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Trans

World’s best mum is ‘incredibly proud’ of her trans son, who she homeschools after he faced relentless transphobic bullying

Vic Parsons March 15, 2020
Court overrules mother to allow 16-year-old access to hormone therapy

(Anatoliy Cherkasov/SOPA Images/LightRocket via Getty)

The mum of a transgender teenager has spoken out about the relentless bullying her trans son faced at school and how it led to her homeschooling him.

Maggie – not her real name – now homeschools her son, because the bullying he faced from his peers for being trans was so bad that he kept running away from school and eventually refused to go at all.

An ex-teacher herself, Maggie has described how the transphobic bullying was made worse by teachers who struggled to use the correct pronouns for her trans son.

Consistently using the correct name and pronouns for trans people can reduce their rates of anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts to almost the same levels as their cisgender counterparts.

Heartbreakingly, Maggie has also had to cut ties with friends and family who don’t support her decision to love and care for her child, who is 13.

“Without transphobia, my son would be able to hang out near his friend’s house without fear of being beaten up, spat at and yelled at by children from his previous school and their friends,” Maggie told Birmingham Live.

“He wouldn’t be banned from certain friend’s houses, or [have to] pretend he’s a girl at others. My son would be able to go to school.”

Maggie’s son first became depressed at the age of eight, but neither mother nor child knew what was wrong.

At 11, he came out to her – first as non-binary and then, a few weeks later, as a boy.

“He said he’d only said he was non-binary because he was worried about telling me,” Maggie said.

“I was surprised but relieved too because it was finally starting to answer questions. His gender really made no difference to me.

“Obviously, I was worried about other people’s reactions, but ultimately I was incredibly proud of him and I felt honoured that he could talk to me about it.

“He was very happy when he came out and I think we both thought life would suddenly be easier, but you just get a whole new set of worries.”

Her son faced relentless bullying at school for being trans, which meant he became isolated, started running away from school and started self-harming.

Almost half of young trans people have attempted to die by suicide, according to Stonewall research.

Maggie, who lives in the east of Birmingham, spoke out about how different she and her son’s lives would be if it wasn’t for the transphobic bullying.

“He was running away from school a lot of the time, or I’d be called to pick him up.

“He’d be called names and teased and teachers struggled to change pronouns.

“I’d be coming out every day or two to pick him up.

“Then it got to the point where he just wouldn’t go to school. So as an ex-teacher I thought the best thing to do would be to put my business on hold and home-school him so he wouldn’t be in trouble for something that wasn’t his fault.”

Her advice for other parents of trans kids is to “let your child guide you, reach out to any trans adults you may know, or join LGBTQ groups”.

She also recommended seeking advice from the older generation of trans people, and “not let friends and family tell you you’re wrong, or that you’ve pushed it onto your child”.

“You are the parent and know your kid better than anyone.”

The Samaritans are the UK’s suicide reduction charity and their free helpline number is 116 123.

More information about supporting trans children can be found on Mermaids website.

More: trans kids, trans teens, transphobia, transphobic bullying

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