In 2013 we moved from the NW back down to Perth. My child had been to a small country primary school since year 1 and had experienced bullying because they did not fit the mainstream version of what a girl should be. I thought she was a tomboy and let it roll. When we arrived in Perth we enrolled her in a religious based girl’s school, hoping to give her the best education on offer.
Around half way through that year I found out she was cutting herself and we immediately found a psychologist, this didn’t help so we found another psychologist. Finally after two years we went to a psychiatrist who referred us to Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services (CAMHS) and after being accepted we had ongoing support for our child from psychologist and psychiatrists.
In 2015 our child attended a six month intensive outpatient programme called Touchstone which included family counselling. This was the toughest time we have been through as a family but it changed us all for the better. Seeing my child so depressed and acknowledging that some of my behaviours as a mother were the cause of this was overwhelming.
By the beginning of 2017 things had settled down. The depression had lifted off the family and we were strong, thanks to the family therapy. Our child was still attending high school and doing well. The counselling and support at CAMHS continued.
One day she said “I am going to get my hair cut.” And she came back with shaved sides and a spiky top. She said. “This is me mum. I have tried living as a women but I can’t do it any longer. I identify as a man.” All at once the last 4-5 years made sense. My child was transgender.
Since then we have changed his name officially and attended the Gender Diversity Services at the old PMH. My child is on the list for gender reassignment at the Royal Perth Hospital and this will begin early next year.
We are still in the adjustment phase, finding our way through this with family and friends and our child is just finishing year 12 which adds another layer of stress. There is a long way to go but I love my child deeply and my husband and I will support him all the way. I have faith that he will find love and acceptance in his adult future. His spirit is strong and his light shines brightly.