User’s Guide | Rules | Contact a Moderator | Registration or Login Problems? | Eating Disorders Learning Center | F.E.A.S.T.



Custom Search of F.E.A.S.T. and Forum Content:
Register Latest Topics
 
 
 


Reply
  Author   Comment  
Playball40

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 264
Reply with quote  #1 
I've read somewhere that children that have gender identity or gender dysmorphia are prone to eating disorders and self mutilation.  Does anyone have any real evidence of this?  How do we know it isn't the other way around and that eating disorders can lead to gender identity issues?

Before my daughter became ill (she was very young when symptoms first appeared) she didn't seem to suffer from depression or low self esteem or social anxiety.  She was outgoing, definitely a perfectionist, competitive and hyper sensitive to injustice.   After she became ill, she could no longer look people in they eyes.  When they spoke to her, her head went down.  She stopped being outgoing and became very introverted.  She also is going through middle school - blech.  After she got sick she asked me to cut her hair short (it was also weak and thin back then).  She was often mistaken for a boy back then (and still is occasionally).  She tends to Cosplay as male characters but then again, that's not unusual given how many lead characters are men.  She questioned her sexual orientation, but seemed content with not really having a preference (since she's just 13). 

Out of the blue this week she said that she's a transgendered boy.  She said she likes to wear boys clothes, prefers short hair and feels more comfortable presenting as a boy.  She said she has no idea what her sexual orientation is and again said she's not worried about it.  

I though transgendered children knew or showed signs much earlier.  I also though gender can be fluid (with many people choosing different presentations at different times).  I admit, I'm 51 years old and NOT up on the variations of gender identities and sexual orientations as I suspect more young people are, but neither do I have any prejudice or concerns with them either.  I'm a tree hugging liberal through and through. 

However, should she/he be putting himself/herself into such a box at this age, especially when she is still battling anorexia?  Do you think the ED has any connection or is she/he just going through the process of trying to figure out who she/he is?  As far as how he/she presents, I do not care - her/his name is gender neutral so that doesn't change and hair/clothes are a who cares!  But once school starts it may become more challenging.  Also, her puberty was delayed due to the ED, but is now catching up - she/he mentioned taping down her chest.  Does anyone have any experience with this and any insight they can provide me?  I don't want to say/do something wrong here. 

__________________
Caroline
Foodsupport_AUS

Avatar / Picture

Lead Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 3,116
Reply with quote  #2 
I have read about the increased incidence of eating disorders and transgender children/adolescents too. I found this article : http://www.mdedge.com/pediatricnews/article/131620/mental-health/eating-disorders-transgender-youth

It sounds like your D/S has taken you by surprise, without you previously having been considered this before. Of those I have met whose children are transgender this is not the norm. Those parents suspected for some time that is what was happening.  Puberty does seem to be a time when this is expressed, often in relation to dealing with a changing body which can make things feel all the more urgent. That being said it sounds as though your child is in a family that will accept and love him/her which ever is chosen. You can only do your best, and I don't think there is a script to follow. 


__________________
D diagnosed restrictive AN June 2010 age 13.5. Weight restored July 2012. Relapse and now clawing our way back. Treatment: multiple hospitalisations and individual and family therapy.
sk8r31

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 1,228
Reply with quote  #3 
Food Support has given you a resource to consult and some wise words to consider.

I think your d is still relatively 'early days' in recovery, and brain healing can take some time.  Not to say that she/he isn't needing to explore gender identity, just that it can take quite a bit longer than one realizes for ED not to have an effect on behaviors/thinking.  Throw in puberty, and you've got quite a hormonal cocktail!!

You and your family sound like such loving, accepting parents that no matter how your child grows & matures & discovers true identity, you are a perfect support.

Sending warm thoughts to you,
sk8r31

__________________
It is good to not only hope to be successful, but to expect it and accept it--Maya Angelou
Torie

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 4,431
Reply with quote  #4 
I dunno, Playball.  Gender issues came up here on the forum a few years ago.  My d had had crushes on several boys, but never an actual boyfriend.  With AN came a girlfriend.  Now she has a boyfriend.  Someone else here reported similar gender confusion.  (My d doesn't know if she is cis, bi or what.)  Personally, I suspect hormones play a role in ED.  If you figure it out, please let us know. xx

-Torie

__________________
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
trusttheprocessUSA

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,453
Reply with quote  #5 
"Moreover, anorexia - along with other eating disorders - is reported to hit the transgender community relatively hard; around 16 percent of transgender college students reportedly have an eating disorder."

This quote came from this new medical report. You can research or I'd contact the author.


http://www.medicalnewstoday.com/articles/317441.php

__________________
Son diagnosed @ 12.5 yrs old with Severe RAN 2/11. Co-morbids - anxiety, Active restriction for 3 months. He stopped eating completely 2x. He needed immediate, aggressive treatment from a provider who specialized in eating disorders, adolescents and males. We got that at Kartini Clinic. WR since 5/11. 2017 getting ready to graduate slipping lost 8lbs. Fighting our way back.
toothfairy

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,440
Reply with quote  #6 
Hi Playball
I think that I would acknowledge & validate her words & feelings.
I would have a completely open mind & play it very delicately by ear!
The other thing, I would do all possible to push her weight right up..fast, to get her into proper solid recovery ...
I have heard of AN girls before that were in the active phase of illness being upset about getting breasts & taping them down as the sufferers felt fat with them or didnt want to grow...
Who knows??!
For now though Food is her medicine.
IMHO

__________________
Son,DX with AN, (purging type) age 13 in October 2015 ,  (4 months immediate inpatient) , Then FBT at home since.and making progress every day. He is now in good recovery, and Living life to the full like a normal teen. We are not completely out of the woods yet, but we can see the light at the end of the tunnel, thanks to ATDT. Hoping to get him into full recovery and remission one day at a time.
skechers

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 236
Reply with quote  #7 
Playball, I am now an expert on this very issue. Please heed what I say. This is dangerous territory your d is heading into.

First a little background. My d became anorexic at 13. She is now almost 18 and her ED is well under control I am glad to say. However, my child has always had mental health issues. She is gifted, which is actually not such a gift. SHe has anxiety, depression, has self harmed, social anxiety, and has always never quite fit in.

We never had any gender issues and my d has always expressed herself (on her own) in typical girl fashion. In her junior year of high school she started hanging with some LGBT kids at school. No problem. I thought. There's a whole new thing now in middle, high school and even college where gender is being dissected and there is no more just male and female. There is now a spectrum and you have to figure out where you are on that spectrum. Last year my d told me that the girls she was now friends  with were no longer "shes" but preferred the prounoun "they". I watched her Tumblr page and all of a sudden she was claiming to have gender dysphoria and thought she was gender fluid. Then this morphed into her declaring she was transgender about a year ago. She cut her hair, changed her style of dress and borrowed a binder from her transgender friend. This friend was holding sessions to discuss the gender identity and all the "girls" my daughter was now friends with all decided they were boys. Olivia became "Mitch" Julia became "Nova" first, and now is "Max" and is using the boys locker room. Then there's Lauren who is now "Ren." I understand that transgenderism is extremely rare, but there is a whole movement out there now where entire friend groups of girls are now thinking they are boys. What's really scary is that some of these girls are not just cutting their hair and wearing boy clothes, but are taking puberty blockers, testosterone and having double mastectomies. My d's transgender friend "Jack" became transitioning in 9th grade and last summer had a double mastectomy before heading off to college. My d was convinced that because she's always had such a hard time being in her own skin that she must be transgender. Well, I reacted like I did when I found out she was anorexic. I looked to find a forum of loving parents in a similar situation. I did find a good group finally, and like this forum, there are so many similarities among our girls that are leading down this path. Lots of traits that lead to ED also are leading many girls to think they are boys. Giftedness, autism spectrum, being a lesbian. When my d told me she was jealous of her friend who had a mastectomy and told me she wanted one I just knew in my gut this was wrong. I am not transphobic, but I know my child and she has never acted like a boy. She just has such a hard time fitting in with girls. Her history of ED and self harm are all ways of her acting out because she doesn't like who she is. BUt she is a girl. Unfortunately, you are going to hear from the mainstream and well meaning adults that you should affirm her gender and just let her do what she wants. I says this is a mistake. Unfortunately, even gender therapists are accepting a child's self diagnosis and ordering hormones within a few visits. My d is finally coming away from all this craziness, but not entirely out of the woods. I would be happy to talk to you if you want to emails me. The website where caring parents have shared views is 4thwave if you care to visit. Please be very careful whatever you do. I've lived this nightmare for a year so I feel I have probably the best advice to offer.


mjkz

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,214
Reply with quote  #8 
I wouldn't pay much attention to it to be honest.  Your daughter developed an eating disorder.  The changes you describe are very characteristic of someone who is eating disordered and you have said on here in the past that she is not weight restored so the fact that she is still showing those changes is not surprising.   Until she is weight restored and her brain has a chance to heal, she is going to be searching for clues to her identity.  A lot of kids who have an eating disorder have that become part of their identity (especially longer term sufferers).  When they are weight restored, they end up searching for who they really are and transgendered seems to be the current flavor of the month and is in the news a lot.

I grew up with a transgendered kid.  This didn't just appear one day.  He was born Erica but went by Eric from Day 1 and it was no surprise to anyone when Erica came out as Eric.  He has had gender reassignment surgery now but it was pretty apparent to those who knew him well that he was trans.  He didn't just wake up one day after a major medical/psychiatric illness and decide she was a he.
Kali

Avatar / Picture

Moderator
Registered:
Posts: 630
Reply with quote  #9 
Playball40,

I would suggest at this point that the anorexia is the most important thing to be focusing on. She/he is 13, and young yet and time will tell how she/he feels about gender as she/he grows older. 

I have an old and very dear friend whose son has been transitioning for the past few years, and she wrote the most beautiful letter to all of her family and friends when it first became apparent that he would be choosing this path.

It was an explanation and introduction to her son and was one of the most loving and supportive and brave letters I have ever known a parent to write. Her son is thriving and is the same wonderful, exceptional, creative, kind person he always was except that he is now a he.

I saw him a few weeks ago and he looks wonderful and seems very comfortable with his life. And he is lucky that he has had a supportive, loving and accepting family who have been there for him during a challenging time making a life altering decision.

I'm sure you will do the best for your child and be there for her/him. 

Best wishes,

Kali

__________________
Food=Love
admum

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 56
Reply with quote  #10 
I don't know the answer. My d was dx ednos 18 months ago. She had also declared herself non binary. She cut her hair and dyed it different colours. She has quite a few non binary and LGBT friends. She also talked of having a mastectomy. She didn't want to be a boy but didn't feel right as a girl. She was diagnosed with severe body Dysmorphic disorder and after a lot of specialist treatment is so much better. My d is also ASD. I understand that there are high numbers of ASD kids in the uk transgender clinics. I am glad we never went to one of those as I fear it may have put her on a path. I think that she was going through internal chaos caused by the ED and BDD. Since she has got better there is no more talk of non binary. She now likes herself. She accepts flaws. I think the ASD also played a role.
Playball40

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 264
Reply with quote  #11 
I want to thank you all for your replies.  My gut is telling me this is more ED related than gender related, but I also know I can't say that to my daughter who tells me that "you think EVERYTHING is ED related".  She actually got angry that I searched my phone for "short gender neutral haircuts" as she said I'm 'refusing to accept who she is...." 

Both my daughters seem to be hell-bent on 'catching' me NOT being politically correct these days - It's really VERY frustrating because I'm extremely open minded and liberal and always have been.  But I've also been 13 before and remember grappling with my own identity (I seemed to idolize non-conforming men - Tim Curry (Frank n Furter, David Bowie, Elton John and one of my first experiences was with my BFF at the time - we were both 14 and drank too much).  Either way, I DO remember wondering 'what I was' at that time in my life and I didn't have an eating disorder to contend with too.

Sigh...so we agreed to go to a new therapist that works with adolescents that may be questioning their identities/orientation but also agree not to take any drastic measures to 'change' anything until we get through and past anorexia.  She's agreed to help me double up on her eating/getting her weight up. 

__________________
Caroline
Torie

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 4,431
Reply with quote  #12 
Quote:
Originally Posted by Playball40
Both my daughters seem to be hell-bent on 'catching' me NOT being politically correct these days - It's really VERY frustrating because I'm extremely open minded and liberal and always have been.  [/QUOTE

Yes, well, it's a good bet that they know that.  Another good bet that they are well aware that that is not true of all their friends' parents. 

Sounds like you are making good and sensible decisions.  And making progress against AN.

Onward and upward.  xx

-Torie
__________________
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
skechers

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 236
Reply with quote  #13 
Please be careful with selecting your therapist. I would suggest not taking her to a gender specialist. Let me explain why.

First let me say that all of us on this ED forum know what it's like to get bad advice from a so-called ED specialist and how damaging this can be in our efforts to help our child. I've had so called ED specialist tell me to just wait and see if my d eats on her own. I've had nutritionists try to prescribe a 1500 a day calorie healthy diet to an anorexic 13 year old.

Things can go just as wrong if you select a gender specialist who takes the current accepted approach of simply affirming your d's self diagnosis that she is a different gender. I know this sounds crazy, but this seems to be the standard approach these days in many places.

I'm not sure what state you live in, but I'm here in NY and we have a law that prohibits health insurance companies from paying for "conversion" therapy. I used to think conversation therapy was just trying to change someone's sexuality. It's not anymore. It now includes sexual orientation or "gender identity." SO here is NY, therapists cannot even suggest to your child that they may not really be a different gender, but perhaps there's another mental health reason for their dysphoria or confusion. Here in NY the therapist can only help a child who claims to be transgender transition to the desired sex.

Your d sounds like mine did. If you didn't blindly accept her self diagnosis that she was all of a sudden a boy, then you were transphobic and out of touch. There is so much transgender culture on Tumblr, YouTube and other social media that kids know just what to say to a therapist to convince them that they are transgender, even if it's not true.

My d said she developed her ED because she was not allowed to present as a boy. Total fabrication on her part. Total rewrite of history. She never tried to "present as a boy" until 3 years after ED.

Please, please be careful. There are so many unhelpful gender therapists out there. At the very least have a one on one conversation with this person about what approach they will take before you let your child near them.

mjkz

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,214
Reply with quote  #14 
Quote:
Sigh...so we agreed to go to a new therapist that works with adolescents that may be questioning their identities/orientation but also agree not to take any drastic measures to 'change' anything until we get through and past anorexia. 


I'd go with a professional who knows eating disorders and get that taken care of first prior to sending her to a therapist who works with adolescents questioning their identities/orientation.  Totally with Skechers on this one.  This whole trans thing sounds like a tangent that will keep your attention off where you really want to end up.  I know it can be tempting to let them explore things like this especially when you are so exhausted with refeeding and it sounds like she is superficially agreeing to increase her weight to explore this.  You can still increase her weight and not give yourself this headache.  It is totally up to you if you want to go down this avenue but I really think it is just going to prolong what has already taken a long time.
admum

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 56
Reply with quote  #15 
Today my daughter (16) had her prom. She has gained a lot of weight. In fact she told me herself as I hadn't weighed her. She looks good. She is way above what was recommended but she doesn't look overweight. Hey she is still only a size 8 Uk. But she is so much better. Her bdd score less than a year ago was severe. Now it's insignificant. Her attitude has changed. I am so glad I listened to the mums hear who said state not weight. 2 years ago she would not have gone to prom wearing a beautiful dress. I have no issue with LGBT. My son is gay. If she is transgender we will accept. I am however convinced that the complex mix of ASD ed and bdd may have fuelled these thoughts in her case. Treat the ED and other MH then reassess?
Playball40

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 264
Reply with quote  #16 
Again thank you all.  Many of you have said what I've been thinking.  I know this sounds stupid as I don't live in a small rural town, but I'm having a problem FINDING a therapist that my d will even talk to.  She had one for over a year - it was going nowhere.  Now, I've taken her to several that specialize in ED and nope, she won't say a word.  Says she not 'comfortable' with him/her and 'assumes every problem she has is ED'.  She's getting so belligerent.  I know you said NOT to take her to a therapist that works with kids with gender/orientation (BTW this therapist 'says' she works with ED as well - I've found most are clueless) but she NEEDS to be talking to someone.  Someone that can give her tips/tricks in dealing with triggers, emotions, depression, cutting urges, anxiety.

We ARE still re-feeding here at home (she seems to have hit a plateau - I need to find a way to increase calories again).  But for me, that is still the focus. 

__________________
Caroline
Torie

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 4,431
Reply with quote  #17 
Playball, if I could be so bold ... I would suggest you look for a therapist who focuses on teaching coping techniques rather than some sort of traditional-ish talk therapy.  Does anyone in your area offer CBT or DBT? xx

-Torie

__________________
"We are angels of hope, of healing, and of light. Darkness flees from us." -YP 
Playball40

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 264
Reply with quote  #18 
Not bold at all Torie - I did find a DBT but they only had 'group' classes.  She attended once and walked out.
__________________
Caroline
mjkz

Avatar / Picture

Caregiver
Registered:
Posts: 1,214
Reply with quote  #19 
Quote:
I did find a DBT but they only had 'group' classes.  She attended once and walked out


I'd make the mandatory before starting with another therapist quite honestly.  My daughter refused to do DBT and making her attend was one of the best moves I ever made for her long-term recovery and mental health.  I also attended a family DBT sessions and it was extremely helpful.  Just being there even unwillingly was helpful for my daughter.  That would be an excellent place for her to go this summer.
Previous Topic | Next Topic
Print
Reply

Quick Navigation:

Easily create a Forum Website with Website Toolbox.

F.E.A.S.T. Families Empowered and Supporting Treatment of Eating Disorders
is a 501(c)3 charitable organization committed to maintaining the Around the Dinner Table forum as a FREE service for any caregiver of a loved-one with an eating disorder.

P.O. Box 1281 | Warrenton, VA 20188 USA

US +1 855-50-FEAST | Canada +1 647-247-1339 | Australia +61 731886675 | UK +443308280031 

This forum is sponsored by F.E.A.S.T., an organization of parents serving parents and caregivers of patients of all ages with anorexia, bulimia, and other eating disorders. Information and advice given on this forum does not necessarily represent the policy or opinion of F.E.A.S.T. or its volunteers and is meant to support, not replace, professional consultation.

F.E.A.S.T. is registered as a nonprofit organization under section 501(c)(3) of the United States Internal Revenue Code.

Terms of Use | Privacy Policy | Community Rules | Forum Rules | F.E.A.S.T. Principles | YMadmin | WTadmin
Custom Search of F.E.A.S.T. and Forum Content: