The changing demographic of young people presenting to gender clinics has hit the headlines in recent years, with a flipping of the sex ratio from predominantly male to overwhelmingly female. The vast majority (>90%) of parents in Lisa Littman’s study had daughters. But what about the boys? They have certainly not disappeared from the numbers entirely, and sometimes appear to be overlooked when suggestions of social and online influence are concerned, as though young girls are the only ones susceptible to such pressures. There is mounting anecdotal evidence from parents and support groups that the number of boys is also increasing, also with similar, adolescent-onset presentations.
Online magazine Quillette has published this four part series talking to parents of sons. The stories of parents are all too familiar, but always heart wrenching, to us at Bayswater. They are open and brutally honest and handled with care by journalist Angus Fox. In the introduction, he talks about how he was allowed privileged access to their online parent support group and given a whistlestop tour of what it means to be a parent of a gender-distressed child. The essays contain multiple histories of parents trying desperately to support their children the best way they know how.
The articles are all essential reading, especially for parents of boys and young men.