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What do you do when your child exhibits markedly gender-atypical play behaviour almost as soon as they can walk and tells you, by the time they are four years old, that there's been a mistake?

Susie is a Yorkshire mum with three young children. Two are very much boys, but the other, though born the same, has insisted since pre-school that a mistake had been made.

In this in-depth interview she tells how she handled the challenge, sought help and has cared for her child at every stage in a remarkable journey through growing up. She also tells why she felt her child was not getting the right kind of treatment at Britain's only child and adolescent clinic specialising in this area, and why she turned, instead, to specialists in the USA and The Netherlands. As a mother, she also has advice for schools on how they could help parents and children avoid the bullying her child has experienced.

For more information and support for parents and families in this position see Mermaids (UK) and Trans Youth Family Allies (US).

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  • Kim Pearson

    Kudos to Susie for her support of her child and for educating others!

    Kim Pearson Executive Director TransYouth Family Allies kimp@imatyfa.org www.imatyfa.org

    Apr 20, 2008 at 2:15 am
  • Stacey

    Very nicely done. Thank you for sharing your story!

    Apr 21, 2008 at 11:13 pm
  • Tia

    Susie your a great person, if only there were others who were as supportive as you. All the best for you and your daughter.xx

    Apr 22, 2008 at 1:22 am
  • Kate

    What a wonderful mom Susie! You have done an amazing job of sticking by your child and supporting her through a very unusual childhood.

    Apr 22, 2008 at 8:18 am
  • Di

    thanks to both of you for this very useful interview.

    Apr 24, 2008 at 6:32 pm
  • Edeyn Hannah Blackeney

    Wonderful interview. Shows a loving and supportive mother bravely doing what is best for her equally brave daughter.

    Apr 25, 2008 at 3:44 am
  • Stephanie Butterfield

    I cried buckets all the way through this, as I am the epitamy of what she said happens to a transsexual girl if this treatment isn’t allowed to go ahead.

    I am now 44, despite now being in my16th month of HRT, the feminising effects are minimal. This has caused me to be the constant victim of hate crime and discrimination, and as I don’t have access to private funds to afford plastic surgery either, life looks bleak.

    I hope the tavistock clinic changes its policy, so more kids with gender identity issues are treated with humanity and care

    I hope also that Lauren has a bright future as the girl she has always identified herself as and she gets her GCSE’s.

    Steph

    May 26, 2008 at 2:08 pm
  • Jo

    The first thing I will say is. That is a true loving mother. I wa so moved by this interview, and I’ve so much, so so much respect for Susie, and admiration for what she has done for her daughter. I agree she has saved her life. Susie basically described a lot of my childhood, I could relate to a lot of stuff, like always wanted to wear the girls stuff and being a female character etc, also the bit where she talked about how puberty is for gender dysphoric children I coudl strongly relate to. For me puberty kind of confirmed to me that I really was a girl, sadly I did not come out to my famiyl and even speak of my gender dypshoria until earlier on this year when I was 17, I’m 18 now, and of course I have been made to go through a male puberty fully, and I can totalyl relate to what Stephanie has written above. Once testosterone and a masculine puberty has done its job then, giving female hormone treatment after this , the feminising effects are pretty minimal. It cannot undo what the first puberty has done, my voice has broken, a hell of a lot, and that was the worst thing for me as I am a signer and my voice was everything to me, and now Ive just got this mans voice and its sh*t to be honest. I am totally with Susie, when she says that the way that the Tavistock and Portman will not even give FULLY REVERSIBLE hormone blockers to children until their 16. Like she said, puberty has bascially finished then, well for me it had done anyway. It IS ridiculous, I mean what harm is it going to do if its fully reversible, all its doing is delaying the age at which an irreversible puberty will occur, so if some do change their mind then it can be reversed completely. It makes me sad that my parents were not nowhere near as supportive as Susie was with young Lauren. I come from an asian background so culutural thing might have caused lack of empathy. Of course my parents loved me, but I was always forced to be a boy. My Dad actually used to get angry with me when I played with barbie dolls, at my aunts house, my aunt didnt even care thogh! She just used to let me be happy! I loved going roudn there, being able to do what I want, I mean she didnt let me wear dresses or anything, but you know I feel If she was my mother then I would have maybe told her at an earlier age and could have maybe got the help that Lauren got. My doctor is pretty useles she knows not a thinga bout this. But I want to actually work with young transgendered children when I’m older so I can help other children get the right treatment for them so they don’t have to go through what I’ve been through like many other transwomen have done. Lastly, I just want to say for Susie and Lauren that I’m sooo happy for you both and that Lauren is such a lucky girl to have such a brilliant mother like Susie, and I wish them both all the best in the future! X

    Nov 9, 2008 at 12:26 am
  • cherade9

    Ironically Christine, I’m also from Yorkshire!

    Dec 7, 2010 at 5:23 pm
  • child custody attorneys

    Hi there. I was thinking about adding a link back to your blog since both of our web sites are centered around the same niche. Would you prefer I link to you using your site address: http://podcast.plain-sense.co.uk/2008/04/10/gender-dysphoria-a-mothers-tale/ or website title: Just Plain Sense Gender Dysphoria: A Mothers Tale.

    Please make sure to let me know at your earliest convenience.

    Thanks!

    Dec 15, 2012 at 11:24 am