SL Letter of the Day: My Son's Missing Out

Comments

1
I wish your son every kind of well, and am so impressed with your supportive attitude.

Obviously your son is going to have to navigate a specific set of difficulties; everyone does. I would only point out that his mindset will matter a great deal. "He seriously believes that his past will not allow him to [be sexual]" will become a self-fulfilling prophesy as he starts to interpret ordinary romantic disappointments as proof of his theory. People tend to find what they expect to find. If he sincerely believed he had the sexual future he hopes for, he'd interpret ordinary flirting as proof of that too.

Negotiating new sexuality is hard in general, with plenty of proof for whatever belief someone starts out with, but if he could spend some time with role models (trans-people who are getting plenty, or a shrink who can convince him that his sexual future can be abundant), he won't get into a negative feedback loop of belief and proof.
2
Best wishes to your son. May he find a good therapist to help him on his journey, and may he find many positive role models. He already has two in his mother and father.
3
Many typical teenage experiences are devoid of sexual experimentation; he'll just have to do what the rest of us who didn't get lucky in high school did and wait till he gets to college.
4
Hands and mouth have no gender.
5
Plenty of cisgendered folks don't have the junk they wish they had, either. It's always good to cultivate flexibility. And MOM is Teh Awesome.
6
I'd recommend making sure this kid goes to a college with a strong LGBT presence. Even if he doesn't desire to be involved with LGBT groups, just having a presence on campus will help him, I think. Plus, ain't no experimentation like LGBT experimentation!
7
Massive kudos to the parents of this boy. He may or may not know it, but he dodged a huge bullet and evaded even more emotional distress by lucking out with fully supportive parents.

So maybe this is an ignorant comment coming from a cis (we gotta come up with something better than that) straight female, but I can't help but think that bisexual women would be a great group of people for MOM's son. They are a sexual minority, which will make them better able to handle non-normative people. Even more importantly I think, they can be attracted to his rockin' lacrosse playing male body and equally into his genitals. My guess is that bi women would be far less likely than straight women to consider not having a dick as a relationship ender. Still, maybe some FTM or bi lady can actually chime in with actual knowledge of the subject?
8
I agree with @3. As a super closeted gay high school and closeted jock, I missed out on the teenage experimentation (at least the experimentation I wanted with guys) as well. While I can't say that it was awesome, it wasn't horrible and maybe even had some benefits. We all have a different road to follow and there are a lot of "grass is greener" feelings for anyone. Your son has great parents (as did I) and the fact that he's getting help feeling comfortable with himself is a great thing. If you can go into sex feeling good about yourself, it makes things a whole lot easier.
9
@8 err...should say high school and college jock.
10
@7 you may be on to something with bi women, but that might also lead to super uncomfortable feelings that the women are looking at him not as a man. Like you I don't have much trans knowledge, but that popped into my head.
11
Enlightening. Thanks, Dan.
12
The hardest hurdle your son has ahead of him when it comes to sex and relationships will be the pain he feels regarding his body. When he's ready, he will be able to find love and sexual fulfillment. Someone who has a loving and supportive family like yours already has many tools for being a good partner, after all.

There are many women out there who are very happy with a man who doesn't have the standard parts, who see that man as simply any other guy, with the minor difference of being able to pick which cock he's going to strap on today. I know because my fiance is one of those men and I love him. We have a satisfying love life and even if the parts involved are either made of plastic or a little smaller than standard, they work just fine.

Phalloplasty isn't a good option, but a metoidioplasty might be someday. It could be something he'll want to consider, because it uses the existing erectile tissue in the man's body. It's his own penis, built from the enlarged clitoris. It has erotic sensation, becomes erect on its own, and is much, much cheaper. It doesn't make for a giant penis--I think four inches is the biggest so far--but instead of "making" a penis like a phalloplasty does, it corrects how things should have developed by using the existing tissue. http://www.metoidioplasty.com

No surgery is on the table for my fiance right now. Everything works and he's satisfied with that. So am I. There are a lot of stories out there like ours and I hope your son finds some that could be helpful for him. He deserves love and satisfaction, and when he's ready to seek it out, I promise it will find him.
13
Dear MOM--5 years ago I could have written this letter, nearly word for word (except for the move across country, 'fresh start' part. My son transitioned in high school, right here in the town where he grew up.) Take heart, MOM, young people today are soooo much less hung-up on labels and keeping others in boxes. My son once told me he would 'never let anyone know him that well' and that sex was 'shameful'. It was awful to hear such lonely words from my child. He was 19 yrs. old then. Today at 23 he has had sexual experiences with girls and boys, is finding his way in relationships, and has many wonderful friends. His Dad and I now feel quite hopeful he will find love with a partner one day. Getting out of high school is the beginning of possibility. It will get better! Best of luck with your son, MOM.
14
OMG SUCH A TRANSPHOBE! *GLITTERBOMB!*

(that was sarcasm btw).
15
What a wonderful mom.

Not sure I like letting hotheaded, confused glitter-terrorists get their way by focusing on trans issues after their attack, but that doesn't mean it was a bad letter or a bad response. It was a good one and I'm glad it ran.

I wonder how MOM's son feels about "queer." He doesn't have to accept it as an identity if he doesn't want to, of course, but being open to the idea that circumstance may have predisposed him toward being somewhat queer might help him find a community, partners, and acceptance (self- and social) a lot more easily. There ARE plenty of women who might be interested in him, but I think it would be easier to find them if you looked for the ones who already self-identify as being sexually open-minded and understanding.

I mean, does that sound reasonable? I've never been in this situation and I'm kinda just reasoning it out from scratch based on my own observations.
16
um, the link that @12 posted? If you follow it, don't click on "surgical procedures" unless you're ready to see photos of it, which includes cut-open genitals.

::legs crossed tightly while my clitoris gently weeps::
17
@7 I'm bi and dating a trans man. I'm not sure my bisexuality really helps there, other than the fact that I could help him out with strap-ons because I was already well versed in them. After hormones, the genitals you're dealing with behave very much like a cock. Yeah, it's smaller. Yeah, ejaculation may not happen like it does with other guys. Yeah, it looks more like female genitals than male. But as far as the way it twitches, gets hard, likes to be touched, and loses interest after orgasm...it's a cock.

How I'd touch a woman is entirely different from how I touch my boyfriend. I can see where people would think a bisexual would make the most sense--and maybe my interest in women makes me more open-minded--but it's ultimately very straight sex.
18
Oh, sorry, @16. Yeah, be cautious of looking at the surgical pictures if you're not ready for a face full of genital surgery.
19
"Watching him develop into an adult, it's hard to imagine that he doesn't have a Y chromosome; he's six inches taller than his father, plays varsity lacrosse and soccer, and has just generally grown into a very handsome and mature young man".

Sounds like he likely does have a Y chromosome & it sounds like Mom and son may not be aware of this. XY females exist. Perhaps it would help if they see a medical professional with experience with this chromosomal condition.

http://en.wikipedia.org/wiki/XY_gonadal_…
20
@16, just to be clear I'm not saying that a bi woman would view a FTM as both male and female. My assumption is that she would see him for the man he is (anything else would probably not work for him anyway). However being a bi woman means that you're pretty much automatically not squicked out by female genitalia (and I am aware that they change with hormone therapy). I'm sure there are plenty of straight women who are fine with it too mind you, but I think he'd find an even more enriched population of accepting ladies in the bi population.
21
@19: I'm going to change my screen name. I don't mean to imply that the OP is clueless. My screen name (soon to be discarded) has nothing to do with the OP.
22
FWIW, my very first queersperience was with a trans dude. Cis female here, by the way. I had a momentary pang of "IS THIS GAY IS THIS WEIRD?" before I realized I just didn't give a shit, because I really like the guy and was keen on getting into his pants.
I hope your son knows there are lots of straight and straight-lookin' girls who are into trans dudes - it is definitely a turn-on for me.
23
Also, @19, if the boy's 18, and has been on T for the past 4 years and didn't go thru female puberty....Of COURSE he developed like a boy, and grew taller. That's how testosterone works.
24
oops, my comment was @17, sorry.
25
@24 I see your point. Certainly, a bi woman is a little more likely to be open-minded. They're also a little more likely to be educated on situations like his. Doesn't discount the possibility of an awesome, open-minded straight girl rocking his world, of course.
26
I meant to mention that my wife and I have been together over 16 years now. And we recently included a bisexual woman into our family. She instantly wrapped her head around the fact that I'm a dude (her words) with some interesting equipment. And my anatomy doesn't bother many guys that much either. It is also interesting how many heterosexual original-gender guys (I WILL NO LONGER USE CIS...) know about Buck Angel. The most important thing isn't the body. It is confidence. People who are confident in themselves are a huge turn on.
27
@5: can you give me an example of that? i thought 'cis'-gendered meant people happy with the type of junk god done give you.

do you mean junk size? two sets of junk?
28
Lots of guys will never have the junk they want. Just look around at all the Hummers and duallies on the road.
29
I'm a queer woman engaged to a trans guy. My brain doesn't look at his naked body and say "THAT'S A VAGINA WHAT", it just sees the love of my life getting ready to pound me into the mattress. MOM's son will find someone who loves him completely. If he's been on T for 4 years, he's way ahead of many transmen who can't afford hormone therapy.
30
@17 makes sense. As I said, I've got very little clue on trans issues. I have a couple of trans friends, but that's the extent of my knowledge.

I will say that meeting a couple of trans people has changed my views. There was a time when I would say, "why is that T in GLBT? they have nothing to do with us, totally separate issue." Meeting real trans people made me realize that it's the same basic thing, we want to be treated as people. As Harvey Milk said about gay people,

"I would like to see every gay doctor come out, every gay lawyer, every gay architect come out, stand up and let that world know. That would do more to end prejudice overnight than anybody would imagine. I urge them to do that, urge them to come out. Only that way will we start to achieve our rights."

the same applies to trans people. This kid is the reason why trans people are going to be more easily accepted in the future. When the time is right for him to be open about who he is, all those people who he knows now are going to realize that trans people aren't freaks or weirdos or whatever they might think now. They are their friends, neighbors, teammates and colleagues.
31
Wow. It's kind of amazing (and wonderful) that he was able to play varsity lacrosse and soccer. I would have assumed that high school athletics had a much less progressive interpretation on these matters.

Then again, I guess that several men's high school football teams include female players; so maybe times are changing for the better.
32
MOM should prepare her son for the day he's ready to come out. And he should come out. Coming out is going to make dating easier for him.
33
There has been some awesome advice here. You guys rock. MOM Rocks even more. Sounds like what her son needs most right now is just a good sex positive therapist. Once he gets his head happy, his body image won't be such a big deal. And if he is up front on dating websites about his junk, he should be able to have a very happy sex life, even if he never gets any surgery done. Although removal of the ovaries might be a good idea. Less need to take high doses of testosterone to overcome the estrogen that way.
34
Ah, how nice, now can people please stop throwing shit at Dan?

Dan, in case you're taking requests, how about a letter or two that dive into the art and science of stimulating the clit? Seems like there's always more to learn on that subject.
35
@32 When a trans person talks about coming out, this is normally referring to them starting to transition, at least socially. My boyfriend came out by telling his parents he was transgender. When a gay, lesbian, or bi person is in the closet, they have to hide who they have relationships with. That's a huge part of their lives and something that is damaging and stressful to hide. Just as a LGB person will come out with the truth and say who they're interested in romantically/sexually, a trans person will come out with the truth of their gender identity.

If people see him as a man and he's living as a male, he's already "out" in every way that matters to him. There are some trans people out there who are open about the gender they were assigned at birth, and they're very brave and wonderful people for putting themselves out there like that. That isn't something all trans people feel the need to do, though.
36
From the perspectives I'm hearing (@29, for example) is that it might even be better of MOM's son *does* use the term "trans" because it sounds like the vocabulary of the trans community is actually useful in terms of finding a mate. MOM's son doesn't seem to like that idea and I'm wondering what the experience of similarly situated people is in regard to finding a companion. I'm probably naive but when I hear the term "trans community" I get an image very much like the actual group gays call "gay community".

I'm deaf and I know that their are enormous benefits to being socially involved with the community of deaf signers just because they have very clever strategies that help them navigate the hearing world.

Would MOM's son benefit from immersion in the trans community in the same way? Seems to me, he'd have to make a mental transition to embrace the concept that he is "of" the trans community rather than sort of going it alone and continuing to view himself as separate or, as MOM seems to say, "I'm a guy and I don't have those gender identity issues."

Comments are very welcome.
37
Cool mom, cool kid. I wish every GLBT child had this kind of parental support and understanding.
MOM- I'm sure your son will come out just fine, although as a parent myself, one always worries their kids won't have the relationships they need to make them happy in this world. The most and best a parent can be is unconditionally loving and supportive. You are already that.
38
@31 - I had the impression that he has "passed" as male since the family moved when he was 8. I'm not sure how they got that past the school, his pediatrician (if he had one) and so on, but I suppose it's possible. So as far as the school sports teams are concerned, he's just one of the guys. I notice he picked sports that don't typically have a locker room experience.
39
Such nice comments for SLOG. I like it.
40
@7 et al... I don't know that bi women would automatically be "better" about things... I think we're like any other group o' people -- some will be cool, some will be uninterested, some will be VERY interested and others will run for the hills. Which is to say I wouldn't necessarily write cis/straight people off. YOu just need people who are open minded about sexuality.

That said, I'll say if the right trans-man -- or -woman came along, it's not impossible I'd be interested. Hasn't happened to me yet, though. Not sure that's a function of me being bi, or being open minded, though.
41
At least you don't have to worry about him knocking up any girls by accident!
42
"Besides, there's nothing like letting your partner pick which cock she'd like you to use on her."

Amen to that! I love being able to switch between my packer and harder cock within seconds as do my partners. :)
43
@19 - actually, people who are female and XY don't have testosterone receptors, their body makes testosterone but is essentially blind to it - so they wouldn't experience any benefit or changes of any kind from testosterone treatment. They have female genitalia and breasts externally (usually not much internal structure, though they should have testicles in there somewhere) and often never know they are XY until they try to conceive (though they do not menstruate). It's particularly common in runway models as they tend to be very tall and thin with perfect skin. So it's pretty unlikely that her son is XY.
44
Yay, Mom! What an awesome mom. Also, great advice from the guy at Ingersoll. I sincerely hope that with so much support and resources close at hand he'll find the help and guidance he wants and needs and new friendships and potential romantic interests he deserves. He needs to understand that even perfect strangers who have read his mother's letter are rooting for him, really rooting for him.
45
I very much agree with all the commenters reassuring MOM that time and self-acceptance and community will bring some relief to her son, and he will find that what it means for him to be a man is about a lot more than his genital architecture, and that surgery is very primitive as of yet and probably couldn't give him the results he wants, though hormonal clitoral enlargement and metoidioplasty look promising as those methods continue to advance.

However, in light of the fact that MOM's son openly feels that his feminine genitals are a medical condition, a "birth defect", I think it would be a very reasonable option to talk to him about prosthetics.

Just as a person born without a formed hand (as seen in natal Thalidomide exposure ) can have a prosthetic that looks, feels (to other people) and rudimentarily functions as a hand, MOM's son has many male prosthetics available if he feels strongly about having male parts.

For example; he can get a "packer" (mentioned in the last comment by an owner of same) which functions as a flaccid/relaxed member for "walking around" purposes; for many guys with vaginas it creates a comforting, weighty, even "natural" or "correct"-feeling pelvic complement.

Packers can also serve the purpose of being the stand-in for an absent-but-desired penis in high school-type, clothes on, groping, making out, grinding etc. While it is of course true that many teens have intercourse while in high school it's not universal, many of us have only heavy petting and oral sex without going so far as to be fully nude or fuck. I have to believe that a sweet, handsome boyfriend who wanted to make out, feel you up & maybe eat you out but didn't push you "all the way" would be a joy to many high school girls.

There are also prosthetics to allow for standing urination, which hold up to (peripheral) scrutiny of the type found at men's room urinals.

Finally, when MOM's son is ready for intercourse there is a veritable cornucopia of strap-on/wearable dildos that are widely available; every size, shape, color, texture you could imagine, biologically realistic or out of this world; you name it some retailer got it. Also, "strapless" wearable dildos are lovely, with 1 end inserted into wearer's vaginal canal/"birth defect"/"bonus hole" (whatever you've got) and sometimes including vibes, they provide sensation to the wearer as well as the receiver, and allow for the feeling of wielding a penetrating/thrusting phallus that is desired by most men (& some women) who do not have insertable genitals themselves.

Obviously there is so much amazing sex that he can have without involving a phallus at all should he so desire, and he should be supported in exploring those many delights, but I just don't think that he should be shamed or pushed into using *only* his given body parts; just as many people with vaginas (or other orifices) long for the feeling of being entered & filled & pounded, he should be encouraged to indulge his longing (if he has it) to enter & fill & pound his hypothetical, fortunate, desirous future partners ^_^ and prosthetics can help him do so.
46
oh look, our little Danny making nice with the Trannys.
(you sure don't have to hit Danny in the face twice with a heavy glass jar....)

and MOM, congrats!
way to let your kid grow up thinking she's a boy-
except- oops- somebody forgot the DICK...
47
Buck mothafuckin' Angel: Jesus god, I'd sell my soul to get into his pants, and I'm a card-carrying woman. This young man will be just fine when he gets out of high school.
48
@19

Dude I don't know how much I'd by that. I'd bet that a larger control on height is androgen presence with age. I don't know if a CAIS XY kid could even go on HRT successfully because it fucks with uptake. Someone who's good at pathophisiology can correct me please.

Also, rad mom. You rule and you should give my parents lessons.

And also, yes. Dan is still acting like a fucking transphobe for throwing around the words he did in the context that he used them in.
49
MOM is great - supportive and concerned. Now she has one more area in which to be supportive: in helping her son understand that not everybody gets laid before their twenties. "Sexual experimentation" is great, but it would be a mistake to let him think that his gender issues cost him what every other human being experienced before graduation. He's different, but not alone in his inexperience.
50
Here's another person who would be so much better off if the world at large was really just for everybody. Right now, it's for certain people only. Which is weird, because here in the actual world, if you look around, there's - everybody. But we can't have that, so we divide up into groups. Redheads over here, lefties over there. Oh and if there's a place where BOTH redheads and lefties are, that's not just a regular place, one that's just for everybody - it's "Mixed".

Anyway here's hoping this guy can find some good straight male buddies who are cool, and go on from there. And has Mom never, ever in her life, met anyone who didn't get to have the 'typical teenage experience', for any reason or combination of reasons? Did she not know kids growing up who were obviously trans or gay but had to push it down? I'm glad she feels bad for her son for that. She should - it sucks!

Oh and for the son, you're totally normal. But you were born at least two centuries too early to expect the majority of people to think you're normal. I am sincerely sorry. You might have to join some group or something to meet cool people who aren't still totally messed up from their upbringing, even though you shouldn't have to. Someday, the world will really just be for everybody. Things are getting better, but yeah, sorry.

51
Advising trans folk to be ‘out’ in the same way as gay are out is a tricky thing. Even in Seattle, when I experimented with being openly trans, it felt like what a few gay friends said it was like 30 years ago for them. {For instance, when I was openly trans, I was sexually assaulted in public twice—once on the 16 in broad daylight, and I was in a couple of situations where I feared for my life. This is in Seattle, not Baltimore.}

I threw in the towel and just went ‘stealth’ (because I can), because I was tired of the bullshit. {By stealth I mean I live seamlessly in my new social gender and people are completely unaware of my ‘interesting past’.}

I also don’t identify as ‘trans’. I happen to be transsexual, but that is not my identity. So, MOM, I understand your son in this regard.

Let me illustrate what I mean with the familiar example of social networking sites. A key difference I note (when it comes to gender) between ‘vanilla’ sites like FB and ‘fetish’ sites like FetLife.com is that the vanilla ‘take’ on gender is the oversimplified choice between female or male. FL, on the other hand, offers a plethora of genders. At first I thought the plethora (sounds delicious, eh?) was wonderful—and it is wonderful in respect to it recognizing a diverse plurality of genders. But when I and my then partner identified ourselves as MTF and FTM, we got a lot of interest (especially as a couple) from folks who were less interested in us for our personalities than for our fine freaky bodies. I learned what it felt like to be fetishized. And I became disillusioned. I realized that MTF in this context was a fetish gender, not how I actually thought of myself.

I have trans ‘identified’ friends, but that’s not me. When I was with my very masculine man, I felt straight; believe me, he was a gateway drug. I just said I was queer then because I didn’t have to explain myself. {Keep in mind that most of my friends are unaware of my medical history.}

Now I’m back in a fairly vanilla lesbian relationship, and, although it’s spicy, it is just exactly a relationship between womyn. {My partner knows because I am open with my partners when it gets that far.}

People who don’t get that are missing the MEANING of transition. Regardless of your junk (especially for trans guys—’cuz the surgical techniques are in their infancy), you embrace the psychè that is within you and express it to the world.

MOM, your son is in male mind-space. Because he transitioned medically before puberty, his body is more completely masculine (having never had to go through the wrong initial puberty), but that is not what makes him a man. It’s his mind space.

Most people find themselves in the ‘right’ body, and thus never feel any disparity between their internal sense of their gender and the body they’re in. {‘Cis’ is borrowed from Chemistry. If trans is changing sides, then cis is staying on the same side.} Because of this, it’s hard to explain what it feels like. But I understand completely that your son doesn’t identify as ‘trans’. He just identifies as a man.
52
Ryan, thanks. And Dan? Wow, thanks for having Ryan as a guest speak to this
53
@19 I was going to say the same thing. Glad someone beat me to it. It's very possible that he does have a Y chromosome.
54
Most trans people I know, regard their birth sex as a "birth defect." In that regard your son is not at all distinct from other FtM's, except that (thanks to very forward-thinking parents) he got to hormonally transition long before most trans people do, was never seen as a freak, and has spent a lot fewer years than average being socialized as a female.

What a thrill that he gets to go to college soon! Can he pick a progressive school, with a thriving LGBT community, that is far enough away so that his high school acquaintances will not be there?

He will have the whole spectrum of options regarding 'coming out.' I absolutely do not agree with the sentiment that he 'must' somehow come out. Yes, by coming out he could do a lot of useful educating. However, there are some serious real-world consequences to being out as trans. In some communities and professions, there is nasty job discrimination or threat of violence way beyond what an average LGB person might experience in the same community. I have trans acquaintances who have stated another reason not to be out: They got sick and tired of answering everybody's questions about trans-this and trans-that; and just wanted to go forth and live their lives without that burden.

On the other hand, some trans folk like being public, because they enjoy educating people and/or being open about their past. This decision is strictly up to your son!

There are transmen who are out only to confidential circles of other transmen, and to romantic partners. (He can reveal his status on the first date or on the tenth.) There are some that are out socially but not in their professional setting. Lots of different options. This - To be out, or not to be, and where? - is the kind of question where a trans support group might offer some ideas for him, even if he otherwise doesn't much identify with the trans community.

I'm a straight-as-a-board, CIS woman who has had a relationship with two transmen. Your son will have NO shortage of options among straight women! Like most transmen, my two partners had had no bottom surgery. But I saw and experienced their genitalia as male because, well, they were attached to a male. It had never crossed my mind that I would/could date a trans person, till I met the first one and only learned his trans status on the 3rd or 4th date. I was really attracted to him by that point, and wasn't about to back out because of a little surprise like that. This is actually a really common experience for straight women.

Being trans, your son may scare off the subset of straight women who are insecure with their sexuality or identity. Is that really a bad thing? There will be plenty of others who will think he is gorgeous or wonderful, and will simply take it from there.

The other subset of straight women who will be scared off are the ones who want to get pregnant the traditional way. That might not be an issue when he is 19 (in fact it will be an advantage!), but it could cause some sadness when he is 30. I know one of my trans partners went through sadness about that.

The other transguy I dated was leery of bi women. He was strictly attracted to 'straight' women. He hated the idea of dating someone (bi or lesbian) who specifically liked him for something he wishes he didn't have: his female-type genitalia. However, there are plenty of transmen who are together with bi women and even lesbians; so it is hard to generalize here.

Most of us are skeptical about our romantic or sexual future when we are still in high school. He is not alone in that! That's part of why graduating from h.s. and getting out in the world is so great.
55
Just wanna say that MOM is awesome and that 'the typical high school sexual experience' is extremely overrated. Having awkward sex with people you won't talk to after the next couple of years is about as vital to life as reality television or Beanie Babies.
56
To MOM- I'm a female, cis, and bi.

I just have to say, if I had come across your son in high school, and been attracted to him, and one of us had initiated a relationship, and I had learned about him, I probably would have been "whatever" about it. I'm 32 now, and have had relationships with people equipped in all different ways.

He needs to know tht everyone has relationship troubles at his age, and he may have a few more. Anyone who is not "the norm" will. But it sounds like he has a great mentor in you.
57
MOM, you've put tears in my eyes. How amazing that your family and the therapist didn't try to diminish your son's perceptions and feelings (or. worse, try to negate and change them) even at such a young age. I wish all parents would respect their children the same way, no matter what the issue is. And, while I'm at it, I think you'd be a powerful advocate and educator OF therapists!

I hope you and he can realize that high school was never much of a land of opportunity for not only sexual/romantic/social experimentation, but just self-awareness. Sometimes the hype is just that: no more than an illusion. In many cases, high school can be the most regimented straight-jacketed environment that prevents self-awareness. Whether we were painfully shy or fell into uncool categories (geek, bookworm, etc.), there was still an expectation of a brighter future where we knew we'd get to Do. Stuff. We just had to graduate from high school first. [That's what I did. When I went to university, I remade my image because nobody knew me.]

As he is a senior, he's at the cusp of going on to the next stage of his life. Whether he goes to college or not, I'd urge him to seek out people who identify as genderqueer (and not merely queer), especially as trans does not suit him or describe his identity accurately. If he does some online searching even before college, then he can be ready to begin to interact with like-minded people much more quickly. There are more people than he can imagine who will accept him as who he is.

In any case, I have extremely positive feelings for his sexual and romantic possibilities and believe you and he should be equally optimistic. And, MOM. You're simply WOW!
58
Does the NCAA test for hormones? It just occured to me that this young man is a senior, and my impression - which may be wrong - is that the NCAA typically frowns on transathletes. Just something to investigate if lacrosse is part of his future.
59
I'm cis & oriented to men either cis or trans*. If this young man is gynephilic there are women out there who will date him. A lot of the issues this writer raises could be "firstborn child" issues. She should join a support group for parents of trans kids to help her side of the issue, but mostly the kid will be on his own in his own community.
60
@43 and @48 are correct. If someone was outwardly female with no signs of virilization prior to hormone replacement therapy and yet was 46XY, it would be unlikely in most cases for their body to accept testosterone normally. While there are cases of people discovering that they have an intersex condition after identifying as trans, it's unusual and is likely to have an effect on their HRT. Since he's been on hormones for years and has no doubt had blood work done many times to monitor hormone levels, it would have been discovered by now.

If someone starts HRT prior to or instead of naturally triggered puberty, their body should develop normally along the lines of the hormones they are taking. A young man on testosterone--even absent testes and a Y chromosome--is going to develop as a young man. Without an estrogenic puberty to trigger the earlier feminine calcification of growth plates, the testosterone will be able to carry out typically male skeletal growth.
61
Uhm, I woke up thinking about this...... high school isn't necessarily about sexual experimentation. Or, even if it is, lots of relationships cuddle/snuggle/kiss and never get to third base. I don't think anyone that doesn't get someone else's hands down their pants is de-facto missing out. Mom may need to take a step back here and talk to her son about relationships that stay at first or second base.
62
As open and accepting as MOM is, she needs to stop seeing her son as tragic, pronto. She writes: "I feel sad that he can't have the typical teenage experience complete with sexual experimentation. It makes me worry that his life will be missing a major component to it. "

This is bullshit. Here's the actual situation: The son has a lot of anxiety about his junk -- JUST LIKE A BAZILLION OTHER STRAIGHT BOYS - and for whatever reason (bad timing, lack of confidence, chance, whatever) hasn't found a partner yet - JUST LIKE A BAZILLION OTHER STRAIGHT BOYS.

I'm a straight girl with an utterly unremarkable body. I didn't hook up in high school OR college for a variety of reasons. Many of us don't. The fact that my lovely parents - a product of the 60s - tried hard to communicate to me that it was normal and good to fool around just made me feel like a freak for not getting any.

Later on I dated a guy with serious physical abnormalities. His mileage was pretty much exactly like mine. The only difference was that while I attributed my lack of play to some undefinable je-ne-sais-quoi ("Guys don't like me!") he was able to attribute it to his nonstandard body ("I'm the Elephant Man!")

Basically: There is no "normal" amount of sex for people to be getting. Everyone is anxious, everyone feels longing, everyone gets less action than they want, and those of us with unusual bodies can attribute it to that, while the rest of us spend a lot of time trying to figure out if we're just unlovable for no particular reason.

Mom needs to start communicating to her son that his experience is absolutely NORMAL for his age, not some kind of tragic loss or handicap. He'll have a much easier time seeing himself as a normal guy with normal romantic expectations if she does, too. Many, many kids at his age fear they will never be able to be loved for who they are, either for physical reasons or mental ones or both, and they are all - ALL - wrong.

Oh, and get that kid to a good shrink. He needs to start talking about this shit with someone who's not related to him by blood.

Have some faith, MOM. Your kid is doing just fine.

63
@27 - sure, size, appearance, function - lots of people aren't happy with their junk. It may fit with their gender image better with cis folks than trans folks, but plenty of cis people would like to have bigger, better, sparklier, shinier junk.

I'm not trying to create a false equivalency - of course, having entirely the "wrong" equipment for your own gender image is far worse, but I'm just saying I've met plenty of cis guys born with the "right" equipment who feel what they have is sadly inadequate. And plenty of cis women with the "right" equipment that feel their junk is ugly, saggy, or somehow inadequate/repulsive.
64
It's hard to offer your body to another person in a sexual context if you despise that body and think it's ugly or defective. Rather than focusing on potential partners for this guy, I think we need to focus on helping him become okay with his body as it is. He needs to be able to offer himself to a woman as something for her to take physical delight in, and it'll be hard for him to do that until he's comfortable with his body.

Even if he doesn't think of himself as "trans," a trans support group might help. If a trans group is out of the question for him, a group for men with micropenis might help him become comfortable with being genitally unusual.
65
@61. Excellent point about high school not necessarily being about sexual experimentation. It certainly was *not* at my high school nor even immediately afterward. In truth, as I always approached the purpose of high school with myself and later on with my own daughter, it's the time when you are free to focus on your education without the broad responsibilities that a relationship requires. One can even extend that line of thinking to college - a place where you have to set aside your emotional desires to deal with preparing yourself for your working life.

Perhaps it's an individual thing. If so, then when I look back at high school I don't really feel like I missed out. Like MOM's son, I was an elite athlete (basketball) and for me, that experience as an athlete was very uplifting emotionally as confirmation of my sense of masculinity and how I fit into the world of men. So, there's that positive way of looking at the high school experience. I don't think on has to get down on themselves for not having had the opportunity (nor even the inclination) to experiment sexually. I certainly was in love in high and, like MOM's son, I never got to talk about my feeling for fear of rejection. But I had a lot of positive things going for me that were compensatory.
66
For what it's worth, though I was 16 for my first time, high school wasn't where I first experimented with sex. After that summer fling, non school related, my next experiences were in college. So "missing out" during high school isn't the big thing to worry here, I think.

I also think @64 brings up an important point here.
67
Speaking as a bi woman, #7 may have a good point. Many bisexuals already think outside the “gender binary”, because we are attracted to specific people, rather than specific genitals. As I recently told a bigot, “I married a human, not a gender. His gender had no bearing on my decision to spend my life with him.” I could just as accurately say that his penis has no bearing on my decision to spend my life with him (or my feelings about him as a man). Of course, not all Bis feel this way, but I do. If “young me” had met MOM’s son in college/high-school, a lack-of-penis would not stopped me from dating him (or thinking of him as simply a male). I'm not stating that he should rule out straight women, but bis are something to consider.
(I’m not sure if I articulated those thoughts correctly, but hopefully it makes sense.)
68
Gratz to Hawke for getting a spot in SLOG! Very cool and good job :)
69
@58 The NCAA just came out with an official policy for transgender athletes. Basically, if someone is taking testosterone for a medical condition,t hey will no longer be allowed to compete against women. They will be allowed to compete against other men.

http://www.ncaa.com/news/ncaa/article/20…
70
MOM, you've done amazing things for your kid.
71
I'd recommend a copy of "Middlesex" by Jeffrey Eugenides. Not as a model situation necesarily, but simply for the perspective of the main character.
72
@60: 48's not correct about anything, ever.
73
As another ignorant straight female born female, I'm going to agree with @7. I have a couple of bi friends who have dated (and married) trans guys. I think it simplifies things that they find both types of genitals attractive. Not that there aren't straight women who would find him attractive, but there's less to get past with a bi woman, and that might be a good place to start.

I'd also like to chime in with all the folks who point out that many kids don't experiment sexually in high school, and it's pretty much de rigeur for kids in high school to feel sexually awkward and uncomfortable. He's completely normal in that respect.
74
As another ignorant straight female born female, I'm going to agree with @7. I have a couple of bi friends who have dated (and married) trans guys. I think it simplifies things that they find both types of genitals attractive. Not that there aren't straight women who would find him attractive, but there's less to get past with a bi woman, and that might be a good place to start.

I'd also like to chime in with all the folks who point out that many kids don't experiment sexually in high school, and it's pretty much de rigeur for kids in high school to feel sexually awkward and uncomfortable. He's completely normal in that respect.
75
To the people who have commented that maybe he does actually have an XY genotype, I think that they would check that out before going on hormone therapy. I don't know this as fact, but it just seems to make sense to me.
76
Another bi girl here who would be happy to date a peron whose genitals and gender don't match. He'll be ok. Big cities will be his friend. :)
77
Regarding the mention that most insurance policies don't cover this surgery, I would like to mention that the University of California's health insurance does (on at least one campus - I think the coverage is the same at all of them, though). Maybe that by itself isn't really a reason to pick a school, but several UCs range from quite good to excellent, so it might be a consideration.