How to Support Your Transgender Teen

Being a teenager can be tough, but if you are all different to the norm this is intensified. Therefore, it's not surprising that many transgender teens struggle with depression and anxiety, as not only are many of them struggling with internal issues, they can also easily become the victims of bullying and cruel taunts by peers that don't understand transgenderism.

If your teenager has recently come out to you as transgender, there is a chance that he or she is suffering from some amount of depression or anxiety or both. How you treat your teen during this tricky time is important to his or her mental health, and your acceptance of your child, even if you are struggling inside with this bombshell, is paramount. The fact is, up to 50% of trans people have tried to commit suicide at some time in their lives. With your love and acceptance, you lessen the chances that your child will become part of that troubling statistic.

Read on to find out more about gender identity and how you can help your child on his or her journey to become who they truly are.

Understanding gender

Gender is made up of one's biological sex (the sex assigned at birth), gender expression (the way one acts and dresses), and gender identity (the gender one feels inside). For most people, these three factors are in alignment, but in transgender people, these factors align differently; their gender identity differs from the sex they were assigned at birth. The formal diagnosis for this by medical professionals is gender dysphoria.

A common misconception is that gender identity has something to do with sexual preference. However, transgender people can be gay, straight, or bisexual. Being transgender has nothing to do with who you are attracted to. It simply means the gender you were born and the gender you feel inside are mismatched.

How you can help your child

  • Create a supportive family environment by making your home a sanctuary for your teen--this will act as a counterpoint to any unpleasantness your child encounters outside the home.
  • Be open and honest with your child and let him or her know that you are in this together as partners. This support will be invaluable for your child and will mean that he or she feels able to come to you if any moments of stress or anxiety.
  • Consider therapy for yourself and/or your partner if you struggle with accepting your child's gender identity and are feeling negative or conflicting feelings. A counsellor will help you understand gender dysphoria and give you the tools you need to better support your child.
  • Allow your child to express his or her gender at home by using your child's chosen name (if applicable) and desired pronoun.
  • Finally, perhaps the most important thing you to can for your teen is to remember that they are still your child, no matter what, and offer unconditional love, however conflicted you may feel inside about your child's gender identity.

For more information, contact a center such as Hamilton Corp Pty Ltd.