How Kids Cope With A Sex-change Parent
When the children of former plasterer Anthony Hamilton Smith stopped calling him “Dad”, he was overjoyed. But they really didn’t have much choice-because they’d watched their father slowly change into a woman. No longer Dad and definitely not Mum, Jay 13, Melanie 8 and Louise 5 decided to call him plain “Toni”. That choice of name might sound like a minor problem, but for the delighted parent it represented an important breakthrough in gaining the kid’s understanding.
For a minefield of human emotions lied ahead for any family as it comes to terms with a father or mothers sex change. But experts believe that children show remarkable maturity in dealing with this bizarre experience. Consultant psychiatrists, who treat patients at Britain’s leading Sex Change Clinic at London’s Charing Cross hospital says “Children cope very well, although there may be embarrassment or social inhibitions for some. Surprisingly there is very little disturbance”.
Toni, 34, is certain she did the right thing in fighting-and winning-custody of the children in a historic ruling after a two year legal tussle with former wife Carol. “I am a her now and not a he” she says, bustling around her three bedroom house in Ebbw Vale, South Wales. Trying to slot into the role of a normal housewife, she realises an emotional crisis could rear its head at any time especially with Melanie and Louise. “I know that I will have difficult problems, especially when they reach adolescence” she says “but I’m sure my own experience will help me to cope. Because of what has happened to my body I’ll be able to understand more than most fathers what the girls are going through. I’ll be in a better position than most mums in warning the girls about certain types of boys” she says. But the problem remains more widespread than we might imagine with over 1,000 people in Britain suffering serious confusion about their sexual identity. Nonetheless, in a traumatic world of gender benders the case of Toni Hamilton Smith shows there can be a happy ending!!!!