Knowing that they have a few problems to face will undoubtedly cause the young trans people an enormous amount of stress. They will probably spend a great deal of time worrying about their situation, and so may have difficulty concentrating on their schoolwork. They may also find it difficult to relate well to fellow students or workmates. They also may live in constant fear of being found out.
They may worry considerably about their appearance – do they look and sound “convincing”? They may seek constant reassurance and encouragement. They will undoubtedly worry about the way their body is gradually changing in a direction that they find more and more unpleasant, for instance the growth of breasts, or the growth and spread of facial and body hair.
If they are seeking professional help, but are not yet receiving treatment, there may be a roller coaster effect of hope building up prior to each appointment, followed by a plunge into disappointment and despair when they feel that no progress has been made. Some young trans people may lurch from one crisis to the next.
Family and friends will have to get used to the new name and pronouns – some young trans people don’t mind too much when their nearest and dearest inadvertently use the deadname and muddle up pronouns ; others are very hurt, and may unwittingly cause offence with the severity of their reaction.
How do we cope as parents ? The essential tools are:
- A good basic understanding of the problems that they are facing ;
- Lots of love, an awful lot of patience ;
- A shoulder to cry on sometimes ;
- A good sense of humour.
So if you’re in a similar situation, find out as much information on the subject as you can – it’s worth contacting some support groups as they can also provide valuable information, like Gender Creative Kids. Most importantly, ask your child how best you can help them. Be patient with them. Let them explore. Let them be creative. Let them affirm their true self.