Thursday, December 24, 2015

Trans Children And The Holidays

When families get together for the holidays it can be a time of joy and a time of stress. What happens when you go to your relatives and you have a trans child, here is some comment sense tips.
Preparing for the Holidays – Tips for Parents of Gender-Expansive Youth
Gender Spectrum
Dec 13, 2015

While the holiday season is full of excitement and joy, it can also come with some anxiety for families of Gender-expansive youth.

Oftentimes, the holidays are the one time a year we see extended family and family friends who may or may not know about our child’s gender, or who may have less-than-accepting feelings about our child’s journey or our parenting.

I’m seeing family for the holidays who don’t know about my child’s gender. What should I do?
There is not just one way to deal with this situation, of course, as every family and group of friends are different. Remember that family members and friends are at different places in their understanding of Gender identity and gender expression; recognize that while we’ve had some time to think about this (and think about it, and think about it…), this may be completely new to them, as it was to us at some point in time. They also aren’t around our children as much as we are, and may not see what we see in our kids.
Some of the other questions were,

  • Should I communicate with family/friends ahead of time? If so, what should I say? If not, what should I say when I see them in person?
  • Should I prepare my child somehow?
  • What if I don’t want to talk about it?

The article ends with,
In general, try to remind yourself that people come to their very limited understandings of gender honestly–we haven’t been taught anything different in our society. You know you are doing the right thing by supporting your child to be exactly who they are, so try to remember that if the going gets rough. You may be surprised, both positively and negatively, about your loved ones’ responses, so try to approach them with an open mind. Then come back and debrief on the Lounge with all of the other parents who understand exactly where you’re coming from. Most of all, enjoy your holidays with your wonderful and amazing kids!
One of the slide that I have in my Cultural Competency is that we have to tell the extended family, I add that they tend to notice little things like showing up in a dress. It is not easy coming out to family; I found it much harder to come out to someone whom you love than coming out to a stranger. You have so much more to lose with those who you love.

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