When your child comes out as transgender, they begin a transition to the person they have always been. In some ways, your family begins a transition too. As a parent, however, you are still the same person. Nothing about you changed the day your child came out. For sure, you have a lot of emotions and things to learn about what it means for your child to be transgender, but you are still you. So why are you finding it a struggle to relate to other parents? More importantly, why are you finding other parents are having a hard time relating to you?
“People are afraid of things they don’t understand. They don’t know how to relate. It threatens their security, their existence..” ~Bill Laswell
Unless someone has experienced a child coming out as transgender, they can’t understand what it is like. They don’t know how you feel or what you have experienced. It’s easier to create a story about how someone must be different because of their circumstances than it is to be vulnerable and engage with them.
So instead of reaching out, they pull away.
This can leave you feeling lonely and like no one cares. You might constantly worry about what other people think about you or your child. And you may even believe that there is something wrong with you.
None of those things are true. How people view you and/or your child reflects them, not you. When people pull away or shut you out, it’s because they are having a difficult time navigating your new reality. They are unsure how to move forward in your relationship. And while it is because your child came out as transgender, it is not because you are the parent of a transgender child.
Being the parent of a transgender child doesn’t make you any different from any other parent.
We all love and care about our children. As parents, we have the best interests of our children at heart. We want our children to be healthy and happy and to find love. Just because our children are transgender doesn’t change that.
Other parents may not know what it’s like to walk in our shoes, but they know what it’s like to be a parent and love their child. And they know who we were the day before our child came out as transgender.
You get to decide if you want to do the work to bridge the gap between you. Or you can wait to see if they will make the first step. But here’s your reminder that there is nothing wrong with you. You haven’t done anything wrong. Some people just need to figure out that you are still the same person you have always been.
It might take them time. Or they may just need a nudge. Feel free to send them this post.