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How do I make my mom understand

Question:

Dear Trevor,

So, I came out to my mom as transgender a while ago, and I will transition in less than a year.  We were discussing coming out to my extended family, and she isn’t seeing it from my point of view.

One suggestion she had was not telling them at all and just letting them “figure it out.”  She also made a comment about me focusing all the attention on myself.  She refused to tell the adults in spite of the fact she told several of them without telling me and then acted like it was no big deal – like I have no right to know WHO KNOWS THAT I AM TRANSGENDER -, saying it sounded like I didn’t want to handle it myself.

How can I make her see it from my perspective?

Anonymous

Letter submitted by:

Answer:

Anonymous,

Thank you for writing to us about these feelings.  You have every right to be frustrated with your mom’s decision to tell other members of your family that you are transgender without asking you first.  You should be the one who decides who is told, and when.  Your mom saying that you wanted everyone’s attention focused on you was also hurtful.  Your mom is not handling your coming out to her as transgender as well as you (or we) would like, but we are happy to hear that you felt comfortable enough to tell her, and that she seems to be reasonably supportive.  Hopefully, with the right resources and a little more time, your mom will be able to understand things from your perspective.

You should tell your mom about PFLAG (Parents, Families, and Friends of Lesbians and Gays).  Their website (www.pflag.org) is a great place for parents of LGBT (Lesbian, Gay, Bisexual and Transgender) youth to get a better understanding of sexual orientation, gender identity, and our community, as well as get support for themselves from other parents of LGBT youth.  She can go to the website and click “Get Support,” then “Transgender Support,” to find helpful resources like “Welcoming Our Trans Families and Friends: A Support Guide for Parents, Families and Friends of Transgender and Gender Non-Conforming People.”  She can also browse the sections titled “For Families, Friends and Allies” and “Frequently Asked Questions” for more answers.

There is some reading you should do as well.  PLEASE look at the Human Rights Campaign’s “Resource Guide to Coming Out” at http://www.hrc.org/files/documents/ComingOut_ResourceGuide.pdf.  This guide does a great job describing the benefits and risks of coming out to your parents, friends and community.  You should also read the Advocates for Youth publication, “I Think I Might Be Transgender, Now What do I do?” (http://www.advocatesforyouth.org/index.php?option=com_content&task=view&id=731&Itemid=177), which provides an overview of what it means to be transgender and how to deal with the issues transgender people face.  These resources should answer any questions you may have about being transgender, and will help you put together a plan for your coming out and transition that will keep you comfortable and safe.

Your safely and future are important to us.  If you feel either your safety or your future could be at risk by coming out or transitioning at this time, PLEASE wait until you feel you can take these steps comfortably and safely.

We would like you to know about our safe, online community called TrevorSpace, where you can speak with other young LGBT people (ages 13-24) who can relate to you and support you.  Consider joining!

We would also like you to know The Trevor Project has several other help services, all of which are now listed and linked to on our Get Help Now webpage: http://www.thetrevorproject.org/pages/get-help-now.  Please take a look and see which of our help services would benefit you most.  For example, if you would like to speak with someone at The Trevor Project online, try using our free, confidential and secure instant messaging service, TrevorChat, open every day between the hours of 3:00 PM and 9:00 PM EDT.  To speak with someone over text messages, try TrevorText, open on Fridays between the hours of 4:00 PM and 8:00 PM EDT.  Please feel free to write to us again, and, of course, you can always call the Trevor Lifeline at 1-866-488-7386, 24 hours a day, 7 days a week.

The Trevor Project

Trevor Staff