Guide to Parenting a Transgender Child
While many transgendered adults report being aware of their gender identity from their earliest memories, not many were able to begin transition early in life. This has been changing in recent years, however, as more children express a gender identity that is at odds with the gender they were assigned at birth. Whether this is the result of an increase in children being born who are transgender, greater awareness of transgender issues on a societal level, or something else entirely is currently unknown. What is known is that you are not alone in parenting a child who is transgender. There is support and information out there for you and your family.
What Is Gender Dysphoria?
This is probably a term that you'll hear if you take your child to a psychologist. While most people identify with the gender that society says matches their body, this isn't always the case. A child who is transgender might actually feel considerable anguish over having to live as a gender they don't identify with. Some children are even driven to attempt suicide.
It's very important for parents to understand that gender identity is not the same thing as interests, personality, or hobbies. A female child with gender dysphoria is not the same thing as a tomboy, as most girls who play with traditionally masculine toys are happy to identify as girls. Switching toys or playmates will only increase the child's discomfort and make it difficult for your child to trust you. He or she may attempt to hide his or her identity from you if he or she doesn't feel accepted, which will make things worse and could in fact put your child in psychological danger.