(D) shows a DAD answer
(M) shows a MOM answer
Frequently Asked Questions
Many of us have questions - and mothers have different questions and concerns sometimes than fathers.
Likewise, a grandparent or aunt may come up with a question themselves. If you have a question, please let us know.
There are many useful sites that explain things easily, but this Frequently Asked Questions page is specific to
how parents deal and cope with their new normal life.
Note: These questions were asked of parents, and their responses have not been edited beyond a few grammatical corrections.
- What was your very first reaction to the idea that your son/daughter was transgender?
(D) I was shocked at first. I had known that my kid was having some kind of emotional turmoil, but I had
not figured out what the issue was.
(M) I saw the face of my young adult child and the dread of having to tell us - I knew better than to pile
on...I listened and was reassuring that we would all work things out together.
Did you have any idea that your son/daughter was dealing with this? Did you think it was just typical teen or normal anxiety?
(D) No, see above. We [wife and I] had been having some emotional issues for about 3 or 4 years and he had been seeing a therapist.
At times, I thought the therapy was helping to reduce the anxiety attacks. The therapist never gave any hints to me or my wife
about the cause of the problems. The transgender issue caught me flat-footed.
What emotions were swirling around in your mind/hear those first days or weeks?
(D) Fear and worry about what my son might face in the future. Mixed with complete and unconditional love. I had a strong desire
to protect my kid.
(M) My gut and heart hurt desperately for my child and I was in a bit of shock, I guess, deciding what the next "right" move was for us.
Did you say something you now regret, in that initial conversation with your son/daughter?
(D) I didn't say anthing to regret. I just tried to communicate my love for my kid.
(M) No. Thank God. In the first days, when I would struggle with words, things got a little tense, but we just reminded ourselves
that our son had struggled with this for YEARS, and we had only had a few days - there needs to be an agreement that there
will be a learning curve.
Are you a spiritual person? If so, has this changed your attitude at all?
(D) Yes. My attitude hasn't changed. I have become more sensitized to how my Christian friends react to this news.
(M) Yes, and I was afraid to tell my religious friends. I started with one very close friend. Over time, I have found that most have
surprised me in a positive way. We did leave a church that was very conservative in its views, however, because we wanted to find
a church that would be openly accepting to LGBTQ people - it's the right thing to do and I belive it's the human thing to do.
Is there something you were "looking forward to" with your son/daughter that you now think is lost due to the transition? [Note: This is not a question asked as a pity thing, but to really see what parents have in common with the goals/plans/expectations that will now change to new ones.]
(D) I have never felt the sense of loss that I think some parents of transgender kids have described. There are still many goals to be
met, like graduating from college, getting a job, etc.
(M) Honestly, yes, at first. And sometimes I get teary about what might have been (wearing/using my wedding gown!). On the other hand,
now there are just a whole lot of new things to look forward to that would not have been otherwise (using my wedding gown for
the lining of a tux jacket!).
Has this experience brought you closer to your son/daughter? To your spouse/partner?
(D) Yes to both
(M) Yes. Once my son became himself in the world, everything about his demeanor and connection to us changed There was no longer
a "secret" hanging on. He's been brave and accepted many difficulties along the way that make me very proud. Also, my husband
and I have deeper conversations about the broader world and social responsibilities to help others.
Have you had backlash from anyone when they have learned that you are a "trans" parent? If so, what happened/what was said? How did you react?
(D) Not really. The main group of people we discussed our kid with was our long-standing bible study group. My statement to them was
'I have loved this person for their whole life and there is nothing that can ever make me not love them.'
(M) Other friends have responded with "Oh, I'm so sorry" or "That must be really hard to deal with." Mostly, however, they follow it up
(or those who have known me a while end up saying) "I admire you for being such a great Mom. I don't know that I could handle
this like you do." So, to answer the question, I get mixed messages, sometimes I think people are just being polite, but mostly I've
been surprised by the supportive words. There has been some "behind the scenes" backlash/comments within the family, but I've
only heard rumors...nobody actually confronts me. Interesting, isn't it?
Where did you turn for help/support/answers when you first learned your daughter/son was transgender? Was it helpful, confusing, relevent, scary, or other _____?
(D) My wife and I attended a support group meeting, but it turned out not to be a transgender-specific support group. It was not helpful
for us and we did not return.
(M) I thought the local LGBT group might help, but everyone there (only 4 people) had been years into their situations and were not in the
exact circumstances we were. All we got was "this is so great, isn't it?" and that wasn't how we were feeling at that time - we were raw
and confused and wanted to do the right thing in the right way, but we didn't find answers.
Is there something you would like to say to other parents?
(D) This person is your child. Keep on loving him/her and keep on showing that love as much as you can.
(M) Don't let people tell you anything about YOUR child - get the information directly from them and be a part of their future as a