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A self-harming transgender teenager and a conflict of moral decision-making

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posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 06:42 AM
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Although the DM is not my main online MSM read, I do glance through the front page headline titles as sometimes there are well written articles despite their obvious sensationalism and bias. This one gives a candid account relating to a British self-harming transgender teenager and the resulting conflict between her Christian parents and social workers.

The story involves a home-schooled child called Melissa who was very bright and according to the parents, very loving and unproblematic. She wanted to be a doctor and the parents decided she needed formal schooling to be able to achieve her dream. The school were initially impressed with her level of knowledge and how quickly she handled new subjects. The mother states that Melissa did have difficult initially with the levels of noise at the school. Over the course of a few months she became withdrawn and started developing an eating disorder. She also started to self-harm.


they called the school, who referred Melissa to a counsellor in April, and they also contacted CAMHS (Child and Adolescent Mental Health Services) at the recommendation of their local GP.


Some time later the deputy head called the parents requesting to see them at the school. Melissa had been seen holding hands with another girl and had requested that she be addressed at the school as a boy with the name Mark. Naturally the parents were shocked and it was discovered that the school had previously contacted Melissa friend's parents who was also self-harming. The parents also discovered that the councillor employed by the school had been communicating with Melissa with male pronouns and the name "Mark" for a number of weeks.

According to the parents they are a loving family and attempted to discuss the issue head-on which resulted Melissa running away. She turned up at her sister's who by the way is not Christian and has a close relationship with her parents. According to the sister who asked Melissa if she wanted her to call her Mark said no. The sister gives the impression that Melissa only required this at school, not at home.

Melissa became wilful and argumentative with resulting self-harming according to the parents. When Melissa ran away from school a second time she was referred to the authorities at which point social services became involved.


"We believed she was a teenager trying to push the boundaries,’ says Peter. ‘Our daughter was self-harming and involved in a close friendship with another child who was self-harming. What parent wouldn’t want to drop and collect their daughter from school in such circumstances?"


Social services, after assessment, accused the parents of being too strict and accused them of outright refusal to discuss the issue with Melissa which they categorically deny. They also accused social services of pandering to her emotional state. Following on from this Melissa took a paracetamol (acetaminophen) overdose which resulted in a trip to hospital but luckily she not require any medical intervention. The parents viewed this as a manipulation tactic by Melissa.


I felt straight away it was part of the manipulation process. She was trying to elicit sympathy so she could push the boundaries further.


The parents stated that there was less contact with social services over the summer and that they 'saw' what they describe as glimpses of the old Melissa re-emerging. By September they were "plunged back into despair" when social services pursued Melissa transgender change. She was seen by a psychiatrist who spoke to the parents.


I’m being pressed for this diagnosis. I just want to warn you the CAMHs worker has said if she is told she can’t be Mark at school she may be at a serious risk of committing suicide.".’

Peter interjects: ‘Basically, what they’re saying is: “If you don’t play ball, you are going to endanger your daughter’s life.”

'That’s why we knew we’d have to start trying to find some way to fight this.’


The parents are now taking social services to court. Their solicitor is allied to the Christian Legal Centre. They maintain that they are not homophobic or bigoted and that when Melissa is 18 they will accept her as transgender if this is the path she chooses. They mention being worried that hormones being taken at 14yo can affect fertility later on in life.


"Surely as parents it’s up to us to act in what we believe to be our daughter’s best interests, not some social worker pushing their liberal agenda. After all, it’s us who love her. We are her family —not the State."’


Firstly I just want to state that I have used the name Melissa to avoid confusing some readers with using two two names.

To me personally, this screams education (a need for) rather than conflict. The only mention of education is a transgender leaflet that was given to them. I was a professional healthcare worker prior to becoming ill. I just find it very difficult to imagine that no education or support was offered to the family. I am realistic in the sense that I am aware that some parents will just point blank refuse any advice and support. I am also aware that some social workers can be very authoritative and confrontational. I honestly do not know how this can be overcome as it is not my area of expertise.

I find it quite shocking that a parent would call their child 'manipulative' after taking an overdose. I do know that intentional non-fatal overdoses are a cry for help. I wonder if the parents prevented Mark from giving his own version of accounts. It would most certainly give a more balanced and informative article.

Daily Mail Link



edit on 29-10-2016 by Morrad because: Grammar correction




posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 06:56 AM
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a reply to: Morrad

Self identity is the most powerful force that runs in a human. It is obvious to me that Melissa is attempting to become something new, something different - Mark. But she doesn't know how to go about it. No one seems to be telling her that it's okay, that there's people like her, good and brilliant people. The only shoulder to cry on she can find is a friend who feels the same way.

The behaviours she's displaying, such as self-harm, didn't come into existence from nothingness. I would be curious to know how supportive her parents actually were about her new identity. There's always a cause for a child's behaviour, that's one of the first things you learn in psychology.




posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 07:21 AM
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a reply to: Morrad

nvm
edit on 10.29.2016 by Kandinsky because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 07:53 AM
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a reply to: Morrad

She sounds like a stupid 14 year old looking for attention.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 08:02 AM
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a reply to: Morrad

My thoughts are scattered but, I'll try to make them somewhat cohesive as I felt I had to comment on this topic.
Being a mother to 5 teenagers at once (all so different) at one time in my life I've had a little experience with the (what seems to be) sudden change of thinking or beliefs or identities that they can go through.

One thing I find ridiculous are the comments about the young person playing with barbies and wearing make up and those actions indicating, or supporting rather, that they simply must identify more with females. Also, the statement that the young person preferred a 'brief' type swimsuit as opposed to a bikini and that somehow supports that they identifies more with males.

I almost think that neither side understands transgenderism fully.

Why do we as parents, sometimes, think that the number 18 is somehow magical and that we will 'support' any decision a child makes after that age but, they can't possibly know anything or make decisions for themselves before then? I did plenty of stupid things after that magical age and made poor decisions and changed myself many many times.

It seems, perhaps, that the 14 year old had led a very sheltered and 'strict' life before transitioning into public school where they then discovered new ideas and ways of thinking and it may have been overwhelming and the shock of it all, all at once may have been too much for the young person to process. It is a different world than when I was younger and children are able to reach out into that world from their little bubbles like no other time in history.

I would also like to know if becoming a Doctor is the child's dream or the parents?
So here is where I am sort of on the fence. I understand that she is bright and intelligent but, have the effects of the hormone therapy been discussed fully and the ramifications and possible outcomes? My oldest daughter decided at a very young age she never wanted children and stated very emphatically that if the desire ever came about that she would adopt. Some children/adolescents/young adults just know they do not desire motherhood.

There are worse things, IMO, then being infertile. Of course, I can't speak on that other than my opinion which is not based on experience.

Having a healthy (non self abusing) and happy (emotionally and psychologically) child would be the most important thing I would think. No one would want their child suffering in darkness alone.

I think both sides are wrong-ish and I hope they can meet in the middle to save this child. One more thought. Sometimes the reactions of the parents can lend to the whole issue immensely. Sometimes these things will pass. But, hopefully the child doesn't truly do permanent damage to themselves in the meanwhile.
edit on 29-10-2016 by TNMockingbird because: another thought



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 08:24 AM
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originally posted by: Morrad
I find it quite shocking that a parent would call their child 'manipulative' after taking an overdose. I do know that intentional non-fatal overdoses are a cry for help. I wonder if the parents prevented Mark from giving his own version of accounts. It would most certainly give a more balanced and informative article.


I have to disagree with you there... children learn how they can manipulate

parents from the cradle.... Why do you think sweets are always presented at

checkouts?

Its a huge subject, but briefly from a personal aspect (as its not an uncomplicated

subject) Within my family two sisters, first one then the other started cutting,

their mother took them down the road of counselling, ointments in the fridge etc..

etc..followed physiatric advice in school attendance, and in my view pandering,

rather than giving boundaries.

Tragedy then hit them when at 16 and 17 years their mother died, I helped to

pick up the pieces of their lives, which I felt was going to be a very difficult

task in view of their previous history. To cut a long story short their was nobody

left they could manipulate, counselling stopped and reality took over in housing

them etc. That was 10 years ago they are both parents now with no signs of any

of their previous checkered history.


Strangely enough one of my daughters and I were discussing this cutting

phenomenon the other day, neither of us can recall anyone when we were in our

teens resorting to it, and wondering where it seems to have suddenly come from.




edit on 29-10-2016 by eletheia because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 08:35 AM
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I am modern liberal groupthinker and I am told that I believe that all this is because of her parents and their believing in oppressive, and toxic patriarchal Christianity. I hope my Commissar Thought Overlords are pleased with my virtual signalling.
edit on 29-10-2016 by CulturalResilience because: (no reason given)



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 08:36 AM
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a reply to: eletheia

Strangely enough one of my daughters and I were discussing this cutting
phenomenon the other day, neither of us can recall anyone when we were in our
teens resorting to it, and wondering where it seems to have suddenly come from.


I have wondered this and discussed it with my kiddos also. I have known of three or four children in our circle who have resorted to this behavior.

Just yesterday, at work, I was talking with a caseworker who related to me that when she was a caseworker in Georgia many (perhaps 20) years ago she supported a client who engaged in all sorts of self injurious behavior and the client told her that the 'physical' pain helped to relieve the emotional pain/trauma.
That client wound up institutionalized (mental illness) and remained there until her death some years later.

It's a shocking phenomenon to me. Perhaps fueled by self loathing? Lack of acceptance? Lack of control? Mental illness?



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 09:00 AM
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originally posted by: TNMockingbird
I have wondered this and discussed it with my kiddos also. I have known of three or four children in our circle who have resorted to this behavior.


Time wise from your post this is now? not in the long past i would guess.



Just yesterday, at work, I was talking with a caseworker who related to me that when she was a caseworker in Georgia many (perhaps 20) years ago she supported a client who engaged in all sorts of self injurious behavior and the client told her that the 'physical' pain helped to relieve the emotional pain/trauma.
That client wound up institutionalized (mental illness) and remained there until her death some years later.


Yes I have read up on it, to help me deal with the problem in my previous post

and can understand the greater pain to relieve the nagging pain. I read some

where In the culture of the native American when a death of a loved one

happened, it was accepted to cut till they bled to relieve their emotional pain.



It's a shocking phenomenon to me. Perhaps fueled by self loathing? Lack of acceptance? Lack of control? Mental illness?


My personal opinion is lack of old fashioned parent/child interactive relationship.

'Children' so often left to their own devices, and as such relying on defining them

selves by how many likes they get on fb.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 09:09 AM
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a reply to: eletheia

Time wise from your post this is now? not in the long past i would guess.

Certainly within the past year or two. Interestingly, or not, the children come from what would be traditionally considered 'good' families with stable work, nice homes and the like.

Interesting about the Native American grief process and I do agree with the lack of parenting skills and I wonder if some parents lack the knowledge, open mindedness (?) or are willing to discuss these 'new' trends etc.
Perhaps they are uncomfortable and just prefer to not speak openly about what their children may be seeing and/or experiencing in these modern times?

Thank you for your replies.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 10:19 AM
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originally posted by: TNMockingbird
Interestingly, or not, the children come from what would be traditionally considered 'good' families with stable work, nice homes and the like.


^^^^ On reading that my reaction is 'nice home'? OR 'nice house'?

subtle difference. Its difficult to consider 'good family' when very few

other, than the occupants know *what goes on behind closed doors*!



I do agree with the lack of parenting skills and I wonder if some parents lack the knowledge, open mindedness (?)


No one is born a doctor or lawyer or anything else they have to study, get

degrees etc. yet when it comes to the most important job they will ever

have .... they mostly muddle along and do what ever is easiest. Sometimes

I think parents these days are too openminded .... I am an a great believer

of *tough love* ... discipline with love.


or are willing to discuss these 'new' trends etc.
Perhaps they are uncomfortable and just prefer to not speak openly about what their children may be seeing and/or experiencing in these modern times?


They ought to be more hands on in this day and age, my daughter knew more

about her daughters school friends than their parents did. She had many a

conversation with mothers who told her about *what and where their children

were* .... Lol!! My daughter knew different!



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 11:58 AM
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a reply to: eletheia

Ah! You are correct, nice house.


They ought to be more hands on in this day and age, my daughter knew more

about her daughters school friends than their parents did. She had many a

conversation with mothers who told her about *what and where their children

were* .... Lol!! My daughter knew different!


Ditto. Same here.

Discipline with love, I strive for that. I hope that I can achieve a balance and raise good humans in the end.





posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 12:05 PM
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I bet there's more to this story that's not being told. (although thanks for a very detailed post)

Its hard being a teenager today - - no matter what.

We've dealt with cutting. It is surprising how wide spread it is.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 12:08 PM
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originally posted by: Morrad
They maintain that they are not homophobic or bigoted and that when Melissa is 18 they will accept her as transgender if this is the path she chooses. They mention being worried that hormones being taken at 14yo can affect fertility later on in life.


This is wrong.

Hormones need to be started before puberty.

The parents are wrong in insisting she wait until she is 18.

It proves to me they are NOT listening.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 12:26 PM
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originally posted by: TNMockingbird

It seems, perhaps, that the 14 year old had led a very sheltered and 'strict' life before transitioning into public school where they then discovered new ideas and ways of thinking and it may have been overwhelming and the shock of it all, all at once may have been too much for the young person to process. It is a different world than when I was younger and children are able to reach out into that world from their little bubbles like no other time in history.


This is important to me.

I'm a gramma, now raising a high functioning Autistic spectrum grandson. That's kinda like highly intelligent, hyper active, but will retreat into his own world.

He's 8 now, and I'm noticing changes in him - - - which I attribute to interacting with other kids on the playground. He is very social, and in a group of boys that challenge each other with typical boy bravado. (observation of aid).

I'm not a fan of keeping a child out of the world they will be forced to live in when they grow up.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 01:13 PM
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I want to comment on this but I'm not sure how?

Hmmm? 14 years old and transgender? This is a subject I read about almost daily and have studied and researched rather extensively. I am active with two groups providing support and outreach to parents of transgender youth plus there's the whole thing of having been trans as a child and teen myself so I make no claims that my comments are impartial or unbiased.

With that said, this all sounds fairly typical for when conservative right leaning Christian parents are faced with this situation. When they talk about agendas and utilize legal support from fundamentalist anti-LGBT organizations, that pretty much tells the story right there. Why this child was being home schooled in the first place one might ask but it isn't hard to read between the lines - religion.

Getting into one of the gender clinics in the UK is difficult and can take a year or more to even be seen. After months of evaluation, they will provide reversible puberty blockers but not hormones until age 16. At 18, patients are transferred out of youth services which can take another year to get back into the adult NHS programs.

This sounds like a case where the social workers and other parties involved are far more knowledgeable and experienced with the plight of trans youth and the parents are ignorant, uninformed and uneducated on this subject and most likely blinded by their faith based conservatism.

Co-morbidities such as cutting, eating disorders, suicide ideation and attempts are all common signs of distress in trans youth in unsupportive or oppressive family situations. Statistics say that 57% of trans youth in this type of environment will attempt suicide whereas the rate for those in supportive and affirming families is at 4%.

I'm not making a diagnosis of whether Melissa/Mark is trans or not but it sure sounds like it and fits the pattern. The fact that the parents are doing what they're doing, taking legal action against the "liberal agenda" leaves little doubt their child has been afraid to come to them with this problem and that makes me sad.

Trans or not, I feel for this poor kid. I thank my lucky stars every day that even 47 years ago, my parents were not as stupid.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 01:19 PM
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a reply to: Annee

Agreed.

I work with intellectually and developmentally disabled adults, some of whom were institutionalized as children and young adults and part of our mission is to help integrate them into society. Some spent decades isolated for their differences.
It is important, IMO, to do just what you are doing.

Occasionally when we are at a restaurant or theater or elsewhere in the public arena, folks can be mean/disappointing with their glances of disapproval or fear. We are 'teaching' our friends how to be in a world that can be scary and is foreign to some of them. Patience and acceptance and caring is required for the public to see these folks as being valuable members of not only the human race but society.

Integration is key, IMO.
I'm glad your grandson is on the high functioning end of the spectrum.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 02:38 PM
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a reply to: TNMockingbird

As we only have a narrative from the parents I feel its difficult to illicit the approach used by social workers as it is coloured by the parents' perspective. I wonder if there was a breakdown in communication or the establishment of therapeutic dialogue was never established.


a reply to: eletheia

I understand that many children are manipulative. I have seen a very young child take it to the extreme as well with breath-holding to the point of going blue and passing out. Your story is interesting.

One of the main things that gets thrown at me when discussing trans children with friends is that I have no children therefore I have no real insight or experience of raising them. I find it very frustrating.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 02:46 PM
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originally posted by: TNMockingbird
a reply to: Annee

Agreed.

I work with intellectually and developmentally disabled adults, some of whom were institutionalized as children and young adults and part of our mission is to help integrate them into society. Some spent decades isolated for their differences.
It is important, IMO, to do just what you are doing.

Occasionally when we are at a restaurant or theater or elsewhere in the public arena, folks can be mean/disappointing with their glances of disapproval or fear. We are 'teaching' our friends how to be in a world that can be scary and is foreign to some of them. Patience and acceptance and caring is required for the public to see these folks as being valuable members of not only the human race but society.

Integration is key, IMO.
I'm glad your grandson is on the high functioning end of the spectrum.


My mom was a polio victim in the '51/'52 epidemic. It's sad people have to be forced to be kind and tolerant. She wasn't treated much better then LGBT people today. We were refused service in businesses, kicked out of restaurants, etc.

Children are children for such a small part of their lives. The focus should be happy, successful, well adjusted adult. One that fits THEIR world.

My mom was raised with racism. I accidentally caught her saying something when I was a teen. I was horrified. Then she told me, "This is how I was raised, I've tried never to show you this side, because you are in a different world, it does not belong in your world".

She had the foresight to understand MY world, would be different then hers.

With my grandson I'm trying to view his world as an adult and what tools he will need. So many parents fear computers and the internet. He's been on a computer and internet since he was 2. Of course, I'm also teaching him the pitfalls. Especially, how something you post on the internet stays with you for life. So far, he's done a pretty good job of monitoring himself.

Also, in his future, I expect all job applications to be online. "The girl with the big boobs is not gonna get the job in the future". He's gonna need to have some kind of real work history and education, degree.

IMO - - those who raise their kids to be innocent and away from the real wold - - - do them no service.



posted on Oct, 29 2016 @ 03:03 PM
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It is obviously the parents who are at fault.

No external influences, not in school. Surely...

No, no. The sole responsibility lies with the parents, and the child? No child ever tests their boundaries!

They just don't do it, because there are normally consequences.

Maybe there's too much interference from the state. Maybe this girl was happier and healthier being schooled at home, and not troubled by so many external influences.

I love how the tree-hugging brigade have quickly and swiftly made this all the fault of those terrible, terrible parents who clearly just want to destroy their beloved offspring. No! No, it's the parents fault!

They must have been home schooling her about lesbianism and self harm, as you do. these "parents" are clearly vile scum!
edit on 29-10-2016 by ThreeDots because: (no reason given)



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