My kid is trans*, and I don’t understand!

Hearing that your child is questioning their gender identity can surface feelings of fear, disbelief, shock, or confusion for parents and family members of the transgender child.  You may have thoughts of “this is just a phase,” or “how do I make sense of this?”.  It may feel overwhelming finding a place to begin.

Here at Labyrinth, we believe in support and compassion for both the family and the transgender child.  We provide education in a private and nonjudgmental place that allows you to work through the feelings and concerns that you have about gender and identity.

In a survey published by the CDC in January 2019, it was found that almost 2% of high school students identify as transgender[1].  Numbers from several studies show that statistically, LGBTQ+ youth and individuals are at higher risk for things like suicide, depression, bullying, and homelessness.  Support for the transgender individual is paramount, even if you don’t understand or “get it.”

It’s important to acknowledge that it is common for this time be challenging for you, as the parents or family member.  You may feel like you are losing your child, or that they are becoming someone else.  While these feeling of loss are valid and understandable, it is important to remember that your child is still the same person.  It’s okay to not fully understand what your child is going through.  One helpful tip is learning to use the pronouns and name your child chooses.  This effort is associated with increased wellbeing and positive mental health for the transgender individual.

If you need support for yourself in order to better support your child, please reach out.  There are several national organizations like The Trevor Project at https://www.thetrevorproject.org/ and CenterLink: The Community of LGBT Centers at https://www.lgbtcenters.org/ which can help connect you with resources.  At Labyrinth, we will be starting up a support group for parents of transgender kids (details coming soon) and hope to see you there.  If you would like to set up services at Labyrinth for you or your child, please email our project and office manager, Elizabeth Scott, at escott@labyrinthpsych.com or call us at (508) 797-7110, ext. 101.

[1] https://www.cdc.gov/mmwr/volumes/68/wr/mm6803a3.htm

 

This blog was written by Nikki Gamache, M.A.

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