Family and Friends
First, we invite you to consider the family and friends who live in your home. Making sure you have the support of the people your child interacts with every day is a good place to start. Here are some questions to consider:
- Is everyone in our home affirming my child’s gender?
- Does anyone need information, education, or extra support (e.g. siblings)?
- Is everyone in agreement about when and how to disclose my child’s gender identity?
Next we offer some food for thought when planning how to come out to family members and friends:
- Work with your child to decide when and how disclosures should be made
- Consider how knowledgeable and accepting individuals are likely to be
- Decide on the best approach (e.g., in-person conversation, phone call, letter)
- Decide what information you will and will not share about your child
- Prepare yourself and your child for different kinds of responses
- Plan for everyone’s safety
- Practice what you will say
People will have a range of reactions, and some may not know how to react. Being ready to answer questions and provide information is key. It can also be helpful to let people know how you would like them to support you, your child, and your family. Here are some ideas to consider:
- Meet in a place where everyone feels comfortable
- Have some resources ready to share
- Ask for the support you need
- Give time and space for them to process the information
- If necessary, set boundaries for how supportive they need to be to be in contact with your family
- Have a plan to debrief with a supportive person later on
- Check in with your child
As new friends come into your life, you will have more choices to make about disclosure. Regularly checking in with your child about how private they want to be, and whether they want to disclose their own information or have you share it for them is important. Having conversations about what will happen when you run into old acquaintances or how your child would like to deal with people who are disrespectful (e.g. misgender or use the wrong name) before it happens can help these situations go much smoother.
School Support can be crucial for your child’s wellbeing. In this section we present ideas for approaching your child’s school and link to a number of resources that can guide you through this process.
Brill, S. A., & Pepper, R. (2008). The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals. San Francisco, Calif: Cleis Press.
Erickson-Schroth, L. (Ed.). (2014). Trans Bodies, Trans Selves: A Resource for the Transgender Community. New York, NY: Oxford University Press.
Families in Transition – A resource guide for parents of trans youth – Central Toronto Youth Services
Our Trans Loved Ones: Questions and Answers for Parents, Families, and Friends of People Who are Transgender and Gender Expansive – PFLAG, 2015
Parenting and Family – Gender Spectrum