How to deal with unaccepting parents | LGBT+

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How to Deal With Transphobic Parents

Four Parts:

It's tough when your parents or other family members don't accept you or other people for being transgender. Whether you’ve come out to them or you feel passionately about standing up for the rights of all people, dealing with your parent’s transphobia can be difficult. As difficult as it seems, try and be understanding of their emotions and reactions and give your parents space to experience them. Reach out for support outside of your home by making supportive friends, meeting allies, and joining a support group. Be patient and stay hopeful.


Speaking with your Parents

  1. Draw some boundaries for comments and behavior.If you know you disagree with your parents, set some boundaries for how you interact. Even if you strongly oppose one another, both you and your parents deserve to be treated with respect. Don't let anyone use name-calling, derogatory remarks, or curse words.Ask your parents not to say things about trans people around you or in public.
    • If you can’t talk about trans issues without getting upset or blowing up at each other, you might want to drop it. You can’t change their minds, and you may have to agree to disagree.
    • Your goal should be to allow both you and your parents to make yourselves heard, not to change each other's opinions.
  2. Accept them where they’re at.You might have to accept that your parents just don't understand, no matter how hard you try. It’s upsetting when you feel like your parents don’t understand or support you or the things you care about, but it can take time for them to see things differently. Acknowledge their feelings and where they are at.
    • If you’re trans and feel unaccepted, don't completely lose hope for your parents. Tell them that you love them and that they must accept who you really are.
    • Expect it to take a little time. Make sure you are getting what you need without their support in the meanwhile.

Navigating Coming Out

  1. Consider your risks before coming out.There may be several factors which contribute to coming out to your parents and when that might happen. For example, if you’re under 18, coming out to your transphobic parents might have some large consequences and may make living at home uncomfortable. Your parents may put you in therapy or try to ‘convert’ you. However, if you feel like you’re living a lie or you want to make changes to your body, you may want to come out sooner. Your family might respond just as you expect or they might surprise you.
    • Most importantly, ask yourself if you feel physically and emotionally safe about telling your family that you’re trans.
    • If your parents disown you or cast you out, ask yourself if you’re prepared to live in your own. Do you have enough money to provide for yourself and do you have a place to live?
    • Some people choose to turn 18 and move out of the house before disclosing. It’s up to you.
    • Consider going to a support group or joining an online forum for tips on coming out to your parents and to better prepare yourself. A good forum for this is called "Empty Closets," which you can visit at .
  2. Ask for acceptance.While you may not be ready to come out as transgender and tell your parents at this moment, do talk to them and at least let them in on how you feel. Try to educate them about transgender issues and what you are going through. Understanding what you are going through could help them accept you. If they aren’t ready to hear that you’re transgender or you’re not ready to tell them, ask for them to accept you as you are. This can help build an accepting relationship with your parents.
    • For example, say, “I know I’m a bit different from my siblings, but I want to talk to you. It’s hard for me to feel like I fit in.”
    • If you’ve come out and your parents aren’t accepting say, “I know you don’t accept that I’m transgender, but I want you to accept me as your child and as part of this family.”
    • You can get helpful information from GLAAD.
  3. Ensure your personal safety.If at any point you feel threatened or in danger by your parents or family, get help. Immediately go somewhere that you feel safe, like a friend’s house or an LGBT center.
    • If you think they may cause you harm, take action. Send a text or make a phone call to someone you trust. If necessary, call the police.
  4. Ask for what you want and need.Even if your parents aren’t understanding of you being transgender, still ask them for what you want and need. If you have requests for your parents, make them reasonable and not outrageous. For example, they should still treat you with respect and not cut you down or make you feel bad.
    • For example, say, “I know you disagree with me on some big things, but I still need to feel like your kid. Please don’t leave me out of family get-togethers or stop giving me hugs.”
    • It’s inappropriate to demand your parents to pay for reassignment surgery. However, you may ask them to see if insurance will cover other procedures.
  5. Have patience.You cannot force your parents to accept you for being transgender on any timeframe. It may take months or even years for your parents to accept you. It can take time for your parents to understand that they cannot change your gender identity. They need time to adjust just as much as you do.
    • You’ve had some time to sit with it and realize that you’re transgender, but they have not. They might feel shocked, hurt, disappointed, or confused. Give them some time to process and accept what you tell them.
    • The hurt caused by not feeling accepted by your parents may be confused by the fact that you love them and want them in your life. At some point, your parents may soften and realize they want a good relationship with you, too.

Reaching Out for Support

  1. Lean on those who love you.You may feel sad and disappointed if your parents are transphobic. Dealing with a difficult relationship with your parents can be tough, so make sure you have supportive people around you. Be around people who understand you, love you, and want the best for you.
    • It helps to feel supported by people who care. Even if they don’t understand your gender identity, the fact that they care and are there for you can help.
  2. Join a support community.There are lots of ways to get involved and meet other people who are LGBT. depending on where you live, there might be an LGBT community in your town that can provide resources, counseling, and support. If you can’t find a center near you, join an online community. You can meet others your age with similar concerns and problems regarding family.
    • Most importantly, communities help you recognize that you’re not alone. You don’t have to do this by yourself and others know how you feel.
    • Check for groups that meet in your area.
    • You can also visit the The Transgender Institute for tips at .
  3. Find allies.Allies are people who are not transgender but may stick up for you (and other LGBT people), be an advocate at school or at the workplace, or simply show their support of you and other people in the LGBT community. There may be a network of allies at your school, workplace, or online.
    • Count on your allies to support you, even if they don’t know you. Their role is to spread inclusivity and be a support.
  4. Speak with a therapist.You might find it difficult to traverse being transgender and not accepted by your family, a therapist might help. Choose a therapist who specializes in working with transgender and LGBT clients. They can help you navigate how to handle conflicts, bring up transitioning, and feel better with being yourself.
    • Find a therapist through your (or your family’s) insurance provider or a local mental health clinic. You can also ask friends or your local LGBT resource center for a referral.
  5. Tell someone if you’re suicidal.If you feel like you can’t go on and want to take your life, recognize that there are resources for you. Call a hotline to talk to someone who’s understanding and wants to help. Don’t remain silent or try to take your life. It might feel impossible to go on, but there are things you can do now to make yourself feel better.
    • Call a trusted friend or family member to come over.
    • In the USA, call the Trevor Project at 866-488-7386. You can also chat or text. You can also call the Trans Lifeline at 877-565-8860.

Separating Yourself from Your Parents

  1. Find a safe place.Some parents don’t know how to handle their fear, disappointment, or other negative emotions and may take it out on you. If your parents are physically or emotionally abusive to you, find a safe place, like a friend’s house. If you don’t feel safe in your own home, seek shelter somewhere youdofeel safe.
    • Maybe moving out isn’t an option or you’re too young to move. If this is the case, spend more time at after-school activities or with friends.
  2. Create a chosen family.If you don’t feel accepted by your own family and you don’t think that will happen any time soon, find a chosen family to spend time with or move in with. A chosen family isn’t your family by blood but by love and care. Your chosen family may include someone in your community or people you meet online that choose to ‘adopt’ you as one of their own.
    • You might find a chosen family at a LGBT center or LGBT event.
    • A chosen family should support you in accepting that you’re transgender and not put you down in any way.
  3. Become emancipated.If you are underage and feel unsafe in your home, consider getting emancipated. Being emancipated grants you legal rights as an adult even though you are under 18. You can gain emancipation through a legal process.
    • Generally, you must be 16 years or older, be living on your own and managing your own money.

Community Q&A

  • Question
    I am FtM and 16 years old. How do I come out to my mom when I'm the only girl she has and already has 2 sons and had a miscarriage of a baby girl?

    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Expert Answer
    Your mother's ambitions for a girl should not be your concern. That is for her to come to terms with. Your only task to to make yourself known and heard.
  • Question
    My mum's supportive but since I told my dad, both of them seem against it. He says it stems from depression and threatened to pull me out of school. He's forcing God down my throat. What do I do?

    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Paul Chernyak is a Licensed Professional Counselor in Chicago. He graduated from the American School of Professional Psychology in 2011.
    Licensed Professional Counselor
    Expert Answer
    Try to educate him on the topic by providing some written material or having him attend a support meeting with you. If he is still too blinded by his faith to accept you, then you may just have to move on without him in your life for now.
  • Question
    I'm a closeted FTM transgender who is out as bisexual with my parents. I was with my mom once and we talked about transgender rights, but before I came out as bi she said Caitlyn Jenner was weird. What do I do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    If they are accepting about your sexuality, start talking about how you like both boys and girls, then start talking about what gender means to you. If you feel safe and comfortable, start to touch the topic of being trans. Don't come out right away. See how they react, then discuss it gradually, with more detail. If they are not accepting, don't come out. If there is risk of being disowned or abused (physically or verbally), don't come out. Your safety is first priority.
  • Question
    I'm under 16, will they accept me to have to have surgery and testosterone?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Surgeons won't do reassignment surgery on a minor. You can start testosterone, but only if your parents consent, since you are still a minor.
  • Question
    What can you do when your mother belittles your friend because of him/her being transgender?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Make it clear to your mother that being trans is not a bad thing. And remind her it is not up to her to decide who someone is. Reassure your friend that you do not think like your mother.
  • Question
    My mom isn't accepting the fact that I'm not her little girl anymore. She blames it on my friends. She won't let me cut my hair or even talk about it. I've been self harming because of it. Can you tell me what to do?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Your mother is abusing you. She may think she is doing it out of love but the reality is that she is harming you badly. It would be best to find other people who can support you, such as good friends, a counselor, or other family members who support you. You may even want to see if you can move in with someone else temporarily. Please get professional help for your issues with self harm. Remember that your mother's behavior is not your fault.
  • Question
    My career plans and schooling depend on my parents accepting me as being transgender. How do I get them to accept it?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    You can't make them accept it, just like they can't make you cisgender. Talk to them about your feelings and how being transgender this works into your plans. It may help to have a supportive friend or family member sit down to talk to them with you. Then, begin creating your plans.
  • Question
    What can I do when my parents are completely resistant to my being transgender?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Live your truth. Be accountable to yourself and be responsible for your happiness. You can't force people to accept that which they are unwilling to and cis (binary folks) cannot understand something they never will be (transgender). I understand though, mine think I'm just going through a phase. My best suggestion, see if there is an LGBTQA+ group or, even better, a transgender support group. That will become your rock. Finding a community can make it easier to deal with parents who don't understand.
  • Question
    I'm transgender and I recently came out to my parents as transgender. However, they have been in denial and often argue with me about how I am not transgender and that I don't truly know myself at this age (14). What do I do?
    Top Answerer
    Do some research on transgender issues, and the formation of gender identity (which happens in childhood, starting age 3 and solidifying ages 5-8, so you're old enough). Copy down the links of articles. Explain to your parents that this is a real thing that won't go away, and that if they research it, they can understand it better. Credible sources may help them come to accept the truth. You could also ask to be evaluated by an endocrinologist who specializes in transgender issues, and may be able to help explain to your parents.
  • Question
    I came out as trans to my parents recently, and every day they have been shoving religion down my throat (they are Jehovah's Witnesses) - they keep saying that it's "confusion" and that the feelings of gender dysphoria will go away. What do I do? Where can I find help?
    wikiHow Contributor
    Community Answer
    Try to stay at the house of a friend's or trusted relative who's trans-friendly. Send them websites explaining transgender, and never lose hope. Even if your parents never accept you, you can make it through this. Most likely, though, they just need time to process and accept the information.
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