Ross

Father of a trans son. Ethnicity: White English.

Ross’s son came out to him at age 12 as Gender flui (questioning his gender) about age thirteen his son had decided that he needed to transition. When his son came out, aged 12 he did not necessarily understand his gender problems so started researching and educating himself on gender issues. At the age of 13 his son explained that he was trans. Ross’s son has had multiple challenges in relation to his non supporting mum and also from prolonged bullying at school. His son is doing a lot better now since he has started hormone therapy. The charity Mermaids was a great resource for Ross to help support his son when he was going through these challenges.

Ross’s son who came out to him at about age thirteen. When his son came out, he did not necessarily explain that he was trans but rather that he did not feel right. Ross has had some challenges in relation to his son’s mother in that she would not always use the correct pronouns or accept his Deed Pool name change. This is in contrast to Ross’s attitude which he describes as completely and utterl supportive. He says even now, when his son is quite far into his transition his mum still is not accepting. This on top of some of the bullying at school was very harmful to his son’s mental health. Ross’s son was seeking support from child and adolescent mental health services for these matters and eventually was referred to the Gender Identity Development Service. This was a hard experience for Ross as he was not able to go to the early / initial appointments, and only his son’s mother attended despite her being anti transition. This also caused more harm to his son’s mental health and the early appointments consisted of his mother arguing with the health professionals.

Ross’s son, at this point, had reached breaking point and attempted suicide so Ross was awarded full custody and he started to attend the gender identity appointments without his son’s mother. This meant that his son could progress with his transition. However, his son was still experiencing challenges. He had to leave secondary school with lower GCSEs grades than expected due to the lack of support from the school. His son was put off from going to college because he assumed he would experience more bullying there. Now, Ross does say that he can see improvement in his child’s mental health, partly because he is on testosterone and started seeing changes in he’s body.

Ross explains that his son had been offered hormone blockers by the gender identity clinic, but because his son’s mother was totally / utterly against them, the clinic did not offer them again until he turned eighteen years old. At the time, Ross and his son thought the contraceptive pill would ease some of the gender dysphoria that his son was feeling. Ross says that his GP, which he describes as supportive, was happy to prescribe them but that the initial pill was not very good for his son as it had high levels of estrogen.

Fertility preservation was also a stumbling block for Ross’s son. He explains that his son did not have the confidence to say that he really was not keen at all on preserving his fertility but thought he had to answer in certain ways to please the clinician. When asked why his son did not want to preserve his fertility, Ross says that his son has always been adamant that he does not want children and does not want an invasive treatment in an area of his body that he feels uncomfortable about. He goes on to say that if his son changes his mind, adoption will be what he will choose.

From Ross’s point of view, he has never had concerns in relation to his son’s transition. He says that hormones prescriptions are now rolling through. Something he says his son is particularly happy about his choice that his hormones are administered through gel rather injections. Ross says about his son’s medical transition, I;ll support their choice, because it’s their life

Ross says to parents who have trans children that they should do a lot of research. He says in his case he would lay awake worrying about his son, so found that he had plenty of time to research. He describes this as a hunger in that he wanted to help his child and find as much information out as possible. Ross points out the charity Mermaids who supports trans youth as a great resource. He says they have an online forum where you can chat to other people, which can be comforting, supportive and informative.

Ross talked about misgendering being offensive and the need to use the right language.

Ross urged other families to take children and young people seriously and offer unconditional support.

Ross thought that mum’s opposition to hormone blockers meant that his child missed out on hormone blockers.

Ross’s ex-partner and mother of his son was against the transition and this caused friction in his son’s relationship with his mother.

Ross’s family and friends have been largely supportive of his son’s transition but needed some time to get used to the new pronouns.

Ross talked about not being able to relate to other parents’ feelings of bereavement.

Ross said more exposure meant more people will get informed about trans issues, even if the media coverage was anti-trans.

Ross talked about how his child’s title preference has changed and how he thought Mx’ might be a good option for trans people.

Ross felt his child was bullied for being trans and that the school’s response putting his child into isolation block made the matters worse.

Ross said his child felt fertility preservation was a stalling tactic to stop them starting testosterone.

Ross suggested the contraceptive pill to manage his child’s periods. He said the GP was very supportive and found a pill that was low in oestrogen.

Taking testosterone as gel works for Ross’s child. He supports his child’s choice because it’s their life.

Ross talks about self-harm. He thinks it’s widespread in trans young people and that there are many parents of trans children in online groups whose children self-harm.

Having a female sounding voice has caused anxiety for Ross’s child, who won’t talk to people on the phone.

Ross talked about how his child’s relationship with their mother and being bullied at school impacted his child’s mental health.

Ross suspects considering private care sped up the process of getting hormone therapy on the NHS for his child.

Ross speaks about his child’s appointments and the frequent changes of therapists that left his child feeling disillusioned with the GIDS.

Ross talks about positive experiences with his child’s GP and how parents need to do research to make sure the GP they choose for their child is supportive.

Ross talks about the impact of the long waiting times on the young person’s mental health.

There was no clear moment of coming out as trans for Ross’s child, but they first explored gender issues in CAMHS appointments.