Not many parents feel prepared when their child comes out as transgender or gender nonconforming. It can be like venturing into uncharted territory and prompt a lot of questions, such as, What does “gender identity” mean? How do I make my child feel loved and supported? How can I best communicate with my child about their trans identity? Fortunately, there are many helpful resources that can provide some answers. If you’re hoping to learn more about parenting a young trans person, or if you’re not a parent but want to better understand what it means to be transgender, here are some resources to explore.
Organizations that offer support to transgender youth and their loved ones
1. TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation
TransKids Purple Rainbow Foundation (TKPRF) works to enhance the lives of transgender youth through education. Its platform serves to provide resources to transgender kids and their loved ones, in addition to educating schools and medical communities about gender identity. It also provides scholarships and financial support to unhoused transgender youth.
Mermaids supports transgender young people by offering web chat support, personal stories around gender identity, LGBTQ+ news, and more. It has a page specifically dedicated to parents of transgender youth, which features a variety of informative videos. Videos include “Which terms should I use to make my transgender child feel comfortable,” and “What should my transgender child’s school be doing to help?”
3. Gender Spectrum
Gender Spectrum offers support to transgender children and their parents in a number of ways. Parents and kids can join free online support groups, watch videos on gender identity stories, and attend virtual events. There’s also a page that debunks common gender myths, along with a section dedicated to gender inclusive films and publications.
4. Family Acceptance Project
The Family Acceptance Project uses a research-based approach to mitigate and prevent health risks for LGBTQ+ youth, from self-harm to substance abuse to homelessness. The organization creates resources, training materials, and in-depth research studies to strengthen family and school-based support.
Books that provide a comprehensive understanding of gender identity
5. Redefining Realness: My Path to Womanhood, Identity, Love, and So Much More, by Janet Mock
In Redefining Realness, Mock discusses her journey growing up as a poor, multiracial transgender woman. The memoir covers a range of topics, including gender identity, sexuality, self love, and womanhood. Mock shares a deeply personal narrative with complete honesty and compassion, and she informs readers about what it’s like to be a trans woman of color in America.
6. The Transgender Child: A Handbook for Families and Professionals, by Stephanie Brill
The Transgender Child serves as a comprehensive guidebook for parents raising transgender kids. It’s packed with interviews and research, and it answers important questions that parents may be grappling with — from the physical challenges and emotional hurdles that trans children face to the ways parents can support their children as they navigate their gender identity.
7. He’s Always Been My Son, by Janna Barkin
He’s Always Been My Son is a thoughtful narrative of one family’s experience raising a transgender son. It mixes education with a personal story, and it may be a comforting read for families going through a similar journey. In addition to her own experience, Barkin shares support resources and a glossary of terms to help parents better understand their child’s gender identity.
8. The Conscious Parent Guide to Gender Identity, by Darlene Tando
The Conscious Parent’s Guide to Gender Identity is an accessible resource that provides a conscious approach to parenting a transgender child. Through the lens of mindfulness, parents can learn how to empower and communicate with their child, in addition to guiding them through social and medical transitions. It also includes mindfulness techniques, practical tips, and concrete parenting advice.
Insightful podcasts from trans people’s perspectives
9. How to Be a Girl
How to Be a Girl is hosted by a mother and her 6-year-old daughter who is transgender. Together, they navigate gender identity, parenting, understanding, and acceptance. It’s a podcast about loving someone equivocally and showing it. You can find episodes about the social aspects of being a young transgender person, along with the medical options for adolescents who want to start the process of transitioning.
10. Gender Reveal
On Gender Reveal, Tuck Woodstock interviews insightful guests who are transgender as they candidly share their lived experiences. It has a wide range of honest, queer perspectives, and episodes explore topics such as current events, activism, and self-expression — all through the lens of gender identity. It can provide parents with a greater understanding of the lived experiences of being transgender.
11. The Gender Diaries
In The Gender Diaries, two mothers share stories of raising transgender children. They talk about what it was like when their kids came out, anxieties about societal rejection, and fears about the future. Various guests are also interviewed, including activist Trystan Reese and podcaster Marlo Mack.
The bottom line
It can be emotional to have a child come out as transgender. You may struggle with understanding gender identity or finding ways to properly validate their experience. But your curiosity and support are extremely important, and it can ultimately strengthen your relationship and the way you both navigate the transition. Resources can help guide you through the change, better understand your child’s gender identity, and find a support network. Just remember to show unconditional love and approach conversations non-judgmentally. If you want to learn more about why your support matters, check out our article on the importance of adult allies for LGBTQ+ youth. You can also read our guide on how to best support your trans or gender nonconforming child through stages of puberty.