My son came out as transgender in a Facebook post six years ago. During the hours of that cold January day, I spent a lot of time on Google. I searched for answers to questions and looked up words I didn’t understand. It did nothing to make me feel better. If anything, all that searching made me feel worse. There was so much I didn’t understand. What I wanted more than anything else was someone to answer all my questions. Someone else who had a transgender child who knew what it was like and could share their experience with me. I wanted someone to tell me it was going to be okay. Instead, I opened up Google and typed, “So, your child is transgender. Now what?” Google did not have the answer.
When your child comes out as transgender, it can feel like the loneliest time in your life. I wanted to talk to other people about what I felt, but I didn’t know what to say. I kept waiting for other people to ask me how I was doing, and they never did. Not because they didn’t care, but because they didn’t know what to say either.
No one understands what it’s like to have a transgender child unless they have one too.
If you don’t know anyone with a transgender child, who do you turn to to get your answers? This is the struggle I faced when my son came out. And for the next two years, the only person I had to ask my questions was my therapist and a group I found on Facebook. Online groups can be tricky because some focus more on supporting your child. A good group will focus on supporting you first so that you can then support your child. It can be hard to know the difference when you’re just starting out.
After two years, I began writing to support other parents. I realized that by sharing my experiences, I could help other parents who were asking the same questions I was. I knew I might not always have the answers, but I could at least share what I had experienced. My fear of saying the wrong thing or causing harm with my words had diminished. I wagered if I could help just one other person not feel so alone, my time would be well spent.
If you are a parent who just found out your child is transgender, you may be feeling overwhelmed. You might be wondering what to do next. Perhaps you have a lot of feelings you aren’t sure what to do with. You may be wondering if those feelings are normal or if other people experience them as well. You may have a lot of questions you don’t know where to get answers for. Maybe you need some direction or some next steps.
You need someone who has gone before you to lead the way.
Let me be that person for you. If you don’t have anyone else in your life who has a transgender child, I would like to help you. I can answer your questions and give you advice. I can be the person who has gone before you and can help you find your way. I may not always get it right, but I can share what it was like for me. I can offer what I did and learned and what resources I found. I can share my experiences which may help you feel that what you are experiencing is normal. If nothing else, it will help you feel less alone.
During the first few months after my son came out, I sat in my therapist’s office and said to her, “I can’t be the only person in our community with a transgender child,” but it sure felt that way. Six years later, I know there are other parents, but I’m not connected with any of them. It still feels very lonely.
By sharing our experiences, we can cast a wider net and start bringing each other together. We may not always be able to publicly share our experiences to protect the safety of our children, but we can be building community together.
Let me know how I can support you. Drop a note in the comments, or feel free to send me a private message or an email.