This matters to me because my eldest son was very gender non conforming. He had an all-female friendship group at school; hated sport; did four dance classes a week; wore bright colours and nail varnish; and dressed-up as female characters on World Book Day and the Golden Jubilee – he made a lovely princess!
We always told him there’s no right way to be a boy and celebrated his confidence. His two best family friends were ‘trad’ boys and they are still his best friends today. He is now 16, wears mainly black and navy and alongside his one remaining dance class, he does weight training and plans to take up American football! He’s had a girlfriend, has a diverse friendship group and loves his life as a teen boy. He is horrified when he reads about gender non conforming kids like him being told they are the really the opposite sex. When I read about Mermaids CEO Susie Green’s child, who sounded just like my son as a toddler, my heart breaks. I firmly believe that you don’t really get to know yourself until after puberty.
If an adult wishes to transition, I hope they get the best care and support but children need to be allowed to grow up without being manipulated into fulfilling someone else’s idea of what is normal.
I have written to my MP and various Labour leadership candidates; signed petitions; attended Women’s Place UK and argued gently with friends (either young women or older men in the tech industry) although most of my friendship group and their children agree with me.
A friend from my MA course challenged me about liking ‘transphobic’ tweets. We had a brief, polite discussion and she unfollowed me.