ASK TRANSGENDER QUESTIONS
WHAT KIND OF QUESTIONS ARE OKAY TO ASK HERE?
My children are only 3 and 5. Should I wait to until they are older before I transition from Male to Female?
In my experience working with transgender identified parents, the younger the children are when you tell them about your transition, the easier the adjustment seems to be. If your children are 3 and 5, this will be their new normal if you begin the coming out process now.
If you wait until your children are adolescents, they are going through their own transition, developing the secondary characteristics of their gender and their peer relationships begin to gain more influence on their thinking than when they were younger. Adolescence is a difficult and emotional period of development for most children, and adding this information to the mix can be overwhelming and you may experience a more intense reaction from adolescents because of their own developmental changes.
By high school, children can experience a feeling of betrayal, similar to when a spouse discovers a sense that their childhood was a lie.
It is my experience that it is also important to have conversations before you begin to make physical changes. Often, there is a desire to slowly introduce children to your preferred gender, in an attempt to help them “get used to it.” However, this can be very confusing and for older children, it can create even more anger and discomfort because they are aware that something is changing, but no one is talking about it.
* Begin gender conversations with your children, (or if you are an adult child of a transgender parent who is transitioning, the grandchildren) – as young as possible. Keep the language age-appropriate, using more medical and technical terms with older children.
* Be sure to keep communication open and create a space for questions.
* Help children learn how to address their own friends and how to field questions from others.
* Discuss language to use when referring to you in public. It is very difficult for children to stop using “dad” or “mom,” and a conversation about this is important. There is no right answer to this dilemma, and I encourage you to let your children find their own comfort zone with this.
* Be as sensitive as possible to the adjustment your children need to make. This can be a very slow process and it can include a lot of confusion and feelings of loss. Be patient, open, available and keep the conversations alive.