Finding out your child is transgender, non-binary or questioning their gender can come as a shock – initial feelings of confusion, fear about their future, sadness or doubt are all completely normal. I invite you to check out these useful resources for parents/caregivers of trans / non-binary youth as you find your footing and gain the knowledge you need to best support your child moving forward.
Research shows that trans youth who feel they have low or moderate levels of parental support are at risk for a range of mental health issues, including anxiety, depression and suicidal thoughts (TransPULSE, 2012; Ryan et. al, 2010). I specialize in working with trans youth/young adults and their parents to help strengthen and repair relationships, at a time when young people most need supportive adults around them. I do this by initially working separately with parents and youth, and eventually coming together for a few structured family sessions.
When conflict, heated conversations, or avoidance about your child’s gender identity are taking place in the home, or if you are struggling with strong feelings of fear, disbelief, loss or anger, you may benefit from seeing me on your own for support, education, counselling and consultation. This can help keep both you and your child emotionally healthy, and avoid long-term damage to your relationship.
If desired, I am also happy to refer you or your youth to qualified trans therapists in Toronto, trans social / drop-in programs and trans-positive GPs.
I would be honoured to support you and/or your family through life’s challenges and transitions. Please do not hesitate to contact me for a free telephone consultation to discuss how I can be of support to you.
1. Impacts of strong parental support for trans youth: A report prepared for the Children’s Aid Society of Toronto and Delisle Youth Services” (2012), TransPULSE.http://transpulseproject.ca/wp-content/uploads/2012/10/Impacts-of-Strong-Parental-Support-for-Trans-Youth-vFINAL.pdf
Other TransPULSE (2012) reports and materials available at www.transpulseproject.ca
2. Ryan, C., Russell, S. T., Huebner, D., Diaz, R., and Sanchez, J. (2010). Family acceptance in adolescence and the health of LGBT young adults. Journal of Child and Adolescent Psychiatric Nursing, 23(4), 205-213.
USEFUL RESOURCES FOR PARENTS/CAREGIVERS OF TRANS YOUTH/ YOUNG ADULTS
1. The Families in TRANSition guide, 2nd Edition, Central Toronto Youth Services, 2016: http://www.ctys.org/ctys-releases-fit-families-in-transition-guide-2nd-edition-march-2016
2. Supportive Families, Healthy Children: Helping Families with LGBT children, San Francisco State University, 2009: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/sites/sites7.sfsu.edu.familyproject/files/FAP_English%20Booklet_pst.pdf
*Also available in Spanish and Chinese, here: http://familyproject.sfsu.edu/publications
3. Families in TRANSition (FIT) Group – a 10-week, closed group for parents/caregivers of trans youth (age 13 – 21) at Central Toronto Youth Services http://www.ctys.org/category/groups/#fit
4. Gender Independent Groups (GIG and GIG2) at the TDSB – for parents/guardians of children and youth (Kindergarten – grade 12) who express gender independence to meet and discuss their experiences of navigating the gendered world in which we live. http://gendercreativekids.ca/providers/gender-independent-groups-toronto
5. Transceptance – a monthly parent-led group for parents of trans youth and young adults (any age), hosted at Central Toronto Youth Services. Email firstname.lastname@example.org for more information. http://www.ctys.org/transceptance-parent-support-group/
6. Pride & Prejudice (LGBTQ2S) Family Support at Central Toronto Youth Services – free services for LGBTQ2S youth (age 13-18) and their parents/caregivers, including individual counselling, group work, parent counselling & education and family therapy. http://www.ctys.org/category/programs/#pride-amp-prejudice