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Telling your Parents

1 Why now, or even should you? What are your motives and is it necessary? Why should you tell them?

If you are discovered then you are into damage control and lose any hint of control of the situation, but there are risks!

2 How might they react? You can answer this better than I, If you decide not to tell, you still need to have plan B prepared in case you are discovered. If you do plan on telling them then you need to do exactly what you are doing right now, Homework, be prepared. You need to be knowledgeable.

3Testing the waters, it is possible in conversation to obliquely bring up a subject. There are various other ways including what I call the Tootsye approach (using movies and television programs). There is also the Halloween approach, a fairly safe time to express "variance" and dress in your gender.

4 Chose the time carefully, if other things are intruding into the relationship it may be wiser to wait. If there are problems in your parents lives or with a sibling, well you get the picture.

5 Consider enlisting an ally, for example a therapist, the school counselor or knowledgeable friend or sibling. There is a section in this web site for school counselors. Most will be rather clueless about this and that is the reason it is there. They can also consult with me and or I can put them in touch with those that are specialists in gender issues. There are transgender adults that will be more than willing to help in this process. Write Me and I will help.

6 Chose the location sensibly, in a car with them driving is probably NOT a good place. A neutral public location, park, restaurant may be more favorable. And there may be less emotional behavior! You ever notice that the people who say they can not control their temper, what happens when the phone rings?

7 Frame the message positively! Not I have a problem, more I have something I wish to share with you, a part of me that is important. See below for suggestions.

8 Have the answers! Do your homework! Do your homework! Do your homework!

9 The news may be up setting and the reaction negative. Unfortunately the ultimate risk is rejection. This is probably the best reason to enlist the help of others. I will not sugar coat this, worst case is that you could lose you home. We will have resources in the links page.

10 It is a process. Just as it has been for you a life time process so it will for them.

11 Keep communications open!


One approach in telling your parents of you gender variance is to approach it from the past. Things that you did as you were growing up that were more like the gender you identify as.

If you are male to female you might remind them of the lack of interest in competitive sports, or that you preferred playing with the girls rather than the boys. If you are female to male you might bring up that you did not like wearing dresses and that you wanted to play competitive sports, you want to get them past the thought that you were just a tom boy. Connecting those memories to the present showing them that from a very early age that there was something different, that you were more like a female of male from the beginning.

Explain to them that you have always felt different and did not fit in the mold that was the sex you were born as that you never really felt like the gender they thought you to be. Tell them you feelings, if you felt depressed or hopeless at being some one you did not feel you were. Be honest about the pain and fear, the reason you have not told them. You may not have even had a word for what you are, I did not know the word transgendered until I was 45. Be careful not to use your pain or depression to manipulate them or you may well have a backlash.

Let them know it is not their fault, let them know that you were born this way and that the way you were raised has little to do with it. It is not a choice. Let them know that you love them and they will not be losing a child. If they do not take it well don’t be surprised remember how long it took you to come to the point of accepting your self. There may be tears, anger, silence, rant…well you get the picture, be patient and understanding. If you act childishly and act like a victim you disrespect your self and may well lose their respect.

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Last modified: 02/09/09