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In a few weeks our son will speak to the endocrinologist in hopes of starting testosterone. As the date gets closer he gets more excited at the prospect of this next step in his transition. I on the other hand still have some reservation. While I personally had no second thoughts when it came to the puberty blocker he began a year and half ago, the hormone has irreversible side effects. The blocker was a respite from his anxiety regarding pubertal changes and female development. We needed to do this in order to help the kid cope at the time, and what a difference it has made! I also knew this would give us needed time to process what was going on and what was to come.

“..as the parent of a trans kid, I have mixed emotions and fears about cross-sex hormones.”

I understand the need and desire he has to begin this part of his transition. Other 14-year-old boys are going through normal changes such as their voice deepening, body hair growth and other physical changes. Our son is stuck at 13 years old, and a female 13 years old at that! But as the parent of a trans kid, I have mixed emotions and fears about cross-sex hormones. The fears I have are all “what ifs” and the possibilities of regrets he may experience in the future due to decisions we make and/or allow now.

Part of me wants to hold on to the space we have enjoyed on the blocker alone for the past 16 months without introducing “T” into the picture. I fear the changes will be overwhelming for him. Although he wants that facial hair and body hair, does he really? Will he be able to handle side effects such as overactive acne, which can be crushing to a teenager? Anger, rage and mood instability also are “potential” effects. I have seen the depths of despair this kid has felt and I do not want anything to make him feel this way again ever.

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While I know the monthly hormone shots will help him in the physical process of his transition, the parental fear is of course tied to all the possible negatives. I have to remind myself of the benefits of him transitioning young. The medical community has seen the benefits of recognizing and affirming transgender youth at an early age. I know so many adults that were never given this opportunity that our trans kids have at this time. The struggle of not being able to live your authentic life can be fatal and the benefits of early transition far outweigh my fears. I will never stop having fears about my children, trans or cis. This is what parenting entails and no matter what age they are, no matter what they are going through in life, I will worry and have fears because these are my children, my life, my loves.

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Melissa Ballard is a native Texan with a wonderful husband, Ken, transgender teenaged son, Ashur, and a quirky daughter named Kennedy. When not struggling with multiple sclerosis or chasing her husband while cycling for Bike MS, she is advocating for trans kids and their rights. In early 2015 a group was formed as a social connection for local transgender kids and their families and soon after www.dfwtkf.com was born. In just under a year, the social group has grown to more than 100 active members including parents and siblings of trans and gender non-conforming kids. Speaking to others and letting them know they are not alone is one of her greatest goals and will continue to be a focus in the future.