A commenter shared this link with me today – Gender Dysphoria, Gender Identity Disorder, and Informed Consent. It is by an organization called, “Child Healing: Strengthening Families.”
I’m not sure I agree with every line in the article. But overall I think it is pretty helpful and can help us think through our childhoods, and possible partial causes that contributed to us developing crossdressing addiction or gender dysphoria.
To be honest, the section in the article that talked about problems relating to the mother or the father did not fit my own story in the least. I do not see myself in those situations in my childhood. I wonder what the rest of you think? Do those explanations fit your own story?
When I go down to the “other conflicts” portion of the article, I definitely relate to some of the things there. I felt inadequate athletically, I felt like a weak scrawny boy. I felt a strong attraction to art and to the beauty of the female world. I felt secure and calm and at peace in the female world, and insecure, judged, weak, and shamed in the male world. But the part about having an absent father did not fit me.
The sections on treatment are generally helpful. But we have to be careful. We do need to help children with gender dysphoria to appreciate the sex they are, become content, and even to appreciate some of the gender typical behaviors and activities for their sex. But on the other hand, we have to be careful not to make them feel stifled. We have to let them be themselves. If a boy is particularly sensitive compared to other boys, he should be allowed to be sensitive. Boys should be allowed to play with dolls or do artwork, etc. Otherwise if we stifle the real personality of children, later on this might only make the gender dysphoria much stronger and cause them to later reject their sex because they are not fitting in with the stereotypes that people are trying to force on them. The right balance between these two things I imagine is very difficult in raising a gender atypical child.
I think most of these suggestions are great, and don’t do much in the way of stifling a personality:
The following interventions for boys with GID/gender dysphoria may be helpful:
- increasing quality time for bonding with the father
- increasing affirmation of the son’s masculine gifts by the father
- participating in and support for the son’s creative efforts by the father
- encouraging same sex friendships and diminishing time with opposite sex friends
- coaching the son in the development of athletic confidence and skills if possible
- slowly diminishing play with opposite sex toys
- encouraging the boy to be thankful for his special male gifts
- slowly leading the boy into team play if the athletic abilities and interest improve
- working at forgiving boys who may have hurt him
- communicating with other parents whose children have been treated successfully for GID and who have come to appreciate and to embrace the goodness of their masculinity and femininity
- addressing the emotional conflicts in a mother who wants her son to be a girl
- in those with faith, encouraging thankfulness for one’s special God-given masculine gifts.
In fact, even as adult men who struggle with similar gender issues today, many of these things can be pursued and be helpful. For me, having a strong relationship with my father has indeed helped, and growing in my friendships with other men has helped.
Looking back, it was a big help to me to have good male friends (who knew about my crossdressing) stretch me and encourage me in my ability and appreciation of team sports with other boys. And once I learned and grew in these areas, I played well, and really enjoyed it! It’s interesting. I used to shun such things as a younger child and retreated into femininity, and thought that is what I preferred. But in high school and college as other boys/men helped me to learn to do things that are more traditionally masculine, I found I enjoyed such things and felt like I was “being my true self” doing them, rather than forcing me to be someone who I wasn’t. It was like I always wanted to do those things deep down, felt insecure about them, so retreated to femininity instead.