Posted in Big Kids, Developmental Disorders, LGBTQ

How to help autistic gender exploring tween?

So 8 months ago my 10 year old high functioning Aspergers kid, female by birth, confessed to me that they hate being a girl, dread puberty and want medical intervention to prevent it, and identify as neither male nor female. I am having a hard time understanding them, respecting their non binary wish to be called they and child. They cut their hair boy short, dress like a boy and have expressed feeling a lot more male than female though still claim to be a neutral gender. They want to change their name to a gender neutral one and demand that we use the singular form of “they” when referring to them. They also have expressed wanting puberty blockers, to bind their breasts, and to eventually get chest surgery and take testosterone. I worry about their future being autistic and transgender. Could they be more marginalized? And how the hell do I support my child through this? We are doing our best to get to speed and are fully accepting of their gender divergency, as well as neurological differences, and they feel very accepted and valued, but I still worry constantly. What can I do to support them more and come to terms with having a kid who is two types of “different?”

  • Andrea
    Mar 20

    I have no first hand experience here, but just wanted to say that it sounds like you are doing an amazing job loving and supporting you child! I don’t know any specifics, but have you looked into LGBT youth and or family support programs? I’m certain that there are plenty here in NYC that could help you navigate through this very sensitive and transformative time in their life. I hope that someone has some relevant first hand advice but I will say that from the sounds of it, you’re doing great!

  • B
    Mar 20

    Have you looked into therapy? For them and you. Not try to stop it therapy, but try to help them explore and understand it. Seems a good first step before meds and permanent changes (which from friends I understand doctors won’t consider without therapy first)

  • Maxine
    Apr 14

    I’d be asking where this came from. It’s a trajectory that’s hard to come back from. I have a friend that said he thought he could be gay when he was a kid because of the way another man treated him. He said that he thought maybe the guy saw something “gay” in him that made him doubt his sexuality. I believe the first step is to try and find out if this is the result of something specific. Also, help your little one understand how hormones will affect the body in the long run and if this is important enough to take those risks this early. Aspi’s are usually very intelligent and logical and can be reasoned with so that logic and reason can help make these big decisions. Aspi’s can also tend to hyper focus on one thing and can need a lot of help navigating through life situations like this. Keep up what you’re doing, but also don’t forget that you are the parent and the adult. While you want to be supportive, you also have to be the voice of reason and logic just in case this is just an exploration.