When Did You Know?

  • This topic has 27 replies, 10 voices, and was last updated 2 years ago by H D.
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    • #124881
      H D

      Hi, everyone,

      What are your earliest memories of when you knew you were transgender or identified as anything other than your birth sex?


      I ask because I have a child who will be 5 next month and displays signs other than a typical male boy.  It may be normal behavior for a small child who is still trying to figure out basics, or it may be signs to pay attention to.  After all, he still refers to males and she and females as he, like many toddlers and preschoolers do.  And I don’t count that, but other signs.

      Sort of wondering if there is an age range I can say “OK, my child still says he is a she/etc, this is the path we are on unless they say otherwise.”  I am thinking give him a couple more years when he can understand a bit more. I know there are elementary children who know and their parents make age-appropriate choices with their child to accomodate. Elementary kids are very capable of knowing their true identity.

      I think it is wonderful either way. I am simply curious. We have a VERY gender neutral house for both kids (daughter, 8) and they both are aware of what being transgender is.  It  very well could be the accepting environment, it could be nature, a combination. Whether my child is a he or she they are still the exact same.  No “I wish to wear these clothes or have this style” and some drastic change in appearance or wanting to hide their true selves from parents, as he already wears exactly what he wants from dinosaur raincoats to pink heart pants, is growing his hair as long as Rupunzels, but hates ponytails, and currently wants to wear 2 piece bathing suits instead of trunks, and has said he wanted a vagina. I bought his sister a dress last week and he asked to have it – of course, when he fits into it in a few years! I hope his peers are accepting as we are headed in that direction as a society, but kids are also cruel.

      And he may say he wants a male body and wear dresses and nail polish, or male body and wants to wear baggy shirts with trucks on it, or male body  with a truck shirt and skirt, or vice versa in a female body.  I just want to hear if anyone has similar stories or anything similar to contribute. Whatever is authentic to him (or her, them).

      Thanks for listening, looking forward to responses!







    • #124883

      Hello H D you are a very open Minded..Parent.. and both of your Children are very Lucky…
      I was 6 or 7 when I started THING ..
      Maybe I should have been born a Girl
      Now… I am in my 30..
      And I Sill think… My Life..would have been Much Better.. If I was BORN A GIRL… I SAY..IF.. YOUR SON SAID SHE IS A GIRL..
      AT THE AGE OF 8 or 9…
      Then SHE IS A GIRL.
      That is only my opinion..
      I am not a Doctor or Therapist.
      Jessica 💕

    • #124884

      I think what you are doing is great. I did not have that. I belonged to a generation where guys shut that down in a hurry and buried it far from conscious thought.
      You are right about the cruelty of kids. It’s almost like some of them ate just looking for a reason to bully someone. I was bullied in school for many years for being new (we moved a lot) or my name then (Simon). Saw one girl bullied for both being new and where she was from.
      The cruelest were beneath despicable. They taunted and tormented a boy because his brother had just drowned in the lake. Just a few days after the funeral when he returned to school.
      All of this is to say that dressing like a girl to school or referring to himself that way would probably open him up to just the same kind of people that I, or that girl or that boy had to suffer at the hands of.
      Obviously I can’t tell you what to do nor do I think it’s my place anyway. As for me I don’t think I’d allow it unless you had some way to protect him and realistically I don’t think there is in a public or even private school.
      Nevertheless I wish you well. I have said a prayer for you and him. Especially that you will receive the necessary wisdom for this.


    • #124886
      DeeAnn Hopings

      “When” is an interesting question. My only answer is about age which is probably irrelevant in the context of your question!?!?

      • #124887
        H D

        Age is perfect. How old were you when you knew? Were there signs before that you know about?

        • #124895
          DeeAnn Hopings

          From high school on I thought I was gay. In my mid-40’s it occurred to me that I was bisexual as particular body parts were somewhat less important that the experience. I had my first experience with a man when I was 49. I underdressed and went out fully dressed for the first time at the age of 55 on Halloween 2003. I continued to underdress maybe half of the time, but didn’t go out again fully dressed until January 2014. December 2014 was when I started going to a monthly crossdresser/transgender social gathering and a twice a month support group. It didn’t actually occur to me that I was transgender until Springtime in 2015. I am now 73. I retired at the end of January  2016 and we relocated to the SoCal desert. Since then my social transition is essentially complete. The only thing left to do would be changing all of my legal documents but I choose not to invest the effort as it would be a lot of work. I am known here as DeeAnn. Very few know of Don. Currently I hold office in 5 organizations and am a member of 3 others. In all, DeeAnn is the person of record.

          For me, once I came to the realization that I was transgender, it explained a lot of things about my life that had previously been question marks…

          • #124900
            H D

            Thank you for your story! Super helpful!


            Were there times as a child where you wanted to do something or wear something and was told it was for girls, and you link that to your transition?

            I wonder if the time setting was different if you would realize at a younger age? Now that it is more talked about, socially acceptable.

          • #124903
            DeeAnn Hopings

            I knew enough to be very secretive. While I was never caught, I am pretty certain that my mother and grandparents knew.

            Kids rarely have any context for what they are feeling. All you know is what makes you feel good, and even if you are not caught, you pick up on what behaviors are acceptable and which are not. You have no idea as to why that is, but you know what the boundaries are.

            For those of us who come to certain realizations in mid or later life, I think part of that may be that denial, suppression and stealth take effort and vigilance. If we ignore our feelings we have to distract ourselves to shift the focus. If we engage in stealthy activities, we have to expend a lot of effort to cover our tracks in order to keep our secrets. Both of these take a fair amount of effort to do. Later in life I think we may get tired of devoting the energy in order to keep things in place. Also, it isn’t uncommon that as time goes on, our suppressed desires may get stronger and just overcome our efforts to keep things in check.

            Yes, while times may change things in general, it does come down to the people that surround you. That overrides what happens in society at large…

    • #124906

      My first memory of crossdressing was age 7 or 8. I tried on my mum’s clothes. I kept it secret and tried to surpress it in my teens. I didn’t know what ‘trans’ was, or even that it was possible to transition genders. I realised I ‘was’ about twelve years ago, but deep down I have always wished I was female. It was such a taboo in years past that I never told a soul about my feelings.

      • #124908
        H D

        Thank you! Good insight!

    • #124907

      Oh, H D, how many of us right now must be wishing we had a parent like you. My parents were not confrontational or harsh, but quietly steered me away from anything feminine. Among my earliest memories is playing with my sister’s old dolls. Then the dolls disappeared. At about age nine or ten I discovered a box of clothes left over from my sister, and I began dressing in them (secretly, I thought). They too disappeared. By that time I knew that what I wanted more than anything in the world was to be a girl, and I fantasized intensely of being magically transformed. The rest of my story is similar to others — suppression, denial, a return to old fascinations as I matured, gradual self-acceptance, happiness. If your child knows what they are as I did, I don’t think you could arrest their progress if you tried, and of course, being the parent you are, you wouldn’t try. The best you can do, in my opinion, is try to make as safe a space as possible for this young one to try their wings and to soothe them when they get bruised. Cherish and nourish. All us kids need it.

      • #124921
        H D

        Thank you.

        The harsh reality of the outside world is worrisome. You don’t want them hurt physically or mentally but we also need to have more people out there to combat it at the same time.

        • #124930
          DeeAnn Hopings

          Exactly why I do what I do. It is important for people to see trans people doing everything that others do: work, volunteering, supporting causes, being neighbors… ALL of it. Just because we are trans does not mean the we cannot function like anyone else…

    • #124919

      I guess I was 4 years when I realised something was wrong… I am now 66 and doing something I should have done decades ago. But it was a real feeling and never gone away.

      • #124920
        H D

        Thank you

        Although you used the word “wrong”. It isn’t wrong, just maybe different. 🙂

        • #124927

          In truth, I felt something was ‘wrong’. Anyway, however late, all is being corrected… so all well.

    • #124937

      Hello HD, I am a parent of two who both are on the LGBT* spectrum, plus I myself am trans. I watched and saw signs in my own kids as early as 5 and also for myself I remember the signs back then, however hindsight is 20/20, when I was 5 I could not have told you I was transgender even if I had all the information on the topic, I did fell like I was the opposite gender but I had no concept of it back then. I also know lots of woman who tried kissing another girl as kids and as adults who are strait as an arrow, many cis girls like wear pants, and working on a car, lots of cis men like to cook and clean, actions do not define gender, just as sexual preference does not. Gender is a brain wiring thing.  The realization of your gender and what it means (for cis as well) comes later in life when you are a teen for most people.  It is way too early for a person to make a ‘rational’ life altering decision as to gender when they are 5. And you as a parent should not make the decision for your child. My best parental advice is to continue to let them explore on their own and not force one way or the other. They will follow their own path and show you which gender that they are soon enough. Kids grow up way too fast.

      On the flip side I remember my Kindergarten daughter getting harassed/bullied by the other kids for liking TMNT and Spiderman. She hated to wear dresses like the rest. I cried the day she came home and said she wanted a new back pack, she cried too. Society is not as open as they want you to think, kids have no filters at that age and are mean. Ask any Transgender person and they can tell you a horror story of hate against them, it is not all sunshine and rose petals. As a parent of course you want to protect your child from harm, but just as gender can not be understood at 5 nether can social issues.  It is your job as the parent to protect your child from society. The concept of removing them from society does not work, thus keeping them locked under the stairs is a bad idea. And on top of it all a compromise solution means everyone loses, there won’t be an easy middle ground for you. It will be a day by day trial and you are going to have to keep you eye on the ball or it will run away from your watchful eye and then… well I hate to say it your child is on a difficult path and there is no way for you to stop all the cuts and bruises along the way, physical or mental. Total acceptance of transgender people is still many generations away, society can not and should not change over night it would be a disaster if it did. My next best advice for you as a parent is to show and teach your child to make intelligent decisions and how to fall forward vs fall down.


      • #124941
        H D

        Thank you! Super helpful. I apppreciate it.


        It sounds like you feel I implied I am steering my child in a direction? If so I  would like to clear up I am not. I am allowing him to be himself, whoever that may be. If things change in time, whatever path my child is on, it is OK.

        • #124993

          You are welcome HD.

          And I am not saying you are steering, but as every parent knows you need to steer a bit or they run amok.  Basic Example: Four year old is sticking a butter knife in to a live electrical out let. All parents if they see it would stop him and do some steering, my parents certainly did.  As your child grows especially at 5 when they are first being exposed to society, Kindergarten/preschool in the case will need a bit of parental control and teaching if not, peer presser will do the steering and teaching for you. Kids are mean right? either your kid will get mean or be gotten mean too, unless you teach them and help them to be otherwise.  Of course there is no way reason and logic will work with a 5 year old so you have to use other methods, this is where your parenting style will come in. Some topics are more or less depending on your style, Example: I am not a fan of drug use so I teach/taught my kids similar ideals of not using drugs. On the other hand I simply love the magic of Christmas time, so I never broke the illusion of Santa bringing presents. Somewhere in middle school was where peer pressure won out and my kids stoped truly believing, and even now they pretend for my sake. As for gender and sexuality of course I am more open then others and let my kids explore and grow with an opportunity that I never had. All of us as a family of course have paid the piper for it as society has been not as friendly and open to the idea. Kids are mean, so are adults, they are just better at hiding it.


          • #124998
            H D

            Great insight! I appreciate it.

    • #124944

      I knew when I was quite young.  I always felt different for some reason . Can’t explain it but different. I started experimenting wearing femme things very very young.  I lived in a house hold with 4 women  my grandmother , mother and two aunts . My grandfather was there my father being in the Military was away a lot.

      One day  I was trying on some of my grandmothers underthings and of course had an accident . Not knowing what to do i just placed it back in her dresser drawer and said nothing.  Several days later she came and got me and took me into her bedroom alone.  She had the garment in her hand. She asked me if something had happened.??   I admitted it and began to cry.  She said not to worry.  It was al right and if it happened again not to worry just place the garment next time into the laundry hamper . She said nothing to the rest of the family . My secrete safe .  She knew what was happening before anybody.  She never said a word and i knew right then and there I was a DIFFERENT  person and knew it ..

      • #124945
        H D

        Thank you!

    • #125055

      I had feelings at age 6.  One of my earliest memories was thinking about how unfair it was that my sisters got beautiful dresses for Easter, and I had to wear a tie.  It was also unfair that they got to wear pants, but I didn’t get a dress. Seemed like such a double standard.  I wanted to do and wear what they did and used to meditate at night to see if I could convince my body to start looking like a girls.  I have always felt uncomfortable in boy clothes. Didn’t like church clothing or scout uniforms even touching my skin.

      I didn’t know what any of that meant.  I wasn’t really insistent that I was a girl and didn’t know people could transition genders until my late teens.  By that time, I had decided that I didn’t want to have the feeling any more.  Took another couple decade to sort out that mess and start transition

      My son later experimented with his sister’s clothing.  Really worried me because I knew how hard it was for me.  I made sure he knew that I was ok with experimentation, but that I thought he shouldn’t be sneaking clothing to do so and that I would buy him his own if he wanted.  He has not shown signs of it for many years, but I often wonder if it’s still under the surface.

      • #125089
        H D

        Thanks!  Was there a difference in feeling you wanted to dress that way vs wanting a female body?

        • #125090

          Not sure there was much of a difference that I could see at six years old other than hair and clothes. Hard to recall exactly since it has been 25 years. Discomfort with my body itself I have way more memories of when I started hitting growth spurts.

          • #125091
            H D

            Makes sense with puberty.

          • #125092

            Well… between age 3 and 6 I knew there was something not right. I rationalised as God’s mistake. A tad naive of course, but at that age, hardly sophisticated.

          • #125094
            H D

            3 is super young, but it stuck!

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