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I just found out my child is transgender

child is transgenderWhat do I need to know?

When I first found out my child is transgender, I panicked. I had heard about transgender people but, like most of you, I didn’t get it. It didn’t affect me.

I am an accepting and inclusive person, but this threw me for a loop.  I felt like I was in the Twilight Zone.

It seemed the reality I had been living for the past 16 years was a lie. What was I supposed to do with all those memories of my daughter? I worried what our family and friends would think and how they would react.

Here are the top 10 things I’d like other parents whose child is transgender to know:

1. There are more transgender people than you think

Transgender people have existed across all cultures since time immemorial. Gender norms and expectations are different now than when we were growing up, and will continue to change. You probably didn’t even know half of these options even existed while you were growing up. I know I didn’t.

There are no solid statistics, although researchers estimate approximately 0.6% of adults in the United States, or 1.4 million individuals, identify a gender identity that is different from the sex they were assigned when they were born. This number does not include children. At the time of this writing, there are 4,127 members of one Facebook group for parents of transgender children alone.

2. It’s not your fault

Current research supports the theory that gender is hard-wired in the brain from before birth. Even though we have great influence over our children, parents can’t change their child’s expression of their gender or true gender identity.

It’s imperative you understand that you did nothing wrong and there is nothing wrong with your child. What we can do is help our children to have a healthy, positive sense of themselves in relation to their gender.

3. Don’t panic

We all have hopes and dreams for our children and this can seem like the death of those hopes and dreams. Although your child is transgender, remember that their dreams are still possible, including finding someone to love and having a family. The journey just might look a little different than initially expected.

Try to change your perspective. Always remember that anything is possible.

4. Your struggle is real

You may need to grieve the loss of the son or daughter you’ve raised and loved as such before coming to accept your new child. This is normal. If your child is more ambiguous and does not clearly identify as female or male, or as neither, it’s natural to feel confused and disoriented. Let yourself process those feelings.

Be honest and reassure your child. Tell them that you are overwhelmed now, but that you love them no matter what. Try to be positive with your child. Share any negative feelings you may have (hurt, fear, or disappointment) with other adults, not with your child. Find support with others who are going through similar experiences, either locally or online.

5. Life goes on

While it may seem like your world is ending because your child is transgender, this can also be the beginning of another.  You and your child may find that life continues mostly the same and not as much changes as you initially feared.

Most of all, remember that this is still your child, just in different packaging.

6. Listen to your child

Your transgender child is, naturally, afraid of rejection and how their lives might change. Listen to what your child says about their own needs. They know what they want to be called, how they want to look, and other things that make them more comfortable. There are no rules.

To better understand what your child is experiencing, ask them these Questions to ask your transgender child. Listen carefully to their responses

7. It’s your child’s life

Life is much more difficult and stressful when you’re pretending to be someone you’re not. The acute distress many transgender children feel about their bodies will start to resolve during transition.

Your child will likely become more at ease, more comfortable with themselves, and overall happier with their lives with your support and acceptance. This could be an illuminating, positive and even inspiring experience for both you and your child. You may learn more about your child, about gender, and about our constantly changing world.

Try not to make assumptions or decisions about who your child will become or how they will get there. It’s their life. They get to decide.

8. Let your child guide you

Your child has likely known they were in the wrong body for a long time and waited to tell you for a multitude of reasons. They may be telling you now because the stress they feel and the need to live their authentic self has become too difficult to hide.

As much as possible, let your child set the pace to come out publicly (or not).

9. It’s important to affirm your transgender child’s identity

Being trans is neither a choice, nor a lifestyle. As a parent of transgender boy, I have learned that the most important thing you can do is to accept, support and encourage your child to express who they know themselves to be.

If transgender children are forced to deny their true gender and are unsupported, suicide is a significant risk. A survey of over 6,000 transgender people revealed that 41 percent reported having attempted suicide at some time in their lives. Providing a sanctuary of security and support for your child is the single most important factor in promoting lifelong health and well- being for your child.

10. Information and support are available

While some people may be judgmental and supportive, there is also extensive support in unexpected places. I didn’t know what to expect when I told people my child is transgender. Despite my fears, my family and friends accepted my trans child with open arms. They respect and validate his identity.

Transgender people are much more prevalent than previously thought and there is more acceptance in the world than you know. It’s likely you have already met a transgender person. You just didn’t know it.

There are numerous local resources and online. You may meet other families struggling with these same issues and create strong friendships.

What other questions came to your mind when your child told you about their authentic self? Leave a message in the comments and maybe myself or another parent could help you out.

17 Best Gifts for a Transgender Child

So, you’ve recently found out a child in your life is transgender. There’s a special occasion coming up that involves gift giving, such as a birthday, Christmas or Chanukah, a graduation, or another occasion. This is all new to you and you don’t know where to begin to choose the best gift for the transgender child in your life. Help is here!

The 3 Essential Gifts for the Transgender Child

The most meaningful gifts you can give to the transgender child in your life will help to fulfill these basic needs:

  1. Your unconditional love: Like every other child, transgender children just want your love and understanding. This is the most important gift you can give them as it contributes to greater self-esteem, social support, and general well-being .
  2. Use of preferred prounouns: Nothing will bring a smile to the face of your transgender child like hearing affirming pronouns from your lips.
  3. Supporting their gender identity with friends, family and professionals: Advocate for the transgender child in your life to try to make their lives a little easier and normal.

The above FREE, yet invaluable gifts can help deflect against bullying and resistance outside the home. They help ward off depression, substance abuse, and suicide. In other words, for some transgender youth, your support can be the difference between life and death.

If you have come to this page in search of a thoughtful tangible gift for the transgender child in your life, we suggest the following most popular gifts any transgender child hopes to receive in 2019.

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Best Gifts for a Transgender Male 

For those boys of all ages with endless energy, the GoSports Slammo Game Set can be played indoors or outdoors and keeps players fit while having fun. The set includes 3 balls and a carrying case.

A great gift for a transgender boy who is slightly geeky is the Marvel Super Hero Adventures Ultimate Super Hero Set. These 10 action figures will provide hours of play to those younger boys with active imaginations. 

For the teen boy who loves gaming, Madden NFL 20 (available for Xbox One and PS4) is a solid choice. This updated version includes the feature to create your own custom player or use players from the past. 

If you’re searching for a gift for a transgender male who likes sports but isn’t into football, there’s always the new NBA 2K20 (available for Xbox One, PS4 and Nintendo Switch), or NHL 20 (available for Xbox One and PS4). 

For those who love to game, but don’t like sports, the new Call of Duty: Modern Warfare is sure to be a hit for transgender teens who love to game.

What boy doesn’t love a hoodie? The Champion LIFE Pullover Hoodie or the Nike Pullover Hoodie  are both warm, comfortable and stylish hoodies that will make those transgender boys feel more like themselves.

Best Gifts for a Transgender Girl

A great gift for the younger transgender girl is the Baby Alive Happy Hungry Baby. This interactive doll you feed with a special spoon will give your child hours of pretend fun playing mommy.

Makeup is an ideal gift idea for transgender female. Try the Fenty Beauty by Rihanna Gloss Bomb Universal Lip Luminizer to keep their lips looking sun-kissed and moisturized.

The Maúve Carry All Trunk Train Case with Makeup is the perfect gift for the transgender girl and includes everything she needs to experiment with makeup to find out what works for her.

Jewellery is another feminine gift that a transgender girl will cherish. These beautiful and sparkly Angel Wing Heart Necklaces and Earrings Sets are embellished with crystals from Swarovski and are sure to make your child feel extra girly.

Genderless Gifts for any Transgender Child

The Hydro Flask Water Bottle is durable, keeps water ice-cold for hours and helps sustain the environment by minimizing waste. It’s a must-have for anyone who wants to keep plastic out of our landfills.

A PG version of Cards Against Humanity, this family-friendly gift for good readers is the fill-in the blank game, Not Parent Approved: A Card Game for Kids, Families and Mischief Makers. It provides hours of family fun and laughter while encouraging reading.

These Avantree Audition Bluetooth Headphones will provide hours of wireless listening for the music lover, while keeping parents who appreciate peace and quiet happy. It’s a winner for everyone!

The Kid Made Modern Studio in A Box Set is the perfect gift for the crafty transgender child. This arts and crafts supply kit provides multiple ways for your child to express themselves through art.

This Risky Rainbow Giant Tumble Tower wood stacking block game with color dice and storage bag will keep the whole family entertained for hours. It’s just like Jenga with a colorful twist.

For those children who love to read, this timeless 5 Book Set of Percy Jackson Books will provide hours of action and adventure for all lovers of mythical creatures.

Finally, a gift you can give anyone and everyone to help support the transgender child in your life! This Be Kind T-Shirt promotes an anti-bullying message . The world today can most definitely use more kind people.

We hope this post gave you some great ideas for buying gifts for the transgender child in your life! Let us know in the comments if you have any other great gift ideas for a transgender child.

It’s time for Testosterone

I have a syringe in my purse and it feels criminal. I’ve always believed syringes were for medical professionals, diabetics and junkies. I am none of those. I am, however, the mother of transgender son.

My son came out a year and a half ago. His father and I were in shock. We had no idea. We attended a couple of PFLAG meetings in an attempt to better understand our son’s dilemma. But it was too far to travel and we stopped.

I also conducted online research (I tend to get a little obsessed) and joined a few of the many Facebook support groups for parents of transgender children. I was pleasantly surprised to find a HUGE community of people out there who support their transgender children and each other. I am very grateful for them.

Unfortunately, my son’s father became overwhelmed and stopped trying to understand and support our son. He feels it is a ‘phase’ and refuses to discuss the matter anymore. He continues to use our son’s dead name and female pronouns. They don’t have a very close relationship. They bond over Lego.

Because my ex had joint legal custody for medical decisions and would not agree to medical intervention to facilitate our son’s transition, we couldn’t proceed with that process. So, I bought a few binders, some boys clothes and accessories, and took my son to a barber to shear his long blonde locks in favor of a crew cut, which I now maintain with our very own hair clippers. My son was happy with these changes as they help him pass as a boy most of the time.

Last month my son turned 18. His first adult decision was to make an appointment to start Testosterone. We walked out of that appointment with a prescription for Testosterone, information on all the potential side-effects, and a blood requisition form. The next appointment is in two weeks. The doctor will teach me how to do the injections.

And that’s why I am now in possession of a syringe which I will soon use to inject my son with testosterone. And I am terrified.

Questions you may want to ask your transgender child

 

questions understand transgenderThese questions may help you better understand your transgender child and why they feel the way they do.

  1. How long have you been feeling this way?
  2. What started you thinking about it? Did something happen?
  3. What made you tell me now? Did something change?
  4. Have you been talking to anyone else about these feelings?
  5. How did you learn about transgender people?
  6. Are you thinking of changing your name and/or the pronouns people use to refer to you?
  7. Where do you see yourself on the gender spectrum?
  8. What do you want to change now to express your preferred gender? What would you like to change in the future?
  9. What do you think I need to get more information about?
  10. How can I help you in this process?

I don’t suggest you ask all these questions at once. Be sure to carefully listen to the answers provided. This will demonstrate to your child that you are genuinely interested in what they think, how they see themselves and what they are experiencing. This will also assure them that you are there for them.

Take plenty of time to think about the answers you receive to these questions. As you absorb the information, you may realize you need more clarification. Write these questions down and ask them at your next opportunity. As you continue to ask follow-up questions, you may notice that you are beginning to better understand your child and why they feel the way they do.

Over time, this open communication will also help you evaluate your child’s level of stress or distress, and determine whether they may need additional outside support or intervention.

If there are any other questions you wanted to ask your child, or if you want to share other information they offered, please leave a note in the comments.