Recently I received the following question.
Q: I am thinking of telling my parents that I am Transgender. What is your advice?
A: Thank you for trusting me with your question. I am going to tell you the hard facts as well as not pull punches with the truth. You are about to go on a journey that will require the courage of a strong heart. It will be filled with ups and downs. This advice is not just for you.
Advice Starts Here
To any person no matter what your age is there are some very simple rules you need to follow when telling others and your future.
- Be sure you are safe. I does no good to tell people that A+B does not equal C for you if the moment you tell that person(s) your life becomes a living hell. You see if they leave doubt in your mind about your personal safety. Don’t say anything. It really is that simple. Yes you might be screaming on the inside, you might even be depressed, and you may be experiencing some sort of abuse currently. What do you think telling them will change for the better in your relationship with them? It won’t (period). I have seen and heard to many stories of members of the LGBT+ communities fleeing for their lives after telling people. #noexcuseforabuse
- Education, there is no way I can know every aspect of your life. But as a parent and a person that is involved in my children’s lives. The biggest thing I tell my kids is make sure you have an education. You see you can do anything in this world if you do have a solid foundation. Going back to rule 1, staying safe until you have your education might be hard on you. But there are those who you can talk with to keep you going during the hard times. But if you can last long enough to get your education your start in the future will be easier. Just keep the goal of a good life in sight. But know this, basic education is NOT going to do it. The problem with basic education is that the job market is filled with people who are not always open minded to the LGBT+ communities. Go to university if it is possible. Choose a career that is accepting of a Transperson/LGBT+ person. Because if they don’t like me or are a danger to me I can walk away and live a good life. This works in both personal and professional.
- Think about where you are going to live. This might sound a bit weird but if you are looking at rule 1 and you have rule 2 underway or done. You need to still follow rule 1. Living in an area where a phrase is said “Your kind is not welcome here” don’t be there. Even if the money is great it is not worth forgetting about rule 1. Also keep in mind that rule one has two parts to it. Being safe also means a place to have a roof over your head. If you are kicked out what happens? You then are not safe anymore.
- Look being Transgender is a struggle everyday. Life is not kind to people who have a medical condition. Believe me people will look at you in a way that you are a walking medical problem. So the best thing you can do is learn to dress for success. Meaning that if you are 30 years old dress like you are 30. There is nothing more concerning when a Transperson makes themselves a target for ridicule because they are 30 dressed as 16. In Australia we call it Mutton dressed as Lamb. I know we hear it all the time that people should not judge women on how they are dressed. But I am saying there is no need to draw unwanted attention to yourself. Which might help you maintain rule 1. Blending in is always going to be a good thing for you. Dressing for your employment in clothes that are a half-step above the requirement will also help.
- Always Remain calm. There is nothing like ending up on the front page or in a mass distributed Youtube video of you blowing your top. Then people saying “look this is what to expect of a person with a mental illness (they will say this).
- Makeup is not always your friend. I know what the videos on Youtube make it look like it is. It takes time to learn so practice before going out. Learn to beard cover as laser does not always work and you are going to spend $$ on hair removal. On top of that while makeup is a woman’s best friend you do not need to go over the top. If you pull back on the wow factor you will gain more acceptance.
- Slow Down! The journey that you are taking is a long one with bumps along the way. Don’t rush just to make it and miss out on some of the beauty of the journey. I have had to tell myself this so many times. Transitioning is not a race. Plus you also do not need to stand on a roof and scream out I am Transgender hear me roar. To every Tom, Dick, and Susan. They will notice all on their own and if they ask you then tell them.
Well I am going to stop at this point. My advice is always ever evolving as with any parent. I hope that it can help you in your future.