Begin Free Online Ordination

Supporting a Transgender ChildFor many LGBTQ+ people, coming out to family was far from ideal, and perhaps even traumatic. From being met with silence or apathy to being kicked out of the house, parental reactions and responses can have damaging effects on children that take years to heal, if ever. Closeted children often feel that they cannot come out to parents because of certain religious upbringings, conversations held and even dismissive attitudes toward LGBTQ+ persons in the media. As a heterosexual, cisgender parent, you may not ever understand everything there is to queer identity, but if you love your child, here are some ways in which you can affirm and even celebrate who they are.

Hold a Naming Ceremony

Transgender, genderqueer and non-binary children in particular may feel affirmed and loved through a naming ceremony. Although naming ceremonies are often religious rituals, they can be adapted as a way of publicly affirming your child by formalizing their taking on of a new name that reflects their true identity. One idea may be a baptism or re-Christening, marking a milestone in your queer child’s life. Consider making the event part of a coming-of-age celebration such as a “sweet 16” birthday party. While your child may not be transitioning into legal or cultural adulthood, living in the open as their true gender(s) is no less impactful.

Attend a Pride Event

As with all children, representation and visuals matter, especially to children of diverse genders and sexualities. Look to see if there are local Pride events, such as a parade or festival, and talk to your child about attending. As a heterosexual, cisgender person, you likely won’t be able to model having pride about one’s sexual orientation and/or gender identity, but your child can benefit from seeing other LGBTQ+ people standing tall in their reality. You can look for kid-friendly activities and/or events, especially for really young children. You won’t have all the answers, but your child will appreciate exploring Pride together.

Normalize LGBTQ+ Art and Literature

Again, you won’t be able to be everything to your queer child. All you can do is look for ways to support them, and one of those is by normalizing works created by and featuring LGBTQ+ people. Kids appreciate seeing and learning about people who look and love like them. There are films, television shows, plays, artwork, novels and other forms of media that you can expose them to for enrichment and encouragement. Look for gay and trans-centered content on streaming video services that you all can watch together. Not only will you learn a thing or two, but you’ll also remove any stigmas associated with gay/trans works.

Get Professional Help

Even in a loving and accepting home, queer children face challenges in other aspects of their life that may manifest in ways that you’re neither prepared nor trained to handle. Your child may face harassment when they’re away from home. Studies show that gay teenagers often deal with suicide ideation, depression and substance abuse in greater numbers than their straight peers. It’s ok to seek the assistance of a professional therapist or licensed counselor who can help your child process their reality and the challenges that sometimes come with living as openly LGBTQ+.  

When all is said and done, the most important thing is that your child knows that you love them unconditionally and that they have your support. While you may tell them this constantly, often demonstrating this through intentional, decisive action goes much further. Affirming their identity through celebrations or small things like watching an LGBTQ film for movie night can have a deep, positive impact on a child’s well-being. After all, the most important thing is for them to be happy, knowing that they are deeply loved and supported.

Category: Society

family children

Add Your Comment

To post a comment you must log in first.
You may alternatively login with your credentials, below.