Yes, it is difficult to explain because we don’t really know the “why” of it. There are some indications that show differences in brain scans, but how that happens seems to be mostly theoretical at this point. From our personal experience we do know that certain modes of dressing have more appeal, certain activities have more appeal, etc. but the why remains a mystery.
Have you tried some very open ended questions, such as: “Can you remember when you first thought that you were different? What was happening at that time? How did you feel?”. It seems to me that when you have been dealing with something internally for a long time, it may be quite difficult to put into words what you are thinking. Perhaps a therapist with experience in gender issues can help you understand the kinds of things that are going on for your son.
I think once we realize who we are, who we really are, perhaps the next thought is what that means for our lives going forward. Lots of unknowns there and it can be very unsettling.
So, a few suggestions…
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I applaud your efforts and I hope your son realizes how fortunate he is. So many trans kids are simply abandoned by their families, which is something I could never understand. I have 2 kids, grown now, but I don’t think I could ever do that. It saddens me at a very deep level…