|THE TRANSITIONAL MALE|
TELLING YOUR PARENTS
Editorial/Advice by Nick - Just suggestions, nothing more
Would you like to submit your story or letter you wrote to your parents? Please do! (Privacy guaranteed) firstname.lastname@example.org
Here's the Letter from a young man in 2007 I found on my hard drive regarding taking this section down in 2007 (it's been down since - until now).
January 29, 2007. "I found your website to be very informative and supportive, it's something I appreciate very much.
I only wish that the advice section pertaining to telling parents had not been removed. Because it has, I felt that I should email you personally for your advice.
I'm 17 years old, and I intend to transition to male. I've done only minimal research, but I'm familiar with the procedures, and what's required of me. It's something I'm prepared for. Something I'm not sure if I can do is tell my parents. I've kept it a secret for many years. I've harbored feelings of not belonging since I was a much younger kid, but I only recognized my confusion as something more than a phase when I was 12. Since then, I have looked forward to the moment when I might tell my parents my intentions and be taken seriously. I feel that with my legality just around the corner, now is the time. The problem is, I've managed to train myself to be a defeated, docile daughter when around my father. I did this because it was clear to me what his impression of "the gender confused" was, and I was afraid of what he might do to me if he found out. I wish I had chosen to be more overt about myself then, it would have saved me a lot of trouble.
My father adores me for what he believes me to be. I think he must suspect a little, and I've dropped multiple hints to my mother, even once telling her when I was 13 that I wanted to be a boy [she was quick to get defensive and tell me that "growing up is awkward"] but that I don't think will soften the blow.
I worried for a long time that it wasn't fair for me to do something that could potentially destroy my family. That may sound extreme. But my family, my father especially, is very traditional, and even at times, brutally narrow minded regarding things such as homosexuality or transexuality. My father has no respect or consideration for either of those things. But I reviewed my situation intensely, and I've come to the conclusion that I can't pass up something this crucially important to myself and my life for the sake of other people. I read in a book that every man is an end in himself. What that means, I think, is that what we do, we do for ourselves.
And while consideration of others is important, when it's a decision like this, it's my responsibility, and ultimately, it is my life that's going
to change the most because of it.
Even while I'm confident of this, I'm terrified of talking to my father about it, and I don't think he's going to take my case seriously if I'm
shivering and crying while I tell him I feel like a man. His definition of masculinity is also, needless to say, rigidly narrow.
Do you have any advice to offer, or any particular method for bringing it up to them?"
In 2001, I received an email from someone asking for tips on how to tell his parents of his intent to transition to Male. I'd like to give credit to him for giving me the inspiration to write and add this new section to my site. It needed to be addressed!
My suggestion would be to approach
this from an angle. There must have been some signals when you were growing up
that might have earmarked you as being more like the gender you wish to live as
I don't wish to offend, but with the name Lynn, I cannot determine if you are an FTM or MTF. I get many letters from Male to Females, so I am not sure what kind of references I should give, regarding demeanor as a child.
If you are FTM, maybe you could approach it with, "Remember when I wouldn't play with dolls, wear dresses?" or "Mom, Dad, did you ever think I was gay at one time or another?"
Or if you are MTF, maybe you could approach it by saying, "You know when I was a kid how I didn't play with the boys al lot and preferred to be with the girls?"
Use something that they can reflect back on that would confirm that you weren't exactly like the other girls or boys. That way you can bring them from your past to the present, showing them that from very young there were signs that you were more like a male or a female from the beginning.
You can explain to them that you have always felt different; that you never really felt like the gender they thought you to be...if you have felt hopeless or depressed, tell them why and how living a 'lie' was so very hard, if indeed it was for you...be honest about your inner pain and turmoil. But don't use that pain or depression as a tool or weapon. It will backfire on you. You don't want a parent to feel sorry for you; they won't take this as seriously as you want them to if they pity you.
I am not saying you would but don't point a finger of blame at your parents or parent. Take responsibility for yourself and how you feel. Let them know you love them and that they won't be losing thier child. But never tell them they won't be losing a daughter/son but gaining a son/daughter, that won't make a bit of sense to them, it will insult their intelligence and frankly, it is really a dumb thing to say.
You can choose to tell them face to face or by letter but don't do it by phone (good for you for saying you didn't want to by phone).
Be sure to emphasize that you love them and that you will be willing to help them ease into this with no ultimatums or deadlines to accept it.
Be patient with them; if they don't accept it right off, don't be angry with them. This is a very big thing for them and you. No matter how much they may cry, fall apart, rant, or become silent, always be the strong one; the adult. Let you maturity guide the course; remain loving yet strong.
Recently he wrote back with this excerpt from his email:
August, 2001. "Dear Nick, I had written to you a while ago about information regarding the best way to tell my parents about my transition. I just want to let you know that the information you sent to me (This page and Accepting your TS Child) was extremely helpful in addressing the situation. I have since then told both my parents and my sister. It was very emotional, as I am sure that you are well aware how that can be, but I had made the decision much before telling them that I would have to be the strong one. That proved to be of great benefit to me. I did pretty much everything that you had advised me on and I feel that the outcome was overall good. By going back to childhood experiences, when I always acted and dressed like a boy, was helpful to get the point across that this is not a phase. They could clearly relate to that because I was always a tomboy and that was never something that I grew out of."
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