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.