Josephine 00:00:04:

Hi, I’m Josephine Hughes. I’m the mother of two transgender daughters who came out in their teens and early twenties.

The personal is political. When I first came across feminist arguments during my sociology degree, I knew my life had changed forever, and I would always view society through a different lens.

Since then, I’ve experienced a very personal change when my children came out as transgender. But increasingly, what was personal has become politicised during my recording of the third series of Gloriously Unready transgender issues have never been far away from the news. Sadly, identity politics are being used as a political football with no real consideration of the impact on transgender people and their families. So, in Gloriously Unready series three, I want to give people a voice to express their love for their transgender children and their transgender partners. Yet the podcast cannot exist in isolation from the political situation. And all my guests describe how they are affected. What I hope from this podcast series is to share that transgender people and their families are just human, just like the rest of us, and worthy of love and support. In this episode, I’m chatting with Helen McCarthy.

Helen’s worked in local BBC radio for over 25 years, and she’s one of the presenters of Time For Some LGBTea, where she shares her experiences of being the mum of a transgender young man and interviews gay and trans guests about their lives. I began my conversation with Helen by asking her to share her experience of her child coming out.

Helen McCarthy  00:02:16:

So from the age of, I’d say two, three years old, we were having discussions about, my child was called Rosie, and they wanted to be a boy. And so we talked about it and why and had great discussions with a three year old, as you can’t imagine it, but we did. And Rosie expressed themselves by wanting to do all these typical boy things. And their friends were always boys. They dressed like a boy, and if you would take them to a new nursery or a playgroup, the other kids would assume Rosie was a boy. And I always say they were never macho, and they’re not a macho kind of boy. They were always delicate, delicate, thin, but I guess kind of nerdy, you’d say. And they loved cars and computers and, yeah, video games and now all the Marvel stuff and all that, you know, it doesn’t have to be male, but Rosie was determined that she would be male, but she didn’t want to kick up a fuss.

Like, it was never. You know, it was just, I don’t want children. And she’d say that from very young, because when you are young, you’re surrounded with pregnant mothers at playgroups and nurseries and mother and baby groups. So it is a very real thing. So she would always say, I don’t want children. I don’t want to be pregnant, have children. And it was always a bit awkward, because no matter how liberal we think we are, I found the world very split into male and female. So just relatives buying presents they would buy Rosie a pink present, they would send a girl birthday card. And I’d called her a very girly name, which I have regretted ever since, because it has not suited them at all. So I must go back into them and they. So now Rosie is Parker. And in many ways, that has made things so much easier, because every time I would introduce the young Rosie, people would go, sorry. Because they’d already been saying he and him.

Josephine 00:05:07:

Oh, which probably, actually, they would have preferred, yeah.

Helen McCarthy  00:05:12:

Which, you know, Parker was completely happy with, and we were. But the poor person who’d been saying this was devastated. Nobody normally would like their little girl to be called a boy. So they were devastated. Very apologetic. It was always just awkward. And when you go into a shop to buy clothes, you know, we would just go to the male section. My husband did that.

I never would have done it because I’m female, but my husband was no problem. Let’s just go to the male. Which is funny, because I know other mothers who spent ages trying to work out how to do this, and it’s really just so simple. We would do that, but then the name again would come up and people would be, like, so apologetic. Sorry, I’ve just been talking to who I thought was your son, and it turns out it’s your daughter. But I’ve always been so impressed with other children. Other children have always just thought of Parker as male. Parker had lots of friends, all male, and still have the same friends now from when they were at primary. Actually, before that. They’re all away at uni now. So Parker’s away at uni, and it’s just been like a solid thing all the way through. When they were young, there was no word for that. I knew, I didn’t know trans. And so I just would say to people a lot, you know, they want to be a boy, and if you spent any time with Parker, you would realise that anyway. And everybody said, they’ll grow out of it. And I was not sure.

I never really thought Parker would grow out of it, and they never did.

Josephine 00:07:13:

So there was a specific time, wasn’t there, where they made it clear that this was who they were, I think wasn’t it? Sort of later on. Yeah, yeah.

Helen McCarthy  00:07:23:

I think when Parker was 15, they said, oh, no, they came out and they said to us, I’m non binary first. And Parker was really emotional about it, almost in tears. And for us it was like, well, yes, we’ve lived with you for 15 years, we do know this. But the thing that struck me, which I didn’t realise, is because I’d had all these discussions with Parker when they were two, three years old the first time, they can express a preference, like, they were not wearing any dresses, they were not interested in anything pink. They’d open it and give it straight to their sister. Poor thing. Always felt sorry for Parker. Straight over, no message.

Josephine 00:08:25:

Yeah. Really needed the boys stuff.

Helen McCarthy  00:08:28:

Yeah. But because we talked about it so much then we. I didn’t really talk about it with Parker for another twelve years or so. And Parker didn’t remember all those discussions. And so I think that’s why Parker felt like they were telling us something we didn’t know. And I can’t believe that they hadn’t overheard me talking to other mums either. Like in the school playground, mums would come up and say, you know, my little boy wants to invite Parker, but they’ll be the only girl at the party, is that okay? And I’d always be like, yeah. So I was, I felt really bad because Parker felt that they hadn’t been able to talk to us about it.

Josephine 00:09:20:

I spoke to them. For them, it was like this real sort of coming out moment. And they’d probably worried about telling you and everything. Like you said, they were quite tearful. And yet for you it was. No, it’s. This is, we’ve always known sort of thing.

Helen McCarthy  00:09:34:

Yeah, yeah, yeah, yeah. I’ve spent my life explaining to other people that you are non binary at the least. And then about a year or so later, they say, definitely trans.

Josephine 00:09:46:

Because it’s often like, almost sort of like, they’re on a journey, aren’t they? Exactly trying to, where they fit in, in a sense, you know, where do I fit in on this spectrum? You know, am I certainly sort of talking to some people they move through, you know, a boy. No, I’m non-binary, or, you know, I’m a girl. They sort of move along, don’t they? And they’re still very much working out where they are. I think sometimes, and I think sometimes actually, from talking to non binary people, they’ve sort of said, you know, I started off here, I thought maybe I was a lesbian, I was a butch lesbian. And then I actually realised I was a trans man. You know, like a process, isn’t it? So it sort of sounds like Parker’s been working out for themselves as well.

Helen McCarthy  00:10:28:

Yeah. And they’ve done a lot of that, looking at things on the Internet and Youtubers and things like that. But definitely, I would not say influenced by them. Just found out a bit of information, and they’ve never shown any inclination to talk to LGBT societies or in Leicester, we have a great LGBT centre, and I am one of those people who would always join a group, and I like socialising, but Parker’s very content with themselves, and so has never done that. And I’m sounding like it was very easy, but it wasn’t. It was awkward for me all the time, and I hated seeing Parker in tears when they couldn’t go. So at church, they’d have a sleepover. The girls would be in one room, the boys in the other, and they couldn’t go with the boys.

And that’s all their friends. They were always told, and they were in the scouts. And again, you can’t sleep in the boys tent at Scouts, when they went away with school, you can’t sleep with the boys. And that’s just basically saying you can’t. Everybody else can be with their friends, but you can’t.

Josephine 00:11:54:

Yeah. That’s hard.

Helen McCarthy  00:11:56:

Yeah. And that would make me cry, seeing Parker cry.

Josephine 00:11:54:

You can’t really explain it either, can you? Because for them, it’s so obvious that they feel, you know, they’re a boy, so why can’t they go with the boys? You know, it’s. Yeah. It must have been so confusing, in a sense, for them to be. To really be feeling like a boy and yet to be living in a girl’s body when they. It just wasn’t who they were. By the sounds of things.

Helen McCarthy  00:12:23:

I don’t think Parker ever seemed to have doubts about who they were. You know, I think it was clear they were a girl, but they wanted to be a boy, and there were things that they were allowed to do and things they weren’t allowed to do, and they’re not the sort of person who bothers so much about what they were. I mean, we had battles when they were two and three years old, but after that, what always shocked me was because Parker started school in a skirt. They wore a skirt all the way up till they went to secondary school and never asked to wear trousers. And what I think is that didn’t bother Parker. It was just a uniform. But the thing that bothered them was not being able to be with their friends.

Josephine 00:13:13:

Yeah, yeah. The sort of practical side of life as a. As a boy, in a sense. Yeah.

Helen McCarthy  00:13:18:

Yes. And they used to pretend to have, like, gonads or whatever, and, you know, when they were playing football, and they would go, oh, like I’ve just been hit, like the boys did!

Josephine 00:13:30:

So from a sort of very early age. And what I was thinking is that when, when they did come out, that. And when you said, well, yes, we sort of know how affirming that must have been for them, actually, that it was so clear to you as parents, and that. Because it’s so hard for people to come out, isn’t it? And yet you and your husband were there saying, yeah, you know, it’s okay. We know. And that must have been so. I don’t know, that must have meant an awful lot to them, because it’s so scary, I think, for kids to come out to their parents.

Helen McCarthy  00:14:05:

And they wanted to hear what they’d said when they were younger because they couldn’t remember. They were fascinated. That was a revelation.

Josephine 00:14:17:

Yeah, yeah. So, again, very affirming for them to realise that this was a very constant in their lives all the way through, from very early age.

Helen McCarthy  00:14:30:

Yeah, yeah, yeah.

Josephine 00:14:32:

Sort of solidified it, in a sense, I guess, from their point of view. This is. This isn’t like you say, people said they’re going to grow out of it, and they might have thought, is this just something I’m thinking? And then when you say, actually, you know, this has been all the way through, it must have been very affirming for them.

Helen McCarthy  00:14:48:

Yeah, yeah. And I guess they didn’t notice that they were always shopping in the male section, maybe. I don’t know. And if we ever split up. So I would go with the daughter and my husband would go with Parker, and that just was always. I don’t know why they never sort of noticed that or questioned that.

Josephine 00:15:14:

Yeah, it’s interesting, isn’t it? So how, if it’s okay, I don’t know if it’s okay to talk about or not, but how has your other daughter reacted to the change for her? Was it like, this is almost just a continuation of the way the family’s always been, or was it. Did she have any feelings of change after Parker came out?

Helen McCarthy  00:15:35:

No, I think it was this is always the way it’s always been, and it worked quite well because they were never like two girls sort of competing over anything.

Josephine 00:15:47:

She got the extra presents.

Helen McCarthy  00:15:49:

Yeah, yeah, yeah. And she just. They had completely different friends and, of course, like, a lot of siblings, it’s just really supportive, protective of Parker and very interested in justice, you know, and equality. Just very supportive, really. And it’s very useful to have another sibling because a lot of this is out there in popular culture, on the Internet. And so my daughter can bring us up to date on who is what, who is trans, who is not, and the wording at the beginning, the difference between sexuality and gender and all that kind of stuff, and she can shout at us about it. Yeah. Which is really helpful.

Josephine 00:16:48:

It is really helpful. Yeah. Yeah. So do you mind telling, if I ask you about sort of like, you know, you’ve mentioned church, haven’t you? So what was it like for you with Parker being trans? And what was your experience sort of within church?

Helen McCarthy  00:17:03:

So we were part of a big evangelical church, and it was. Took up a lot of our time and energy, and all our friends were in it. And I always had the odd suspicion about their attitude towards the gay community. But one day…we never had any problem while we were there, everybody knew Parker wanted to be a boy, and it was never any problem. But one day, a visiting speaker came from Northern Ireland, and they said something about it being wrong to be gay. And that’s the biggest issue in the church, and it’s going to blow the church apart. So we started talking about it more, and I realised a lot of them are brought up to think that if you’re gay, you can’t get married in the church.

And I realised this, looked into it more and more, and this is one of the biggest issues that is likely to split the Church of England. And around the same time. And because we were all talking about it, my daughter asked in the youth club, the youth club leader, what do you think about it? And he said, it’s wrong. So there was never any nastiness at all. But my husband and I, we were just so shocked. And we basically left the church. We just couldn’t reconcile the two things. People being so full of kindness and helping and volunteering, and then this one thing, so stuck on it.

And we immediately phoned. We knew gay priests that the head of the cathedral was openly gay, living an openly gay marriage. They always flew the pride flag over Leicester Cathedral, which is why I’d never realised it was such a big thing. So we phoned, you know, a gay priest we knew, and he was. He was so kind and basically said that there is a church in Leicester that is full of young gay people. And so we went to that, which was an education for me in the whole trans gay thing, a lot of them are trans as well, and big believers. And I went to a meeting.

There were so many, so many gay priests, vicars I didn’t realise, and openly and living with partners and accepted in little communities.

Josephine 00:19:34:

And that’s so lovely to, to actually, you know, hear that, isn’t it? I know, sort of when I’ve listened to your podcast, you’ve interviewed some of the people that you’ve met along the way, haven’t you? I found it a really, you know, from my own sort of church background as well, you know, to hear those interviews is actually really affirming. I found them really interesting that, quite, I mean, I think there’s one where a gay female vicar and her whole village turned out when she arrived.

Helen McCarthy  00:20:18:


Josephine 00:20:17:

And he just sort of thought it’s okay for so many people outside the church. So, you know, it’s really. I think within the church would be really helpful if we accepted people like that as well, you know, because it’s not. It’s so not a problem for other people a lot of the time, is it, that, you know, I think within the church we need to make it not a problem, but yeah.

Helen McCarthy  00:20:38:

Yes, yes, exactly. And they just celebrated ten years in that parish and they held another big party for them. So it is. It’s wonderful when you hear that. It’s politics, I was going to say.

Josephine 00:20:38:

I was going to say, because you are now more involved. I mean, obviously we’ve met each other and I’ve met your co-presenters who are just lovely, lovely people. Have you found yourself more involved in sort of like the gay community within Leicester since sort of this, this has happened with your family and more involved in.

Helen McCarthy  00:21:17:

Definitely, yeah, definitely. I’m down there at gay Pride every year. I was in the gay Pride magazine this year at work, you know, I’m a bit of an expert on it, on it now. And so it’s opened up quite a new world for me. And I do, you know, I work at the BBC and so I do realise it’s not simple for everyone. And I do realise people have been brought up in a certain way and have really strong beliefs, you know, and I know there’s a lot of controversy over women in sports, and even people who are feminists have got really good friends who are really feminists, who are not, who feel really uneasy about trans women being included as part of anything with women. So I do realise there’s a lot to work out yet.

Josephine 00:22:22:

You know, one of the questions I’ve got, and I’m sort of asking this for my guests, because, you know, one of the things that I really struggle with is obviously, and you especially must see this because, you know, you work in the news, is seeing so much that’s said about transgender issues. And I tend to find it quite upsetting, if I’m honest, to read quite a lot of what’s said, you know, obviously the jokes that are made in parliament. And, you know, also, I do follow the news in the US because I’ve got a daughter who lives in the US, and I find it really hard to read the news and to cope with it and to look at the politics without getting sort of really upset about it. And sometimes I think, you know, you get pushed into your own little echo chamber, don’t you? And I sort of think, you know, I sort of question myself and think, how can I listen to people who perhaps are on the other side of the divide? And by the sounds of it, you know, the way you talk about it, you do know you’ve got friends who are feminists, who are very sort of concerned about sort of the inclusion of trans women. I just wonder, how do you handle it? How do you handle the politics? And I suppose the graciousness, really, of being able to listen to people where perhaps, you know, when you’ve got a child, I certainly feel, with my child or my children, I feel quite threatened, you know, listening to women who are very worried about trans women in safe, you know, in spaces. How do you handle it personally

Helen McCarthy  00:23:53:

It’s like anything in news. We have a lot of training about looking at things objectively. And, you know, the BBC is famed for trying to balance both sides. And I’m also a Libra, and I, too, like to balance things. I know this is new. Well, no, people have been doing it for centuries. That’s another thing I’ve learned. People have been swapping sexuality, swapping gender for centuries.

So that was new for me. But the way it’s, you know, we talk about it now, the word transgender, and it is, is new. And I just see it like when people were first openly gay, and that was all being worked out, when women first came out of the home and were working and being at top of corporations, when the first woman was in parliament, when all these changes happen slowly, very slowly, and I look back at how far we have come, and I see it as progress. I’m very much an optimist, and I see that we are, in general, okay, in the west, being kinder to people, and I see that that can only get better. And the case for transgender people, being open about it will get better. And I am fortunate because I do go out on the street and ask people about this. So for my job, I literally ask people, what do you think about gay people, about transgender people? Because we do. We have to ask people about everything.

One of the things I get back is, it’s fine, but why do they have to make such a fuss about it? That seems to be one of the most common things. When we were younger, they’d just be cross dressers and they just go out at night, undercover darkness, you know, and everybody knew, but nobody would say anything. Why do they have to do this? And, of course I know, because if you’re going to change something and be open, you need to feel some place of safety and some protection, and there will always be, you know, people who disagree. What I don’t want is hostility. We’re on a long journey, and hopefully we keep going in a direction of kindness and understanding.

Josephine 00:26:46:

Yeah. Yeah, I think so. And I guess, you know, it’s interesting, isn’t it? Because you think people saying, why do they make a big thing of it? They just used to go out at night and hide. But I think now, you know, it’s a sign that actually people do feel more able to be themselves. And that’s progress, isn’t it, that people are openly coming out as transgender and openly living in their gender, so as opposed to, you know, doing it at night or hiding. And that’s, that’s progress in itself, isn’t it? So, from the point of view. Yeah.

Helen McCarthy  00:27:19:

And I understand, you know, people worry about children being influenced and all this. I understand all this. But as a mother, you also know that, you know, your child, it is just something that they either accept or they hide. It’s not something that will go away.

Josephine 00:27:46:

No. The thing I find is that I actually feel that, as a family, we’ve got closer since the kids came out because they sort of know they can be themselves, in a sense, and that’s helped them. They just know that it sort of underlined even more the fact that, you know, our love for them is unconditional. And even with my cis son, you know, there’s just that, like you say with your cis daughter, there’s that sort of strength and encouragement for their siblings in that protectiveness for them. And I think as a family, we’re actually closer because of this then, you know, than if they hadn’t come out. I don’t know if that’s your experience, as well.

Helen McCarthy  00:28:25:

Yeah, definitely. And at a time, I mean, I have been, you know, really fearful. Fearful for Parker and fearful about whether they would ever have a relationship, be totally confident in who they are. But I remember walking over to. To the gay pride festival, and I was reporting on it, and I met a trans lad and his mum, and she was just like, I’m so proud of him, you know, he’s great. And it almost brought me to tears. It was just so nice to see someone being so affirming of their child, and I didn’t know much about it then, and there’s a lot of, you feel fear, don’t you? You feel a lot of fear at the beginning. And actually so, for me, being in a gay trans church, which is a Church of England church, has been great because I see young trans people all around me every Sunday, being really happy in their relationships and. And in their lives. And I feel a little bit jealous that a lot of them had transition surgery and transitioned before austerity and longer, longer waiting lists. Parker has been on a waiting list for a few years, and they say now on. On the website, it says, don’t even don’t bother to call us and ask where you are on the waiting list. It won’t make any difference.

Josephine 00:30:01:

Yeah. Yeah. So how has Parker’s mental health been with that? Is that. Has it affected them from that point of view, you know, this long wait?

Helen McCarthy  00:30:12:

No, I don’t think so, because Parker is the most incredibly patient and kind person. You know, I’ve always thought Parker’s been a little bit lacking in confidence in themselves. What Parker wants is what they call top surgery. So that’s removing the breasts. I do think Parker would. I can see them becoming a lot more confident if that happens and they present as a male, you know, more of a male. When they first said they were trans, I really didn’t want them to have any surgery.

But I’ve seen these people, these other people who are trans, my friends at church, and how they’ve changed and how much more confident they are. For example, one of them, just losing so much weight and being fit and healthy. One thing that people who feel they’re in the wrong body, I’ve noticed they don’t like to do sports, swimming. These are people I know who are teenagers who feel awkward about their body, probably, anyway, and this makes it twice as awkward. So I’ve always known Parkers always got very awkward swimming, but they’ve always worn, like, a rash vest. But there are places where they don’t want you to, and they still don’t like it.

Josephine 00:31:40:

Yeah. That body dysmorphia could get in the way of them being able to participate in sport. Yeah, yeah, yeah. I didn’t know any other trans people. Didn’t really come into contact with many trans people, but actually, as a result of, you know, doing the podcast and stuff and meeting trans people as a result of that, it was so helpful to meet people. And I think because, you know, you just realise these are just everyday, normal human beings, often really lovely human beings, because, you know, they’ve been through a lot to get to this place where they’re able to come out and, like you say, to see them living happy, fulfilled lives in relationships, in work, it’s just really reassuring. I think when you do meet people like this and, you know, we’re sort of, like about nine years in now, and, you know, both our kids have got partners.

They’re both happily, you know, in their relationships, happy at work. You know, they’re living their lives, and that’s all that transgender people are asking for, really, isn’t it? It’s just the opportunity to. To live their lives in peace, really. But just in that. That gender that feels the right who they are, so. Yeah.

Helen McCarthy  00:32:53:

Yeah. That is. That is so, so nice.

Josephine 00:32:57:

Yeah. So if you had any advice for parents who are just, you know, who are listening, who, I do have quite a few parents who listen right at the start, you know? So when you’re first told, what advice do you think you would give them if their child of any age has just come out?

Helen McCarthy  00:33:16:

I think I would say to learn as much as you can and meet other trans people if you can. Yeah. The more you know about something, the less fearful you are of it. And I was interested in your husband’s interview on your podcast. If they have surgery, the rate of people who are unhappy with what’s happened is much lower with trans surgery than it is for most other surgeries. And, you know, I don’t know where those statistics are from, but also, you’ve said to me before, if it goes wrong, things go wrong. You know, people make mistakes in their life a lot. Although I think by the time you get to that stage and you’ve waited so long, you are probably pretty sure, yeah.

You’re not going to change your mind or regret it because it’s such a long wait. They’re adults by the time they have it. I do almost have a curiosity to see Parker as a male, as more of a male in the body, but I’m so pleased that they’re just living away from home on their own. And like you said about your children, it’s just so nice just to see them living their lives, having relationships, enjoying what they do. They’re just living their lives.

Josephine 00:34:58:

Yeah, I know for other parents as well. I’ve spoken to someone and she said, you know, it’s so lovely to hear, like you said when you, you met that person at the Pride festival, the other mum at the Pride festival saying I’m just so proud of them because I think sometimes, especially given the sort of political situation, sometimes people can feel like shame because of their child being, being trans or, you know, feel that they can’t talk about it because there’s a lot of kickback, perhaps. And this, this woman said to me, so it’s so lovely to see a mum out there who is, you know, proud of her kids and who is willing to talk about them. And I think this is, this is actually what it’s all about, really. It’s about humanising that we are just normal moms with normal kids who just happen to have this difference, but that doesn’t, you know, they’re still just normal kids, really, aren’t they? And with all this sort of things that young adults, concerns and things that they want to do and going out and all that sort of stuff that any other young adult wants to do.

Helen McCarthy  00:36:02:

Yeah, it’s really hard. If you don’t know any other trans people or gay people and they’re such a small percentage of the population, there’s a good chance you don’t know any. And it can be isolating and you’re surrounded with relatives who as a mum, you’ve got to do all the explaining to the relatives most of the time. And a lot of people, they don’t want to talk about it. They don’t want to get into a discussion because they don’t know enough and they don’t really want to offend you, but really they just feel negatively about it. So that is hard.

Josephine 00:36:41:

Yeah. Yeah. Because you do take the burden of telling people and also protecting the child, your, your child from any negative things that people might say. And sometimes it can be hard, can’t it? You know, with perhaps older relatives who don’t really get it or. I was lucky, but yeah, I think that can happen, can’t it?

Helen McCarthy  00:37:01:

So it’s relatives you don’t see very often. I think it’s harder. But, yeah, I don’t know if there are other support groups out there for parents and trans children. Have you ever come across any?

Josephine 00:37:16:

There are, I mean, there’s Mermaids, obviously, and I think there’s quite a few, like you say, sort of on a local basis. There’s usually something going on locally, and that can often be somewhere where you could go. And, I mean, certainly local to me, there’s a local trans group where. Where parents can go as well and meet other parents, meet other trans people. So I think it’s worth looking and seeing if there’s anything locally going on as well. So thank you, Helen. Thanks so much for coming along and telling us all about Parker and your own experiences of being the mum of a trans non-binary person. And, you know, it’s been really lovely to see you again.

Helen McCarthy  00:37:56:

It’s so lovely to speak to you. I think you’re doing a fantastic job, and I love this podcast. It really is important to show some kind of, you know, normality, as you say, for when you’re a mum. You’re a mum.

Josephine 00:38:14:

Yeah, that’s it. You still love your kid, and you want the best for them. Thank you so much.

Helen McCarthy  00:38:20:

Oh, my pleasure. My pleasure.

Josephine 00:38:24:

I found Helen’s family experience very interesting because her son was someone who’d always had a clear view of themselves as belonging to the opposite sex. One of the stereotypes about transgender men is that they are really confused gay young women. But Helen’s story illustrates that this was not the case for her child. It was always obvious. I don’t think it could have been easy for Helen and her husband to navigate this, especially while their child was young. But what shines through this interview is Helen’s willingness to accept her child and to allow them to express themselves as they are. It seems to me that the result of this is a well balanced young person who is living their best life knowing that they have the support they need.

And that’s a really reassuring message for those of us who are new to having transgender children.