Coming Out As a Transgender Teenager: 13 Ways Parents Can Support & Love Their Trans Teen by Heather Holter
One of my children recently came out to me as transgender. I have learned so much the past few months. It has been a joy learning and growing with this magical child. Here's what I have learned:
- Your reaction when your child comes out as trans is going to stick with them forever, so if you don't know what to say, just say, "I love you, we will figure it out."
- Don't scream at or berate the child. This was a very hard step for them, to come out to you. Even if you don't agree with it or don't understand, keep those feelings under wraps for now.
- Educate yourself about all things transgender. There are tons of parent resources. (See Amazon links below.)
- Find support. The support can be either online or in person. If you can't find anything in your area start a support group yourself! Mama Bears, a group dedicated to supporting, educating and empowering moms of LGBTQ kids and the LGBTQ community, and PFLAG.org, an organization uniting parents, families and allies with people who are lesbian, gay, bisexual and transgender, are great places to start.
- Avoid dead-naming and misgendering. This is very damaging and hurtful. Respect new name and preferred pronouns.
- Let the child lead their transition. Transition looks different for everyone. Some want hormone replacement therapy, some want surgery, some just want to change name pronouns, dress and hair/makeup. They will let you know what they want.
- Ask about friends and relationships often to be sure everyone is being kind. If they are not you can be there for them. Talk about it.
- Leave small gifts or notes to encourage them. This might be a compliment or a new clothing item or candy. Anything that will make them feel special.
- Listen. If your child wants to explain anything about themselves or about transgender issues, listen. Don't be afraid to ask questions.
- Find a good doctor and therapist. Most trans kids can thrive with the right support.
- Allow yourself to grieve. Don't feel guilty. This is a real loss.
- Become an ally. Your support means everything.
- Most importantly: LOVE unconditionally. This is hard for everyone, but it can work with enough love.
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