Mother of a trans son. Ethnicity: White British.

Kate is a mother of a trans son. Her son has only been transitioning for about ten months. When her son came out, Kate says she was not necessarily surprised as Kate and her husband were expecting him to say it one day. Kate was surprised that she did not feel a sense of loss when her son transitioned. She explains that he is exactly the same person just with a different physical appearance, name, and pronouns. She wishes his school had been more supportive.

Kate’s son first steps in his trans journey, before coming out, was to cut his hair. Kate was the one who originally suggested this change since she noticed how uncomfortable her son looked when people complimented him on his long hair. After the haircut, Kate perceived her son as being lighter. Soon after, he started dressing more masculine and would shop in male clothing stores. At this point, Kate knew that he son was going to come out as trans but was unsure when this would happen. She had a conversation with her husband about this who was also unsurprised at the possibility. As such, they both adopted a supportive attitude and tried to show him that he could tell them anything, but they were careful not to be too pushy.

When asked to expand on why they thought their son was trans before he came out, Kate says that he was a part of an LGBT youth club and she assumed that he was going because of being gay. Then her son met his now boyfriend at the youth club, Kate became a bit nose and eventually found a photo of them together. She noticed that on this photo her son was going by a different and a traditionally more masculine name, so at this point she was certain he was trans.

After some time, Kate’s son felt comfortable about coming out to her. This happened on a Sunday night before he had school on the Monday. She explains that she was not surprised given her previous instincts, but still felt upset because she was scared of what was to come. She was concerned how people who are important to them would react and what people at her son’s school would say. Kate also became worried for her other son who was a lot younger and how he would cope with the change. From her point of view, however, her young son reacted perfectly well.

Something that surprised Kate about her Son’s transition is how she did not feel a sense of loss when he transitioned. She explains that when she was pregnant with him she always knew, despite not finding out the gender, that she was pregnant with a girl. In her mind, she had imagined certain future for her son which she does not see happening now. She also mentions how her father had passed away before her son came out so was already struggling with grief, which she thought would be amplified. On reflection, however, she explains that her son is exactly the same person so there was no reason to feel bereaved. She felt some people also expected her to feel a sense of loss.

A challenge that Kate and her son have faced is schooling. She explains that once her son had started secondary school he started to have problems with bullying. Kate had thought this stopped for quite some time but as he entered the latter half of secondary school he came home and said he did not want to go to school anymore because the bullying had become uncontrollable. Kate explains her guilt that she never asked whether he was having problems at school.

Kate’s son was referred to child and adolescent mental health services by his school. He was supposed to receive therapy in this service but was discharged. Her son was again referred to the service later on in the year by the school and at this point the therapist was informed of his trans status. From Kate’s point of view, one of the reassuring things about the service was that they had seen trans children before.

Kate concludes by saying to parents of trans children to talk to them as much as possible and ensure them that you will always love them no matter what. She also says to get as much information as possible so that you are better equipped to support them.

Kate was not particularly surprised when her son came out as trans and thought her support for him was not a big deal and was just part of being a mum.

Kate says the pathway needs to be clearer and quicker.

Kate speaks about the importance of communication, making the child feel secure and getting as much information as possible.

Kate thought the meetings sometimes made her feel worse, but she liked getting information from the group.

Kate talked about lack of information and how information should be easier to access.

Kate’s talked about her younger son’s reaction to his brother coming out as trans.

Kate said she and her husband initially felt apprehensive about her stepdaughter going out wearing girl’s clothes.

Kate expected to feel grief but instead recognised her son was still the same person.

Kate thought that the increased visibility will lead to more acceptance of trans people. She felt things have improved over the last decade, but also thought that we were not there yet.

Kate talked about her son being bullied and how she felt let down by the school. She also said her son did not feel safe in some lessons and existed as ‘a bit of a ghost’ at school, on a restricted timetable.

Kate talks about her son being misgendered at school.

Kate talks about school and how it can be difficult to separate ‘normal teenage life’ from difficulties related to her son being trans.

Kate said her son did not want children, but was open to having a child that was ‘not biologically his’, if he changed his mind in the future.

Binders made Kate’s son feel better. She also had some advice on how to wear them safely.

Kate talks about her son’s self-harm and suicidal thoughts and how mental health services assumed it was because he was trans.

Kate feels support from CAMHS has been disappointing and worries her son will have no support whilst on the waiting list to the Gender Identity Development Service.

Kate said the changes in how her son wanted to present to the world made her and her husband expect his coming out.

Kate expected the GP to not be great’, but found the GP to be very helpful.

Kate talks about the waiting times and feeling powerless as a parent.

Kate talks about her son’s referral to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) via Child and Adolescent Mental Health Service (CAMHS).