It is at least once a week that I get asked this or a similar question; “my daughter is saying that she wants to look less like a girl and more like a boy, is this just a phase?”. My answer to them is probably not one, they want to hear, but I tell them it may or may not be, but it is up to them to figure that out, give them space to talk to you if they need to, without you pushing your own views. That ladies and gentlemen is something that is very difficult for parents, but can be a turning point in a child’s life.

Growing up is a difficult quest. We have all gone through struggles in life to understand who we are. This may entail experimenting with different looks, clothes and groups of friends, to understand one self as an individual. So yes, for some it is all about experimentation and pushing ones limits and boundaries but for others it may be something rooted in their biology. Unfortunately, for some this process has an extra complicated component. Making children much more prone to depression, anxiety, suicidal thoughts and bullying.

Most people are born with a body that is either male or female and a brain that matches this body. For some, this is not as clear. Some may know their brain is born in the wrong body, since early on in childhood. Others may be confused as to what gender they identify with, in other words, what gender they want to show the world they are. These kids or adults express themselves in their own personal way, sometimes not fitting traditional gender norm. These gender identities and expressions are different to what society labels the “norm”, the are gender non-conforming. They fall under many different labels and variations such as gender atypical, gender variant, nonbinary, genderqueer, third gender and transgender.

Parents and friends will want to try to “fix” these individuals. DON’T! There is nothing to fix. Whether it is a phase or an expression of what is going on inside of them, they need to feel that they can be who they are, in order to let their own identity, come to the surface. They are beautiful just the way they are. Support them and talk to them. It is important to know that the more you push your own thoughts and ideas on to them, the more resistant they will be to talk to you. Read, inform yourself and if you need help consult with a qualified therapist that is gender affirming. They will hold your hand and guide you through the new terrain.