For the Parents of Transgender Kids

Hi Mom and Dad, you have just found out that your child is transgender and it is perfectly normal for there to be confusion in your thoughts as you try to grasp what it all means. My goal with this article is to get you started in the right direction and provide you with some basic information to help clear up the confusion and thus make the transition between you and your child easier. I will dispel the untruths for you and give you a clear expectation on what it means to be transgender and what you can expect. It took a lot of courage for your child to come out to you and before we even begin you should be proud of them for that. Let’s get started.

The first thing you need to accept immediately is that being transgender is not a choice. This means that your child only got to choose to deny who they are until they couldn’t do it anymore. This also means that they are not transgender because of anything you did. I think that needs to be repeated because that it almost always the first things a parent often things when they learn their child is transgender. It was nothing you did; the cause is biological. The part of the brain responsible for gender identity in the transgender brain develops in the womb structurally closer to the  pattern of the gender they identify as. For more details, feel free to check out my Video blog (Vlog) on the transgender brain.

Screen Shot 2015-07-09 at 7.48.51 PMThe next thing you need to realize is that this is a journey that will expose your child to discrimination, hate, and even violence. They will need as much support from their family as possible because this is not an easy journey by any definition. If your child is pre-puberty then seeking help and hormone blockers will provide your child with passing privilege and will reduce the cost and pain incurred by undoing the physical effects of the wrong puberty as best as they can. If your child is beyond puberty, it will be a rougher journey but still rewarding for them and you.

I need to touch on pronouns and names because these are very important and a huge stumbling block for families in transition. You may have known your daughter as she and her for his whole life but even if he says it is okay to stumble during the transition, each stumble hurts him, especially using the old name. Even after transition, hearing your old name used on someone else can still hurt and cause a stab of pain every time you hear it. You are going to make mistakes but when you do and you realize it, be sure to apologize as the act of apologizing will help cement their new name in.

One of the most important aspects of transitioning is that your child is about to be actually happy for in some cases the first time in their life. A parent’s job is to raise happy kids and with transitioning, you are about to see that. The risk for suicide, especially in a supportive family drops significantly. Unfortunately, it does not drop as much as I would like to see in the case of an unsupportive family. Love really does make a difference and I urge you to always love your children unconditionally.

Some parents like to think of transitioning in terms of losing a boy or girl child and gaining a different one who is the opposite gender. The reality is that if your son becomes your daughter, she is still the same person; just happier and free to do the things she wants to do. If you need the loss/gain thought process, it may be better to see it this way. You have lost a child with secrets who was hiding themselves from you for a secret free child happy to be who they are and capable of forming a great relationship with loving parents. Trust me when I say that the time you spend getting to know your child after transition will be worth it.

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