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Do you have advice for parents of a teen with sexual identity issues?

Asked by NoClue (78points) January 13th, 2014

Long story. Bear with me.

We have a 15 year old daughter. A couple of years ago she told us she thinks she is bisexual. We didn’t make a big deal of it but suggested she just be herself and finish growing up and learning who she is in all respects.

This morning before she went to school she left some cupcakes on the counter that she’d told me were for a friend’s birthday, but instead she’d used the cupcakes to spell She Is A He. I texted her and she said the “she” is herself and that “she is a guy.”

I am rather confused. While our daughter has never been a girly girl, she has also never been much like a boy (there are a lot of boys in our family). She has never before identified as a boy and in fact, when she was younger and didn’t have much hair, she would get angry if anyone mistook her for a boy. While I am sure she knows how she feels better than I do, I suspect she is over-thinking something and confusing her feelings.

I already told her that her dad and I love and support her regardless but that she doesn’t need to label herself any more than anyone else should label her. Of course I will sit down and talk to her. I plan on asking her what makes her think she is a boy and how long she’s felt this way.

Is there a way I can urge her to slow down with slapping a name on who she is? She is so young and I think she identifies strongly with the injustices facing LGBT people, romanticizes same sex relationships, and has really immersed herself in this world through books, the internet, school groups, etc. Not that she has been “made gay” by these things, but that it is combining with her going through puberty, having sexual feelings develop, etc. Honestly, I think she looking for ways to fit into the small group of kids who are out at her school because she admires them and feels strongly about the issue. But, I can’t tell her that. She is really stubborn.

I am afraid that if I ask her to wait to “come out” or caution her to think twice about telling people she is a boy she will think I am trying to talk her out of it. I did look up some articles about the difference between transgender and gender nonconformity, and I have to say that nonconformity sounds more like how she’s always been.

Some of my questions seem silly. If she identifies as a boy, why are all her good friends (and this has always been the case) are girls, and should I still let her have them for sleepovers?

Please don’t answer if you think sexuality is a choice or if you have something unpleasant to say about my daughter or our family. I am well aware of such opinions and don’t need them right now.

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