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How to support a trans youth

It can really be a difficult journey as a parent, or even a teacher, of a child that is transgender or having gender identity struggles. Many parents aren’t sure on how to help their child and are scared of doing the wrong things. Here are some pointers that can help you, help a child.

Listen to them

It may not seem like much but one of the most important things that a parent or teacher can do is listen to their child or pupil. Hearing exactly how they feel and having a sit down conversation is extremely important. Each case from one transgender child to another differs, so it is extremely important to listen, and comprehend exactly how the individual is feeling at that specific moment in time or just generally about themselves. Some children may not feel comfortable and may think they are trans but aren’t really sure or educated, and others may be set in stone that they know they are in the wrong body and wish to transition. Listening is key.

Use their preferred pronouns

Pronouns are a very sensitive subject for transgender people. Imagine that for a long period of time, you have known in your head that you are another gender, but have had to be raised as another. It is an extremely distressing feeling. Therefore, when an individual begins their transition and is finally starting to become happy with themselves and who they are, it can be harmful to their progression if an individual was to call them the incorrect pronoun. For instance if a child born female transitions to male, but is still called a girl, it can have really severe effects on the individual. Ensure you take time to think before you speak and make sure you are using the child’s preferred pronouns.

Do your research

Doing your research as a parent or teacher is extremely important. Coming from my own POV, at first I had a lack of knowledge on hormones and how starting my transition worked. I approached the LGBT support teacher at school who gave me information to tavistock, the gender clinic in London, and links to websites and support groups. If you are a parent or teacher, we will provide you with information to links for support, mental health and information on transitioning and hormone replacement therapy that you could print off and read so that you are more educated for your child.

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Adults Parents Teachers Youths

What is Transgender?

For many parents, finding out their child is transgender can be a sensitive topic. Often parents find it a big shock to the system and feel overwhelmed with information. Of course, any parent loves their child and wishes to be there for them, and it can be a lot of information to process all at once. 

Being transgender is when one’s personal identity does not correspond with the sex they were assigned at birth. For Instance, someone may be born physically male but they identify as female and vice versa. 

Gender Dysporia: according to the Mayo Clinic, Gender dysphoria is the feeling of discomfort or distress that might occur in people whose gender identity differs from their sex assigned at birth or sex-related physical characteristics. Transgender and gender-nonconforming people might experience gender dysphoria at some point in their lives.

A lot of the time, people can get misconstrued with the meaning of cross dressing and being transgender. I myself have experienced people with a lack of knowledge being unaware of the difference. Cross dressing is when someone wishes to remain the sex they were born as, but seeks fulfilment from dressing as the opposite sex. Transgender is when one wishes to take action (whether it be hormones, surgery etc) to permanently change the sex they were assigned at birth to the opposite sex and have that permanent role in society. 

Each case between transgender people is different, so it’s important that if your child comes out to you as trans, that you listen to his/her/their preferences on how they wish for it to be addressed and what they wish the next steps shall be.