Mother Says It Would Have Been ‘Child Abuse’ To Make Transgendered Daughter Live As A Boy
Well finally one parent puts raising a transgendered child into proper perspective. Saffron James has accepted the gender dysphoria in her 10-year-oldÂ daughter Livvy James who returned to school this autumn as a girl. She says that asking her daughter to continue to live as a boy would be the equivalent of “child abuse.”
Although Saffron and her husband had long since accepted Livvy’s conventionally feminine tendencies in the home, they asked her to dress as a boy to maintain a certain safety at school. But Saffron began to see that asking her daughter to maintain a dual identity was taking an emotional, as well as a physical, toll on the child:
â€˜Livvy was emotionally volatile at school and was complaining of headaches and stomach aches at home. It was at this point I realised I needed some help,â€™ says Saffron…It was a hospital paediatrician who first mentioned gender dysphoria. Livvy was referred to the Tavistock Centre in London, a mental health clinic that offers a specialist NHS service dealing with children and adolescents who have gender issues.
â€˜We saw a consultant there and Livvy told the doctor very clearly she felt she was a girl and wanted to live as a girl,â€™ says Saffron.
Phillip adds: â€˜That meeting really challenged us as parents about our perceptions about gender.’
â€˜Weâ€™d been anxious about protecting Livvy, by dressing her in boysâ€™ clothes outside the home. But the consultant asked: â€œIf she feels like a girl, why make her wear boysâ€™ clothes if it makes her unhappy?â€ … â€˜Livvy felt angry at having to put on this alter ego. She hated having to tell lies about what she did in her summer holidays or what her favourite toy was.â€™
Saffron insists that Livvy ultimately made the decision to return to school as a girl and do away with her “cover” as a boy. In defending her choice as a parent, she tells Daily Mail:
â€˜It would have been child abuse to force her to live as a boy.’
Parents frequently defend their decision to uphold their child’s biological gender identity for the child’s well-being. While such efforts may quell teasing at school and scorn from certain parents, people rarely speak about how asking a transgendered child to maintain a fake, or in these case dual, identity can negatively impact their mental health and development. No parent wants to see their children victimized by bullies, but asking them to conceal who they are could possibly do even more damage.