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girl with a stick
27th Aug 2010, 00:56
Dear Ppruners,

A year ago, when he was fifteen, my son informed me that he has gender dysphoria

[URL="http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Gender_identity_disorder"]

and that he feels he's a girl trapped in a boy's body.

After numerous visits to psychiatrists, psychologists and endocrinologists, it has been agreed that he can begin anti-androgens, which are hormone blockers (they will block his male hormones, but not add any female hormones). I'm dead set against his taking any female hormones until he's 18 and has finished school.

The problem is this: we recently moved to the city, and he's commuting to his old school, which is one and a half hours each way, by bus. His school work has slipped, and yesterday I was called to a meeting in which he was told he's not welcome back for years 11 and 12, unless he performs really well on the school certificate mock exams (it's a Selective State School, for which he had to sit an exam to gain entrance). The school suggested (almost to the point of insistence) that I transfer him to a local school, but he simply refuses to budge, as his social group at school are aware of his gender issues. He promises to pull his finger out and get to work.

My question is: should I tell the school about the gender dysphoria, in order for them to fully understand his reluctance to leave? Or would it sound like I'm trying to emotionally blackmail them into letting him stay?

I realise this is not an agony aunt board, but I'd really appreciate some advice on this one.

Thanks in advance,

GWaS

G-CPTN
27th Aug 2010, 01:27
Telling the school (or at least a responsible person such as a tutor who deals with such matters) may ease the situation - or exacerbate it (in which case you've hardly lost anything as the future is already 'uncertain'.
You might be lucky and get sympathetic consideration - no harm in trying . . .

scran
27th Aug 2010, 01:56
Tough call.

As CPTN said - probably nothing to lose if you do tell the school.

Suggest you do it.........


Good luck :ok:

Loose rivets
27th Aug 2010, 04:33
Or do they know already?


I hope we can discuss this some more. I learned a lot along a similar line from a link provided by a PpruNer.

I'll come back when appropriately sober.

BlueDiamond
27th Aug 2010, 05:52
G-CPTN is right. Advising the appropriate person of the situation gives a better chance that your son will be able to stay where he is, and staying there will be very much to his advantage as it will be one less thing for him to be fretting about in what must already be a difficult situation for him.

Do what you feel is necessary to help him in this, he has already promised to put in the effort with regard to working hard so let him know you will accept his word and that you, based on his keeping that promise, will do what you can to make sure he stays where he is happier.

Best wishes to your child ... he has a difficult road ahead of him.

beaufort1
27th Aug 2010, 07:51
It might be worth asking one of the health officials you've seen to write explaining the situation, it would add more weight with information coming from a health professional and would demonstrate that it is something you have been trying to deal with for some time and not a reaction to their request. I wish you both all the best.

unstable load
27th Aug 2010, 07:58
I would put it to the child that no matter how much they refuse to budge from the school, unless some rapid and concentrated digitum extractum takes place, they will not have much in the line of choice for their next school.

I would also speak to the school and lay my cards on the table so there can be no "misunderstandings" later on.

Rather be Gardening
27th Aug 2010, 08:41
GWAS - difficult time for you both.

Some years ago, when I was teaching, I found myself in a similar situation but from the school point of view. I was residential tutor for a group of 16-18 year old with learning difficulties. Great bunch of kids, but one of them, Len, was consistently late for lessons, wouldn't connect with the rest of the group and generally just couldn't be bothered. One morning, I was giving them a swimming lesson when Len turned up 20 minutes late. I told him if he couldn't be bothered to turn up on time, I couldn't be bothered to teach him. He turned and walked out.

Later that day, I found out that the reason Len was often late and snippy was that he was acting as carer for his older, alcoholic brother, trying desperately to get his brother up and off to work every morning, and away from the booze when he got home. I tracked Len down, told him I had heard about what was going on at home, apologised for being cross with him, and we worked out a plan together to accommodate his circumstances. After that, he couldn't have been a more willing pupil.

Let the school know - it's not emotional blackmail - they can then work with him rather than against him.

Mac the Knife
27th Aug 2010, 09:05
"My question is: should I tell the school about the gender dysphoria, in order for them to fully understand his reluctance to leave?"

Basically I think yes, but have you discussed it with him? What does he think?

"It might be worth asking one of the health officials you've seen to write explaining the situation..."

Agree

As for application to schoolwork, it should be clear that whatever the gender he is going to live his life as, his brains are his best asset and the better he can use them the more respect he'll get from people.

I suggest that you (and he) look at Lynn Conway's website for further insights - Lynn Conway's homepage (http://ai.eecs.umich.edu/people/conway/conway.html)

Lynn Conway - Wikipedia, the free encyclopedia (http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/Lynn_Conway)

A brilliant scientist and human being - your child is lucky that these days he is unlikely to have to go through her travails to reach personal fulfillment and happiness.

Mac

Bruce Wayne
27th Aug 2010, 09:36
sage words from the surgeon.

rans6andrew
27th Aug 2010, 14:08
Spending up to 3 hours a day on a bus would drain me of all motivation to do anything. I am not surprised his standard of work has suffered.

I used to (for 5 years) commute, by car, for about an hour each way. I didn't realise, at the time, just how much of a drain this can be despite the journey being easy and the car very comfortable. Outside of work I achieved very little. I was gradually being ground down.

Since becoming self employed and working from home I have had a new lease of life, despite the work related pressure being higher at times my quality of life is much better. I even find time and enthusiasm for my hobbies now.

Rans6...

Evening Star
27th Aug 2010, 14:35
As a general principle, I agree with those who say talk with the school. From my own experience of guidance tutoring at the University, we treat students with genuine problems with a positive view because if an under-performing student presents with a real reason for their problems, it gives us a way we can offer support. In some cases the changes have been remarkable ... and deeply satisfying. Hopefully without doubt, the school will have the same view and will want to help.

girl with a stick
28th Aug 2010, 00:26
everybody, for your suggestions and support.

We've talked it over, and have decided to write to the year tutor, and include his medical history.

He's also agreed to view the local school, so we have back-up if the current school refuses to have him back.

We have structured a new revision time-table, which involves his studying downstairs, where I can see him.

I owe you all a drink - you've saved me hundreds on therapy bills!

GWaS

alisoncc
28th Aug 2010, 03:15
Have PM'd you with support offers. Do please get back to me.

Alison

11Fan
28th Aug 2010, 03:42
No advice, not qualified.

Just very best wishes for you and your offspring.

you've saved me hundreds on therapy bills!

Although, I don't know that you are out of the woods on this aspect. There is a new and interesting road ahead of you. I hope that you take advantage of every opportunity and that -with every step- your relationship grows stronger. I'm actually very impressed with the progress so far. I don't know that all parent-child relationships are this open and trusting. You must have done well to get to this point. :ok:

unstable load
28th Aug 2010, 20:26
GWAS,

Glad you are making some headway! I wish you both happiness and success.:ok:

John.