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On someone ‘influencing’ a child’s gender identity

I’d like to offer a few thoughts on an issue of concern to many parents of  children that may be gender variant – that the child’s gender identity has been influenced by: a friend, a group of friends, cosplay, anime, the internet or some other person or group.
The basic question is can one’s gender identity (i.e. that inner feeling of maleness or femaleness or something in between) be at all influenced by an outside person or institution? My feeling and experience suggest that – no it’s just not possible.

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Why then is this such a common concern of a parent who has been newly come out to?
I think one of two things are happening (or a combination of both) and those are:
1. Your child has encountered a new person who is exhibiting some level of “outness” as gender variant, and has, naturally enough, begun to ask themselves if they are similar in some way – and have found that they are.
and/or
2. Your child has gravitated towards a group of friends/city/college/group that is accepting of gender variance because they know internally (and perhaps unconsciously) that they have some gender dysphoria and they need a supportive environment in which to deal with it.
Now let’s look at two possibilities: 1. The child is truly gender variant or transgender and 2. The child is not truly gender variant or transgender.
In the first case of a truly gender variant child – I think this move toward an accepting group is a much needed step in the total journey of self-acceptance and social and physical change.
In the second case where the child is not truly gender variant – I think this can be understood as another of the many phases of self-exploration that young people go through trying to figure out who they are. And if no physical changes are taken in this case – then really what’s the harm in it? If the child is truly not gender variant then they will more than likely put it aside and move on to other things in due time.
Whenever there is doubt a general rule of thumb is to hold off on any physical interventions.

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3 Comments Post a comment
  1. georgiakevin #

    Your post is very well written and SPOT ON!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!!

    September 15, 2015
  2. Michael Smith #

    Please help me i believe im female i have a complete wardrobe of nothing but female clothes my nick name is michelle i have been takeing hormones for about a year its changing my body i need your advise I do have molina health insurance Please take me as a new patient i need some. One . there. . i do have a subtance abuse problum meth i need help Please schedule me in this next week anytime after noon thankyou Michael Smith ps text me please excuse my email its my brothers doing its shittybiskets@yahoo.com please help me thankyou Michael Smith aka michelle

    April 18, 2016
  3. Elizabeth Foster-Williams #

    My adult trans daughter’s 7 year old son has declared that he now wants to be a girl. His parents have indulged him and bought him girl clothing, accessories. On a recent visit I noticed that every article of clothing was all girl clothing. I am so proud of my daughter who just came out in October, I celebrate her true self, we are extremely supportive of her. I am however extremely concerned about my grandson, they’ve even let him change his name.
    If indeed he too is trans I would support him 100% however at previous visits to my home without either of his parents he never asked to wear girls clothes, of play with girls toys. I try not to genderize anything. I’ve told his parents that it’s just normal childhood curiosity, that they shouldn’t feed into it too much. I really don’t know what to think. I’m very worried about this little boy, I don’t want to push his parents for fear of them not letting me see him. Any advice is appreciated.
    Thank you, Beth Foster-Williams

    May 9, 2016

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