Tales from parents of transgender teens: I help my son become a woman, but I’m afraid of drugs and that he will regret it

Having a son or daughter who wishes to have healthy parts of his or her body amputated, being medicalized for life is certainly not a celebration, as it is often made out to be. Speaking is the GenerActionD association, composed of parents of minor children, adolescents or young adults suffering from gender dysphoria. In an interview edited by Gianluca Nicoletti in La Stampa, some parents lay themselves bare and tell-with the request for anonymity-about their delicate relationship with their children. We formed an association to ask for more reflection and attention on such a divisive issue as gender dysphoria. We know we will be immediately attacked as transphobic, retrograde, bigoted and what not. We just want to make sure that we have done everything possible for the well-being of our children, they explain. But they are keen to point out that they do not want to be instrumentalized by those who fear and attack coming out of the male-female mainstream. They consider themselves an apolitical and nondenominational association.

Parents’ stories

When I was 15, I accompanied my son to a recognized health center on gender dysphoria. They advised him to start social transition and give himself a woman’s name, says a mother from the group. I ‘accompanied her, she continues, to buy women’s clothes, padded bras and makeup. And the next day she showed up at school as a girl. At that moment, the parents recount, their daughter began to feel better, to have more self-esteem and serenity. But her neuropsychiatrist, at some point, became suspicious about her real dysphoria and began to speculate that it was the result of an obsession. Now that some time has passed he is spontaneously regressing in his intention to transition. She told me that until she finishes high school she certainly cannot take steps backward, given how much exposure she has had with her peers. In college she will think about it and maybe go back to dressing as a boy, her mother reports. Who wonders, What would have happened if she had started with drugs?

Fear of medication and the position of the scientific community

What unites the parents of the association is precisely this question and contradiction. They are serene about the idea of their son or daughter wishing to change gender. But they have doubts when it comes to hormonal or surgical interventions at an age such as adolescential. I would like irreversible decisions to be made at a more mature stage. It is the phrase that returns in the stories. The issue is part of a current open debate in the scientific community pitting psychoanalysts and endocrinologists against each other. In recent weeks, the Italian Psychoanalytic Society (Spi) wrote a letter to the government expressing concern about the use of drugs that block the development of puberty. This was followed by a response from andrologists, endocrinologists, and pediatricians. Who were keen to emphasize that these are not investigational therapies, but approved and supported by scientific research and recommendations.