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Home » tvChix Articles » Guide to Being a Transgender Parent

Guide to Being a Transgender Parent

Parenting is a difficult job at the best of times. Throw in anything on top of that which is going to put you outside the norm in some way and a new set of challenges will present themselves. Challenges don't always mean disaster, however. If embraced and faced head on, with a little luck they may help you grow closer with your child.

Coming Out to Your Child

While it can be tempting to avoid the issue entirely by simply not talking to your children about your situation, this has very poor odds of turning out well. Children are far more astute at noticing when something is being hidden from them than adults give them credit for. Worse, even if your child doesn't realize something is being hidden from him or her, your child's friends might and then say something. It's especially upsetting to a child to deal with discovering secrets as well as the embarrassment of being the last to know.

Whether you're a post-op transsexual or a weekend transvestite, it's good for your relationship to be open with your child to prevent confusion and resentment. It may not seem as if it should be any of your child's business, but children have a way of feeling intense ownership over their parents. Boundaries that might feel clear with adult friends don't necessarily exist to your child.

How to Come Out

Being open and honest while answering any questions your child has is the healthiest approach. Keep in mind that the understanding an adult has is going to be very different from that of a child. Tailor how you explain things to a child's understanding, while also gently expanding on the simplistic ideas of sex and gender that they've probably absorbed from society. Some children might find transgender concepts confusing, while others may accept them automatically. Emotional outbursts or withdrawal are also possible. Prepare yourself for any of these reactions and try to keep your child's unique personality and sensitivities in mind while talking with him or her.

Dealing with Your Child's Response

If your child reacts badly, try not to take it personally. Remember that you're the adult and you have had far more time to come to terms with this than your child has. Be patient and loving, and make it clear that you are still the same person you've always been.

Before you begin talking to your child, you should educate yourself. Your child's natural curiosity may very well lead to a great deal of questions on the nature of sex, gender and identity. Find books that explore the nature of gender and talk to other transgender parents about coming out to their children. Look at this as an opportunity to help your child get to know his or her parent better and to deepen your relationship.

Whether or not you're out to your children's friends or teachers may not be entirely under your control. This can be one of the most difficult hurdles for a transgender parent, as it's unfair to tell your children to keep secrets and yet they may not always grasp when an appropriate time to talk about personal matters is. You may want to discuss what levels of disclosure you're comfortable with and how some people may become judgmental and uncomfortable themselves if they hear about things they do not accept.

Custody Battles

This is an ugly side of parenting, but one that should be addressed. If your relationship with your child's other parent comes to an end, be prepared for the possibility that your former partner could try to use the fact that you're transgender against you in the fight for custody. Of course, it's ludicrous to say that being transgender makes a person a bad parent, but knowing that this could happen will better prepare you if the unthinkable occurs. The better educated you, your child, and your legal counsel are, the more smoothly any changes or challenges to custody can be handled.

The Good in Being a Transgender Parent

All the possibilities for conflict and confusion can sound awful at first, but there are many wonderful aspects to being a transgender parent. Your child will benefit from a wider view of human potential. While many children will grow up believing that your gender identity is a destiny tied to the moment the doctors declared your sex in the delivery room, your child will know this isn't the case. Identity is set in the brain, not the pants. You will do the world and your child a favor by being an example of the beautiful diversity of human life.

You have the opportunity to help your child become a more open-minded, accepting adult. This will benefit the both of you as well as the people whose lives your child touches.



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24/Sep 22:20:03