Help me help my transgendered cousin in need
March 3, 2012 7:26 AM Subscribe
Please help me find resources and support for my transgendered, eating-disordered, underage cousin, whose family is somewhat unsupportive and doesn't know how to help.
My little cousin has had a rough few years, to put it mildly. He's been in inpatient and outpatient treatment for anorexia, seeing psychiatrists about transgender and depression issues (I don't know if it's been the same doctor or therapist the whole time) and dealing with a pretty unsupportive immediate family.
His family is not very open to discussing any of these things within or outside the family, and I think is reluctant to seek treatment- they'd rather cover up or hide his issues. I'm sure this is not helping him.
He was doing okay for a while, in school, eating enough- now, he's back to not eating, refusing to attend school, et cetera. He's very involved in a few online communities (Second Life, I think, is the main one) and is not openly social otherwise.
I don't know what the law allows for in terms of school- the family is looking for boarding school type options. I don't know if this is the answer. I know they can force him to attend school with a police escort but I'm not about to suggest that, as I think it would do more harm than good. I believe he was rejected from outpatient ED treatment, but I'm not entirely sure why. I apologize for the fuzzy details.
I suppose what I'm asking for are options. I'm looking for transgendered teen support groups, information on what kind of schools might be an option, how I can support him directly, what can be done legally to help him survive and succeed, with emphasis on convincing the parents that whatever it is, is a good option.
I think deep down they want to help, rather than run away from the problem, but they don't know how, and have had trouble accepting his transgenderedness and personality in general.
I'm scared that without the right support, my cousin may leave home or try to harm himself, but I don't know what the right approach is. I hope the hive mind can point me to some options and information. This is in NJ, by the way.