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LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL,
QUESTIONING YOUNG PEOPLE
GENDER DIVERSE YOUNG PEOPLE
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
Did I do something wrong?
It’s not helpful for you (or your child or loved one) to blame yourself or wonder if you
did (or did not) do something that contributed to their gender questioning. There is
no evidence to suggest that different parenting styles or family situations contribute
to a person being gender diverse or transgender. In fact, there is no clear answer on
why one person may question their gender and why another may not. Even though
you might look for evidence to explain why your child or loved one is questioning their
gender, the truth is, we just don’t know why some people do not find a match between
the sex they are born with, or were assigned at birth, and the gender with which they
identify. Blaming yourself or feeling like you ‘caused’ your child to question their gender
reinforces a sense that there is something wrong with your child’s gender expression.
This is not true. The impor tant influence that you and your family can now have is to
create and maintain an environment that suppor ts your child or loved one to explore
and determine their own gender identity.
I wish my child could have told me earlier. How did I miss the signs?
There are many reasons why gender diverse or transgender people might choose not to
disclose their identity to others, including those they love deeply. The messages that all
people get about gender conformity and gender nonconformity are ver y strong. It can
be ver y hard for a gender diverse or transgender person to accept what lies ahead
of them and it may have taken your child or loved one a long time to come to know or
understand their own gender identity. Some young people will be ver y worried about
negative reactions and choose not to tell others because of this. Even when families
appear to be accepting and inclusive, it can still be ver y scar y for a young person to risk
their sense of security and belonging.
Because being gender diverse or transgender is not that common, families generally
don’t expect to have a child who is gender diverse or transgender. You may have missed
some signs because you did not know what to look for and because your child or loved
one had felt pressured repeatedly by society to hide the signs from you. In addition to
this, most people don’t think about their gender identity because their biological sex and
their gender have always been consistent. Because most people never have to consider
what it’s like not to fit into the expected sex and gender ‘boxes’, it makes it more difficult
for a gender diverse person to be ‘out’ and to discuss their own thoughts and feelings.
You are not to blame that you did not know earlier.
Some young people will tell cer tain people in a family first, maybe one parent or one
sibling or a trusted aunt or uncle. They might then ask that person to tell others or to
keep the information to themselves until they feel more self-assured and ready for
others to know. By telling only one adult in the family, your child or loved one might
have felt safer. The trusted adult could tell other family members so initially the young
person is shielded from potential prejudice and/or misunderstandings from other
family members. The trusted adult could also talk to family members about the young
person’s fears and concerns. A s your child or loved one has come to you now, make the
most of the oppor tunity to reassure them and provide suppor t.
How will my child be affected by the requirements of legal documents?
If your child wants to, there are a number of legal documents that can be changed to
affirm a person’s gender identity, including their name and sex. This includes passpor ts
and birth cer tificates. If a person is under the age of eighteen, they will need consent
from their parents.
For further information on obtaining a new birth cer tificate or changing a name, contact
the Birth, Deaths and Marriages office in your state or territor y or see Transgender
Victoria’s guide ‘Sex and gender diverse people and identity documents’.
For further advice on passpor t changes, contact the Australian Passpor t Information
Ser vice on 13 12 32 or the Passpor t Policy Section firstname.lastname@example.org
All State and Territor y passpor t offices have trained staff in sex and gender diversity
policy who can assist with information and passpor t application.
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