At the end of 2017, my dad came out to me as a transwoman. To be honest, I really wasn’t surprised. Little things began to add up over the years, and I had suspected that my dad was somewhere on the queer spectrum for some time. I think it’s also important to mention that I personally identify as pansexual and that my boyfriend is also trans. While my dad coming out as trans wasn’t a huge surprise to me personally, I still feel compelled to share my experience as stories like hers are very few in number.
If one of your parents recently came out as trans, or has been transitioning for some time now, here are some things you can expect.
There’s no appropriate gender-neutral version of “mom” or “dad.”
While visiting the Grand Canyon, our tour guide kept referring to my dad as “mom.” My dad found it flattering, but it was also awkward because she’s not my mom and she never will be my mom. And there’s nothing wrong with that.
While some trans identifying parents do feel comfortable switching titles, my dad never identified with that particular role when I was growing up and won’t now, seeing that I’m currently 27 years old. Of course, we couldn’t correct our tour guide and say she’s actually my dad, because my dad passes very well as a ciswoman. We just wished there was a more appropriate term that wouldn’t feel awkward as hell.
Your parent is probably not going to be as “woke” as the younger generation of people who identify as LGBT.
Let’s be honest. When someone uses outdated LGBT terminology, it can cause a lot of discourse. And if someone isn’t a millennial or Gen Z, they may have no idea what’s currently politically correct and what’s not.
If your parent uses terms you may find to be outdated or offensive, don’t be alarmed. Instead, take it in stride. This could be a wonderful opportunity to speak with them about current LGBT issues and what your generation’s community is like.
You’ll probably begin to bond over other interests.
I never would have thought that my dad and I would be having discussions about makeup and wigs, but we regularly do. You’ll discover a whole new side of your parent’s personality because they can finally be their true, authentic self. That also means you can enjoy and explore new hobbies together.
Most importantly, always remind your parent that you’re in their corner. It’s never easy for anyone to come out as trans. While there’s still a lot that leaves to be desired about LGBT rights in America, queerness is much more accepted than it was several decades ago. However, our parents may not know about all that. I always remind my dad how proud I am of her and how my generation is becoming a lot more comfortable with expressing the gender they identify as.