Pat's Answer

My parents' will not recognise my gender

Your Question

I have been trying to find more information on this, but I am not able to find a definite answer to it. But my parents say that they will not gender me correctly and will continue to deadname me, I expressed that this causes philological harm and can drive people to being severely depressed and worse, but they play the victim and say they do not care, and I wanted to know if they Can do this, if it would constitute emotional abuse. I say that due to them knowingly continuing with an act that causes mental harm. And another question, during a conversation with both of my parents, my father made a comment that I do not think is ok, but he said (accuracy of What he said is not guaranteed, but it is roughly the same words) ¨Just go mark up your arms, and show us how bad you have it.¨ I just want to have these things cleared up.

Answer

Hello, you are very welcome to Ask Pat. 

It sounds like there is a lot going on at home for you, thank you for reaching out to Ask Pat. You have expressed concerns about your parents’ decision not to recognise your gender and how this may be impacting your mental health. You are looking for answers on your rights as a child and you are asking if what your parents are doing and saying would constitute emotional abuse. You also say your dad said distressing things to you like go mark up your arms and show us how bad you have it. 

It is understandable that you have these questions around emotional abuse and what affect your parent’s behaviour is having on you, particularly your mental health. You are feeling the impact of this already. Well done on having the courage to question your parents behaviour towards you.  

Nobody has the right to call you names or ask you to do something to cause you harm. We are concerned for you and for all you are dealing with right now. You have the right to not be hurt in any way. You have the right to seek help and support, and to talk about your thoughts and feelings. You have the right to be heard and to be listened to.  It is important for your own mental well-being that you get the help and support that you deserve. Do you have a trusted adult in your life that you can talk to about how you are feeling? This adult could be a grandparent, aunt, uncle, or a teacher. We know it can be hard to open up and talk to someone who is close to us, so maybe talking to somebody outside of your family who you are comfortable talking to, might be better you at first.  

Here are some organisations that might be of help to you: www.teni.ie/ www.yourmentalhealth.iewww.spunout.ie.  These are just some of the websites you may like to look at, that may offer direction in how to avail of other supports. The Childline website has some articles too which you may like to read www.childline.ie/how-i-feel/; www.childline.ie/home-and-families/www.childline.ie/gender-identity/www.childline.ie/what-is-abuse/.  

Childline’s other services are here for you whenever you would like to talk or chat, and we really would love to listen to you. You are welcome to talk to Childline by phone on 1800 666 666,  by text on 50101 or through web chat on www.childline.ie . These services are open 24-hours a day, every day and are free and confidential. It is your space to talk about your home life, or you may prefer to talk about something else. The choice is yours. 

We hope that you find some of the above supports helpful. Remember we in Childline are always here to listen and hear you. Thank you for reaching out and describing what is going on for you.  

Take care of yourself. We hope to hear from you soon, 

Pat 

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