19 tips for raising a trans kid

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By: Meggy - CC BY 2.0
By: MeggyCC BY 2.0

Several of y'all have recently sent us this piece from Autostraddle: 19 Terribly Interesting Tips on Raising a Trans Kid (from a Trans Kid) written by M., the blogger behind translabyrinth.

I thought this list was remarkable for several reasons — the biggest of which is the sheer educational value in it. If you've never been or had a trans kid (and that's most of us), it offers remarkable insights…

Don't run and tell everyone that your kid is trans just to get it over with. Tell people as they need to know, unless there's a family member or friend your kid feels they should tell, and is one that you feel will react in a positive manner. If you're Super Parent (and if you are, sorry about everyone on Krypton dying and everything, that sure sucks), you may want to go telling your family and friends The New World Order, but the more people who know the more pressure can be put on a child to make up their mind one way or another. Also, odds are your kid won't want pronouns out of the gate, so call them your daughter if that's who they are right now, and if they change that to son later, say that later. You're not here to make other people feel comfortable, you're here to make just one person the most comfortable person ever. So do that.

When it comes to schools, talk to their teacher first when they start living a significant period of the day in their new gender's clothing (if they're in elementary school). If there's bullying, talk to an administrator, but don't do so with the assumption you're going to have to fight them all the way to the Lifetime movie adaptation of your struggle. Most people, yourself included until your kid became trans, don't know as much about gender variance, so be ready to take the lead, educate, and make it clear that the school's job is to prevent any kind of bullying. Also, never let changing schools be off the table. If they're in middle school or high school, don't divulge to their, what, eight teachers, until they're going to school in dress. Talk to teachers of whatever classroom they're being bullied in, first, if they're not full time new gender at school.

You can read the entire list at Autostraddle.

  1. Thanks for sharing this! I like the calm, practical tone of this, very cool ­čśÇ

  2. Great article, thanks for the link! I have a few acquaintances that are transitioning at the moment and some of the advice still applies although they're all way past childhood.

  3. This is just wonderful. My high school had one transgendered girl (male to female) last year and since it was proven that it is a "safe space", more and more kids are coming out in full dress. It's a great thing to see, and I may pass this along to the administration.

  4. This is a great list! I will say that, in my experience as a teacher, I was really grateful when a new student (new to me but in the system her whole life) and her mom visited my classroom the day before school started to talk about her being trans. I had met the student the previous year and had no clue. Of course, technically her being trans didn't matter but what did matter was making sure that I always used her preferred name (this was before it was officially changed) and being extra vigilant about any bullying (i.e. getting involved BEFORE it happened.) So, I was glad to know in advance — it gives mindful teachers a chance to help prepare classmates (not naming names but talking about gender identity in general) and less aware teachers have time to learn. (As the article said, a lot of it just about education.)

    I also appreciate how the author mentions NOT to assume you'll have to be on the war path with the school district. For all the awful stories you read about in the news, for example, there are thousands of other schools, where the gender of students' prom dates is a non-issue and not just in metropolitan areas. :-)

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  5. It might sound weird but reading this really eases my mind. Ever since becoming serious about wanting to be a parent, I have been scared that my child would be trans. Not at all because I would be bothered by it but because I felt like I would have no idea how to help them beyond being "supportive" during confusing or painful times in their life like I would with any other child (duh).

    I'm all about knowing specifics and looking to the future and I just have no idea about what the specifics of growing up trans are. I don't think any of these tips are all that surprising or even things that I couldn't have figured out on my own, but now I feel like I have more confidence about where to start if I should happen to have a kid that needs to go through any kind of gender transitioning.

    Like M says in the article, there is no comprehensive guide for raising any kid, especially one that has qualities that take them out of the realm of "typical" sometimes, but this was a great, sigh of relief-inducing read. More learning! Yay!

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  6. I'm really glad these resources exist, I'm an education student and I'm stoked I can access material that will help me meet the needs of trans students.

  7. I just watched a special on tv about a transgender female to male. My heart goes out to trans kids, it's amazing the struggle they go through, but I think it shows how strong they really are. There will always be people who look down on people with this condition, but thankfully people now days are more aware and a bit more understanding of it.

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