Insistent. Persistent. Consistent.

Thinking beyond the guidelines when navigating the transgender journey

“We are like islands in the sea, separate on the surface but connected in the deep.”
― William James

Insistent.  Persistent.  Consistent.  Community standards generally use these descriptions of behavior as a guideline or indicator that a child is serious about their gender identity.

That being said, the absence of insistent, persistent and consistent articulation of one’s gender identity does not necessarily imply that a child is cisgender and not transgender.  It worries me that, if a child does not fit this guideline, they may be disregarded.  I was none of these – ever.  I was inconsistent, wishy washy, and unsure.  I am still trans. 

Backtracking or showing uncertainty and hesitation is normal.  One day they may feel like a boy then a girl the next day.  Many people do not have a clear path.  It can be confusing to watch somebody present feminine one day then masculine the next but there is no right or wrong way to do gender or be transgender and many people need to experiment with what feels right.

 It is okay to feel like a man, woman, neither or both.  It is ok to not know.

Apprehension and hesitation to move forward can exist.  Trans people, even children are acutely aware of opening up a can of worms as there is no way of knowing how people will react, how their lives will change, if friends will be accepting, how they will navigate schools or which restrooms to use.  Sometimes even if their present way of life is not gender affirming, it feels less scary to stay with what is most comfortable.  Often, trans people test the waters before moving forward.  As stressful as it is, you are under their microscope as they feel out your level of acceptance.

Your child does not need to be 100% certain for you to validate and believe them. Rarely in life is anybody 100% certain.  Another scenario is that kids can question gender, even go on hormones or blockers then decide that was not for them.  This does not invalidate transgender people nor does it mean that the child or parents made a mistake.  On the contrary, it shows adaptability, flexibility and growth.

It might help to remember that at this point/age nobody is making permanent decisions.   By letting a child present as the gender that they feel they are, you are giving them freedom to be themselves rather than forcing permanent change upon them.  Children are able to know themselves better than adults think they do.  By the age of 2, children have a concept of gender.    

Especially as adults, when things feel difficult, we want to be certain so we can feel validated in our decisions.  When things are changing, we want definitions so we know how to orient ourselves. We create labels so we know how to relate to each other.  We follow guidelines so we can avoid being wrong. 

Remove labels, definitions, certainty and expectations and what we have left is movement through time and change. Have faith and believe in the ones you love as they are in this moment.

Honor their identity as it develops over time.  This builds unconditional love and a foundation of resiliency.  With that foundation the future is manageable no matter what it brings.


Published by Christian

I am a Certified Life Coach at Out and Proud Life Coaching, LLC. I coach and mentor transgender adults and parents with transgender children from all over the world. I help transgender adults through all stages of transition and I help parents navigate their personal journey to gain the understanding needed to best support their child. Please visit chrisjcoach.com or on Facebook at Out and Proud Life Coaching to learn more or sign up for a free 30-minutes session so we can get to know one another!

4 thoughts on “Insistent. Persistent. Consistent.

  1. I am so happy that children now are aware that there are other options than being cisgender. That gender is a spectrum vs a binary. Being an Xer, I was unaware that such things existed until the ripe age of 35! Then my personal journey started as I began my transition 8 years ago. This came as a huge surprise to all in my life, as I tried so hard to be the perfect woman, while feeling like I was play acting some part that someone else had written for me. When my mother found out, her first words were about how I didn’t ‘exhibit any of the signs’ of being trans as a child. When there is no other option, when you are told that this is what you are expected to be, of course you will try to behave the way society is telling you.

    Liked by 2 people

    1. Hi Hart, thanks for sharing a bit of your story! It makes me happy that you have found a more comfortable place outside the binary and I support you 100%! I can relate to much of what you shared so you definitely aren’t alone! People naturally have misconceptions about being trans which makes it even harder for people like us when we try to come out. By the way, in the somewhat near future, I will be incorporating stories from guest bloggers because I want other people’s voices to be heard. If this is something that interests you, feel free to email me at ChristianJCoach@gmail.com or find me on Facebook. Stay in touch!

      Liked by 1 person

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