Especially early in life, it is difficult to tell tomboys, butch Lesbians and transmen apart. This demands that parents and other caring individuals develop strong observational skills and to learn all they can about parenting. Parents and other caring adults, such as aunts, uncles, great aunts and uncles, grandparents, teachers, and coaches help the child build a foundation that will serve the child for the rest of his or her life.
The tomboy cycles rapidly between male and female energies and behaviors. She does not feel acute stress when an occasion calls for feminine attire/behavior, such as wearing an Easter dress on Easter,etc. The tomboy is often heterosexual and grows out of it, sometimes as late as high school or college. She may have a boy's nickname, sometimes only at playtime, or when playing sports. Often a tomboy does this in an effort to gain male privilege. Occasionally the tomboy grows up to be a butch Lesbian.
The butch Lesbian may have been a tomboy earlier and acknowledges feeling "different," or a romantic attraction to girls (crushes) at an early age (often age four or even earlier), but these feelings become stronger during puberty and often she becomes more masculine as she ages. However, she never hates being a woman, even though she may dress and act very masculine, and does not seek gender reassignment. The butch Lesbian may be able to stop homosexual BEHAVIOR, but the desire is always there. They have been known to marry and have children, due to family and societal pressure.Often she seeks the company of heterosexual men as friends and work mates, but dislike other butch Lesbians, with whom she sees as competition for the attention of feminine Lesbians. Obviously, she seeks romantic relationships with feminine Lesbians. Butch Lesbians are NOT about gender but about SEXUAL ORIENTATION.
The transman, like the butch Lesbian, and the tomboy, feels "different" at an early age, age four, and sometimes earlier. The transman adamantly demands to dress in boy's clothing, have a boy's name (not a nickname!) and questions why his body does not look like a boy's. A transman is ALL ABOUT gender, BUT can be ANY sexual orientation in relation to his TRUE GENDER, the gender he identifies as being (internal gender). A heterosexual transman may have mistook himself as a butch Lesbian prior to learning about the concept of transgender. During this time he may have had trouble "connecting" with the Lesbian community.
A note to parents: On the surface, the behaviors of a future tomboy, butch Lesbian and transman are remarkably similar. One must become familiar with your children and develop excellent observational skills, especially at playtime, when a child feels most free to be themselves. One wants to support your child into becoming an healthy adult, regardless of gender or sexual orientation, without inadvertently encouraging a child to become something they are not. Being a parent is the hardest and most important job you will ever do, but will also be the most satisfying.