Home' Families like mine : Families Like Mine Contents GET SUPPORT
LESBIAN, GAY, BISEXUAL,
QUESTIONING YOUNG PEOPLE
GENDER DIVERSE YOUNG PEOPLE
RESOURCES AND REFERENCES
TAKING CARE OF YOURSELF
Ways to support yourself
It’s OK to give yourself some time to make sense of the new information and emotions
you feel when your child or loved one comes out as gender diverse or star ts to show
you that the gender assigned at birth is not right for them. Self-care will be impor tant
at this time. You may feel a sense of loss and need to grieve for the loss of your child or
loved one as you perceived them. Although it may feel hard initially to speak to others
about your child or loved one’s gender expression, it will be impor tant for you to build a
suppor t network around you. This might be composed of other family members, close
friends, neighbours, people from a suppor t group or a professional like your trusted GP
or a counsellor. Choosing in whom you confide at this time will be influenced by your
child or loved one’s wishes about whom they are comfor table for you to talk to about
their gender identity expression.
It’s impor tant for your child or loved one that you can suppor t and affirm the changes
they are making. Try to share your more negative feelings of grief, anger, shock,
concern, anxiety or confusion with your suppor t network. This way, you can express
those feelings without having a negative impact on your child or loved one or other
family members. It’s possible to feel shocked or challenged, while also reassuring
your child or loved one that you love and suppor t them.
Recognise that as a parent or loved one you will also go through a coming out
process, when a young person discloses their gender identity. This provides an
oppor tunity to develop a shared experience that over time, can draw you closer
together. It’s also impor tant to remember that the way you react and inform others
will influence how they react to the news and form opinions. Positive, inclusive
responses from you will illustrate to others that you love and suppor t your child
or loved one and want the best for them.
Tips for taking care of yourself
• Knowledge is power. Seek as much information as you can about the experiences
of gender diverse and transgender people.
• Seek information about how other families (with similar cultural or religious
backgrounds) have moved for ward with their child or loved one who is gender diverse
• Be kind to yourself. You will not always get it right when it comes to having difficult
conversations with your child or loved one, no matter what the topic. If your child or
loved one knows that you love and suppor t them, no matter what, they will be more
forgiving if mistakes occur. As uncomfor table as it can sometimes feel, mistakes can
be a way to learn and become closer to people, so don’t be scared to ‘open up’ with
your child or loved one.
• Talk to your friends. You may have some worries about how your friends will react,
but if you need to talk through issues, then having friends with whom you can talk,
is really impor tant. Your friends may be more understanding than you expect. Think
about who is likely to have the most suppor tive response and contact them. A s with
your child or loved one, suppor tive friendships and positive responses help protect
your mental health and wellbeing. If your child or loved one has asked you not to talk
about their gender, it’s still possible to tell your friends that you are struggling with
the challenges of parenting and seek suppor t without being specific about the issue.
• If you need help or just want to talk things through, seek professional advice and
suppor t. There are counsellors in Australia who have experience with gender
questioning, gender diverse or transgender people and their families. Your local
suppor t group or organisations that suppor t gender diversity may be able to refer
you to someone in your area. You can also ask your GP if you are eligible for Medicare
rebates if he/she refers you to a trained mental health professional.
• Find a peer suppor t group for you to attend and also one for your child or loved one
(if this is something they are interested in).
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