Home' Families like mine : Families Like Mine Contents GET SUPPORT
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL,
QUESTIONING YOUNG PEOPLE
GENDER DIVERSE YOUNG PEOPLE
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
Common thoughts and questions
My child seems more happy and confident in themselves. How do I reinforce this
even though I am still feeling shocked and struggling with my own feelings?
There are many ways to reinforce the increased sense of self-wor th and self-esteem
that a young person might feel when they begin to affirm their gender identity. For some
young people, gender transitioning is a time when they show publically who they are for
the first time. This might involve dressing differently, choosing a new name or asking the
people around them to address them with a different pronoun, going from ‘she’ to ‘he’ or
from ‘he’ to ‘she’, or using gender-neutral pronouns such as a first name.
Transitioning can be a ver y positive time, especially when a person is suppor ted by
family and friends. You can affirm your child or loved one by respecting the decisions
they are making, even though this might be challenging for you at first. Some young
people will be going through a process of working out what their gender identity means
for them. Sometimes, telling someone about what they are feeling – even if it’s confusing
helps a young person feel more comfor table. If you notice a more positive attitude in
your child, you might tell them they seem happier and that this makes you happy.
I’m struggling to come to terms with my gender diverse or transgender child’s
identity... does this make me a bad parent?
You and other family members may experience feelings of guilt, shock, shame, anger,
disappointment and/or grief. You may feel afraid you are losing your son or daughter or
you may not understand why your child or loved one can’t be content in their biological
body. It may be a struggle to see your child or loved one as a person with a different
gender or a person who may come to look different from how you have always known
them. Even if your child or loved one begins to wear different clothes or wants you to use
a different pronoun with them (i.e . ‘he’, ‘she’ or by the person’s name) or even call them
by a different name, it can be hard to see that they are still the same person.
For some family members there can be ver y strong feelings of grief and loss as they
grieve for the daughter or son they are losing/have lost, before they can welcome the new
gender identity. This process is understandable and can be ver y painful. You are not a
bad parent because you are struggling with the transition of your child or loved one, and
it’s OK for you to take some time to process your feelings. It’s also worth remembering
that we don’t know why some people will question or transition their gender. There is no
point in you feeling that as a parent you did something wrong to contribute to your child
questioning their gender. This is not the case. You have nothing of which to be ashamed
or embarrassed. If negative feelings are getting on top of you or adversely affecting the
family, it may be helpful to seek professional help from a counsellor who is familiar with
the journey taken by friends and family of gender diverse or transgender people.
While it’s typical for parents and loved ones to have a range of emotions during this time,
remember that to express their real gender, it’s a ver y hard journey for your child or loved
one to take. It might be useful to remember that as your child or loved one is changing their
gender identity, they are on a journey to becoming their true self. It’s also wor th remembering
that ever y person explores and changes their identity over time and this is completely natural.
Once your child or loved one has talked to you about their gender, they have invited you on
that journey with them. You can look for ward to getting to know them even better. A s you
are working through your emotions, it’s impor tant that you remain loving and suppor tive
so your child or loved one is reassured that your love for them has not changed.
Does my child being gender diverse mean that they are gay?
Sexuality and gender are t wo different things. Gender diverse and transgender people
may be gay, lesbian, bisexual or heterosexual or may choose to identify as queer or
describe their sexual identity in other terms. A s with all young people, your child or
loved one might need time to explore their own sexual feelings and decide what is right
for them in the future. The most helpful thing parents or loved ones can do is to create
an inclusive environment where children know they will be suppor ted no matter who
they are. Challenge any negative statements or stereotypes you hear about LGBTIQ
people and make it clear you are OK with LGBTIQ people.
Links Archive Navigation Previous Page Next Page