07-21-2017 11:08 AM - last edited on 11-15-2017 06:08 PM by Ngaio-RO
I feel like I'm on a roller-coaster that I can't get off. My 14 year old niece has announced to us that she is 'pansexual' as are 3 other of her friends and I've discovered that one of the kids in her year level is going through the processes of a sex change ... I've never come across anything like this before and I have no idea what to do. We are committed Christians as is our niece ... help ...
07-21-2017 01:16 PM
Hi @jdbza Nice to see you back! I hope everything has been ok with you guys.
After reading your post I was reminded of when my eldest was 14 also and she told me her best friend, a male, had just 'come out' as bisexual and she felt that she was too. I was shocked. Purely because I had no idea that sexual activity was on her or her peers' radar. As far as I knew, none of them had engaged in more than kissing yet.
After talking with her I discovered that I had been right, they were not interested in actually having sex yet. What they were interested in, though, was the freedom to self-determine. They were exploring ways of defining themselves, the same way they do when they change their way of dressing or their musical tastes. And this can be a very difficult time for parents and carers because they tend to either react to the 'loss' of the child or they fear of what the young person's life will be like if they become a particular 'type' of person.
I hear you when you say you feel like you're on a roller coaster and that you have no idea what to do. It can be incredibly confusing. But is there a possibility that you could decide to do nothing and just see what happens for a while?
What do you think?
Also, click here for a link to some Christian resources that relate to your concerns. I hope you find them helpful.
07-21-2017 04:51 PM - edited 07-22-2017 09:07 AM
Hi @jdbza. My first thought when I read this is that, at their age the kids could be trying out the term to see how it fits and how others respond. I know a few teens who have done just that and ended up being in loving relationships with someone of the opposite sex.
Of course it is possible that they are in fact right and in that case my response to your question would be ... continue to love her.
And keep in touch so that we can support you as best we can on this rollercoaster you're on. Many of us are quite familiar with rollercoasters
07-22-2017 05:21 PM
I had to look up pansexual, never heard that before. I'm a Christian too (catholic), so I understand your dilemma. For myself I've accepted that people will think differently to me, and I think that's OK if they do no harm, so it doesn't bother me any more.
I know your niece has some troubles. That can drive kids to do some wild things. For me I'd be happy for my kids to hang out with pansexuals (or whatever) as long as they stayed away from drugs and genuine bad guys. It could easily just be a "phase". I know my oldest daughter (20 now) used to seem so sophisticated at 14, she wanted to look like she knew it all. But underneath she was still naive, and vulnerable. As parents we just have to stick with it.
I would have a problem with a sex change at 14, although frankly I don't think that would be easy to get (at least I hope not).
11-14-2017 01:26 AM
Hey, we moved this message as it deserves it's own space and support from our community and we wanted to give that to you. Thanks for sharing this with us
12-11-2018 12:16 PM
12-11-2018 04:07 PM
Hey there @Notperfect and welcome to ReachOut
It's fantastic that you have a lovely relationship with your daughter I can see from your post you are a wonderful and supportive father, and it's great that your daughter felt safe enough to open up about her sexuality with you.
ReachOut has a great article on helping your teenager with coming out that has some suggestions on things you can do to support them. A big thing is to be open and supportive and listen to them, which is something you are already nailing
You are doing an amazing job so far supporting your daughter. We're always here if you have anymore questions
12-12-2018 08:12 PM
Your post was heartwarming. In saying that, I don't mean to gloss over or diminish your concerns or questions. Rather, I say that because your love and regard for your daughter comes through so loud and clear. She is fortunate to have you and so fortunate to feel your unconditional love. Over and over again, I have read that the presence of even one supportive adult in the life of a sexual or gender diverse youth significantly lowers the chance of depression/suicidal thoughts for that child. It sounds like you're that person for your daughter.
I don't live in Australia. But, I believe that there is a PFLAG organization in Australia--and there are helpful PFLAG websites run out of the US, Canada... They are an organization that supports parents who are parenting/supporting their LGBTQ+youth.
09-25-2019 08:15 PM
09-26-2019 03:27 PM
Welcome to ReachOut Parents, we hope you find this a supportive space with people who understand and can offer a listening ear It sounds like there is a lot of big things your family are working through, I can imagine that your teen coming out about their gender has raised a lot of questions about change that may feel challenging right now I want to assure you that you are not alone- there are so many parents here going through this journey with their teens too.
Firstly, I want to acknowledge the incredible trust there is between you and your teen for them to feel confident to come out to you, and share their gender and sexuality. Understanding gender and sexuality happens at different times for each person; some people know from a very young age that they age gender diverse, whereas for others it can take a long time to understand and live the gender they truly are.
It is also really common for families to go through a process of questioning, understanding and adjusting too; it is okay to feel however you feel right now, it is going to take your family time to explore this together. What I am hearing is how resilient and self aware your teen is, and how brave they are to live their authentic self at such a young age. A testament to the supportive environment you have provided them with to come out in
It is very common for people who are understanding their gender to try a new name, or look into their options for their body and transitioning. I think you might find a lot of value in reading this conversation we recently had on our youth forums with an incredibly brave young person who identifies as gender neutral and an expert from the Gender Centre in QLD on the topic of gender. It may help you understand what your teen may be going through, as well as some spaces your family can go for some extra support
You have also mentioned concerns about your teen wanting to move overseas, and your concerns for them. Is this something you have spoken to your teen about? What are your initial thoughts about how you will approach this?