Growing up as a transgender individual isn’t easy. While many transgender people don’t come to the realization until later in life, some people have known for as long as they remember that their birth sex is wrong. Having a reliable and compassionate support network will help enormously to make transgender people feel that they are not alone.
Transgender youth are far more susceptible to issues such as depression and anxiety, in fact almost all forms of mental illness are more common in transgender people. Substance abuse is also more common and the chances of ending up homeless are increased as well. Being transgender isn’t something that can be changed, nor is it caused by the way that a child is raised, and it is important that parents understand this.
What is Being Transgender Like?
The majority of transgender individuals are diagnosed with gender dysphoria. This is a psychological condition characterized by a deep-seated unhappiness (dysphoria) that is caused by a mismatch between an individual’s preferred gender and the gender of their birth. It is this gender dysphoria that leads to trans people feeling the way they do. Many trans people find that after they transition, they no longer experience this dysphoria.
The way that gender dysphoria affects a person and the degree to which it impacts their day to day functioning varies from person to person and can also change over the course of their lifetime. Helping your child to embrace their identity and to face their feelings regarding their gender issues, whenever that might be, is paramount.
Aspects of social transitioning include changing one’s hairstyle and outward appearance so that it more closely resembles that of their chosen gender. Choosing a new name and switching the pronouns you use also fall under social transitioning. These changes are all easily reversible and are a good way to begin the journey of transitioning as they are not permanent but will give some insight into what life is like as your chosen gender.
Seeking Professional Support
Some parents will find it helpful to have some kind of professional support available. A professional will be able to guide you and your child through the complexities of transitioning between genders. As this article from consolidatetimes.com demonstrates, the experience of being transgender, and of identity more broadly, can take a variety of shapes and forms.
GLAAD (Gay & Lesbian Alliance Against Defamation) is an organization which advocates for the rights of LGBT people. They maintain many useful lists of resources and contact information for various organizations who can help transgender individuals and their families.
Supporting a transgender child can be difficult for parents. Loving and accepting your child should come naturally, but it is natural to worry about how their sexuality and gender orientation might affect their life and how they are treated by other people. While it might be difficult sometimes, there are plenty of resources available out there for parents who aren’t sure how they can best help their child with their issues.