A parent was surprised when her transgender daughter came out. That’s OK

Gender neutral
A gender-neutral bathroom at Nathan Hale High School in Seattle.
(Elaine Thompson / AP)

To the editor: Life throws many curve balls; as adults, we do our best to handle them and throw them back. (“What I didn’t know about my transgender child,” Opinion, July 19)

For parents, it isn’t so easy. Not only do we have our own emotions and fears with which to deal, but our love, concern and fear for the well-being of our children puts everything into a more defining perspective. Parents often have the separate pain, as it were, of changing the hopes and dreams we have for our children, even without realizing that we had formed those hopes and dreams in our hearts.

As a parent, I am not surprised by pediatrician Paria Hassouri’s surprise that she did not see the “signs” that her teenage daughter was transgender.

Congratulations to the entire family for her daughter being brave enough to come out at 13. She obviously knew she would get the love and support she needed during her transition, which is a compliment to her parents.

Patti Steffen, Thousand Oaks



To the editor: Children’s brains are not fully formed, so we limit what kids can do: No driving until 16, no smoking or voting until 18, and no drinking until 21. We also make children attend school for many years so they can learn how to live a productive life.

Yet a person at age 13 or younger can reasonably decide that they are the wrong gender. They can also decide that they can handle having life-altering surgery to become that gender.

That seems like a much bigger decision than most of those other things.

Shouldn’t kids wait to make these changes until their brains are more fully formed? If not, shouldn’t we remove the age limits on everything else?

David Booth, San Bernardino


To the editor: Speaking as a retired school counselor, I see Dr. Hassouri’s piece as a wrenching account of our society’s widespread lack of awareness of the spectrum of human genders -- and an account of schools’ valiant attempts to communicate with individual parents regarding related manifestations that teachers and counselors observe.

Wendell H. Jones, Ojai