Raising Children is a Sacred Trust…
Parental Attitudes Towards Transgender Children
Every now and then, I check the stats on this site. I am gratified by the growing number of readers over the past six years. I also check the search strings that are used to find this site. I am happy that parents of transkids find my site and this much needed information. But I am usually saddened by the search strings. These are the most common, in order of frequency:
“How to cope with transgender children”
“How to deal with a transgender child”
“How to manage a transgender kid”
“My child is transgender”
Do you see the problem? The terms ‘cope’, ‘deal’, and ‘manage’ indicate that these parents see their child as a dissappointent, a burden, a problem. One ‘copes’ with emotional loss and dissappointment. One ‘deals’ with a burden. One ‘manages’ a problem.
I’ve known dozens of other transkids (and former transkids / adults who were transkids). Nearly every one of them spoke of how their parents had been dissappointed by them. Even those whose parents eventually came to support them went through a period where their parents tried to deny that they were transkids. Many were disowned by their parents.
But every now and then, but not nearly as often as I would like, I see this search string:
“How to help a transgender child”
Today, among several like the first three, I saw this gem:
“How to protect a transgender child”
Several years ago, my husband and I hosted a lovely young couple and their two children. Their children were around three years old, fraternal twins. One was ‘all boy’. He wore his favorite T-shirt sporting an image of a bulldozer that read, “I like dirt”. The other child was a sweet natured, feminine girl wearing a yellow flowered sundress. She gave us an impromptu ballet recital in our front parlor. Can you see where this is going? That sweet mannered girl is male.
This young couple loved and celebrated their children. Both of them. They told me that they didn’t like attending support groups for parents of gender atypical / transgender children because the other parents saw their children as dissappointments, problem children, burdens. The other parents would spend most of the time trying to convince everyone, including themselves, that they had done everything they could to cope, deal, and manage their children. They were apolegetic about their child’s behavior and even of their own eventual acceptance of their child’s atypicality, having done everything they could to prevent it.
Which brings me back to the search string that I never see, but would dearly love to:
“How to celebrate my transgender child”
(Addendum 2/4/2016: Banner Day! Today someone used this search string, “loving your transgender child”)
(3/26/2016: UGLY DAY! Today someone used this search string, “things to say to comfort parents of a transgender”, as though having a trans-child were a terrible tragedy.