In the different dimensions of what we call "sex", we find transsexuality. A transsexual personhas a biological identity but does not feel identified with it. It seeks to acquire the characteristics of the genre to which it identifies.This identification can be gradual and affect different aspects: it concerns the external aspect, such as the way of dressing, the hair, etc., the taking of hormonal blockers or hormones or the carrying out of operations of change of kind. To make this simpler, we could say that a little transsexual boy is a little girl who feels like a boy; with a little transsexual girl, it would be the opposite that would happen.
Sexual diversity has always existed. The difference being that we are now living in a more open and informed society. Talking about homosexuality, transsexuality and intersexuality no longer leads to such a big rejection.Today's society is more respectful of the different manifestations of sexuality.On the other hand, we often see that when it touches us closely, the initial opening attitude changes.
In this context,Today we are going to talk about María. A case that, when it arose, was a real professional challenge.With him, I was able to understand many of the circumstances surrounding child transsexuality.
"The idea is very simple: accept people as they are, accept them even if they are different".
At what age do we end up building our sexual identity?
Puberty is the stage most associated with the expression of sexuality. The ideas / concepts related to sexuality appear, are determined or are often experienced for the first time during this stage.It is likely that we had a glimpse of it during our childhood. However, it is a little later that we give meaning to this behavior.Most importantly, if situations arise during childhood, is to listen to what the child (per child encompasses all genres) has to say.
Very often, when we see a child playing with dolls or putting on a dress, or when we see him surrounded by children of the other kind, having attitudes that we consider "effeminate" or "masculine", we think this is a clear indicator of how his sexual identity will be built from that moment on.
We often lack patience to determine whether it is just a behavior, an exploration, or something more definitive.We want to give it a label because it reassures us. In our society, even if things have changed, a person who is born is better considered than a person who is built.
The case of Maria is particular, even if the number of similar cases increases.When María was 3 years old, she already said that she felt like a boy.His parents and his entourage reacted insecurely, without knowing what to do and with crossed feelings.
"Your time is limited, do not ruin it by living someone else's life."
What does María tell us?
In general, children are very sincere when they share their thoughts in an environment of trust.María was very communicative when it came to talking about the changes she was starting to experience. She told us she was a little boy. That she wanted to dress like a little boy and cut his hair. She also wanted to be called by a boy's name that she herself had chosen: Juan.
Almost all children are curious by nature. They ask questions and wonder about the mysteries around them, about their bodies, about the differences between girls and boys, and so on. But Maria felt more than curiosity.When she began to develop her sexual identity, she did not feel identified with a little girl. Nor to all the expectations or the protocol that society considered consistent with this identification.This has brought about changes in her physical form, dress, name, acting, playing …
The fact that María was open and honest with what was happening helped and encouraged us to help her. To give him a little more attention, to see if these changes were going to be sustained over time and were consistent, to inform us and to seek help. For her and for us all. The basic idea was to dampen the "social shock" effect by minimizing the possibilities of suffering. To sufferanxiety, stress, depression, nightmares. To not want to go to school. Or to live what is called gender dysphoria.
"Any fate, no matter how long and complicated it may be, only really counts for one moment: the moment when man knows forever who he is."
-Jorge Luis Borges-
Work with adults
It is important not to panic and keep calm. This allows us to see if we are dealing with simple behavior, such as playing more frequently with children of the opposite sex, or if it is something more sustainable and internal. The essential thing is to observe carefully. To make ourselves available to the child to answer his doubts. To try to know his emotions and feelings.We must remain open and tolerant. The child must feel that he is in an environment of trust in which he can express himself freely.
Adults in the circle of the transsexual child, especially parents but also grandparents, uncles / aunts and teachers,can feel guilt.They may think they did something wrong. That they were not respectful or that they forced and rejected behaviors. All because this situation is not what we expected. It is normal to feel fear when thinking about what will happen to the child in the future.But we have to keep one thing in mind: these adults are not alone. And they are guided by the same goal: to do the best they can.
This child is not a sick child.It is a child who discovers himself, like all other children. There may be complications during this discovery process, yes. Perhaps because the society in which he grows up is unfair. In this case, professional help can be a good idea.
"The identity of a man is to find the coherence between what he is and what he thinks."
-Charles Sanders Peirce-
What changes to make?
Our unconditional love and acceptance is fundamental to the transsexual child.It is important to treat changes and transformations in the most natural way possible. He should not be asked to play or take on roles he does not want as we seek information and adapt our mind and language to these changes. All that surrounds the transsexual child must follow the same direction: that of respect.
Language, culture and society will be longer and harder for the child.As far as language is concerned, he will have to use more neutral / inclusive terms.Language is indeed an expression of society that is gradually changing mentality. These changes will therefore be reflected in the way we speak. In any case, we still have a long way to go. But an exciting way. We owe it to all those children who seek each other.