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?
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 :-)
He has a wonderful life and a great career. He gives back to society and now has the confidence to do things that most of us only dream about. What you are doing for your daughter is a wonderful thing. You should feel proud that you have the courage in the face of opposition to help her through this time in her life. It will only bring you closer. I will speak to him and ask him if there are any resources for parents that are having trouble coming to terms with it.
I wish you well and I hope you find the necessary resources for your husband.
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Also, don't neglect YOUR needs in this time. You are clearly playing mediator between your husband and your daughter right now. Make sure that you have the emotional support YOU need to play this role in a way that's healthy for everyone.
Finally, as the partner of someone who transitioned in his 30s, I will tell you that logistically, doing it earlier has advantages. My partner can never apply for a job, submit school transcripts, etc., without outing himself. It's worked out fine for us - he's a college professor - but I think that some of the logistics can be easier if you do it earlier.
A, partner to J, mama to O, now with a new username!
Building queer family since 2008!
(and oh, did i mention we're having twins?!?)
Ditto on what everyone else has said. You might check with your local PFlag group and see if they run a group for family members of trans people. Ours does, and I've been a few times. (My partner is trans.) There are lots of parents there, and it seems to be a helpful place for them to share, get support, etc.
DP to Sara, two crazy kids running around, lil dude born 11-1-11 and the new guy is home !! (5/2/12)
I've known many transgendered people in my life, and two of my best friends are, one pre-op FTM, the other mid-op MTF. My young FTM friend is currently trying to come out to his family, and I've been trying to help him word his coming out speech since his family have religious and cultural issues with LGBT people, and don't speak English. So I've been doing quite a bit of research about it lately. I've studied to help my friends and also for my own edification. I was close-minded and stubborn once and had to learn the hard way.
Right now (since I only really have a moment), I really reccomend you watch the 20/20 episode "My Secret Self". It's how I convinced many of my family members to not cause problems at my wedding (My maid of honor was MTF and wore a gown, and the torch bearer was FTM and wore a tux. Most people didn't notice, but my family knew them both before transitioning). Some reason it just helps to see it, and to see that it happens to such young children (combats the dangerous trans person and perverse trans person syereotypes, shows how very very unlikely it is that this was choice or nurture based disorder, etc). This also helped my trans friends feel more assured that this was not their fault, and helped them make sense of their childhoods. It also brought one friend's mother closer to her.
You can watch the whole video on youtube:
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=Utpam0IGYac pt 1
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=j8F9C...eature=related pt 2
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=1W17z...eature=related pt 3
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=hSkQl...eature=related pt 4
http://www.youtube.com/watch?v=ib_yE...eature=related pt 5
And as I said before, while I might not understand exactly how it feels and what you're going through, you are always welcome to come talk to me, and I will always do my best to try and help. My parents were not accepting of my sexuality at all, and if I can help the parent of an LGBT person come to understanding, acceptance, and above all love, I will feel better about the world we live in.
Message me any time.
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He's wrong about the first part IMO, but right about the second part. Your DD does need the care of an experienced mental health professional, because transitioning is hard emotional, physical and mental work. I'd cling to that part of your DH's viewpoint and get your DD into regular weekly talk therapy. It may be that your DH will be prepared to accept reality from the "professional" far sooner than he'll be ready to accept from your DD.
As to the surgery - in less than a year, it just won't be your decision either way. And that's as it should be.
There was a mildly viral (oxymoron ther? Maybe...lol) blog that went around after Halloween written by a mom whose 5yo son dressed up as a female character for Halloween and the reactions she got from other moms... One of the most resonating lines from it was "it's not okay to bully, even if you wrap it up in a bow and call it 'concern' ". Now I don't thinknypur husband is necesarilly intending to be damaging or hurtful but it can be felt as such. Honestly, he may benefit from some counselling as well.