When your child comes to you and tells you that they identify as transgender, it may come as a shock at first. After all, you have always seen your child as the gender that their reproductive organs at birth would indicate and it can be challenging to shift your perceptions of them. However, as their parent, your primary concern is keeping them safe and healthy throughout their life.
Get to know some of the ways that you can ensure that your transgender child is healthy and safe as they begin their transition and gender confirmation process. That way, you can have the peace of mind that you are providing them with the best care possible.
Find a Mental Health Counselor That Specializes in LGBTQ Issues
One of the first steps that you can and should take when you find out that your child identifies as transgender is to find them a mental health counselor, preferably one that specializes in LGBTQ issues. Counselors with a background in LGBTQ (lesbian, gay, bisexual, trans, and queer) care and issues will be best suited to provide support and guidance to your child as they transition to their true gender, "come out" to people about their identity, and deal with all of the emotional and mental aspects of the transition.
While mental health counseling is beneficial to your transgender child in many ways, these benefits are not the only reason to get your child counseling. It is also required that a person who identifies as transgender and wants to physically go through gender confirmation surgeries (surgical changing of the sex organs) to receive counseling and pass psychological evaluations before proceeding. So, if your child wishes to begin hormone treatments (estrogen or testosterone) to start the process, they first need to be cleared to do so by a therapist or mental health counselor.
Going to family therapy sessions with your child could also help you to better understand your child's feelings and provide them with more support. They will feel as if you care and want to be a part of their transition and you will be better able to do so with the objective mental health counselor to help guide you through it.
Find a Physician That Will Closely Monitor Your Child's Physical Transition
Your child will need quality health care as they transition from one gender to another physically. Hormone injections of testosterone or estrogen can have serious side effects if the dosing is not correct or if your child develops kidney or liver issues in the process. As such, the doctor who prescribes the hormones will also need to closely monitor your child's health on a regular basis.
Find your child a physician who has had other transgender patients and who knows proper protocols. Make sure that your child gets regular blood tests to make sure their body is properly reacting to the sex hormones. An experienced primary care physician is vital in ensuring that your child remains as healthy as possible during the transition process. They will also be able to recommend the best surgeons when the time comes to make other physical changes.
Now that you know a few of the ways that you can better keep your transgender child healthy and safe as they transition, you can be sure that you are providing them with quality health care.