Working with the parents of transgender children
Written by listed counsellor/psychotherapist: Lynn Allars Walk and Talk UK
24th October, 20160 Comments
I find it heart breaking when a child contacts me and says I am transgender and I need to talk, but I can't afford your fees. So, I got some people together to do some fundraising. I don't want any child to sit out there facing these demons alone. If your child has locked themselves in their room going into that spiral of depression, then please read on. Too many transgender people kill themselves, because the fear they face is too great for them to handle. If you are a mother of a transgender child, it's your job to care for that child, that is non-negotiable.
I find a big difference in working with people who are telling me they are transgender, to a parent who is telling me their son/daughter has just told them they are transgender. I also find in the work I do, that working through the issues with parent and child, puts the transgender person in a better place to deal with the situation. It’s much better than leaving it till later in life and dropping the bomb shell on a wife/husband, who then wants to save her husband/wife from the monster within.
I grew up in what is known as the dark days of transgender. I'm having to face my fears and have the conversations with my family as a out and proud transgender counsellor. As my journey unfolds, I am finding that re contracting with family and the world is the hardest part of coming out. So, all the things I could not say back in my childhood have been put on hold, but they still need saying. As far as my mum is concerned, she openly talks about the size of my hands. The feedback I get from my eldest daughter is that she likes the latest wig. My daughter openly talks to her grandma and everybody about me, and often tells me I am not putting in enough effort on my looks. She was at her mum's wedding the other week and the in-laws had been lead to believe I was dead. My children soon put that right and said, "no, he is now living as a transgender woman, enjoying life and lives just round the corner from you".
I am being slowly contacted by more mums of transgender children. I think it's great we're on the dawning of a new era, the youngsters are so accepting of gender and sexuality. They are being lead to believe it's OK, and in my mind it's more than OK. Sadly, the parents have grown up in the later stages of the dark days. Today on the radio, the talk was about the gay guys that were put on the gay list or imprisoned for kissing/cuddling another man.
So, let's look at what it means to say "mum, I want to be a boy /girl" when the parents have been told from the scan “do you want to know if it’s a boy or a girl?”. Then when the child is born, “congratulations it's a boy/girl”. So as life unfolds, the child is socially trained - boys don't do this, girls don't do that. So, mum and dad start developing a core belief system. Let's be honest here, this is done with good intent. Who can stand up and say, “actually I want my child to be different at school”? They are going to grow up with a back bone, so strong, they can face any bullies or beget. So, we teach them to the best of our abilities to be safe. Now a few children out there don't have an issue with talking to their parents... the lucky few. The mums I work with love and care so much for their child, they would do anything to bring peace to the family unit. Don't get me wrong here, mothers have dreams and have their own needs to fulfil as well.
I hear and read about a lot of conflict, some people like to think it's a craze. It's all down to social media... give it time, it will pass. My children ask, “do I regret leaving it so late in life to come out?”. The simple answer is, no. I love my four kids with all my heart and would not like my life without them. Which brings me onto another issue for the parents... if they agree to what their child wants, how do the hormones affect the young up and coming genitals? What if their child changes their mind and finds they want children?
Usually the opening statement is, I just want them to be happy. As the work unfolds, I hear things like I am not sure if their granddad will understand, or an uncle. It's funny, because the women embrace people joining the female club a lot better than men do. As the work unfolds towards the day of transition, the mothers slowly embrace that their son or daughter has morphed into a new gender. Once this day has arrived the new beginning starts.
About the author
Offering affordable, flexible counselling within a 50 mile radius of Basingstoke. At £30 per 50 minute session. You choose a location you feel happy to talk in. For some people it's home, others coffee shops, parks, river embankments, the list is endless. Also happy to offer Skype or FaceTime sessions.
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