People who identify as transgender feel like their gender identity differs from their physical body. Gender identity is a deep, personal sense of being male or female. Children’s gender identity is usually pretty clear by age 3, so children at a very young age can identify as transgender. Sometimes, though, children who are transgender may not come to this realization until after puberty.
Family Acceptance Is Important
Children’s mental and physical health are affected when they feel that their family rejects their transgender identity. Transgender children who feel rejected by their family are more likely to attempt suicide, develop depression, use illegal drugs, and contract HIV and other sexually transmitted diseases.
What can you do to help make your child feel accepted?
- Talk openly with your child and other family members about your child’s transgender identity.
- Show your child affection when he or she tells you about his or her transgender identity.
- Bring your child to LGBT events or organizations.
- Connect your child with a transgender adult role model to show options for the future.
- Stand up for your child when he or she is mistreated by someone else because of his or her transgender identity.
These behaviors can make your child feel rejected. Avoid:
- Hitting, slapping, or physically hurting your child because of their LGBT identity
- Name-calling because of your child’s transgender identity
- Excluding your child from family activities
- Blocking your child’s access to other transgender children and adults
- Making your child keep his or her transgender identity a secret