Very little has been said or written about the challenges faced by adult children of transgender parents. As a result, it is not talked about openly or responded to with kind and loving support. Most people have little or no information on this topic and the information they do have is frequently incorrect. This can result in adult children having no place to work through the wide array of feelings that accompany having a transgender parent.
Some “children” know that their parents are “different” throughout the years. Some find out almost overnight and it comes as a complete shock.
Either way, some initial concerns that may arise are:
- How did this happen? Why are they doing this?
- Did I have something to do with this?
- Can I stop them?
- What am I going to tell my friends / family / neighbors / children?
- What kind of relationship am I going to have with them now?
- Do I even want to continue a relationship with them?
- I want to show my parent support, but it embarrasses me
- I’m afraid people will judge me negatively as a result of this
- What do I say when someone is unkind or jokes about my parent?
- How do I accept the loss that they will not be at my wedding, birthday, significant event, in the gender that I expected them to be?
Those who are more accepting may question:
- How can I be supportive, show love and kindness and help my parent?
- What does my parent need from me?
How I can help
Therapy provides a safe place where you can honestly share and explore the many feelings you may be experiencing to understand this change. Some children don’t think they can ever accept it, some don’t want to accept it and some accept it with little resistance. Where ever you stand, therapy can give you support in dealing with your feelings, with the loss of your parent as you knew him or her. You may get answers to the many questions adult children have to help them understand gender and what it means to be transgender. Therapy can help you look toward the future with insight, compassion and possibilities for you as well as for your relationship with your parent.