Transgender, or gender variance, is a term used to describe a person whose gender identity differs from that with which she was born. By the age of 3, most children take an interest in activities specific to gender; boys play with trucks and little girls play with dolls. Some children, however, develop interests that are typical of the opposite sex. Parents may notice that a child has a strong, persistent need to be seen as the opposite sex.
Signs of Transgender Boys
Little boys who show signs of being transgendered show an interest of dressing in girls clothes and wearing make-up. He prefers to play with girl toys such as dolls, and is drawn to playing and interacting with other females. Little boys often act out female roles such as being a mom or princess. He insists that he is a girl and wants to be called by a female name. He often becomes upset and argumentative when told he is not a female.
Signs of Transgender Girls
Little girls who show signs of being transgendered often want to dress like boys, wear short hair, and often refuse to dress in any way that resembles a girl. She is often thought of as being a tom boy. Transgendered girls often prefer to play with boy toys such as trucks, cars and action figures like GI Joe. She playacts male roles instead of female roles. Just as with transgendered boys, a transgendered girl actually believes that she is a boy. She may refer to herself as a boy and call herself by a male name.
How Does Transgender Occur?
Scientists have yet to determine what causes a child to become transgender. For years, it was believed that parents were to blame for not raising children correctly. Some specialists, however, believe that the brain is genetically wired at birth or soon after. Some specialists also believe that hormones play a major role, such as too much oestrogen in boys or too much testosterone in girls. Scientists are still trying to determine what causes gender variance.
How to Help Your Child
The first reaction of a parent is to dismiss what her child is feeling or pretend it's a phase. Talk to your child to find out how he is really feeling. The worst feeling for a child is to feel like he has no support. Love your child unconditionally and show him that he has someone who accepts, understands and supports him. Don't find fault within yourself or your child. Do not pressure your child to change because of what society renders socially acceptable. Find support groups or seek out a therapist who deals with gender variance.