Your Journey as a Caregiver of a Young Trans Person

If you are reading this, it likely means that your child (or some other young person important to you) just came out as transgender. This means that the gender your young person identifies with is not the one assigned to them at birth. It is important to note that people usually only come out to family and friends that they trust. If a trans person has come out to you, it likely means they have faith that you can help support them through this meaningful time.

Having a kid come out as trans can be a big moment for your family. Being a parent or support person for a trans child might require some changes in language and behaviors on your part, but you are not alone! There are many parents and support folks out there to help you through this process. Below is some important information on how to begin this part of your caregiving journey.

How Do I Support My Transgender Child?

When a child comes out as trans, non-binary, genderqueer, gender expansive, or any other non-cisgender identity, they might change their name, gender pronouns, and other relevant language, behaviors, and gender expressions associated with their gender transition. While it might require an adjustment to the ways you are used to referring to and seeing your child, these shifts can be essential to showing support.

During this time, it is important to continue to affirm your love for your young person. One of the best ways to show your support and love is to take your education into your own hands. Our website has some educational resource pages about gender identity, transitioning, non-binary identity, and misgendering, which are great places to start. There are more educational resources at the bottom of this article, and we also have answers to FAQs  about gender and young people.

Another important way to support a young trans person is to have an open and honest conversation with them about what they need. Not all trans people want to change their name or gender pronouns (either legally or socially), and your young person might want to wait before talking about their identity with more people. Let your young person lead the charge on what changes and conversations they want to initiate. Once you know that your child is ready to talk, here are some helpful questions to guide a conversation:

  • What does your gender feel like to you? How do you want to express your gender identity?
  • Do you think you might want to change your gender pronouns or your name?
  • How often do you want to check in about your gender? Your pronouns?
  • Is there anything I/we can do to help you feel safe in your gender exploration at home? With family or friends? At school? Anywhere else?
  • How can I/we support this next step in your gender discovery? What can we do to help you grow in this way?
  • Do you think you might want to talk to someone who specializes in having conversations about gender with young people?
  • Can I help you find resources about trans identity?

After some initial conversations with your young person, you might decide together that it would be a good idea for them to see a mental health or medical provider who specializes in having conversations about navigating gender transition, gender dysphoria, or discomfort, or hormones. The World Professional Association for Transgender Health (WPATH) has resources to help you find a provider who might be a good fit for you and your family.

Again, the best bet is to take things as slowly as your child wants. It’s likely that they’ve wanted to have some sort of conversation about their gender before they initially spoke to you about it, so be patient with them and let them lead the pace of things moving forward.

How Do I Support Myself Through My Child’s Transition?

It is hugely important to support yourself as well, even though it is your child who is the one on the gender journey. It takes time and headspace to adjust to a new set of expectations regarding your child’s future, and some parents even report passing through something like the stages of grief as they let go of a set of expectations for the future and gradually form new (equally positive, but very different) expectations. There are many organizations and resources out there to support and educate parents and family of trans spectrum children. One of the most important first steps is to educate yourself, which can help both you and your child. Reading up on resources and practicing language shifts will take some of the burden off of your kid while teaching you some important new skills.

Here are some links to educational resources and support groups for parents and family to learn more about supporting their trans youth:

  • Gender Spectrum is a national organization based in Oakland, California that aims to create inclusive spaces and resources for trans and gender expansive young people. Their resources page is full of educational information on how to help raise trans kids and support their transition.
  • Somos Familia helps support Latinx LGBTQ+ young people and families. They are also located in the Bay Area, and they have online resources for youth and adults to communicate about gender and sexuality.
  • The HRC has resources to support the LGBTQ+ community and information parents and how to support their child.
  • The Strong Family Alliance is an organization whose mission is to support parents of kids who have just recently come out as trans. They are based in Austin, Texas, but their downloadable guide is free and available to anyone with an email address.
  • PFLAG is another national organization that aims to uplift parents, family, and friends of the LGBTQIA+ community. They have 400 chapters nation-wide that offer support to families in need through virtual or local meetings.

In summary

  • Having a young person in your life come out as trans, non-binary, or gender-expansive might require some shifts in language and other changes around how you address and interact with them. Continuing to show love and support through their transition is highly important.
  • Educating yourself is a great way to support the transgender young person/people in your life. There are resources on this page and .
  • We encourage open and honest conversations with your young person at their own pace and in accordance with what feels good to them. They might not want to shift their name, pronouns, or gender expression right away (or at all). Let them guide their decision making.
  • There are organizations listed above whose goals are to help people with trans family members, friends, or acquaintances to find ways to stand up for them in their battle against transphobia (fear, judgment, prejudice, and mistreatment of trans people) out in the world.

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