Originally Posted by jeffsdear
Hi,I'm not sure where else to post this. I have a 17 yo M>F daughter. She has been doing HRT for almost a year, and would eventually like to have the surgery. My husband is extremely resistant to all of this (her step father), and this makes for stressful family times! My younger two kids seem to accept it pretty well. Anyone else dealt with this?
I transitioned about a decade ago with the support of both my parents (though dad was a little less hot on the idea for a while) and now try to mentor trans youth online. I actually came here looking for information about family planning for my husband and I, and just sort of stumbled on this post...
Your daughter is already way ahead of the curve just in having you to support her, because a lot of kids don't even have a single supportive parent.
Generally, parental reactions to a child coming out as trans follow a "stages of grief" pattern: denial, anger, bargaining, depression, acceptance
. Parents don't realize how many of their dreams for their child were based in the assumed gender of that child until the assumption turns out to be false. Letting go of some of that stuff, and imagining a new future, is much
harder for the parents than the kids.
When I came out, I gave my mom the book Mom I Need To Be A Girl
that I secretly ordered and read in advance, so she would have a positive role model for being a good parent in this situation. Its written by a mother about her experiences with her daughter (and she talks about issues with her un-accepting ex-husband).
I try to encourage kids to be gentle but firm about who they are, and draw out their parents's objections and fears early and deal with them rationally before false beliefs can become entrenched as a semi-permanent defensive position that may take years or decades to adjust. Better to talk out each issue in full before "sleeping on it" than risk months, years, or decades of friction.
A lot of times the parent's negative reaction have a justification
, but the justification turns out to be false, like based on crazy media sterotypes, or otherwise involve a misunderstanding of fact or ethics...
Like they'll worry that their child will be lonely forever, or not have a good career. After education and discussion, they can be shown that trans people's life outcomes can be really great if they transition early and well. Parents can have difficulty facing reality and seeing that cannot "make their child not be trans", but they can influence how
their child will transition and grow up afterwards. This site
sometimes helps with this, by showing positive outcomes for trans women.
Parents sometimes want their child to continue to pretend to be their originally assigned gender at least until they get in a relationship and have kids themselves. Usually the parents haven't thought about the ethics of perpetrating willful "identity deception" on their child's hypothetical future partner. They aren't visualizing the situation they're proposing to put their grandchildren into 5 to 20 years down the line when the years of emotional stress have put their child in a "transition or suicide" situation at a time when they should be
devoting their energy to nurturing the next generation instead.
Some parents might feel that the child is "going against god", but generally this is a gut assumption on their part that's not actually based on good religious scholarship
: the first non-jewish convert to Christianity in the bible was an ethiopian "eunuch", Mohammed was OK with trans women, Buddhists generally believe complicated gender is a way to pay off
karmic debt from previous lives (rather than creating new karmic debt), and a number of animist religions provide positions of spiritual leadership for trans people.
Without knowing specifically what your husband's objections are, it's hard to say more that might be useful.
Send me a PM if you want a link for a private online safe space for young trans people, to pass along to your daughter. I don't want to spam for that forum here, and we try to stay sort of quiet :-)