Coming out to parents

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This is an extremely delicate thing which must be done after considerable thought. My parents reacted very differently than I expected (mom freaked, dad was totally cool). Everyone reacts differently.

Before you come out to your parents, read this section and check out this archived page of questions to consider before coming out.

I think the common things that make parents freak out are:

They think it's their fault

Mine did. They'll think it's because they were too lax, too strict, let you play with a doll, dressed you in pink once, didn't keep your hair short, all kinds of things. Try to assure them you were born this way.

They're ultra-religious

A lot of parents will lump TS stuff right in with being gay. They'll start quoting the Bible and dragging you down to see the minister, etc. You might check out my page on religion for information if you think your parents are going to have a religious meltdown. Also, this might sound weird, but a lot of religious parents are actually more tolerant if you're TS than if you're gay. If you like boys but are a girl, you still fit into the heterosexual mode for them. Also, some parents see being TS as something you can be born with like an intersexed condition. Some people have had luck explaining this as intersexed.

They like to think they totally know their kids

I think this was my mom's big problem. My news totally rocked her world. She did not see it coming at all, even though I was often thought to be a girl by strangers when I was little.

They fear the unknown

I told my parents before I was presenting in girl mode. I'm sure this conjured up all sorts of images for them. They probably thought I'd look like Mrs. Doubtfire or Fred Flintstone in a dress. Once they saw that I could walk around in the world without anyone noticing anything unusual, they got much more relaxed and accepting.

They worry about your future

It might be hard to believe at times, but your parents love you and want you to be happy. Sometimes they think you have "chosen" a difficult path in life that will be full of loneliness and hard times. Parents tend to protect their children, and they worry they cannot protect you from the cold world out there.

They're afraid what others will think

Besides their own fears that they did something to cause this, they will probably worry that others will think the same thing about them. This can seem kind of selfish sometimes, but many parents do this. My mom was very worried what her ultra-religious dad would say. In fact, she still hasn't told him, though my grandmother knows. They will worry what neighbors, friends, coworkers, family, etc. will say and think, not just about you, but about them, too.

They think you've been brainwashed

They'll think this here internet or the Jerry Springer Show or something has gotten ahold of your brain, or you have been recruited by some gay person or TS. If you are seeing a therapist, they might blame the therapist, too.

Read these pages!

Here's a great FAQ page you can send your parents to or print out.*/

OutProud has a copy of a great brohure.*/

The Human Rights Campaign has a HUGE section on coming out.*/

Questions to consider before coming out*/

Random thoughts about coming out

Sometimes in life we end up displeasing our parents. Often that's OK, even necessary.

We can't pick our parents, and they can't pick us.

Some parents might use threats like kicking you out of the house, cutting you off financially, or even physical abuse. Some might even threaten suicide in an attempt to control you. However, there are things beyond their control, which can be very troubling for them. When you are under 18 and living at home, you are completely in their control. That means you have to work within their control.

Many people fear change, even if it would be change for the better. Not just parents, either. You might, too.

You should count on ZERO support from your parents, financially or emotionally. Do everything you can to get their support, but don't assume it's going to happen for sure. It may take time and effort. If they come through, it will be a pleasant surprise. Don't count on it until you're done, though.

You obviously love and accept your family despite some of their characteristics. They should reciprocate for you. If they don't, then something is getting in the way of their unconditional love.

Transition requires realistic expectations and self-acceptance. You must be OK with who you are before you come out to your parents. Without realistic expectations and self-acceptance, your coming out and your transition will not succeed.

Many TSs spend so much of their lives trying to please others that they don't take the time to look inward and do what would please themselves.

If you know in your heart that you should transition and have no doubts, then you should share this with your parents in a carefully planned way.

Additional pages in this section

Practical tips on coming out to parents

How my very religious grandfather came to accept me

Send me your thoughts, links, and advice!

If you transitioned in your teens or twenties and have any advice you'd like to share, please contact me , and I'll give it a permanent (and anonymous) home.