Honor the Transition: The Importance of Loving, Honoring and Supporting Your Tansgender Loved One

Updated on May 4, 2018
queencat profile image

As the proud mother of a transgender son, Catherine is passionate about supporting the rights and privileges of all LGBT's.

Birthday 27
Birthday 27 | Source

There is a message in *Coming Out*

My 27 -year old son, Nash, has been openly transgender for about four years now. By openly, I mean that he has taken enormously brave steps to inform everyone that he is living as the man he is and wishes to be treated as such.

A few years ago he participated in a local special feature interview Trans* in Montana, highlighting the unique challenges and issues affecting transgender individuals. Nash revealed painfully personal details about the challenges he faced coming into himself and talked about the importance of family support. *Coming Out* in this way (or any way), is extraordinarily courageous and a momentous achievement on the path to transitioning. It is a profound moment of truth and vulnerability.

The message it sends is, “this is who I am, I love and honor myself enough to share myself with you and trust that you will do the same”.

Nash proudly shared this interview with everyone he knew.

Despite Nash's public disclosure, the heart of his message was, sadly, lost on some.

A person is never more vulnerable than when exposing the most sacred parts of themselves to you. When a loved one chooses to come out to you as transgender, know that you have been given a gift-one that might have taken many agonizing years of soul searching before being offered to you. Despite how you might feel in that moment, this is the perfect opportunity to accept that gift and embrace them with love.

You will never get that moment back.

Respecting the Battle for Identity

I don’t believe that someone wakes up one morning thinking, “this seem like a good day to turn my world upside down, offend Christians, confuse my family, lose friends and risk losing my job”.

From the perspective of a mother who witnessed the trauma, heartbreak, and devastation of a child fighting to come into himself, I can attest to the fact that it is indeed, a battle.

When Nash was about 15 years old, he came to me terribly distraught and emotionally broken. Although I was aware he was facing many challenges, I learned that he had been battling something of which I knew little about. That something was his disconnection with the physical female body he was born with. Nash's pain and struggle coming to terms with this revelation was beyond anything I could comprehend but the maze of self -inflicted wounds on his body reflected an agonizing journey, one that had just barely began. Despite my own lack of understanding of what *transgender* meant, I was dedicated to loving and supporting Nash the best way I knew how.

I can only speak from my own experience when I insist how CRUCIAL it is to lovingly embrace them when they come to YOU in this moment.

That moment is seared into my memory forever because it was one of the few times I have felt the absolute, pure, tangible agony of another human being and I never want to see it again. It will make you walk through fire for them to be free of it.

These are moments that the world doesn’t get to see. And there are more just like it that are experienced in deep isolation where no one else can enter. The rest of the world gets to see a more composed version, the *public version*, so to speak. They haven’t a clue what it might have required to get there.

Being real hurts, don't make it worse.

I will never understand or agree with those who insist that *being* transgender is a choice. Really? To them I ask, would you choose to walk a path through the lion’s den every day? Would you really choose to put yourself through endless heartache and pain, subjecting yourself to the worlds demeaning judgements and discrimination if you had a choice in who you are?

I think not.

Of all the things you could possibly be, why would you choose one of the select few that can cost you, among other things, your family, job, the place you live, and might even get you killed?

Wouldn't you choose an easier, safer path if you could?

Being real hurts though.

But it’s worth it.

Consider everything you, yourself, live for.

What makes you real?

What gives you the greatest hope, inspires your biggest dreams, makes your life worth living?

You believe in yourself and who you are.

Now imagine being told you are not who you are and because you insist on being something you aren’t *meant* to be, you are no longer entitled to the same rights and privileges as everyone else.

Don’t be the person who jumps on that bandwagon, you might fall off and get run over.

Family Betrayal; it's the worst kind

In an ideal world, family and friends will always be the most supportive, compassionate and loving people in our lives. But as disappointing as it is, a transgender person’s family can be where betrayal is felt the most. Someone comes out as transgender and suddenly people are compelled to label *it* an illness, an act of rebellion (phase), or a *sin*. Some might believe it’s a negative reflection of who they are as parents and cower in self-imposed humiliation. Others scramble to the top of their fragile soap boxes and start preaching their ignorance, lecturing on God’s behalf. Sometimes everything is just swept under the rug and ignored.

This is, in one word, DAMAGING.

If you are one of these family members and truly value your transgender loved one, please pause, educate yourself and seek guidance before you do some serious spirit crushing and risk jeopardizing a very special relationship.

A little soul searching on your own behalf won’t hurt either.

It’s understandable how family and friends might not know the best way to react or even know how to be supportive because of their limited (or non-existent) understanding of what it means to be transgender. Even those of us who are more familiar make mistakes. My suggestions are based soley on my own experiences, observations, self-education and enlightenment from others. I’ve discovered that I can always learn more by asking questions, researching, being involved and listening. And there is really no excuse for ignorance because everything you need to know is at your fingertips.

Betrayal happens when you know damn well what your transgender loved one needs to feel supported and you intentionally disregard their needs.

They may request that you refer to them with a specific pronoun and their new name. This may take some time getting used to but by making the effort you are honoring their identity. If you only do this when they’re around and not all the time when speaking OF them, you are diminishing the significance of their identity and teaching others it’s okay to do the same.

It is not okay.

I had to learn this myself.

It was easier to use the correct pronoun and name when around Nash and even mostly everyone else, but I found myself reverting to old habits on occasions I would talk to my parents because it made conversations more comfortable-for them. I did not feel good about this at all and stopped trying to pacify others for their comfort. Now I make sure to use the correct pronouns all the time, even if it’s excessive, just so others get the message.

The Bottom Line

My message to others who may experiencing similar situations is to stand by your loved ones. Stand by your children regardless of how old they are! They need your support. Speak up for them and proudly acknowledge who they are. Just because they're adults doesn't mean it hurts any less. And be consistent! You can't consider yourself supportive when you revert back to using old pronouns and birth names just to make other people comfortable and reaffirm ignorance. That's cowardly.

My message to non-supportive family members of transgender loved ones is to educate yourself before thoughtlessly acting out of self-righteousness or ignorance, and especially in the name of religion. You can cause so much emotional and spiritual damage! Not everyone believes in a terrifying god! Really THINK about how your actions will affect not only your transgender family member, but ALL family members. It hurts and angers a mother to see her child suffer at your lack of sensitivity. It hurts to the degree of detachment from you. My child is far more important to me than you are.

The bottom line is that if you really love your transgender family member, you will show them in how you treat them..

Questions & Answers

    Comments

      0 of 8192 characters used
      Post Comment

      • queencat profile imageAUTHOR

        Cat Radke 

        11 months ago from Here and Now

        I appreciate your comment and I agree LoriQ! It is indeed a shame to make these things an issue when they don't need to be. There are more important things to make issues out of but monitoring bathroom usage is not one of them. There are better things to fear than a transgender person answering the call of nature or putting on lip gloss. It's not even likely anyone would know they are transgender to begin with and if they did, so what? Being transgender should not be an *issue* to begin with. All discrimination against the transgender community is a shame. I know my son works harder than most people to prove he is equally valuable and quite honestly, you would think an employer would appreciate that kind of effort in their employees and be more inclined to hire someone with such dedication. Yet, he has experienced more *covert* forms of discrimination. An example would be requiring that he wear a skirt as part of a uniform if he wanted a certain position-which is ludicrous considering he would only look like a man wearing a skirt! A shame indeed!

      • profile image

        LoriQ 

        11 months ago

        I really don't know why people care so much about how someone lives their lives. People get upset over the dumbest things. And this bathroom issue ought to be a non-issue. There are things in the ladies room called stalls. You have privacy when you pull your pants down. All transgender people want to do is relieve their bladders, wash their hands, fix their hair and if it's a transwoman, maybe fix their makeup. Transwomen are not using the ladies room to watch anyone naked. I have never been in the ladies room where someone was walking around outside the stall naked. I would never treat any transgender person whether it's a transman or woman with disrespect. I would be just as friendly as I would anyone else. I also don't understand discrimination in the work place. There are so many transgender people unemployed because of the discrimination. And now with trump o office it's getting easier to discriminate against the transgender community. It's such a shame.

      working

      This website uses cookies

      As a user in the EEA, your approval is needed on a few things. To provide a better website experience, pairedlife.com uses cookies (and other similar technologies) and may collect, process, and share personal data. Please choose which areas of our service you consent to our doing so.

      For more information on managing or withdrawing consents and how we handle data, visit our Privacy Policy at: https://pairedlife.com/privacy-policy#gdpr

      Show Details
      Necessary
      HubPages Device IDThis is used to identify particular browsers or devices when the access the service, and is used for security reasons.
      LoginThis is necessary to sign in to the HubPages Service.
      Google RecaptchaThis is used to prevent bots and spam. (Privacy Policy)
      AkismetThis is used to detect comment spam. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide data on traffic to our website, all personally identifyable data is anonymized. (Privacy Policy)
      HubPages Traffic PixelThis is used to collect data on traffic to articles and other pages on our site. Unless you are signed in to a HubPages account, all personally identifiable information is anonymized.
      Amazon Web ServicesThis is a cloud services platform that we used to host our service. (Privacy Policy)
      CloudflareThis is a cloud CDN service that we use to efficiently deliver files required for our service to operate such as javascript, cascading style sheets, images, and videos. (Privacy Policy)
      Google Hosted LibrariesJavascript software libraries such as jQuery are loaded at endpoints on the googleapis.com or gstatic.com domains, for performance and efficiency reasons. (Privacy Policy)
      Features
      Google Custom SearchThis is feature allows you to search the site. (Privacy Policy)
      Google MapsSome articles have Google Maps embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      Google ChartsThis is used to display charts and graphs on articles and the author center. (Privacy Policy)
      Google AdSense Host APIThis service allows you to sign up for or associate a Google AdSense account with HubPages, so that you can earn money from ads on your articles. No data is shared unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Google YouTubeSome articles have YouTube videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      VimeoSome articles have Vimeo videos embedded in them. (Privacy Policy)
      PaypalThis is used for a registered author who enrolls in the HubPages Earnings program and requests to be paid via PayPal. No data is shared with Paypal unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook LoginYou can use this to streamline signing up for, or signing in to your Hubpages account. No data is shared with Facebook unless you engage with this feature. (Privacy Policy)
      MavenThis supports the Maven widget and search functionality. (Privacy Policy)
      Marketing
      Google AdSenseThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Google DoubleClickGoogle provides ad serving technology and runs an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Index ExchangeThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      SovrnThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Facebook AdsThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Unified Ad MarketplaceThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      AppNexusThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      OpenxThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Rubicon ProjectThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      TripleLiftThis is an ad network. (Privacy Policy)
      Say MediaWe partner with Say Media to deliver ad campaigns on our sites. (Privacy Policy)
      Remarketing PixelsWe may use remarketing pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to advertise the HubPages Service to people that have visited our sites.
      Conversion Tracking PixelsWe may use conversion tracking pixels from advertising networks such as Google AdWords, Bing Ads, and Facebook in order to identify when an advertisement has successfully resulted in the desired action, such as signing up for the HubPages Service or publishing an article on the HubPages Service.
      Statistics
      Author Google AnalyticsThis is used to provide traffic data and reports to the authors of articles on the HubPages Service. (Privacy Policy)
      ComscoreComScore is a media measurement and analytics company providing marketing data and analytics to enterprises, media and advertising agencies, and publishers. Non-consent will result in ComScore only processing obfuscated personal data. (Privacy Policy)
      Amazon Tracking PixelSome articles display amazon products as part of the Amazon Affiliate program, this pixel provides traffic statistics for those products (Privacy Policy)