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The great dismay of parents in the face of teenagers

who want to change sex

By Stephane Kovacs

Girl or boy, some children do not identify with their birth sex. REKINA KATYA/Ekaterina

SURVEY – Whether they are understanding or more refractory, all are worried about seeing their child make decisions with irreversible consequences, and blame a “fad effect” on social networks.

One day they received a laconic text message. A video. Or even a slideshow. With words, expressions that they did not know in the mouth of their child. And no more spelling mistakes: “From tonight, you will call me Louise*”, wrote Louis*.


One day, their teenager announces to them that he is transgender, “without any warning sign”, and these parents find themselves “completely helpless”. While the Ministry of National Education has just published a circular to better “support” trans students, that the National Assembly has just voted to ban "conversion therapy" aiming to “change the sexual orientation”, but also the “gender identity” of a person, they say they are very worried: “How to make our children understand that their malaise is not necessarily due to a transidentity? is moved Camille, who is working to bring together other parents in a collective, in connection with the international federation of parents Genspect. One has the impression of being immersed in a world of science fiction, where stating the slightest advice of caution becomes transphobic.


As a child, Louis was “rather into dinosaurs, never a sequin dress”. But one day, Corinne comes across photos of her 14-year-old son in women's underwear on Instagram. He just wanted to “have likes”… “Louis is immersed in manga culture from morning to night, explains Corinne. In these comics, the characters move from one genre to another without problem. He's a high-potential kid who was bullied in college. With us, he is happy, curious, but there are these social networks…” In March 2020, he sent her an SMS: “When you come back, you tell me ‘her’”. His parents surround him with kindness. "I found him the contact details of a trans shrink, I took him to the girl department, I even offered to teach him how to put on foundation!", Lists Corinne. But the psychologist's diagnosis is clear: Louis "is neither convinced nor convincing". "He doesn't recognize himself in his father's hyper-sporty and masculine model, but that's not why he's a girl!" exclaims his mother. I saw that he had gone to sites offering deep trance hypnosis to make a “male to female” transition, or even a “bimbofification”! And that he had listened to the session four or five times! I'm not saying it doesn't exist, I'm just saying there must be a tiny number of children who aren't born into the right body. But if we, parents, have a reservation, it's just if the Childhood Social Assistance does not arrive..."

Coming “from a left-wing, secular family, very open to LGBTQI + issues, I have no problem with gender change, Camille announces immediately. But when our daughter told us that she wanted to start a transition, at 15, we wondered if she was not throwing herself into it as into a utopia, she tempers. Very sensitive to inequalities, the climate crisis, the rise of the far right, Anna has a high IQ, facilities for all subjects, and suddenly an anxiety: how to choose? She keeps changing her mind… Teenage explorations, I find that good, as long as it is not dangerous or irreversible”. Anna, who "lived through puberty without any particular discomfort", never asked to change her pronouns or first name. “She, who told me she would never take the pill, because it was dangerous for her health, tells me she wants hormones!, Camille chokes. I do not doubt his suffering at all, but for us it is not the right explanation. She has plenty of reasons to feel different, but it's okay to be different!"


“We are totally helpless”

Finding "health professionals who could help" is not an easy task. "I didn't want a reaction, but neither did someone militant, who would authorize her to do a mastectomy, which she wants right away!, launches the mother. Benevolence does not necessarily mean saying yes immediately!” In the meantime, the teenager dresses in the men's department, no longer waxes, but continues to wear makeup... and has started knitting. No question, however, of going to see the gynecologist. “At the age when she should have her first romantic relationships, she wants to change gender before experimenting with this, Camille is alarmed. She tells me that she is attracted to people for who they are, and that it is transphobic to have genital preferences!”

If she wants to change sex, we will not oppose it. First, we must still explore other avenues for this malaise!

Alice, mother of Julie, almost 17 years old

No frontal opposition either in Julie's family, soon to be 17 years old. “If she wants to change sex, we will not oppose it, assures her mother Alice. First of all, we still have to explore other avenues for this malaise!” At 13, Julie was sexually assaulted by an adult. She was followed for a long time at the Maison (for adolescents) in Solenn. Complexed by her small size, she began to dress in a masculine way, to show a preference for girls. “In second, she had a girlfriend who was going through an identity crisis and wanted, like her, to take testosterone, says Alice. Since then, all the friends she brings home have had a male name. The psychiatrist explains to Julie that he will not give her treatment until her psychological problem is resolved. “Suddenly, she no longer wants to see this doctor, and seeks to obtain the hormones on her side, her parents panic. We made the effort to call him Jules, but that's not enough for him. When we say to him “look at what is happening in Sweden!”» (where the most prestigious hospital now refuses hormones to minors, Editor’s note), she rebuffs us with a “transphobic!”. And when we know that associations organize collections for the transition of people who do not have the means… ”In his high school in the center of Paris, several young people have announced that they are in transition. “I came into contact with a group of parents who are going through the same horrors, namely the feeling of having a child recruited into a sect, says Alice. Repeated runaways, alcoholic parties, drugs... Same modus operandi to cause a breakdown in communication with those around you. We are totally helpless. The authority is no longer us, it is the social networks.



This is also where Julie found out how to get compression bands to hide her breasts. “One day, I heard her screaming in pain, says her mother: she had worn this bandage for much more than the recommended 4 to 6 hours and could no longer take it off!” At Trans-Missie, an online sales site for accessories for trans people, based in the Netherlands, we claim to have “more and more French customers”. For boys who want to become girls, corsets create "a perfect feminine figure" and panties with "extra strong corrective" fabric "hide your penis as effectively and comfortably as possible". These panties that “provide a feeling of femininity” exist from size 5 years old… For girls in transition, small penile prostheses “allow you to urinate standing up” and are available in three colors, “vanilla, caramel and chocolate” .

"It's as if my son was under the influence, that he had become radicalized"

On the forums where these teenagers discuss, we can read “do not hesitate to leave your parents …” “It is as if my son was under the influence, that he had become radicalized, laments a mother. He who had always been very close to me, closed himself to all contact. Until I let go: “I don’t like you, you are toxic. In any case, maternal love does not exist, it is a social construction.” A sentence that he did not find on his own…”

Last year, the suicide in Lille of a transgender high school student had upset the school institution. As part of the Week Against Discrimination, organized under the aegis of the Academic Observatory of LGBT+phobias, the Lycée Fénelon, in Paris, invited Marie de la Chenelière, a former public health official. “I have only one regret, it is not having been able to make my transition when I was young”, begins the speaker, according to the video available online. PowerPoint in support, she then lists the “gains” to the transition: “Authenticity, energy, creativity, self-esteem.” But only mentions, as a negative aspect, that… “more frequent urinary tract infections”. “What if you are trans? Go on the internet, she recommends, but keep your critical sense, because you have sites - religious or otherwise - that will gently explain to you that you have to think carefully, not change gender. No one, then, to qualify his “transaffirmative approach”, which takes note of “the self-diagnosis that we make about ourselves”. The headmaster at the time, Stéphanie Motta-Garcia, today at Henri IV, "does not wish" to respond to Figaro.

The most recent medical recommendations are not to let the child begin a transition before having carried out a long psychotherapeutic follow-up

Camille, mother of Louis

No deputy either replied to Camille, who had nevertheless written to them before the vote on conversion therapy. “Gender dysphoria is a suffering that disappears in most cases in adulthood, she pleaded. Many cases are linked to post-traumatic stress syndrome, autism and also high potential. The most recent medical recommendations are not to let the child begin a transition (neither social, nor especially hormonal or surgical), before having carried out a long psychotherapeutic follow-up. During the debates in the Assembly, the right had insisted: “Will parents always be allowed to accompany the child by taking him, for example, to consult a psychotherapist?” The rapporteur, Laurence Vanceunebrock (LREM) had swept away “this notion of ‘gender dysphoria’ of a psychiatric nature, used by our detractors to let transidentity be perceived as pathological: we can qualify practices in this sense as conversion therapies.” Creating a specific offense to prevent these “repeated practices, behaviors or remarks”, of course, but not however proposing “too heavy penalties”, had supported the MP, this “would perhaps keep the victims from filing a complaint against their parents, for just words, or something minimal”…

Julie - "or the associations that manipulate her", sigh her parents - in any case did not wait for the passage of the text in the Senate: on the run since last weekend, she "asked her lawyer" to file a complaint against them, for "moral harassment".

*All names have been changed.

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