Mother of a trans child who is currently fifteen years old. Ethnicity: White British.

Her child came out as trans when they were about eleven years old, just before entering secondary school. Adele says that she was shocked in a way, but not shocked in other ways. She believes she was lucky that her child was able to access a gender identity service after being on the waiting list for only five months, compared to current waiting times which are about two years. However, she says the service was not particularly helpful.

Adele explains that their child has always played with whatever they liked and would not show a gendered preference for anything. She thought it was brilliant and she really supported that her child was not afraid to do things that were not associated with their perceived gender at the time. When it came to her child coming out as trans, Adele explains that she felt incredibly emotional. She says she had no knowledge about trans children and what it would mean for her child. She had only heard negative things from the media and from films so this triggered quite worrying emotions. Her biggest worry was what would happen at school since her child had been bullied in the past. She thought that them coming out as trans would only amplify the bullying. The only way she felt that she could reduce her worry at the time was to research and Google everything about trans experiences that she could.

Something that Adele found helpful while she was researching was examples of other trans people so that she could understand from their own experiences what could happen to her child. She found that by engaging in these stories she could understand that being trans did not necessarily mean that her child would face misery and bullying. As she puts it, it was really reassuring to me as a parent to be able to see those positive stories She goes on to say that YouTube was great resource for her as she could actually see the person behind the screen. Something she found difficult as a mum of a trans person was the lack of guidance for parents. Mermaids, a charity for young trans people, she says was the only way she could address her parental concerns. Adele explains that having that voice at the end of a phone to reassure her made a big difference in how she felt about her child’s transition in that she felt like she could support them.

Through her research she knew that she had to take her child to the GP. At the time, her child was staying with their father so Adele went to the GP by herself to explain the situation. She asked the GP to put her child on the waiting list for a gender identity service and for child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS). From Adele’s point of view, the GP was really kind and supportive but she understands not everyone gets this level of support. Once her child was staying at her house again, they went to the GP and was able to air out any concerns and the GP was happy to fill out the forms once she had discussed it with the other medical staff.

When the GP filled out the referral forms, CAMHS came back saying they do not need to see them and that they should seek support from a gender identity service. Adele was concerned that her child was not having support from CAMHS as she was aware of the mental health and social aspects of transitioning, but says that it might not have been worth it anyway since their waiting list is very long. Adele says that something her child was really lucky with was getting to the gender identity service before waiting times got uncontrollably long. She says, her child only had to wait about five months, compared to now where it is about two years.

Adele says experiences in child gender identity services is dependent on which therapists are assigned to you and what your child’s needs are. She says, her child’s first appointment was really positive since they had just came out at school and were making good progress with their social transition. After a few appointments, Adele’s child was at the point that they felt they needed hormone blockers and wanted these to lessen their gender dysphoria. Adele also felt that this was an appropriate plan given that her child was coming up to puberty which she knew would do further harm to their mental health. After almost half a year of appointments, her child was finally referred for blood tests and scans to see if they were eligible for blockers. Adele and her child also had to sign consent forms before being prescribed blockers.

Adele says that these appointments and the path to getting blockers was a bit of a process as it felt like the therapists had to tick check boxes before her child could receive hormone blockers. She explains that the things they would talk about in appointments was already happening at home. Adele thinks that these conversations would be more appropriate for families who were not communicative about trans issues at homes, but for herself and her child they were very open and honest about what they wanted to happen. Adele also explains that her child had considered things like hormone therapy and fertility preservation at home, but that the health professionals would refuse to talk about this until they were sixteen.

Adele concludes by saying to other parents of trans children to not worry and that things will get better. She says, the world is becoming much more open-minded and welcoming, do not listen to the media and use your own research to equip yourself to support your child.

Adele encourages decision-makers, including within the NHS, to really engage with trans children and young people and consult them for ideas on improving the services they use.

Accessing hormone therapy gave Adele’s son an instant improvement in mental health and an opportunity to ‘explore all of his options’, including considering whether he wanted to keep taking the medicine.

Adele talks about the process of monitoring her son’s bloods with the GP and how there are many details to be worked out managing hormone therapy between the private and NHS care.

Adele thought watching YouTube videos by trans people was informative, realistic and reassuring.

Adele talks about the ‘thought process’ as a parent choosing to pay privately for hormones for her son.

Adele said she supported her son starting hormone blockers to put his worries about unwanted puberty changes on the back burner.

Adele talked about the assessment process at the GIDS and the process of getting her son approved for hormone blockers.

Adele spoke about getting her son approved for hormone blockers, seeing and endocrinologist and the time it took.

Adele talks about her son’s first appointment at the Gender Identity Development Service.

Adele talked about her son being gender non-conforming as a child and how his coming out was a shock to her. She said she didn’t know anything about trans children and worried he will be bullied.

Adele wanted continuing psychological support from Child and adolescent mental health services (CAMHS) for her son.