This is a guest post from the mother of a transgender foster child, detailing her experience with doctors, therapists and social services as she tries to protect the child in her care.
We have written before about the role of social services, in two cases heard at the Family Court (here and here). Barrister Sarah Phillimore also wrote a guest post for us comparing the two cases from her professional standpoint. We are concerned that the crucial role of social workers in the safeguarding and protection of the most vulnerable children is being undermined by policies of blanket ‘affirmation’ of children who identify as, or are presumed to be, ‘transgender.’
We will write our analysis of the training materials produced for the social work profession in a future post, as the following account deserves to stand alone. We have barely edited it as the words of this mother are so powerful in her own voice. We are very grateful to her for contacting us and for writing this account for us.
Living with a transgender foster child
I’ve had the child for over a year now but knew her before she come to live with me as its a private foster. Her mum was separated from the father and her mum was a alcoholic who she lived with at the time.
Her mum had no thought for the child’s well being only where her next drink was coming from. I felt the child was more of the parent than her mum was, she was the one at 7 years old who made sure that the mum got home safe from the pub they was never any food or gas or electric.
She was bullied at school because of her clothing being too small. She didn’t know that you have to wash and brush your teeth every morning and have a bath they was no hugs or love shown to the child from the mother.
In the end when mum beat her and she rung child line she was taken by social services to live with her dad. This lasted just a year but in that time even though what the mum had done i know that this broke the childs heart and felt so much guilt for ringing child line and not being there to help her mum and worried all the time.
In that year at her dads she started self harming and having suicidal thoughts she wasn’t transgender at this point i put it down to being taken from her mother suffering from anxiety and guilt as you can see the child had emotional trauma now you know about some of the childs issues.
When she went up to big school last year they was another girl that was transgender at 1st she said she didn’t have anything to do with her but now it’s come out she did use to talk to her i really don’t know if this girl put the seed there about transgender but this is when it all started she 1st come out as lesbian and this followed.
The child had not ever been told what to do and started playing up for her dad and he was putting her in care so i decided that i would take her. I’m shocked as her carer how easy it is to say your transgender as soon as them 2 words come out of that childs mouth you are definitely transgender.
In the last year I’ve been to doctor’s where she told them she was transgender they was no question on why she thought this just accepted it straight away and referred to camhs the waiting was a couple of months but sat in waiting area she was called in by the boys name she had told doctor. They made me feel like the worst I’ve ever felt as a parent because i didn’t agree to calling her the name she wanted and the worse part was telling me that if i didn’t she could possibly commit suicide.
I’d already done a lot of research on transgender that its mostly the ones who transitioned are more likely to do that. When I’ve said this the psychiatrist said but how do we know that but how do they know that’s the reason with the others. I kept telling them that the child was self harming and suicidal thoughts before transgender was even thought of by her they still didn’t listen or even ask her why she was self harming at that time all these meetings have all been about transgender.
I told them id taken her abroad the year before and she buying flower headbands for her hair reply was she was doing it to make us feel better but how when she wasn’t even having any transgender issues.
I told them I’d bought her lipstick reply again boys wear lipstick i couldn’t win no matter what I said but I’m a person that will not back down and say it how it is. I’ve argued with them as i don’t feel they helping the child with her mental issues only the transgender part of it all.
We have had 5 sessions with camhs and again blackmailing me saying if we let her go to transgender clinic in leeds she will get camhs till she’s 18 as we’ve only got 1 session left. Why do they want these children to go to clinic so quickly I’m not happy with any of the authorities that’s been involved in the last year even social services telling me I’ve got to call her the name she wants to be called. Bringing me phone numbers to contact mermaids.
Transgender youth club that she does go to which i want to stop her from going but then I feel I’ll be in trouble by social services. I feel now that this is where they brainwashing our children and the internet.
I will not sit and let these people let my 13 year old foster child go to this gender clinic till she is old enough to decide herself as i feel that authorities are deciding for her a child can’t drink alcohol till they 18 or even smoke but can decide to change sex at a early age.
To other parents who have a transgender foster child in there care don’t be afraid to tell them how you feel and how it is don’t let them make you feel guilty do your research and put it to them this is when they start getting aggressive towards you.
I will argue with these people till the child is old enough to make her own decisions but hopefully if i can get her away from it all camhs social services and these transgender youth clubs i might have a chance to let her see what they doing to her. As you can see from her childhood she was a vulnerable little girl who just wanted to be loved and just a bit of attention that she is getting but the wrong attention by the people who supposed to care.
Like i said at beginning I’ve known this little girl 7 years and was a proper girlie girl until she was taken away. I really think she thinks that if she changes her sex her past and childhood will be dissolved. This child needs help not kept telling she’s transgender and send her to the clinic. Stand up for your child.