United Kingdom

Mother urged not to let her son 'bully' her into paying for hormone treatment using her inheritance

A mother-of-three who is unable to work because of her mental health has revealed she's facing an emotional battle with her eldest child, who is transgender, who expects her to use her inheritance to pay for his hormone treatment.

Posting anonymously on Mumsnet, the UK-based mother explained her son is on the waiting list to have hormone treatment at the Tavistock Centre, a specialist mental health trust in north London, however he wants her to pay because the pandemic has delayed the wait.

She explained that she doesn't work because of her own health problems, but claims no benefits because the family lives off her husband's salary, and that her inheritance is her nest egg because she doesn't have a pension.  

Adding that her son is suffering from depression, the mother asked if she's wrong to refuse paying for treatment while he continuously screams and cries. 

An anonymous woman from the UK, has sparked a debate about paying for your child to have hormone treatment to skip the NHS waiting list (file image)

Asking for advice, the mother explained: 'He is on the waiting list for Tavistock Centre. This is delayed due to COVID but waiting list was very long anyway.

'He wants me to pay for hormones (and mastectomy/hysterectomy at later date). He knows I have inheritance.

'Did not decide he was trans until about 15, but there were signs before. Pretty sure he is on the autistic spectrum. He was referred to CAHMs from an early age as lots of behavioural/mental health issues. Husband and I sent on lots of parenting courses.

'Has always been very difficult. Seems very depressed. Doesn't go out, exercise or help around house. Not doing college work. Wants me to pay for treatment but I have no guarantee that he isn't just depressed and will change his mind when he is older. It is not exactly a trivial thing.

'Now shrieking, screaming, crying upstairs because I've said I won't pay until I am sure its right decision. Am I being unreasonable?

'He would say that it would take too long to save up himself. He is too depressed to get a job really. He is obviously very unhappy, but I don't know how to help him.' 

Posting on Mumsnet, the mother-of-three explained her 18-year-old son has been shrieking and crying for her to fund his hormone treatment using her inheritance 

Can children get hormone therapy on the NHS? 

If a child is under 18 and may have gender dysphoria, they'll usually be referred to the Gender Identity Development Service (GIDS) at the Tavistock and Portman NHS Foundation Trust.

GIDS has 2 main clinics in London and Leeds.

The child or teenager will be seen by a multidisciplinary team at GIDS including a clinical psychologist, child psychotherapist, a child and adolescent psychiatrist, a family therapist and a social worker 

Depending on the results of the assessment the child may have a referral to a specialist hormone (endocrine) clinic for hormone blockers for children who meet strict criteria (at puberty)

Most treatments offered at this stage are psychological rather than medical. This is because in many cases gender variant behaviour or feelings disappear as children reach puberty.

At this stage, the child can get hormone therapy on the NHS, however there are often waiting lists and it can be faster to go private.   

Young people aged 17 or older may be seen in an adult gender identity clinic or be referred to one from GIDS.

By this age, a teenager and the clinic team may be more confident about confirming a diagnosis of gender dysphoria. If desired, steps can be taken to more permanent treatments that fit with the chosen gender identity or as non-binary.

A flood of responses said the mother should tell her son to pay for the treatment himself, arguing it's 'very unreasonable' to spend a large sum of money on one child and not the others.

One person wrote: 'I don't think you should make yourself financially vulnerable. 

'If he is serious you could make a savings plan together, when he works he can save towards it and maybe you could contribute a small amount too, to show support.

'I think demanding money from parents is not ok. You have every right to refuse, your mental health is important as well here. 

'He will also feel a greater sense of achievement and self esteem if it's something he has worked hard and saved for.'

Another said: 'I think he should pay for it. 

'I have a lot of trans friends who have transitioned some fully others not, but I do think 18 is still young and that by him affording his own treatment/ transition, he will be forced to show he is committed to transitioning and the extra time will allow him to see whether or not he wants to proceed and how far he wants to go in his transition.'

Many others reassured the mother she's making the right decision to not pay for her son's hormones without having had counselling. 

'Oh god this sounds like my autistic brother who for the past four years has been insisting he is female. 

'None of the family agree with him and have offered to pay for therapy. The doctors won't prescribe anything as they don't support it either. 

'It's a very very hard situation and I feel for my mum in this. Do not spend your inheritance please. Seek out a specialist,' one wrote.

Another said: 'YANBU at all and I'd suggest that a person that has a reaction like this is not mentally stable enough to be making a decision like this.

'I would, however, pay for good private 'counselling. I think Transgender Trend has some resources on good ones'

A flood of responses to the post argued the mother should make her son make for the hormone treatment himself 

A third added: 'It would be no if my child wanted breast implants/lipo/ but lift and the life. Cosmetic surgery will not solve a mental health problem.

'The screaming and carrying on is a form of emotional blackmail. Be prepared for the next level which is suicide threats. Supporting your child does not mean doing whatever they demand. 

'If you are clean and sure of your stance then show them that. Decent people don't bully others.' 

However others said they are only supporting the mother's decision not to pay because her son hasn't had therapy 

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