If you’re the parent of a transgender or non-binary child, you might be wondering how you can best support them as they navigate their gender identity. At first, it can be overwhelming to think about all of the different types of support your child might need, in this situation, remember that the most important thing you can do is listen to your child and be there for them.
That said, here are some types of support that your child might need:
- Emotional support: Coming out as transgender or non-binary can be an emotional and stressful experience for your child. At first, they might feel scared, confused, or worried about how their friends and family will react. Given that, it’s important to let your child know that you love and support them no matter what. Give them a safe space to talk about their feelings.
- Counseling and therapy: Counseling and therapy can be an important part of a transgender or non-binary child’s journey. A trained counselor or therapist can help your child work through their emotions, develop coping skills, and build self-esteem. Gender-affirming therapy can also help your child explore their gender identity and develop a positive self-image.
- Allies: Allies can play an important role in supporting your child’s journey. This can include family members, friends, teachers, and other supportive adults. In truth, allies can help create a safe and supportive environment for your child. It can also provide emotional support and validation.
- Social support: Your child might be hesitant to come out to their friends or other family members. On this occasion, they might worry about being bullied or discriminated against. As a parent, you can help by talking to your child about their concerns. For this reason, working together to come up with a plan for how to handle these situations.
- Transgender or Non-Binary Peers: Check with local LGBTQ+ organizations or advocacy groups to see if they offer support groups or other resources for transgender and non-binary youth and their families. Another key point is to look for online forums or social media groups–specifically geared towards supporting transgender and non-binary youth and their allies.
- Community Events: In general, attend local Pride events or other LGBTQ+ gatherings to meet other individuals and families who may be going through similar experiences.
- Gender-affirming medical care: Hormone therapy or gender-affirming surgery may be an important part of your child’s transition. As a parent, it’s important to support your child in accessing the medical care they need. In addition, you can find gender-affirming medical care near you: (see this blog)
- Advocacy: As a parent, you can play an important role in advocating for your child’s rights and needs. This may include advocating for your child’s rights in school, work, or other settings. Advocate for policies and laws that protect the rights of transgender and non-binary individuals.
- Legal support: Depending on where you live, your child might need legal support to change their name and gender marker on official documents like their driver’s license or passport. As a parent, you can help your child navigate this process. And find the resources they need to make these changes.
- School support: What to look for in an affirming school (see this blog)
Remember: Undoubtedly, every transgender or non-binary child is different. And the types of support they need will depend on their individual circumstances.
All things considered, the important thing you can do as a parent is to be there for your child. Listen to their needs, and support them in any way you can. With your love and support, your child can navigate their gender identity with confidence and self-assurance.
Two valuable resources that can provide support and information for those seeking to understand gender are PFLAG and the website genderspectrum.org. These organizations are committed to providing resources and assistance to individuals and families seeking to learn more about gender identity and expression. PFLAG offers a range of resources, including support groups and educational materials, while genderspectrum.org provides a variety of articles and guides to help navigate the complex landscape of gender. Whether you’re looking to connect with other families or gain a deeper understanding of gender, these resources are an excellent starting point. Don’t hesitate to explore them and see what they can offer you on your journey.