn her into a 'cyber warrior' or 'internet chat warrior' or more accurately a 'troll'.
    – Frank
    Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 9:10
  • @Frank Thanks. That is a surprising thing to say then. I hope one can be a competent user without being a troll. Commented Nov 18, 2020 at 9:18

Yes, it is a trend.

She has a hard time to deal with her sexuality.

She is only 13, so wait some years, maybe until 20 or so.

She will likely grow it out. Particularly if she gets some boyfriend.

Don't worry too much, while it is a liberal world (at least in the EU+USA), you are still her parent and she will listen you more than the media image.

A little bit of ideological help about the real dangers of this world, would help her a lot.


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